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Bell Sympatico page on DSLReports
Six Month Rating

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Review by root9 See Profile

  • Location: Kitchener,ON
  • Cost Contract price not specified.
  • Install: about 150 days
  • Telco party Bell Canada
Good "NONE good!"
Bad "Total NIGHTMARE!"
Overall "Run like hell to any other ISP! to preferably good ones"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings below consensus)

Oh so you want my Sympatico review, do you?

Let me get prepared first:
5 cheap keyboards [just in case of aggravation] = check
wordprocessor = check
spellchecker = check
tylenol = check
disconnect idiot phone = check
turn on heavy metal tunes to expel all aggressiveness out before typing = check
baseball bat = check
old padded chair for bat = check
change of plans > hide all weapons and anything even resembling one = check
soothing tea = check
1 hr yoga, 2 hrs combat Tai' Chi [for real] = check
happy face = check
OK ,, maybe I'm ready

Second, let me introduce myself:
Gabriel, Senior Network and Systems Analyst [I think this means I've learned patience to handle even the most tedious aggravating tasks/idiots, till I hit Sympatico that is].

Now for the juicy parts: [the condensed (short) version]
It all started with a call from some Pakistani or Indian phone telemarketer on Fri. June 1 2007 at 7:15 pm. He starts his "sales pitch" about a free 3 month offer for Sympatico high speed. I'm thinking this is great, I can report another telemarketer and charge 'em 100 bucks for calling a private number, and 100 to Marketing Board. Maybe report him to Sympatico for false advertising. He does tell me it's a 7 Mbps dwld and 1 Mbps upld Unlimited deal.

But against my better judgment and just for the hell of it I agree to it. Still called Bell main office and no offers are being given. Now think I got this guy hands down. Call Sympatico support at 310-7873 and low and behold offer could be for real, so I call main office again to figure out who's lying. Give her full info on call and No free offers. I got 'em now.

I get package via courier in less than 7 days and my mouth drops wide open to baseboard of front door. I can hardly sign for it. Now I'm happy because I've been waiting for such a chance to test Sympatico for myself. And it's FREE! Maybe, just maybe, this is going be better than Rogers and other lousy ISP's?

Call main office and I tell them offer must be for real since I have box. Oh, they agree there's a free offer now. Grrr

I've done this install for many customers [100's] so we should have no problems. Right? Ya ok.
NOT on your life! First install and all hell breaks loose. Noisy lines, bad Bell wiring in house, noisy lines coming into house. Since this is a triplex it's a wiring nightmare by past Bell service people. There's no way I'm waiting for Bell to fix it. Four hrs later it's done, inside house that is.

Still can't connect. Finally look inside package again and I find activation date 06-11-2007. I'm not waiting a week to connect. That would be nutz. So I call support and get India.
India? How can anyone in India help me in Canada? I speak 5 languages and I still can't understand him.
Finally "Hey, can you get a better phone so it's loud enough or turn up your volume?" He hung up. Didn't call back either. Hmm, great support.
Call again and someone finally ups the volume. All I get is "You must wait till activation date." I waited 45 minutes to get support and I get the runaround? Not happy!
Ok, I'll play the duck and keep it hooked up anyway. Have Rogers and 2 other much better accounts, no big deal. With this kind of performance I might as well setup a detailed log.

06-09-2007 - The thing [it's not a full account yet] comes on without notice from support or anyone at Bell. Call support at night and get same old activation date excuses.

06-17-2007 Finally on June 17 I get Canadian support that tells me I get 4 Mbps dwld and 1 Mbps upld. What happened to 7 Mbps as promised?
Setup the login, email, modem, etc. Jason tells me I have a problem with noise on the line. Will send techie within 42 hrs.
Grab the spare Linux box anyway and start configurations and testing. Attach a high-speed router specifically configured for ADSL. Can't get over 1.7 Mbps dwld and 384 Kbps upld, more dropped packets than not. Check my lines to street. Big problems but I'm not touching them. I want this recorded by techie and serviced via bell line techie.

