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Review by hogwild
Good "Uptime excellent. Tech. support responsive in replying. Always someone on phones."
- Location: Canada
- Cost Contract price not specified.
- Bell Canada
Bad "Tech. support knowledge is shallow. Some are savvy, but most just know basics."
Overall "Good uptime, responsive but not terribly knowledgeable support staff."
In our house we considered several options for high speed, including Rogers Cable, Bell Sympatico DSL and finally, we signed with Pathway DSL about 3.5 years ago.
We ordered the Fastpath package (up to 5MB downstream) at approximately $38.00 per month prepaid or $40.00 per month with no commitment before taxes.
Install process was as quick and easy as Bell would allow. Bell dragged their heels, but Pathway did not, AFAICT. We were connected about 8 or 9 days after I requested the service. Pathway support helped me get a couple of things ironed out on my router settings.
I requested that Pathway allowed me to use my own modem-a Zyxel model. It worked fine immediately with Pathway's service.
That was approximately 4 years ago. After about 4 years, we've had almost zero downtime, according to the router's own logs. Perhaps half a day or a third of a day over 4 years.
Pathway's tech. support is a bit of a mixed bag in my experience. On one hand, they always answered my calls quickly and tried to be polite. They were quite knowledgeable about basic connectivity issues, line tests, PPPoE and etc. For basic issues, they were fine.
However, when I asked them about anything more than a basic issue, they sometimes were clueless. For example, one tech. told me that in order for e-mails from our friends/colleagues to avoid being automatically marked as possible SPAM (which he said was the default), several people on Pathway's network would have to mark e-mails from the same people as not spam. This struck me as hogwash.
Another person had no idea what I was talking about when I asked a question involving PPPoE disconnects. The person appeared to have no idea what PPPoE was. When I asked him directly, he couldn't tell me what PPPoE did. Hmmm..
Rated speed was "up to 5 MB/S" downstream and 512K upstream. We have typically received anywhere between 2 MB downstream and 4.3. We have received anywhere between 90K and 512K upstream. My detective work suggests that the upstream problem is that the remote Lucent DSLAM to which we are connected requires a firmware update, and Bell (owner of that DSLAM) is not about to do that upgrade any time soon. Especially since that might fix problems for 3rd party ISP customers who are not directly Bell customers.
We've never had a single billing or unresolved service issue in 4 years.
So, all in all, great uptime, responsive (but not terribly in-depth if you're slightly off-topic) tech. support and fairly decent line speeds. Perhaps not that great value any more in terms of speed for amount paid. That being said, if you're not a picky techie type like me, they'll probably be quite satisfactory at a minimum.
All in all, a pretty good provider.
member for 10.7 years, 158 visits, last login: 113 days ago
updated 2.2 years ago
Review by davidsmithy
Good "Excellent company, and superb technical support"
- Location: undisclosed location
- Cost: $29 per month (12 month contract)
Overall "great company, would never change"
|Pre Sales information:|
Value for money:
I have been with pathway for many years now and find their service excellent, they have had issues with internet connection going down briefly but they dealt with the issue quickly and efficiently.
I read they now have a new cloud service for businesses that my firm will be looking into as their pricing is a lot better than most cloud vendors and they don't charge by the hour that can end up costing a lot!
member for 2.8 years, 0 visits, last login: 2.8 years ago
lodged 2.8 years ago
Review by collinsit
Good "24/7 support - most of the time."
- Location: Brampton,ON
- Business customer
- Cost: $200 per month (12 month contract)
- Install: about 10 days
Bad "Slower DSL than other providers, poor cancellation policies and bad customer service."
Overall "Horrible ISP to work with."
|Pre Sales information:|
Value for money:
I have used Pathway Communications for about 2 and a half years now. For the most part, they are ok. It is basic DSL service and seemed to work as well as any other provider I had used before. I pay extra for the service since I have an HSA connection (non pppoe) and it is supposed to be monitored by Pathway. This level of service is important to me since I use the connection for my small business.
Last year I experienced a problem with my internet connection where it went down. I didn't know this till I got back to my office and realized that the connection had been down for a couple hours. I instantly called Pathway and got a tech on the phone quickly. She went through some tests with me including rebooting the DSL modem and so forth (all of which I had already tried). She then determined that it was a Bell line problem and said that she would open a case with them for me and call me back. She never called back. To make a long story short, my internet connection ended up being down for 3 days total. I had to call Pathway half a dozen times and only ever received one call back. My internet went down just before noon on Friday, the call wasn't even opened with Bell till Saturday night and my connection came back up just after lunch on Monday.
I spoke to Pathway the next week and told them that I would be looking for other internet options. I have now switched to Teksavvy and they are awesome. The next problem I ran into was with cancelling my existing service with Pathway. When I called to do this, they said that I could not cancel until the anniversary date of my connection. For me this is 9 months away. I told them that I wanted to cancel right away and explained my reasons for this. They said that this policy was in my contract. I contacted them several times asking for a copy of this contract and they never responded or sent me this contract. After weeks of trying, I escalated the issue and did get a copy of the contract which did say I needed to cancel at the anniversary date.
I accept this and will keep paying for this connection even though I have never heard of this before. They say it is a Bell Canada policy but I know that isn't right since this is the second HSA connection I have had and the first connection I cancelled with 30 days notice.
One final thing here. I decided that since I was paying for this connection in addition to my Teksavvy connection that I might as well use it. When I started to work with the connection doing some consistent downloads I noticed that the speed was about 2.5MB. I did some further testing and sure enough, they were giving me 3MB DSL service. I know that I am 3km from the CO and with my last ISP I had a full 6MB of consistent service.
Summary: Pathway Communications seems like a great business class ISP on the service but the service they deliver is less than that of other ISP's and the price is just as high, if not higher. They also guarantee 24/7 proactive support and do not live up to this. I have yet to get an english speaking person on the phone and some of the tech's have such strong accents that they can be very hard to understand. I was promised a lot when I signed up for service with them and they let me down completely with this and ended up costing me a lot of money when they did.
member for 5.8 years, 25 visits, last login: 3.9 years ago
lodged 5.8 years ago
Review by RedFox0
Good "Great tech help."
- Location: North York,ON
- Cost: $35 per month
- Install: about 5 days
- Bell Canada
Bad "Pissed that the selection of modems was so limited."
Overall "Good so far!"
|Pre Sales information:|
Value for money:
ISP: Pathway Communications, Toronto, Canada
Review dated May 22, 2002
I have been with Pathway Communications for about 6 years now. Initially they offered dial-up only but more recently (early in 2002) they've offered residential DSL service. In my experience this ISP's service has always been very good and their tech support has been excellent, and all at very reasonable prices.
After many years of dial-up and the frustration of slow downloads etc. we decided to jump at the chance of getting DSL when Pathway offered it early this year. They promoted themselves as offering the same or comparable service to Sympatico HSE but at a lower price, also indicating that Bell Sympatico may be raising their prices in the near future. (Recent news is that Sympatico is indeed implementing download caps and service pricing tiers in June 2002. So far there has been no mention of this at Pathway.)
Despite our efforts at sleuthing things out in advance, we discovered, after ordering the service, that the modems offered did not allow us to network easily and share the DSL connection (unlike Sympatico's hardware). With Pathway you purchase the modem and they only give you a choice between a GVC external USB high-speed ADSL modem (with no external power supply and no Ethernet connection capability) or an internal PCI modem.
CAUTION: If you only wish to connect one computer to the internet this is not a problem, BUT, if you wish to network multiple computers and share the connection then it limits your options because the modem is tied to one computer. As almost all routers require an ethernet connection (and the modems supplied by Pathway are either internal or USB connected), using a router is therefore not possible because it cannot go between the modem and your computer. The interfacing of the supplied components simply is not possible.
Since we could not return the modem for refund we were stuck between a rock and a hard place. We also wanted to stay with Pathway to avoid having to change addresses etc. (and because we had been very happy with them, until this point). Consequently we ended up buying an external Ethernet modem and a router to solve the problem. And now, though everything works fine, it has cost us more than we had anticipated! Hopefully we will still be ahead in the long run. We now have an unused USB modem kicking around!
In general we are happy with Pathway's service. The extent of other services that they offer is greater than that offered by many other ISPs (see table). The download speeds vary but are generally around 900 kbps and our upload speeds hover around 135 kbps (an upload speed higher than advertised). These speeds are quite acceptable to us, but, of course, we had been used to a 56k dial-up. Otherwise, I'm not certain how Pathway's service and speed compare to other ISP's.
The following table summarizes the details of Pathway's residential DSL service (dollars are Canadian).
Monthly Fee: $34.95
Annual Fee: $384.00 (savings of $35.40)
Modem: No rental; purchase only
GVC external USB high-speed ADSL modem
Internal PCI modem
Activation: $175 until July 1st, 2002
Includes modem purchase
Max #PPPoE: 1 Supported
Advertised Speeds: Download:Up to 1 Mbps
Upload: Up to 120 kbps
Other: 15 dial-up hours/mo. ($0.99 per additional hour)
5 personal email accounts
5 individual personal Web Spaces (10MB each)
Automatic email virus scanning for incoming emails
Automatic SPAM (unsolicited email) blocking services
member for 12.5 years, 108 visits, last login: 11.8 years ago
lodged 12.5 years ago