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Bell Sympatico page on DSLReports
Six Month Rating

Reviews:
bullet 1122 reviews (408 good) (473 bad)
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Review by jasmantle See Profile

  • Location: undisclosed location
  • Cost Contract price not specified.
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
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Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

I chose Sympatico as my ISP as I knew I was moving, and I wanted to retain the same email ID through the move. Also, at the time (4 years ago) one of my prime criteria was avoidance of dial-up busy signals.

When it came time to go high-speed, again I chose to stay with the same provider - aside from the occaisional dead modem they ran a service I was more than pleased with.

MY HSE install was delayed 3 days while the phone company had to put another rack into the CO. No big deal.

Speed has been terrific - I always connect at the max sync rates. News meets my needs. DNS is flakey, but generally there. Email has been totally reliable (aside from the occaisional 2-hour outage) for the entire 4 years EXCEPT for the period November 6 - December 7, when it was ghastly (lost emails, bodyless emails).

Technical support has always sucked. At least they answer the phone faster now.

A category which needs to be added is "Responsiveness to Customers". Sympatico is highly focused on getting market share (good), but is not focused on providing quality nor timely information to the user base. They'd get a "1" for this.... simply awful.

Value for money is terrific. CA$10 per month for the modem rental, plus CA$30 per month for 960/120 kbps, no limits. Considering that a second phone line is $18 per months, and an unlimited-usage 56k dial connection is $27, it's cheaper to run ADSL from Sympatico.....

PPPoE is currently a technical non-issue for me - I happen to fit into the space where I am not impacted (or the impact is so slight that it doesn't show on the radar). The implementation of PPPoE was a project management nightmare, rather hard on the users, chosen without consultation, and jammed down our throats in an insensitive manner without an acceptable case being made on why this is the chosen alternative.

member for 14.1 years, 2 visits, last login: 13.7 years ago
lodged 14.3 years ago

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Review by

  • Location: undisclosed location
  • Cost Contract price not specified.
Pre Sales information:
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(ratings below consensus)

DO NOT SUBSCRIBE I have had over 15 isps in the last7 or 8 years and I have to say that HSE Sympatico is the overall worst. The install is easy but the service is slow alot of dropped connections and virtually no tech support or truthful answers. The email tech support is non existant never one reply to over hundreds of emails. I had rogers@home and switched to bell because i was dissatisfied with that service. Hse is worse. I will be going back to ATT Canada it was the best value. OH and Bell I will be taking my cellular and longdistance bussiness with me. Its not so much the inferior product that you are peddling but the way you snub your nose at the customer that is paying top dollar for this service. Goodbye

(review was emailed in)
lodged 14.3 years ago

Comments:

Review by kmilburn See Profile

  • Location: undisclosed location
  • Cost Contract price not specified.
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings below consensus)

My HSE horror story starts with the delivery of my starter kit - the outer box looked like it had been speared by another package, but the inner contents turned out to be fine. The self install was a snap and I was online in no time, but things immediately went sour. It took tech support (and I use that term VERY losely) days to figure out that the problem was on their end and not mine. Nearly every call to tech support resulted in either a droppped connection somewhere along the line after waiting for 30 to 45 minutes in priority sequence (another misnomer) or after 55 minutes on hold I'd end up with someone who would sluff me off with a ticket for someone at networking to handle the problem and give me a call back (which I'm still waiting for). The people at tech support ask the same scripted questions on every call and they insist that if you deviate from their perfect installation situation (the 1 meg modem should be at least 2 feet from your computer, the length of cable connecting the modem to you wall jack should be the supplied 5 foot cable, etc) then they insist that this is the cause of your problems and not their networking connections. Their next favourite excuse for customer problems is the operating system or browser setup. After reinstalling Windows 98 three times I had to draw the line and refuse to go that route once more and insisted that the network problems where at their end as nothing had changed on my end, which turned out to be the case as the problems mysteriously were corrected on a couple of occassions.

After a month of service without PPPoE and having to use the Access Manager, I am now experiencing a much slower connection to the net and Bell doesn't seem to be concerned about this lack of speed, nor are they willing to do anything to boost the connection speeds from thier end.

As for the HSE billing dept, they are a real joke. First they screwed around and didn't give me the 1/2 off my install and caused an NSF at my bank (which they eventually refunded via snail mail), then they managed to do the same thing a second time and then proceeded to cause a 3rd NSF! Currently I am waiting for 2 NSF charge payments via snail mail. Hopefully somewhere along the line the billing dept will get my PAP right and deduct the correct amount. It's no wonder the banks make so much profit!