06-23-2007 STILL NO TECHIE. Call support. Support is down or sleeping in evening.
Call again at night. I get told the service call was cancelled. WHAT? All he wants to do is the regular bull of testing the line etc. How do you explain to someone that doesn't care "the lines are bad and someone has to come out and fix them"? I stopped at 10.
All they wanted to do is say "sorry" and NOT fix the problem. GRRRR

Then he has the audacity to tell me to check 2wire.com and toast.com to check speeds. Ok, I do anyway and tell him they are not a true representation since they don't include upld speed test. He further tells me speedguide.net is not a reliable test since it's not Authorized by Sympatico and none are. I/we have been using them for as long as they've been up because of Rogers and other ISP problems and now I get some amateur messing with my mind. I loose it, he hangs up!
Maybe I should go get my nutz waxed to wake up from this bad dream.

Call support next day 4 pm: Canadian support [yay] tells me newer modem will be in the mail and be here in 3 or 4 days. Why? The lines are bad, duh!

5:28 pm received call from 1-503-860-1300 for confirmation of address. I try to explain the problem is not a modem but the lines outside. Nope, no brain and can't hear me. Can't speak coherent English either. I have work to do and loosing 60 to 300 per hr, deal with this later, idiotic system!

First chance I call 311 and finally get techie to come out within 48 hrs. Hey, I might be getting somewhere now.

06-30-2007 still no techie!
Now if I was a regular customer I'd have jumped on a bicycle and rode over to Toronto and back by now, while playing with cars on the 401 yet. Maybe even to Montreal and had private visit with Michael Sabia, tuning him on ways to improve his services or asking for his resignation.
So I do the next best thing and call Sympatico no brain support. Find out my service has been limited to 5 Mbps dwld and 1 Mbps upld. More lies! I still don't get anything above 1.7 Mbps dwld and 300 Kbps upld, half of it dropped packets and errors. But he did promise to have techie come over.

07-05-2007 - NO techie yet. Lucky I don't have a business on this account, I'd be broke and on welfare. If I could even get that since they mistreat people. Get India support again. Now I'm Smokin'!
9:57 pm get regular bull from some Indian support and finally get Supervisor "Krishna" who promises techie and gives me tracking number.

I haven't had enough aggravation for today so I call at 11:30 pm since Webmail doesn't work at all.
"Sorry we don't support Linux." Excuse me? "You must be using Internet Explorer." Why would I want to spend my hard earned money on overpriced, buggy, insecure bloat-ware like that?
Oh no, they are using MSN Webmail. And this is supposed to be an ISP?
How about Opera browser? NOPE!
"ISP" = Internet Service Provider, Not subsidiary of Microcrap like now.
I demand satisfaction. Get nowhere. Now I'm ready to cry or start smoking again.
Can't even tell me how to access my email via Mozilla Thunderbird. I should have known this bozo is reading from a book. IQ of 105 to 130 and it took me this long to figure out? I better get smarter.
Now let me guess who got India to Support Sympatico. Well of coarse their buddy Michael Sabia.

So now I have to get and configure some buggy Microcrap box just to look at my mail. No wonder customers feel like they are being spied on, abused and manipulated.
Explanation: MSN = Microsoft = USA
They have much looser laws there for privacy and the above-mentioned company is animate about tracking people and getting into their private data. Any information that matches certain criteria is reported to NSA, FBI, DOD, Homeland Security and others in the USA. Just to be clear > So now my and your online activities and most information is being watched by these organizations. Great!

This is enough! Time to call General Mangers Support line, COA, 1-866-927-3656
After speaking with them I was finally guaranteed a techie within 48 hrs.

07-07-2007 Saturday. Techie shows and finds 7 parts of outside line bad and 2 inside. Installs new modem [since the old didn't have anything wrong with it], tells me I still have bad connection somewhere and he can't find it, "best it's going be", tells me to use short cord to modem and long RJ-45 to router. Hmm, some smarts finally?
Tested speeds and they are 3.4 Mbps dwld and 320 Kbps upld, not good but gotta start somewhere.

