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Bell Sympatico page on DSLReports
Six Month Rating

Reviews:
bullet 1127 reviews (409 good) (477 bad)
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Review by Keith Bilinsky See Profile

  • Location: undisclosed location
  • Cost: $40 per month
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

I've had the service for about 4 months now and am still very happy. The real problem is if you have to call support. Their level 1 support is alot like that room with an infanite number of monkeys typing on an infanite number of typewriters. Eventually they will find the answers to your questions but it's going to take a long time.

Speeds in the 700-800 Kbps range are normal and I regularly see results in the 1200 Kbps range.

member for 14.7 years, 69 visits, last login: 11.8 years ago
lodged 14.6 years ago

Comments:

Review by OLDDarwin See Profile

  • Location: North York,ON
  • Cost: $39 per month
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

Well, after my first months with Bell Sympatico HSE (Ontario), I'm glad to say that things have FINALLY begun to work themselves out. I think one of the biggest problems here is that there isn't sufficient phone line checks done before a customer signs up. From what I've heard, Bell doesn't do too much more than take a quick glance at your postal code before they activate your account (especially if you ordered from their website).

Installation/Tech:

My first month was pretty bad, 300kb/sec was the max I'd ever get, but more often than not, things would drop to 70kb/sec. This was a far cry from the 1 Mbps potential. Tech support didn't help much accept give the old re-hash of re-installing drivers. Each one of them, with their different point of view (which sometimes is TOTALLY wrong). What bugged me the most was that I was told 300kb/sec is a minimum guaranteed speed and nothing could be done. ANother story I liked was one lady telling me my "distance to the CO was irrelevant. It does not affect your speed".... ummm ok....

But my some miracle, I finally dialed into a tech support guy who knew something. He agreed that something should be done and moved me up to the Network guys to perform physical line checks. It took them nearly a week, but they found out there was a problem with the cabling and replaced it. Ends up I was pretty close to the CO anyways. Now everythings FAST and CONSISTENT, as I get around 700-880kbps. So my overall impression is that you have to blast your way through the wall of bad phone support, in order to get to the real GOOD tech guys. I think it's just kinda too bad that they didn't see this problem BEFORE I subscribed, but I give credit to the networking departing for fixing it.

**oh and a note: It seems the wait for tech support has been DRASTICALLY reduced... I got thu in a couple of minutes or so. But quantity is not always better than quality!**

Misc:

Access Manager for some reason hasn't caused me too much grief... even when using sygate. I think I got lucky and it worked on my first try. But be warned, a lot of other ppl have expressed major headaches. Haven't used the email or news too much so I can't comment. Can't complain too much now that everything's stable, so a good value IF it works like it's supposed to!!

member for 14.8 years, 21 visits, last login: 11.9 years ago
lodged 14.6 years ago

Comments:

Review by chillxb See Profile

  • Location: undisclosed location
  • Cost: $40 per month
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

I have been using High Speed Edition for less than a month now, but
these are my observations:

Installation: The self-installation went well enough, but I lost phone
service for two days. It appears that Bell converts your telephone line
to a Centrex lineto support ADSL. A regular residential line can deal
with physical imperfections along the way. It seems the Centrex line
does not. I had to wait for them to assign a new pair so I could have
my telephone service back.

Speed: It's significantly faster than my old dial up connection, I
likely average (according to Netscape) 60-65K.

Tech support: Hah! I wrote in asking to be allowed to change my
password from the one I was given. I got some response back that I
should learn to realize the value of generated passwords. Apparently,
if someone loaded Back Orifice on my system they would be able to spy on
the password that I want to create. Somehow, the person responding to
my mail seems to genuinely believe that their randomly generated
password would not be susceptible to a threat like Back Orifice.

Tech Support II: Access Manager. It is a pain, and may make me switch
to another broadband provider. If you run NT, only an administrator ID
can establish a connection. No other type of user that you may want to
create can do it.

Tech Support III: Access Manager. I run BlackICE Defender and it has
always passed scan tests like that at www.grc.com when I used a dial up
connection. Now, when I test while connecting using AM I am told that
there are ports wide open and advertising my presence to the world.
When I disconnect and dial in through my other isp everything passes
again. I am still waiting to hear Sympatico's response to this one.
This, coupled with questionable logic on other security issues has left
me wondering if sympatico really understands security and if there
aren't lesser evils elsewhere.

Connection reliability: So far so good, but I'm new here.

News: Not very good. A large number of groups to be sure, but brutal
retention of articles. They claim to be fixing this in the next few
weeks though.

DNS: Flaky. Sorry, but I've never seen one as flaky at any other ISP
that I have dealt with.

Mail: I don't use it. I'm only here for the faster than 56K
connection.

Value: 3.5 stars. I've seen better in other categories, but no one in
the broadband market right now is all that great. Pick your peeves.

chill

member for 14.7 years, 2 visits, last login: 14.6 years ago
lodged 14.7 years ago

Comments:

Review by krogoth2 See Profile

  • Location: undisclosed location
  • Cost: $45 per month
Pre Sales information:
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Value for money:
(ratings above consensus)

I've had Sympatico High-Speed for a little more than a month, and so
far it's working very well. Someone came to setup the phone jack, and
then the dealer sent someone a few hours later to setup my computer. I
had to disable a phone jack on the same floor because there weren't
enough wires coming up. When it was installed, there was a speed problem
(the test download went at 9 KB/s), and the person who installed it
(they came from the dealer, not from the phone company) said they would
make a service request and it should be fixed within 6 days. I solved
the problem the same day, but i haven't told them yet, and they haven't
contacted me about it either.

After I fixed the speed problem, it works great. Download speeds
average 50-112 KB/s, but i've done up to 180 KB/s with a good server. My
ping times to game servers are from 50-150 (with my 56K i got 400-900).
I like the always-on connection, but a few times i have had to restart
the external modem when it just stopped working. I don't use the mail
very much, but i haven't had any problems. The newsgroup server is good,
but there are a few newsgroups i previously read that i couldn't find. I
give their tech support a bad rating, but this is the tech support from
the dealer. The speed problem was never fixed by them, and when i call
them about anything, they tell me to call the SaskTel. In RealPlayer, i
tried streaming video from the CBC site and got ~30KBits per second, and
when i listen to a local radio station with RealPlayer (they provide
streaming audio) i get over 90KBps. I don't know if the streaming video
is because of a slow server, or because of the connection, but it could
be better.

member for 13.8 years, 2 visits, last login: 13.8 years ago
lodged 14.7 years ago

Comments:

Review by howie172 See Profile

  • Location: undisclosed location
  • Cost: $39 per month
Pre Sales information:
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(ratings match consensus)

Installation was a nightmare. Every phone in my house had to be
disabled to track down the problem only to discover that the line into
the premise was faulty. This was in Aug. 1999 and I was down for 11
days as I patiently waited for service. This was after I left" Shaw at
Home" which was also a complete 100% disaster in the south Pickering ON
section.

Bell promised a month refund for my trouble but I received it in Nov
1999. Speedy eh?

There tec Support sucks, not to mention the long waits and the automated
voice mail prompts that aren't always understandable. No shortcuts here either.

E-mail and certain list that I subscribe to were rendered useless in
early Dec. I don't know how many messages that I missed. Speed as of
late is much slower than usual and the lousy" Access Manager" slows you
down and depleats your resources.

I heard "LOOK COMMUNICATIONS" is getting their act together and should
be approved by the CRTC in early 2000. This high speed digital wireless
mode would probably interest me.

Thanks Bell for trying but you just don't cut it in my estimation.

member for 14.1 years, 1 visits, last login: 14.1 years ago
lodged 14.7 years ago

Comments:

Review by jasmantle 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 above 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 14.5 years, 2 visits, last login: 14.1 years ago
lodged 14.7 years ago

Comments:

Review by

  • Location: undisclosed location
  • Cost Contract price not specified.
Pre Sales information:
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Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match 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 14.7 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 match 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 14.7 years, 0 visits, last login: 14.7 years ago
lodged 14.7 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)

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 14.7 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 14.8 years ago

Comments: