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Bell Sympatico page on DSLReports
Six Month Rating

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Review by docbill See Profile

  • Location: Stoney Creek,ON
  • Cost: $65 per month (24 month contract)
  • Install: about 5 days
  • Telco party Bell Canada
Good "Very fast upload rate, all inclusive package"
Bad "will be too expensive at the end of the promotion"
Overall "would not recommend"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

My Other Reviews

·Start Communicat..
It is now 2012 and I am back with Bell again. A door to door salesman sold me on a triple play package free for 6 months. It is however a 2 year contract, which will cost me $300 to disconnect early, and there is a $30 activation fee. I don't really need the satellite TV or the bell phone line, so I am listing the rate at $330/6 for the six months.

First the good:

The install service was excellent. The Bell tech showed up on time, and rewired my phone line. I hadn't used the line in years, when I had cancelled the regular phone line one of the reasons was phone picked-up radio signals and the DSL was dog slow. However, with the new Fibe connection I am getting the advertised 25/7 without the same speed both to Bell's test sight, and my favourite speed test site in the US. The Bell router has wireless N, two USB ports, and four LAN ports. Overall it seems like fairly solid hardware.

Now the not so good:

The technician could only connect the router within three feet of the phone jack. So I had to run my own 100 ft cable to get the connection to my computer. The wireless service seems fair, but not as good as my Asus RT-16N.

Now the bad:

I had to see comments in this forum to learn how not to have a double NAT. Bell seems to cycle my IP address very regularly. That breaks my IPV6 tunnel and causes my VPN tunnels to drop. I have to regularly update sites like salesforce.com which use IP security with my IP address. This also seems to mess-up Bell's bandwidth counter. I have a bandwidth tracker on my modem, so I know exactly how much I use. One one day when they toggled my IP address they list me as uploading 3.2GB and downloading 3.0GB. But my bandwidth counter shows it was really 0.5GB and 0.2GB. I NEVER have a higher upload than download usage. The Bell technician seems to think that meant someone hacked into the Bell wireless router. That is unlikely, as I am the only one in the neighbourhood with the knowledge needed to break SPA security. However, I have switched of the Bell wireless and I will wait to see if that happens again.

Unless I find ways to mitigate the bad, I will probably switch to TekSavvy or back to Cogeco Cable at the end of the six months.

Update: According to the sales brochure I was suppose to get a 125 GB capacity, but I only got 100 GB. I did not feel like arguing so I paid $10 for 80 GB of bandwidth insurance bring me up to 180 GB. At first glance that seems like slightly more than I had with Cogeco, but I have found the Bell bandwidth counter is more inaccurate than Cogeco. So I expect I really will get about 170 GB.

Update: 2012-02-29 Worst day ever. I went to the bathroom and when I returned my work VOIP line lost connection to the conference call I was on. I then tried my personal VOIP line, and that failed as well. I then tried the Bell Canada line. I tend to avoid using that because it is so full of static. But anyway, I got back into my conference and then my internet connection kept dropping for the rest of the meeting. Finally this evening I went to inspect why my line was so full of static. I had previously called Bell for that, but they told me there would be a service charge even though the problem existed since install which was less than 30 days ago at the time I called. Consequently, I decided to find the problem myself. It turns out that the bell technician who wired up the internet and put in the VDSL splitter, had wired the outlet so both the phone line jack and the internet jack were both wired together, and the actual voice line was wired to screws not connected to anything. Whenever I would use the phone, I would get flooded with static, and eventually the DSL modem would drop the connection. Now that I corrected it, the phone is crystal clear. All I can say, is I don't really blame Bell for the mistake, but they should stand by there services. If they do an install and it doesn't work, they should correct the problem they created.


In 2002 I signed up for Bell Sympatico DSL service. They sent me a Speedstream 5360 and installation instructions. The network connection worked well, and I paid the advertised price. About a year later, they introduced bandwidth caps. After being presented several large bills, I suspended my Sympatico service and switched to Cogeco. I stuck with Cogeco for about six months, then Sympatico dropped the bandwidth caps and I switched back. When switching back I learned that Sympatico had unsuspended early and been charging my credit card. In the end they offered a few months of discounts. I still probably overpaid some, but it wasn't worth arguing because Cogeco and Sympatico were my only broadband options.

Several times in the last few years, Sympatico has notify me my DSL speed was being increased. However, it was 2400 kbps in 2002, and it is still 2400 kbps today. At least Sympatico remained a reliable connection.

However, about 6 months ago that started changing. Every few hours my VOIP phone would beep, indicating the DSL had recycled to a new IP address. I contacted Bell, but they refused to support me unless the modem was plugged directly into my computer. Unfortunately, I do not know how to configure Windows for PPPoE, and I have lost their directions years ago. When I asked them how to connect my computer to the modem, they could not help me. So I just lived with the problem.

Over the months, the problem got worse. Finally, by mid-October the line was recycling every 15 minutes. Since I was convinced the problem had to be either the line or the Speedstream, I decided to search my basement to see if I could find one of the DSL modems I used in Seattle. When I had inquired about using my own modem in 2002, the Sympatico tech had told me no other modem would work with Sympatico. However, after reading discussions on the internet I found that was a lie. In my basement, I found the Speedstream 5260 that had been sold to me by Speakeasy. I unplugged the the 5360 and plugged in the 5260 and found my disconnect problem was solved!

After that, I decided I have to find some other broadband service. I suspended my Sympatico account for six months and I will cancel at the end of that time if I am still happy with my new ISP.

2012-07-27: One week ago I got up in the morning and found my internet was down, and the DSL modem was not getting a signal. After waiting an hour, I called Bell on my cell phone. 47 days prior I had put in a cancel order for my phone line in 30 days and at the same time negotiated a new rate for my internet. It turns out they forgot to note on the cancel order I needed to be put on a dry loop. Bell said they had to send a technician out, so they couldn't come until Monday. Monday morning came along, and bright and early my internet was up. Two hours later a technician showed up, equally confused as to why Bell sent him out to my house, when they just needed to make the change at the office. Bell also made a $165 error in my bill this month, but after talking to them I got an instant credit for part of it. The other part is the termination internet termination fee, which of course I should not have to pay unless I terminate it... So for that they gave me a monthly credit that will balance out should I carry it the full term of the original contract. I'm still keeping Bell, but one more mistake like this and I cancel, no matter what. I already have a second internet connection. I would prefer to keep both, for enhanced reliability, but it isn't worth dealing with repeated mistakes.

2013-04-02 I've dropped Bell and I'm now with Velcom.

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updated 1.9 years ago