07-08-2007 2:45 pm - uploads and downloads are really slow [1.1 Mbps dwld & 120 Kbps upld], Noisy line is worse. Wow I get higher speeds from WIFI access point a mile away. Techies will call later this afternoon?
Techies never called, bummer!
Past 7 pm call India again. Slow speeds, can't connect via HTTP and other protocols. Here we go again: "Poonam" does his tests and I see same old runaround. Nothing fixed and no service person will come out. Now I have a place to get my aggravations out!

07-11-2007 4 pm - I loose it on India support
Somewhere in here actual service person shows up at my door. Does tests and can't find anything wrong. Not allowed to touch indoor wiring.
Excuse me? In order to make internet work Sympatico is responsible to fix at least the line between computer and closest base station. And it better be done right!

07-18-2007 Now I find out anything outside of HTTP, FTP and email is not supported. Guess we just might as well chuck all the RFC's and all related software for Sympatico's convenience.
Since he didn't understand or it wasn't in his book higher level support was to call back.
No call came.
10 pm - Put on hold and disconnected at 10:21 pm
10:28 pm - India support reset modem, still slow speeds, major file errors, no email, problems forwarded to actual Networkers [Canadian]. They will call next day?

I make a decision to drive these ppl nutz and become the biggest pain they ever experienced until they get it right!

Finally a good techie by the name of Barb shows up and fixes all outside line problems, which the other techies missed. Still can't get over 3.5 Mbps dwld and 0.47 Mbps upld.
Changing profiles and messing with connections doesn't work.

08-14-2007 11:56 pm even IE doesn't work for accessing Internet pages. All errors. Most traffic redirects to pcb.bc.motive.com
Private SMTP is grabbed by Sympatico
India forwarded to Canadian tech support? Was hung up on by India at 12:28 and not forwarded at all.

Everything comes back on next day. Advanced testing starts. I'm so pissed off I'm going through all the protocols I can find and test. Anything encrypted is not working or has major errors. Takes me 5 hrs to figure out what's allowed and what not for SMTP.
As I have time I find any transfer outside of HTTP over 2 Mbps is throttled back to 2 Mbps.
Can't get over 0.4 Mbps upld no matter what
I've tested anything and everything from skype, voip, p2p, ftp, gopher, irc, you name it. All throttled or shaped in some way. Still major loss of packets.
Way too many hrs wasted just on phone. Countless hours spent diagnosing, trying to track and log performance, etc.

Get bill in mail for September. To boot there's a 30 buck surcharge for going over 30 GB. I tell family not to even come close to bill till I speak with accounting / customer service. Call some lawyers, Admins that can suspend Sympatico's trunk lines, private investigators that can locate CEO to lay charges, turn on cameras and other security around my house.

10-18-2007 - Just up my alley. Call Customer service and Maria tries to snow me that service was activated June 5 / 07 when sheet in box says 06-11-2007. Which is it?
She tried to say I/we agreed to activation. But no contract was signed or service agreed to. No even email that service is being activated. A person would have to be nuts accept a service that doesn't work properly. She tries to give me 1 month free. Well what about 3 months free I'm supposed to get?

I demand speaking with CEO or his office and don't want to talk to her twisted brain. Maria still tries to give me 3 months free as long as I sign up, the ones from June to August. Oh no you don't, I want 3 months free as the package offered while the internet is working properly. She tries many ways to get me to agree to contract. I say NO way!

And I'm not allowed to talk to CEO? Excuse me? I'm not even allowed to have his direct office snail mail address? Wow, now this is a great business, more like great RIP-OFF business!
Tell her if she persists I'll charge her and Sympatico with false advertising, misrepresentation and maybe fraud. She still tried to manipulate me into a contract.
Tell her any and all conversations are recorded for legal purposes. She shuts up and finally passes this on to higher support.

That same day I get techie from Ottawa. Finally I'm speaking with experienced tech person. Tells me there's a problem between my house and 1.4 km base station. He will look into it and get back to me. Will make sure I'm getting 5 Mbps dwld and 800 Kbps upld.
Even he is experiencing slow downs of anything "sustained" above 2 Mbps. Seems sometimes [more like most of the time] Sympatico has servers that throttle traffic back down to 2 Mbps, some customers even down to 56K modem speeds. Here we go, just like Rogers or worse.

10-19-2007 - I minute after midnight Sympatico goes down, router nuked, 2 boxes hooked up to Sympatico nuked. Need to reinstall firmware on router, can't find nuke code on Microcrap box, testing laptop is toast [totally dead].
1:15 am - still can't get hold of support
2:34 am - finally get support, whole 519 area code is down due to server maintenance. Nobody emailed or called. No warnings at all.
Told net will be up in 320 minutes from midnight, not up till 6 hrs from midnight [6 am]

Been Promised someone will call Monday 10-22-2007
Spoke with main techie in Ottawa. Had to put me on new Fiber line. Don't know if this is true but Speeds now: 5 Mbps dwld & .7 Mbps upld constantly.
[What about all those other customers?]

3 months plus worth of errors. Lucky I don't depend on this as my bread and butter.
Nightmare style support, they constantly lie because they don't know what they are doing. And worst of all "read from a book".
Customer service only interested in ripping off customers by forcing contracts and other means. This way they can charge disconnection fees if customer wants to switch due to service not being satisfactory. NOTE: Bill them for lost time and service if they try.
Visiting service Techies are NOT responsible problems between DSL modem and nearest main access point. Outside line only. Now this is totally nutz.
Any other house lines connected to main line are disregarded even though they may be the cause of problems.
75 to 80 % of customers still on bad phone lines.
Freedom and Internet activity is left to monitoring by Microsoft and all USA security agencies.
Most encrypted or P2P traffic is shaped, monitored, throttled or totally disconnected, same as Rogers. So much for Internet freedom.
Has 30 GB download limit at 47 bucks. Way overpriced! This translates to Web-browsing, watching news and other pre-prepared videos and maybe few songs. Not good enough for today's average customer.
Really slow reading email list on server, only aprox. 20 MB size upld limit at only 53k speed, sending close to limit files creates errors on Sympatico server in turn loosing file/email,
It's pretty bad when AOL and free WIFI is better than Sympatico.

Unresolved: deal about service, I want my free 3 months as promised, toasted laptop, loss of time due to Sympatico bad or non-existent service/support.

This is not an ISP, it is a subsidiary of Microcrap [Microsoft]

RUN LIKE HELL to nearest Real ISP. And not Rogers either.
Find good ISP on: »www.canadianisp.com/ [you will notice Sympatico and Rogers are not even listed]
Make sure this new ISP has the following:
No traffic shaping/throttling within speeds you pay for,
No Norton protection or ISP install CD's, must be AVG, Kaspersky or Bitdefender [which you get yourself]
Essential freeware list:
and »www.thesimpledollar.com/2006/12/···windows/
I'm sure you can find many more, choose carefully.
Must allow full access to all protocols > P2P, Skype, Voip, FTP, IRC, full Newsgroups, SST, Jabber and thousands of others,
Must support a minimum of Linux, Unix, Mac OS, Netware and I guess garbage Microcrap too.
Must not ask you to install any software such as Sympatico CD. Ask a good networker/service person to setup your Internet and software properly.
Using a router is a really good idea
Switch to Linux whenever possible: much better privacy/security, much better designed for Internet use. To boot, you have about 12,000 FREE pieces of software available.

If you still have problems in the Kitchener Waterloo area contact me at 519-635-7744 for appointment. I charge only $15 per hour [just to cover my costs]. I do only quality professional work. So please get ready to make full notes. And no, I don't do over the phone service. That's just stupid.
For businesses I charge full price: $30 to $300 per hour, depending on the job.

If you want shotty work please see one of the companies mentioned here: »www.cbc.ca/marketplace/getting_g···y_geeks/
Or your local whiz kids, most inexperienced university students or shops that charge $30 flat rate for "fix-it-no-matter-what-the-problem-is"

In the meantime I'm being bold enough to suggest teksavvy.com as a good ISP for general use. Every customer I've forwarded to them hasn't had any complaints that are of their doing.

Coming soon: report on How ISP's rip users off.

member for 9.3 years, 165 visits, last login: 5.4 years ago
updated 6.8 years ago