dslreports logo

    ISP Rolodex Intro Local ISPs Members U-Verse FiOS FiOS Soon


how-to block ads

Bell Sympatico page on DSLReports
Six Month Rating

bullet 1127 reviews (409 good) (476 bad)
bullet Submit a review by email click here
bullet login for new review notification feature

Review by Mister_E See Profile

  • Location: Etobicoke,ON
  • Cost: $48 per month
  • Telco party Bell Canada
Good "Reliability, Speed, Direct Tech Support Forum here on DSLR"
Bad "Cost of Services provided - i.e. Speeds, Caps and outsourced phone techs that don't appear to have any tech background"
Overall "Have to consider the alternatives..."
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

Update: 10/2013

Now on Fibe25. Speeds are as advertised - 25Mbps Up / 10Mbps Down. Rock solid reliability. Cap was raised and still sufficient for me as I've never gone over - however, as I've stated before, for the cost, the caps should not exist and services should be better.

Update: 03/2012

Still with Fibe16. Still satisfied with the speed and the cap is still sufficient for my needs, but in 2012, the price is no longer worth the service provided. IMO, either the price should be lower for this type of package, or the package should be upgraded (higher speed, larger cap).

However, considering the alternatives and their pricing, the grass isn't much greener elsewhere either (but I'm definitely considering my options).

Can't be beat for reliability - it just works. IIRC, I've only had 1 outage in the last 5 years that lasted all of ~2 hours (other than a failed 2Wire 2701HG-G/Power Adapter).

Haven't had to deal with Tech Support other than for the failed power adapter, which went smoothly since the situation provided the phone tech no other option (although they did have to patch me through to a 'higher level' tech to confirm the failure).

Replacement modem was provided within a few days, but I have an older Thomson Speedtouch that held me over (ADSL1 only at 8Mb). By using the older modem, my profile had been downgraded, but that was quickly corrected through the Bell Direct forum here on DSLReports (still the preferred way to speak to a tech that actually knows what they're doing, IMO).

Update: 03/2010

Have since upgraded to the 16Mb plan (now called Fibe16) using their 2Wire 2701HG router/modem and paying $2 more I paid before. Quite happy with the speed, but would be nice if they maximized the upload speed on this ADSL2 package as well.

Reliability still excellent.

Unfortunately, I now have a 100GB monthly cap, but my typical usage is under that limit so it hasn't been a factor. Throttling hasn't impacted me significantly, but again, it would be nice if they stopped this practice.

Original Review:

Been with Bell for a long time (since Aug. 2000 and started with the Nortel 1Mb modem) and happy for the most part - extremely rare to see any service disruptions.

Currently on a 6Mbps / 800Kbps profile using a Speedstream 5200 (E240) and getting those speeds - would likely qualify for a higher profile but would likely end up losing my old grandfathered (read: unlimited) plan. My usage isn't that high though and I may consider moving up to a higher speed anyhow.

They were better in the past before the throttling and caps - hopefully they'll change their ways once they see enough people drop their service(s).

I rarely need tech support but have dealt with their phone support on occasion or when helping out friends/family - phone support is horrible, but I've been able to bypass the first level techs most of time (just give them enough technical details and they'll usually move you on once you request to speak to a higher level). Of course, the direct support forum here on DSLR is invaluable.

member for 10.3 years, 4346 visits, last login: a few hours ago
updated 278 days ago


Review by vitesse See Profile

  • Location: Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu,QC
  • Cost: $60 per month (12 month contract)
  • Install: about 30 days
  • Telco party Bell Canada
Good "Not to date"
Bad "very bad customer service, Expensive, Cheap equippement"
Overall "Why this company still in operation is beyond me."
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

My Other Reviews

They ordered the service before I started to work for the company.
They send us 2 defective modem so it take 1 month to have a connection.
We had a contract the first year. We wanted to cancel after the first year, but the CSR had made an error. The CSR forgot ton cancel the service for an unknown reason, they admit it, but refused to cancel the "new" automatic contract. We stayed with them 1 more year, we could have gone to the court, but felt this was simpler to stay with them.

The second year we added a router. the router never worked with their "cheap" modem, I say cheap because of low quality of construction. They never understand why we wanted to add a router, nor why the modem wasn't working with it. they refused to give us support because we was using a router. We finally borrowed another dsl modem to find out that the problem was with their modem. They send us 4 modems, but we only received 1, they lost to order for modem replacement, (so it took 3 month to receive a working modem from them.

The modem is speedstream 5200 or 4200 (reconditioned and not always in working state)

We used their low speed dsl service (the line was good ans stable)

The main problem is with their CSR, not speaking French or English, and having for most of it, no knowledge at all in computer technologies (we talk to some CSR that had no idea what was a router, nor what was a pppoe connection and that's pretty basic technology today)

--- updates from another experience ---

Another problem with one of my friends. It was paying for their 6mbps package and was feeling is Internet was slow. He call many time the customer department to see why it was not really fast and they say everything was fine and he was receiving 6mbps service. Last month I took one of my modem to his house because the speedtest was showing only 2mbps. He is only 500meter of the CO. the attenuation in upstream and downstream was 6db / 8db the SNR value was 34 db for downstream and the RCO was 12% occupancy. So we call Bell to tell that. The first CSR was insisting that he was on 6mb profiles and that my modem was "defective" the second one tell me that it was an incompatible model (I have an ST516 v6) and that using another modem then what bell give was illegal. We finally talked to a third one that explain us that it is an up to 6mbps service and that bad electrical apparel inside the house on inside the neighbour house is preventing us from going faster. They all refuse to admit that the line quality taken from the ST516 was good.

He only wait is contract finish to go to a third party DSL provider.

-- Updates from another experience --

One of my friends took Bell internet last year. He call for numerous spped problem and everytime they tell him everything was good and that he was receiving the speed he was paying for.

Eventually someone tell him to do a speed test on www.speedtest.net and testvitesse.videotron.ca with is new "proof" of 120kbps of download and 120kbps of upload he call back and asked why it was so slow...

The CSR told him that all test on internet was inacurate and that it was really receiving the speed he was paying for.

I gone to his house with my st516 modem and took a dmt tool screen shot of his line. He was sync at 160/160 or something like that (doesn't remember the exact number), then he call back Bell with the "new proof" The CSR then told him this was possible that he see this number but that it was unrelated to the "download speed" and advised him it was illegal to do such thing and he could be fine if a Bell technician go home and found he was using an illegal not approved modem.

Enough was enough he decided to call back next day to cancel is service and then go with teksavvy internet. The CSR told him it was not recommended to do that because Teksavvy and any other Independent ISP was illegally using the bell network and he considered that kind of company "pirate" and he could get trouble technicaly and legally if he decided to go that route.

I don't know exactly what he tell him to convince him to stay with bell , but he now have a 2 year contract with them.

-- Updates from another experience --
Just finished porting my home phone to my voip provider. This month will be my last Bell bill. Just waiting BHell to call me As expected Bell screwed my lines... more to come soon

-- Updates from my porting --
They finally call me. They asked why I leaved bell and what can they do to regain me as a customer. Why do they wait their client leave to try make something to please him, I don't know. The CSR argued a lot about my decision. Voip.ms is not good because this is voip and it won't work at all. It's only 1$ because they are thief and pirate the Bell network, so it's easy to only charge 1$ when you have nothing to pay. I may have problem with justice if I continue to use this pirate network... After 10 minutes of this bullshit, he finally say. it's your decision, great if it's ok for you. Hope we will regain you as a customer in the feature, have a good day.

My only regret is that I hadn't recorded the phone call

--- update from my friend experience. ---
He called Bell some years ago because a tree was dangerously close to bell line. 4 years and after numerous call bell never came to cut the tree or move the line and now he begin to lost internet and phone service with heavy wind because the line is now inside the tree. tree grown and surrounded the cable. He call to get the line repair. After 5 tentative someone finally came in a call sunny day and found no problem, so they charge us 100$ because the problem must be inside home.

He called back and they refuse to remove the 100$ as the technician haven't found the problem with the line so it must be inside. After explaining the "tree" problem. they finally agreed to remove the charge and send back a technician. After 3 tentative they finally came, found no problem and he got flagged again with 100$ charge. He was really mad the next time he called and insisted to get someone to rectify the situation before the end of the week. They finally never came, he call back again to say that if no one came today he will finally go to their competitor. He hang up gone to videotron to get info about their voip phone, he finally get a phone from videotron, but found that bell have cancelled his services without prior notice, so he lost internet connection and his phone number. it's now impossible to get back is number and he receive a 200$ charge for two call of service (and the line still inside the tree so other people will still have problem) They simply decided to terminate is service without notice, probably just so he can't port is phone number. He never asked to cancel is service

He said to me he will never go back to bell for any services.

I really don't understand why you can lie so much and still legally be in business.

member for 11.6 years, 1972 visits, last login: a few hours ago
updated 279 days ago


Review by Bye internet See Profile

  • Location: canada
  • Cost Contract price not specified.
Good "None."
Bad "Unreliable service, well below advertised speeds. High costs, with unexpected additional charges. TERRIBLE Customer Support."
Overall "It was a nightmare which continued for years."
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings below consensus)

Because I taught piano at home, many years ago Bell told me I must have Business Phone and Internet, which costs a lot! They failed to advice me later, but still many years ago, that the rules had changed, and I'd be OK with just a residential line.

The hardest part was Customer Service. I spoke to operators in India, whom I had difficulty understanding, and who screamed at me, blaming me for the problems I had encountered with Bell's services, and refusing to give me their employee ID. It seems they want to get you to lose your cool; they can then try to say that it's all your fault! Several hung up on me. The worst part was being put on "hold" for 90 minutes, then having your call redirected to yet another department for another 90 minute wait, and after several departments, finally being told "it's your fault", or "Everything is OK, whatever your complaints are", or "We always value feedback from our customers. Please wait while I switch you to somebody else." Despite the nature of any attempted communications, even when I phoned to cancel all services, the conversation ended with, "Thank you for choosing Bell!" (Duh? I thought I just unchose Bell!)

The hardest part was changing my location, within Ontario. It resulted in more than 2 weeks with neither internet nor phone, even though all details of the relocation had been provided months before.

When I tried to discontinue my internet service with Bell, while keeping my web-hosting, then "accidentally" did just the opposite! I have no idea of the cost of their mistake, in lost business for me, during the most active week of new business activities in the year.

Once I was away from Bell, they pestered me with phone calls, about the new internet package and phone line I had ordered, but needed to be confirmed by phone. NO...I WOULD NEVER REQUEST AS MUCH AS A BUSY SIGNAL FROM THEM!

Their web-hosting? I never managed the uploads I tried to make to my website, because their upload speed just couldn't handle it. In addition, the email addresses provided with the web-hosting were full of spam, viruses, worms, trojans, rootkits, etc. Apparently they still lack any effective filtering system.

They SOLD me a special phone number, pretty close to what I would have considered perfect for my purposes! But 4 out of 5 calls are to parties who previous owned the number. Everyone is now trying to order pizza or furnace parts. If it's not business, it's for Mr. Hokenon, who once had this number. The most obnoxious are the calls I receive 2 to 5 times daily from telemarketers. I love the phone number, but if my next phone company can't help me to weed out the unwanted calls, I'd rather go with any phone number.

In my years of complaints, Bell never once checked the lines into my home.

They promised me "compensation" for the unending problems they had caused, but I haven't received one red cent.

I've NEVER been happier to say goodbye to a company!

member for 2.5 years, 0 visits, last login: 9 days ago
updated 288 days ago


Review by epy0nxl See Profile

  • Location: Markham,ON
  • Cost: $65 per month
Good "Unlimited, very little downtime...that's it"
Bad "slow speeds, expensive, tech support is limited, "
Overall "Either try to get a good deal or switch out for something better"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

My Other Reviews

·TekSavvy DSL
Have been with Sympatico for as long as I can remember...must be like 8years+

Still have their legacy 6/1 unlimited package. It was great back in the day. But that's what it is, an old school package. Speeds are slow!! I didn't know my speed was that slow until I did some research and tried even just 15/3.

It's expensive, getting better deals is hard, if at all possible. New deals now don't come with unlimited and buying more bandwidth costs an arm and a leg. Their only saving grace is being unlimited with very little down time. Plan is linked with long distance phone (for a bundle discount)

I'm hoping to be able to get a better deal somehow or might as well look else where for better speeds and bandwidth.

You may notice I have reviewed Teksavvy as well. No I don't have 2 ISPs in the same household. This is at another house.

member for 296 days, 6 visits, last login: 154 days ago
updated 295 days ago


Review by Beaugrand See Profile

  • Location: Acton Vale,QC
  • Cost: $60 per month
  • Install: about 999 days
  • Telco party Bell Canada
Good "Modem Gratuit"
Bad "Lent, congestion, vitesse lente (5mbps le max), prix non compétitif, service à la clientèle horrible"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

My Other Reviews

·Cogeco Cable
Pendant 3 ans j'étais avec Bell Sympatico sur le plan Dsl 7 qui est devenu dsl 6 et devenu dsl 5 .. on avait de la misère a m'offrir mon 5 megabits par seconde alors qu'il y a deux ans javais mon 7 megabits dans le tapis a la même adresse .. On ma changer mon sync sans changer mon plan !! (je payais pour Dsl 7 avec les frais exorbitant et on m'as mis un sync de 5.4/0.6

Bell a Acton Vale où je réside, c'est adsl1 seulement.. pas de FTTN .. pas pour rien que j'ai switcher avec cogeco 10mbps


member for 312 days, 98 visits, last login: 28 days ago
lodged 296 days ago


Review by stephen d8 See Profile

  • Location: Laval,QC
  • Cost: $35 per month (12 month contract)
  • Install: about 10 days
  • Telco party Bell Canada
Good "`"
Bad "All the rest"
Overall "Try to avoid them and all of bells resellers"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

My Other Reviews

·TekSavvy DSL
I have had multiple problems with there service/hardware.

1. The modem/router they send are VERY VERY bad.
2. Outsourcing techsupport meaning bad tech support.
3. Route Tracing is bad.
4. Pings are high
5. TechSupport are misinformed
6. Various miscoulanious error/bugs

Thats all i have to say.

member for 8.6 years, 232 visits, last login: 102 days ago
updated 302 days ago




Bell DSL - bad to worse

Bell sympatico (as in, someone should feel sorry for anyone using this service?) DSL for 18 years in an old neighbourhood. At the time we were 'cutting edge' high speed (non-modem) as a test neighbourhood. A few years back when paying for 2MBs speed we were getting much slower speeds so called Bell and they 'upgraded' us to 5 MBs speed. We never got more than 3. Last summer called and complained. They denied any knowledge of upgrading us previously to a higher speed - even though we had been paying more for a higher speed service, which we weren't getting close to (read the fine print - speeds up to......). They worked some magic electronically, came out to look at local hardware (I'm not a techie so don't know the lingo) and promised improved speeds. For a few days we got close to 3 MBs speeds - the best we've ever had.
We've been calling almost every month since and the reasons we get are almost comical.
First it a faulty power cord for the DSL modem. Replaced but no better.
Then it was something they could do from their end. Speeds ranged from 0.05 MBs (if I could even access the website to do a speed test without timing out) to 2.5 Mbs (rarely), average probably 1.5 MBs. Never better than 2.5 MBs.
Then it was a faulty modem. They said it must have been a refurbished one that they supplied us with in the beginning (a year or two ago they replaced our old modem as it was outdated). OK. They sent a new modem. It had a 'refurbished' sticker on the side of it. Hilarious. Hooked up - speeds still 1-2 MBs.
Then it was something they could do from their end again - flip a switch, grease some wires, cajole some electrons and they promised (PROMISED) that our speeds would be no less than 3 MBs (which as pathetic as that is - our Neighbours on Rogers are getting 20 Mbs) I would have accepted. Since then speeds.....0.5 to 2 MBs.
So - apart from feeling better for having ranted, and perhaps warning anyone and everyone away from Bell, anyone know when FibreOptic will be rolled out into older neighbourhoods in north London (south of Fanshawe, west of Richmond). Otherwise I am going to have to switch to Rogers.
Currently it is literally faster for me to get in my car and drive to work (10 minutes drive for 98 MBs speeds) to do anything requiring downloading, than it is to wait at home for the browser to load pages......
Sign me ---- Sympatico-loco.

Review by MXB See Profile

  • Location: Burlington,ON
  • Cost: $46 per month
  • Telco party Bell Canada
Good "Reliable."
Bad "Overpriced is an understatement!"
Overall "Too expensive. And getting more so all the time."
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

I started out in 1986 with a 300 baud modem and a C=128. I love modems. But by 2002 it became obvious that Bell's high speed would be faster and equally priced to using a 2nd phone line and a 56K modem with an account at my University. So I did some research and bought myself a D-Link DI-604 modem on sale with a mail-in-rebate. Then I ordered Bell's cheapest service which was called "Light" IIRC. It was 128 Kbps down. The Speedstream modem arrived via courier within a day or two. Setup was a breeze as I just ignored the CD they included. The router immediately hooked up to the modem after being configured and I was on. It provided access to 3 old computers on the home LAN.

I briefly considered Cogeco the local cable company but I do not like the idea of netting via their network. I guess I just feel comfortable using the phone network. Also Cogeco when I did phone once told me that they'd send a tech to "setup and configure" my computer. I told them that would be impossible as I am using multiple and exotic operating systems. They insisted anyways so that was the end of their chance. As if I would permit some twentysomething who has never heard of CP/M or even DOS touch my babies!

The only problems I've had with Bell were the contracts they kept putting me on when I called to ask why the bill was not as expected. I didn't even know they'd done that so when a year was up I'd get a bill for more than expected. However it seems that they've realized their error and now I'm on a plan that will not change all the time. Well maybe... I suspect they've just stopped calling them contracts and perhaps no longer expire them after a year. Also irritating was that they kept trying to push their higher speeds everytime I called to inquire about a billing discrepancy. I only accepted that once this fall because the price of the higher speed was actually less than what I had. The original Light kept getting faster automatically (from 128 to 512) but the new Essential Plus (2000) cost less due to the bundles ($10 off). That speed upgrade went seamlessly although they sent me a new modem via courier even though I told them I didn't need one because the old modem worked perfectly at the new speed! I had to return to sender via the Post Office. Worse is they then couriered me a _second_ modem which I simply refused to accept from the courier. Minor annoyance for me but expensive for them.

All in all I have been a satisfied customer for almost 7 years now. The connection has always been there, always at the speed advertised (oh I checked!) and sometimes faster. The modem they rent me has worked flawlessly for almost 7 years now. I've never called tech support but then again I know more than the techs do so why would I?

They've kept gouging me with price increases almost on a yearly basis. It is time to abandon ship after 9 years. Not to mention the obscenity of charging me $2 for a paper bill and then sending me paper advertisements for free.

Nov. 1, 13 means another $3 hike. Last hike they followed up with a speed bump from 2 to 6 Mb and a cap bump from 2 to 25 GB. So I stayed. However that's a much speed and way more cap than I need so a further bump after the hike won't do a thing for me. Time to switch.

member for 4.6 years, 24 visits, last login: 12 days ago
updated 307 days ago


The Central Scrutinizer


I have

a box of modems Bell has sent to me or family members and never asked for them back. Probably worth hundreds of $$$'s in their day.

Review by Soiduts See Profile

  • Location: Ontario
  • Cost: $35 per month (12 month contract)
  • Install: about 6 days
  • Telco party Bell Canada
Good "Service used to be Good"
Bad "Billing Errors, Level 1 Techs, Port 25 Block, No Usable Usenet service, Forced Modem Rental, No Outage List, Bandwidth Throttle"
Overall "Worst Company in Canada"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings below consensus)

UPDATE October/11
After being with Bell for home phone service for *many* years, they decided to add a bunch of new fees to a basic line for no reason. No longer have any services will Bell directly and will not return nor recommend anyone to them.

UPDATE January/11
I didn't think I could lower my review any lower than it already was but I want to be able to justify my reasoning for giving Bell a 0 rating on my review. With Bell implementing UBB, it is creating excessive profit and gouging customers. We all know the markup on bandwidth is unfair. The CRTC's mandate to implement UBB on wholesale ISP's regardless of their companies ability to provide an unlimited service shows that they are abusing the position as a regulator.
CRTC Finalizes ISP Usage-Based Billing)

UPDATE November/10
Internet usage is not going down and 60GB caps is horribly low especially for families that have multiple computers and multiple users using the same connection.

The reason Bell wants this usage-based billing is to protect their Expressvu Satellite service. With Netflix and YouTube being quite popular here in Canada as well as CBC offering shows online, their satellite service is in jeopardy. By capping users, this reduces the amount of video people can watch online and forces them to use more 'traditional' media outlets.

As the article states, the CRTC's decision is definitely not ensuring "that both the broadcasting and telecommunications systems serve the Canadian public. " (»www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/backgrnd/broc···9903.htm)
CRTC Approves Wholesale Usage Billing)

UPDATE August/09
Canadian Regulators Send Another Love Letter To Bell Canada)

"Canadian regulatory authority the CRTC, staffed with former incumbent carrier executives, so far hasn't lifted a finger to come to the aid of independent carriers. The CRTC continued this trend by today approving Bell's UBB plans. CRTC employees like vice-chairman Leonard Katz, who spent 17 years working for Rogers and 11 for Bell, aren't concerned...for some strange reason."

Guess this shows there is absolutely no point in having the CRTC as a regulatory body as they do not do anything for the Canadian public like they are supposed to. The public is supposed to be first, not big business. Will definitely be writing MP (not like that's going to do anything other then receiving a standard reply.)

Internet usage is not on the way down its going up. Revision3 started posting HD videos of their shows and I watch 4 of those a week. Almost 20gb a month JUST there!

The CRTC is really getting annoying and what's even more annoying is Bell's insistence that we have to pay an arm and a leg for bandwidth that costs pennies.

UPDATE July/09
"The Internet has always been managed, first of all. Second, the traffic management practices we utilize have been reviewed extensively and the CRTC has said they are appropriate ... We expect the CRTC will continue to find that reasonable management practices designed to improve the Internet experience for the majority of users is appropriate."

Attitudes like this is the main reason why the Internet in Canada and around the world is struggling. The Internet was designed to be a tool to freely share information but imposing any kind of traffic management on the network that hinders the ability for innovation while disrupting the competition, should be illegal.

UPDATE March/09
You know its sad that my Internet connection at University 10 years ago, 10mbit, is still vastly superior to anything that Bell is providing now. When will they learn that Net Neutrality and uncapped/unthrottled connections are the only way to move forward. Bandwidth usage isn't going down anytime soon and trying to limit it is unfair to consumers who have to deal with monopolistic companies like Bell.

Here are just a few links as to why I lowered my rating of this company:
Bell Canada To Take Ball, Go Home)
Bell appeals CRTC decision)

UPDATE March/08
Canceled Bell Sympatico after being a customer for 7+ years. Canceling was a terrible experience as I was told I phoned in 3 days too early to cancel. I was told I had to phone exactly 30 days to the end of my contract. I thought I was being a courteous customer by phoning ahead to inform them that I would no longer be using the service after the contract ended. Phoned back and got a different person and after 20 minutes, I finally got a cancellation number. Switched to Teksavvy. Literally took no more than a few minutes to sign up for a full unlimited account (as I already had a DSL Premium login), get my login and completely switch over.

Bell Canada Throttles Wholesalers, Doesn't Bother To Tell Them)
I don't think we need any more proof to show Bell's shady business practices, but here's some more.

UPDATE January/08
Having been a Bell Internet Customer for many years, I finally decided to spend the extra $10 a month and test out Teksavvy's Premium 100GB login. All the problems I had with FTP SSL being capped at 32kbps and other throttling issues were solved instantly. I will be using the login for the next two months till my current Sympatico contract expires and will probably sign up for an Unlimited Account. I've been comparing ping times, trace routes, and overall connection quality and have been impressed with Teksavvy.

I recently read an article on Ars Technica about Time Warner's attempt to institute caps on their broadband connections. They sum up the Bell Sympatico situation quite eloquently.

Shooting yourself in the foot: Time Warner's usage caps
"Customers who exceed their cap would be hit with an undetermined per-gigabyte charge, but Bell Canada's overage fees, which range from CAN$1.00 to CAN$7.50 per gigabyte, may give some inkling of where Time Warner's overage fees will end up. Usage caps are a short-sighted response to capacity constraints, one that's likely to hurt the company more than it will help in the long run especially with new broadband options on the horizon."

Unfortunately I cannot recommend Sympatico to friends, coworkers, or customers anymore as capping, throttling and customers support issues has made Bell a second rate ISP.

2004 to 2007
As a Bell Sympatico subscriber since DSL was first offered in Ontario, I have been through all the high and low points with the service. Unfortunately in the last few months the low points have overtaken the high ones. Our family shares the connection on our home network with 4 computers.

Billing Errors
For the past 2 years I have had an unlimited contract with Sympatico at $35/m. While on this contract, one would expect consistent monthly billing but that isn't the case. Two times in the last 8 months I have had billing issues and I haven't called in or changed my account or contract with Sympatico. Both times they have chalked it up to errors on their billing system.

Level 1 Techs
I don't even bother phoning tech support anymore because they are completely useless. I have found it easier to contact techs directly on DSLreports. I pity those that do not know about the support forum here and have to call in for help. Unfortunately most of Sympatico's customers are unaware of this forum and would have to deal with the normal tech support.

Bandwidth Caps & Throttling
A few years ago Bell Sympatico decided to enable bandwidth caps which proved to be a bad move for the company. For the past few years, unlimited contracts have been available through Sympatico and for the most part, it was a very good service. Capping and throttling in general is a bad idea for any ISP as bandwidth consumption is not going to go down. If you advertise and offer unlimited, then do so. Customers should not be penalized because they use bandwidth when they have signed a contract stating unlimited bandwidth.

Most people don't use that much bandwidth but 60gb is definitely a very low cap. HD broadcasts, video streams, Xbox Live & Xbox Live downloads, Windows/Mac/Linux Updates and VoIP are now becoming quite prevalent online now. CBC broadcasts Hockey Night in Canada and the National online and many other websites offer bandwidth intensive content including Sympatico's own website. Content doesn't have to be 'gray' area to use a lot of bandwidth especially if you have a lot of users in your house.

DSL Line Sync
I haven't had any line quality problems with my line as I have lived in new houses with new wiring. I have had problems with the line profiles though. On numerous occasions, I phoned tech support to get them to increase the line profile but to no avail. It wasn't until I asked on DSLreports forum and talked to some techs directly that I was able to get that sorted out. My connection is now stable at the 5mbit profile instead of the 3mbit profile.

Bottom Line
Unfortunately Bell and Rogers are the main bulk suppliers for Internet Service in Ontario/Quebec and there is no way to avoid them.

member for 12.3 years, 148 visits, last login: 133 days ago
updated 321 days ago


Review by XR999 See Profile

  • Location: Peterborough,ON
  • Cost: $50 per month
  • Telco party Bell Canada
Good "The Speed is Consistent"
Bad "Absolutely incompetent support, low caps, deceptive techniques, etc."
Overall "Run to anyone else, Bell should be avoided at all costs"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

My Other Reviews

·TekSavvy Cable
We've been customers of Bell Canada for years, first off with dial-up and then the upgrade to DSL (boy was that amazing like 8 years ago). Over the years the service has barely changed, we get the 5mbps we pay for, it's reliable, incredibly as reliable or better than the Rogers connection I had at the time of the original review.

That being said, the service still sucks out loud, the price has gone up numerous times over the years, the speed sucks compared to the alternatives available in the area (ex. Cogeco, TekSavvy or Start) and then you come to Bell itself.

Never in my history of dealing with any company have I met one that has so many stupid, incompetent or incomprehensible support agents or such bad business practices. Just trying to get a modem replaced is more painful than having teeth pulled and should you have a billing error, the pain is near the same or worse.

The only reason why we've stayed is quite honestly the service/speed is reliable and unfortunately which ISP is in the house is beyond my control, that's up to someone else which refuses to switch to someone else because they think things will be worse (when in reality you can't get any worse than Bell).

Bottom line, almost any other provider is a better choice than Bell and their pathetic excuse of support/sales they call a company.

UPDATE: October 18th, 2011:

Well besides replacing the rented Bell modem with a TP-Link TD-8616, nothing has changed since a call to Bell resulted in the cap being raised and the price being lowered significantly which was enough to keep the person in control satisfied, unfortunately not the result I was going for. Granted the service has been reliable and there's been no billing errors to my knowledge since they upgraded the cap, but I still maintain Bell should be avoided at all costs for Internet service if better alternatives are available.

UPDATE: September 5, 2013:

Bell's service is still reliable although it's as slow as ever as Fibe level service still remains unavailable at this location. Sadly I've still yet to get the person in charge to consider switching even though a TekSavvy or Start Cable connection would be significantly faster, cost less and carry a higher bandwidth cap. This is why I maintain if you can't get Fibe level service and cable is available, do NOT go with Bell for Internet service.

member for 4.1 years, 269 visits, last login: 9 days ago
updated 329 days ago


Review by mand See Profile

  • Location: Chicoutimi,QC
  • Cost: $50 per month
  • Install: about 7 days
Good "Very stable, fast, good services"
Bad "Price increases regularly"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings above consensus)


I ordered Bell Fibe 10 plan.

Read carefully and be prepared to click few times to get the real price for only one service on Bell's website. That's a bad point.
The plan includes a modem/router/4 port switch that allows wifi B/G and 75 Gb of bandwidth usage that are more than enough for my usage at this time.

I'm happy with the very stable download speed which is 10.5 Mbits (advertised 10 Mbits) but I'm a bit disapointed with the stable upload speed of 0.7 Mbps (1 Mbits advertised). Condition for the speedtests: my everyday network configuration.

I don't like their mail service which is a customized Microsoft Hotmail account. The service isn't bad but I use a mail client to access mail boxes and mail that is spam doesn't show up. It is important to sometimes connect to the webmail to check for false positive spams.
Hotmail doesn't provide IMAP.


Only one time 2 hours of service lost I'm aware of since I'm with bell. Don't now exactly what happened but I restarted the modem and all goes well again. Maybe I could restart the modem earlier to get the Internet back.

The Fibe 10 plan had a total price increase of 3$ this year. That's bad news.


Starting the year there's a new bonus for Bell : 2$ more on the bill for the monthly internet service. This time I called them.

I have now 115 GB bandwidth.

Another bonus for Bell this spring: money savings for each bundled services dropped from 5$ to 4$.

I'm more and more interested to host my little website myself but Bell doesn't allow customers to run servers and they don't provide fixed IPs for residential plans.

I switched to another phone service. Internet download speed fall to 2.3 Mbits one month later. Had to call Bell a friday afternoon for the dry loop. All goes well again monday evening.

Had an issue with lost of service starting end of november. Had to call Bell 3 ou 4 times in 3 weeks and repeat things again. Finally a tech shows up without appointement. The problem was outside.


Price increase on march bill: 3$.
End of march download speed upgraded from 10 to 12 Mbits.

Still good to very good service with Bell Internet.

June : Invoice increased 15% since december 2012. We move to another town. All goes well but we decided to go to cable especially for TV and Internet will follow.

July : I closed my accounts at Bell without any extreme hassle. Had some phone calls. All goes well.

member for 2.9 years, 95 visits, last login: 189 days ago
updated 364 days ago


Chuck sTruck


You couldn't afford to run a server with Bell anyway

With 80 dollars plus taxes in overuse fees you'd bust your caps in the first week or less by running a server.


Re: You couldn't afford to run a server with Bell anyway

Good point! Of course it depends what kind of server and usage.

Thank you for your reply.

Etobicoke, ON
·Bell Sympatico


If your client supports it, you can configure it to connect to as an Exchange server - use m.hotmail.com as the server.

Some clients might even provide support for setting an account for DeltaSync or Windows Live Hotmail (Windows Live Mail on Win7 does).

Either will provide IMAP-like features.


Re: email

There are some keywords to use for searches. I never heard about Deltasync for example.


client tann


BELL c'est de la MERDE!

Faut constamment réinitialiser le modem et c'est une perte de temps : BELL c'est de la MERDE!

·Bell Sympatico

Re: BELL c'est de la MERDE!

C'est vrai qu'il faut régulièrement redémarrer le modem et d'ailleurs cela est même mentionné dans le guide de l'utilisateur qui accompagne le matériel si ma mémoire est bonne. Je redémarre le 2Wire 2701HG-G à date fixe et ça me prends 30 secondes pour débrancher brancher ou cliquer sur le lien adéquat dans l'interface de gestion du modem. Ensuite 5 minutes pour que l'internet soit à nouveau disponible mais là moi je fais autre chose pendant ce temps là

Je me demande si la mise à jour du firmware, ce printemps, a amélioré les choses.
Bien d'accord, cependant, qu'on pourrait s'en passer.