So far overall I'd say that I've had better customer service and better tech support from Internet Direct when I was using my modem than I've had from Bell Sympatico's HSE. Years ago I had a regular Sympatico dial up account and I'd have to say that both tech support and customer service where far superior to what they call "technical support" and "Customer service" today. In the past I wouldn't have hesitated to recomend Bell as an ISP but no longer. As soon as @Home is available in this area I suspect that I will be jumping the sinking Bell HSE ship for Rogers @Home. The ONLY way for Bell to keep me as a customer when @Home is available in this area is for them to boost the connect speeds to equal or better than @Home's connect speed.

member for 14.3 years, 0 visits, last login: 14.3 years ago
lodged 14.3 years ago

Comments:

Review by (hidden by request)

  • Location: undisclosed location
  • Cost Contract price not specified.
Pre Sales information:
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(ratings match consensus)

I am a Sympatico HSE customer from London Ontario. I was disgusted with the service from Rogers Cable and tried high speed sympatico when it was available. I am an on line gamer and need a fast connection. Cable was good but I had alot of packet loss with it which made it unstable for games. Sympaticos dsl worked wonderfully for the first three weeks it was beyond belief. Now it is a nightmare I am pinging the gateway at 900 most nights and cannot use it for online games. It has been a month now that it is like this. Getting through to tech support is easy but they are no help. Email to tech support is useless they do not respond. I think the problems with the mail servers are because they are clogged with unread tech support questions. I really believe that this is just like the AOL thing awhile back...to many customers for the backbone. I will be cancelling this service tommorrow and signing up with a dialup isp at 56k. I need the speed enhancement.

(review was emailed in)
lodged 14.3 years ago

Comments:

Review by (hidden by request)

  • Location: undisclosed location
  • Cost Contract price not specified.
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

Pre-Sales Info: All I needed to know was this: "more speed at about the same price for my previous ISP"

Install Co-ord: Didn't use any of the software they sent me nor the written material. Got all my information from a current user.

Connection Reliability: Though the connection is 24/7, the Nortel modem suffers from insufficient shielding. Old analog cordless phone can produce internal line noise which will sever the connection. Furthermore, during my first 10 weeks with the service, I demanded and received a 6 week debit towards my account due to unstable connections (connections would last for about 5 mins at each session). Currently (1999:12:03) I only get mysteriously cut off once every day.

Technical Support: If you are calling their advertised tech support number, then you are wasting your time. Demand to speak to someone in the networking departement. The normal technical support guys are struggling arts students in St. Catherines Ontario; thus they know nothing and are simply walking you through their papers. They have never helped to solve any of my problems. Furthermore, the support claims to be 24/7, but no one will pick up after 3am.

Mail, DNS, Newsgroups: The mail server under goes an "emergency software upgrade" every second week (I'm not kidding). I do not trust their mail servers, thus I don't use them. DNS is slow for the amount of Sympatico users, and sometimes it cannot find . The Sympatico does not hold a good amount of archives when it comes to nesgroups, but they do have alot in terms of the number of groups you may receive.

Value for the Money: You know the price. Thus you know it is well worth it though one cannot help but feel that Sympatico is some start-up ISP falling for all the newbie traps as they always find the stupidest solutions to their problems (PPPoE).

Special Notes:

1) Sympatico bills you per week of use.

2) Sympatico uses transparent HTTP proxy. Using proxies always slows things down in terms od DNS and transfer rate pick up.

3) Sympatico does not listen to their residential users' demands.

4) The ADSL technology used is under ideal conditions when you house closer than 4.5km to the closest switching station. At that ideal distance, you will get about 100Kb/s. If you find your self a bit further (4.9km), then it drops to something like 62Kb/s. Call Sympatico technical support (see above comment) and ask them how far you are from the switching station (they tested this when you signed up for the service so they should have the information in front of them in a few seconds).

5) Sympatico reserves the right to impose a bandwidth and monthly transfer amounts.

6) The modem becomes warm with normal use and must be 1m (ideally) away from your monitor.

(review was emailed from domain bigfoot.com)
lodged 14.3 years ago

Comments:

Review by Marc Jutras See Profile

  • Location: undisclosed location
  • Cost Contract price not specified.
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
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Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

I've had the service for a month and I'm happy with it. It meets my needs and for what I do, it's reliable. Note that I don't use nemsgroups, irc or online gaming.

The first week was a nightmare because of the innability of the tech support to find a solution (which I finally found myself!). Here's the story, in short...

For my previous dial-up connection, I was using Speedlane (freeware like PPP-Boost) to adjust Windows95's connectivity properly. That little software, which I had forgotten about, was litterally limitting my new DSL connection to 56-60kpbs!!! Of course, the Sympatico tech support never thought of this. They were really trying everything though.

They sent a Bell Canada technician to check the line and wirering. He changed the "modem" just in case and a few days later, they sent me another D-Link Ethernet card. After that (7 calls in total), they finally told me I should have my PC inspected. That's when I discovered, while managing files, that Speedlane was still there.

So be very careful if you have Speedlane. I got rid of it and later got PPP-Boost and used the recommended settings found on this site (RWIN at 32768) which got me from an average of 640kbps to 820kbps.

The DHCP is due to disappear in Montreal pretty soon. Two friends of mine got the service at the same time as me and don't have DHCP. I have both DHCP and PPPoE. I was told DHCP was supposed to go in a few weeks. Personnally, I prefer PPPoE for my needs as DHCP is connected all the time (security risk).

By the way, GET A FIREWALL!!! I've had my share of attacks and I'm glad I was protected.

member for 14.4 years, 0 visits, last login: 14.3 years ago
lodged 14.4 years ago

Comments:

Review by

  • Location: undisclosed location
  • Cost Contract price not specified.
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings below consensus)

I Have had Sympatico HSE(Toronto) for two months now. At first I was happy, with high speeds and perfect installation. Then they rolled out the new Access Manager software and disconnected their DHCP service. Since then my speed has been reduced to the equivalent of a 56k modem.

Don't bother phoning tech support. Most of the time you're put on hold for 20-40 minutes, and then they just disconnect you. If you ever do get through, their tech support just knows how to reinstall an ethernet card, they keep telling me to do this and when it doesn't work, they say they'll look into the problem and phone me back. They have yet to phone me back, and after 2 weeks of dealing with them, I'm looking for a different service.

If cable modems are available in your area, go for it. Unfortunately, it's not available in my building.

(review was emailed in)
lodged 14.4 years ago

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Review by menard6 See Profile

  • Location: undisclosed location
  • Cost Contract price not specified.
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(ratings match consensus)

Well, I've had Sympatico HSE now since February 28th. Service up until that last month has been good enough to advertise the service to my friends.

February 26th - I picked up my modem from the post office, hooked up everything and could surf HTTPS sites, but nothing more. Sympatico would not turn on my service a day earlier than my contract, even though everything seemed to work just fine!

February 28th, 12:00am - service was not working yet, and I was getting tired of surfing the »www.royalbank.com as my bank account balance is depressing enough. I was just waiting to see some non secure web sites, and fast!

February 28th, 8:00am - service is still not up for non secure sites, and I needed to go to work!

February 28th, 6:00pm - service is finally up and running. Thank god. Everything is quick, and I've oly been waiting for Rogers@Home for a year now, with no luck. (I live a block away from Rogers Cantel Headquarters, but apparently that doesn't even help either.)

Surfing was very good up until a month ago when I was forced to install the Access manager software, which slowed things down to a hault. I've even been disconnected several times, and have not been able to reconnect all the times. Things are getting quite frustrating. Customer serivce takes about 20 minutes to get a rep, and if they don't cut you off "in error" then you don't always get the good service you want. I don't think Rogers is any better with customer service mind you. They are the cheapest company on the block when it comes to customer service.

Well, I've forgiven Bell for the big Outage after that BIG explosion a few months back that caused even the banks to be wihtout service for at least a day. At least I did have a backup dialup service to call (you get 5 hours each month free), and I know I used at least 10 hours and they didn't bill me for the overage! The one thing that Bell did right!

Since the new Access Manager software was installed, I noticed myself that the net was getting quite slower, but I didn't relate anything to the software until I noticed a message in the telecom report. Everything came to light two weeks ago, and I now am switching to Rogers that finally came available in my area last month! (only took about 20 months!)

Perhaps if Bell can fix their problems, then I'd reccommend them, but at the present state, try something else.

pme76 @ hotmail . com

member for 14.3 years, 5 visits, last login: 14.1 years ago
lodged 14.4 years ago

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Review by (hidden by request)

  • Location: undisclosed location
  • Cost Contract price not specified.
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
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Value for money:
(ratings above consensus)

Applied over the internet with all the info (on a monday). Received a message saying they would have the install kit to me in 5 business days. Received the kit the following Monday.

Plugged the modem into my phone line and my hub, pluged it into the wall, and rebooted my NT box. Ran perfectly.

Didn't know I needed PPPoE (Access Manager), phoned Tech Support, and the recorded message before the techie came on said to make sure AM was installed. So I installed it, rebooted, and it worked great.

Speed has been acceptable, but not amazing (I used to have ADSL in Vancouver before moving to Toronto and getting DSL... ADSL was _great_.)

I've had no crashes, errors or other problems in the last 2 weeks.

Overall, a great experience.

(review was emailed from domain uil.net)
lodged 14.4 years ago

Comments:

Review by (hidden by request)

  • Location: undisclosed location
  • Cost Contract price not specified.
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings above consensus)

I had no trouble. The kit appeared on time. Everything installed fine. I downloaded and installed the latests Netscape (at that time) in about 10 minutes.

When they had an upgrade, we had plenty of notice, the CD arrived 2 weeks early, it installed and nothing screwed up.

On the other hand, I still can't get access from work through the firewall to get my email and I know that it works for other services, so it's a sympatico thing. And their service folks never answer the phone and they have never returned an email (except for the auto-messages you sometimes get telling you that they received your email).

(review was emailed from domain sympatico.ca)
lodged 14.4 years ago

Comments: