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Bell Sympatico page on DSLReports
Six Month Rating

Reviews:
bullet 1129 reviews (409 good) (478 bad)
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Review by Hot Summer See Profile

  • Location: Canada
  • Cost: $74 per month
  • Install: about 7 days
  • Telco party Bell Canada
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings above consensus)

This is a fairly reliable though not perfect DSL service,
combined with phone service.

It is a basic 5Mb service.
I've never seen the DL speed exceed 3Mb,
which is reasonable for a rural connection
at some distance from the telco CO.

My biggest concerns are that speed has a tendency to
decline for no known ( or admitted by Bell ) reason
over a period of time and does not recover until,
I ( naturally ) complain and Bell set the DSL profile back
to where the tech ( Bell sent out ) originally set it...

My other concern, is why this DSL provider doesn't
have "digital DSL repeaters" available for these types of
rural lines. They are quite cheap, and certainly this customer
would pay the purchase price if they'd install them!

Otherwise, no real complaints.

Fair warning: reviewer joined this month
updated 6 days ago

Comments:

Review by siljaline See Profile

  • Location: Montreal, QC
  • Cost: $67 per month (12 month contract)
  • Install: about 2 days
  • Telco party Bell Canada
Good "Generally fast DSL High Speed package"
Bad "Unexplained drops in line quality are never reported and appear to be an eternal gremlin at Bell Canada "
Overall "Always room for improvement. "
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

The Bell.ca Login page requires knowledge of web based ISP pages which are rather unique. Cookies are always required.

The Support pages are OK, but pale to other ISP's. There's much room for improvement here as better Support online prevents Call Centre congestion.

Example here on how to change settings on your 2Wire Modem could be simplified.
»support.bell.ca/Internet/Connect···gs_on_my

Bell seems to have stopped pushing third party anti-virus software which is good, or at least I've not heard of anyone being bothered to install any.

Bell Canada is always in a state of flux so those that are ISP shopping should be aware that an installer arriving at your door may be a new hire and thus freshly brainwashed and looking to reinvent the wheel. I had such an experience some time ago which I reported.

There has been much less totally unannounced drops in connectivity for those of us that burn the midnight oil. Whoever fixed this should be sitting in an office.

The Service satisfaction email that are sent never have a conclusive feedback method, as there are many things I could tell Bell how to improve their service as many I know and service are Sympatico users.

For those new to Bell DSL - stay well away from the Sagemcom routers, specifically request 2Wire gateways in lieu.

I omitted to mention the Bell Speed Test uses Adobe Flash thus loading an LSO on your Browser - find one that does not do this.
»support.bell.ca/Internet/Internet-Speed-Test

The Cell Centre Agents in the Philippines have been somewhat robotic in their responses - and apparently reading from a scripted reply system of late, this has met with great disappointment from me as I had given them high praise previously.

Someone brought this to my attention which I find somewhat useless is the service status page.
If your connection is down how are you supposed to use a web page to verify if your connection is working correctly ?
Link: »support.bell.ca/Internet/Service-Status

Bell had a serious outage issue that started on September 20, 2014 which included email outages and slowness, line (Internet) disconnects without any warning.
The Call Centres said they were "putting in new equipment" - that was and is *dumbed* down from Management to: - "we really don't know why this is" -
I have a local friend on a similar service that was out for three consecutive days. Anyone that has suffered any _downtime_ as a result of these recent outages should dispute them with Bell Canada as they will not offer a refund for an outage nor will they admit there was one if you ask.



member for 12.1 years, 3242 visits, last login: a few hours ago
updated 32 days ago

Comments:
dra6o0n

join:2011-08-15
Mississauga, ON
Reviews:
·ITalkBB

New monetization system

You gotta use their DNS, which redirects YOUR connection through their servers, enabling them to sell you things relevant to your activities.

Anyhow, Sympatico is a really really old service category and seems to be of the ADSL variant, where as Bell Fiber would be around the VDSL variant.

Review by Max22258 See Profile

  • Location: Vankleek Hill,ON
  • Cost: $68 per month
  • Install: about 4 days
  • Telco party Bell Canada
Bad "Ask for tech support and a person from billing was telling how it was impossible to connect another modem."
Overall "I will change provider very soon"

I recently change from 2 wire to fibe 15/10 as it was cheaper. However with fibe you have to pay $99 for the modem, so i told them to cancel my account and they gave me the modem for free. This was nice but my network did not work as I wanted. Complained about the download stuck at 10 mbps and upload which at best could only get to .60 mbps. They got this fixed and now get 15 mbps but upload will never be 10 mbps. Not that i need it but I want what I pay for.

After updating some blizzard games and since my broadband was only 80, I had to add 75 g to my broadband. Looking around the web I find out that a competitor give around 300g for a muchcheaper price (32.99), of course there is the activation fee but over long term it is much cheaper.

I also ask bell If I can use my own modem, they told me that if I use Bell services I must use their modem. They also told me that the internet will only work with their modem. So believing them I bought my own modem and have it working with their services for now until I change. By the way bell VPI and VCI is 0/35, as the support guy did not know what this was.

"Conversation with Bell:

You: Well i want to use the tp-link as it has a better wifi penetration in my house. meaning it can reach every room.
You: So can the the bell modem be replace by this modem
Bell: I see. Yes, it is possible but don't you want our new modem. For sure it will give you a wider range and it will be supported by Bell in case that there is something wrong happened to the modem, it will be replaced free of charge.
Bell: It is the Home Hub ********* which is for $199.95
Bell: So you are going to replace your current modem by TP-Link.
You: yes that is correct
Bell: It is not possible.
You: i find it strange that bell made it impossible for client to use their own modem,
Bell: Is other provider able to use a different modem aside from what was given to the customer? Not sure about that but it is like, your service provider is Bell so the modem should also be from Bell.
You: what is the vpi and vci value for bell
Bell: I'm sorry but I don't have any idea about that.
Today I installed my own modem and it works so much better then the Bell modem. Next week I will cancel my internet with Bell and go with another provider. The name of the employe has been replace by bell

member for 42 days, 0 visits, last login: 42 days ago
updated 42 days ago

Comments:

Review by TannerRyan See Profile

  • Location: Hamilton,ON
  • Cost: $102 per month
  • Telco party Bell Canada
Good "We get the advertised internet speed"
Bad "Always Technical and Billing Issues"
Overall "If you watch your bills and are techy, you will be fine. If not, you will be frustrated "
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

We have had Bell Internet for the last 8 years and the service has been getting worse. We used to have the white 2wire Bell modem on the 6mbps down / 1mbps up plan and it was very stable and reliable. The phone has always worked. After going over the internet cap, we decided to upgrade to the 15mbps down / 10mbps up plan. For this, we received the black Sagemcom F@ST 2864 which the wireless on it is terrible. After 1 year with it, we had a technical issue (sync-no-surf) which led to a billing issue. They fixed the billing issue and gave us a discount (it was only for one year but Bell never told us). The sync-no-surf issue was fixed after 12 calls to Bell and 7 technicians to the house. In February of 2014, we had a skyrocketed bill so we called Bell and the discount was only 12 months. After being on the phone for three hours, we bumped the price down from 153 to 102 per month, upgraded the speed to 25/10, cap from 140gb to 350 and lots of home phone features. Lately the wireless was getting finicky, so yesterday I purchased the ASUS RT-N66U and so far, there is no issues and the performance has been better then ever.

If you are going with Bell, there will be billing issues and you will most likely have speed, disconnection or sync-no-surf issues with the internet. The tech support is terrible and often requires more than 3 calls to get tech issues fixed and 1 call to get billing issues fixed. If you do not have Bell and plan on getting Bell, just be ready for frustration on the phone. After two years of having issues and 13 calls to Bell, there hasn't been any issues lately (other than the wireless on the Sagemcom slowly failing). If you do get Bell, I highly recommended you to put your Sagemcom into bridge mode, buy your own router, and have it connect through PPPoE.

THE CONNECTION WILL ONLY BE STABLE IF YOU HAVE YOUR OWN ROUTER

UPDATE: We have completely left Bell due to constant disconnections and billing errors

member for 311 days, 52 visits, last login: 60 days ago
updated 88 days ago

Comments:

Review by bosephus See Profile

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

My Other Reviews

·VMedia
Accidentally erased my Bell review with VMedia.

B.

member for 14 years, 1611 visits, last login: 8 days ago
updated 98 days ago

Comments:






Review by Terrific See Profile

  • Location: Cobourg,ON
  • Cost: $40 per month
  • Telco party Bell Canada
Good "Steady Infrastructure and Reliable Service"
Bad "Customer Service Answered off -Continent"
Overall "Over Priced for Basic Service, but heavily advertised."
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

Ordered the Basic DSL service of 2Mbps/ Only was ever able to get Download speeds of 64 Kilo-Bytes Per Second, until I called Customer Service. It should have been installed at the higher rate when I subscribed.
Customer Service is always Not in Ontario or Quebec. Usually in India or Philippines.
Initailly ordered Wireless Option but was only delivered Wire-Only Modem.

>>Update 2014-06, as a test ordered the Basic Cable Service from Start Communications. Added Unlimited Cap for $10 more.
Basic Service for 6M ul/1M dl and 100GB Cap is 29.95, Modem Rental 5.00 (option to buy), total (icl tax) $50.79 per month.
Latency is 1/2 what Bhell is deliving. 50 ms vs ~100ms to CA, IA, and NY. Rock solid connection and does not drop ping(s) via quality test.

Same test ,similar time frame on Bell ~100-150 ms Latency, dropped packets from CA.(will post link here later).

member for 6.3 years, 63 visits, last login: a few hours ago
updated 112 days ago

Comments:

Review by f00dMonsta See Profile

  • Location: Canada
  • Cost: $60 per month (month by month)
Good "Was fast (Fibe), while it lasted..."
Bad "Unreliable DSL connection. Abysmal Customer service."
Overall "Seriously considering changing service provider if problems not resolved..."
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

*** Update 28th July 2014:

- Concern department scheduled to call me sometime Thursday 24th July 2014. They called while I was in a meeting at 11:30am, left a voice message saying they will call the next day (I'm wondering why they cannot call again the same day)

- Friday 25th 2014: I did not receive a call all day, no messages either

- Friday 25th 2014, evening: Filed a complaint form on bell.ca

- Saturday 26th 9:00am: Complaint department rep (note: I believe it's different from concern dept) called, again after more back and forth and repeating the same information N times, a senior tech was scheduled for monday morning.

- Sunday 27th evening: Concern dept finally decided to call. Claimed that they couldn't reach me on Friday, but did not leave a message. (Nor do I have any missed calls). I told him that there is already a tech coming monday morning

- Monday 28th July 9am: Tech called to say he was coming in 45min. He came did the same things from router all the way down to IT room, but this time he managed to switch the underground cable that we were on.

- Monday 28th 1:25pm: Complaint department rep called asking if the issue has been fixed. I told her that it is an intermittent issue, and that I'm not even home. I asked her to call back the next day for me to monitor the situation.

- Monday 28th evening: As I am typing this post out, a 2nd disconnection (red flashing @ light, DSL light is solid blue) in 1hr duration is happening. Packet loss issue has *not* been resolved at the slightest.

.... It's been 1hr, I can't get a stable enough connection to even update this post...

2hrs later, now I can post...

*** Update 22nd July 2014:

- Thursday 17th July: I decided not to call this time, and went onto the bell.ca live chat support. Was passed around a couple representatives until one finally said that they will send a technician on Friday (next day) between 8-5 (wow?) to check things. I also emphasis ed to them the importance of communication, and that they should call me when work starts/ends, and I should be informed of any changes in schedule. The representative acknowledged that and claims he put it on the ticket for the technician.

- Friday 18th July: no news from Bell during the day.

- Friday 18th July (night time around 8:30pm): I finally received a call back from the Concern department from the guy who called me before. He told me that a tech (or someone else) closed the ticket at 5pm after performing a line test; and that he now needs to start a completely new ticket from scratch again... So he scheduled a technician visit for Sunday (20th July) morning.

- Sunday 20th: Tech calls me at 8:30am to say he is on his way, from Oshawa, and will take around 1hr to arrive. He arrives around 9:30am. For the first time, the tech witnesses the issue firsthand, with packetloss up to 50%, and I can't even browse the internet. He first suspects the modem, but when he performed a test directly with the line (i.e. without the modem) the issue remained. Goes to the IT room, tests there, same issue. He switches my ports, and restrips the wires; by then the issue seems to have disappeared. He also installed a port splitter at the outlet in my apartment. Finally, he says he will tweak my profile as he mentioned something about it being on "interleaved" which doesn't make sense, I do not know what profile he switched it to, if he switched it at all.

- Sunday 20th evening: One of the first nights where there was barely any problems, I suppressed my joy and enthusiasm... just in case

- Monday 21st: Concern department called, different guy this time, as the previous guy went on vacation... I happily reported that it was fine last night, but I will continue to monitor this over the week. They will call me back on Thursday (24rd). I asked for a direct phone # but they don't have one, so I'd have to call in the usual support phone line....

- Monday 21st (evening): My fears were realised, the issues are now back in full force. 30-50% packet loss for extended periods of time (between 15min and 1hr), about 3 complete disconnections (red blinking @ light, the DSL light remains solid blue).

*** Update 17th July 2014:

- Monday 14th July 2014: A technician scheduled to arrive between 9am-1pm, did not show up (was informed the next day, that the tech arrived at 12:30pm, claimed that the job was outside of his expertise and rescheduled... all without informing me)

- Tuesday 15th July 2014: My issue was risen to the complain department at night around 8pm and they called me.

- I was promised that they would send a tech the next day (16th July 2014), and that he/she would call me when they start work, and update us on the progress.

- I was promised that they would call me on Wednesday to follow up on the issue. I told them to call at *any time*

- Wednesday 16th July 2014: *crickets* No calls whatsoever, my connection has been worse than ever, averaging 20% packetloss the entire day, spiking to 50% or higher, and from what I've noticed, at least 3 disconnections (each lasting between 1min to 15min) that night.

All in all, I'm pretty disappointed with all the false promises. I can understand that hardware can malfunction, and that it may take time to diagnose the problem and fix it; that's the main reason why I'm still here talking to them; but this is sheer disrespect towards me as a customer when none of their promises have been kept.

*** Update 13 July 2014:

Somehow bell support is now going back to the beginning of the entire issue, by sending a technician to do the whole G.D. check from top to bottom *again*, and now I'm back to them sending a riser technician... for the 3rd time. This has been 3 months, and I'm really surprised that they still have 0 clue as to what the problem is... My view of their competency has gone from a 80% initially, to a 50% when they couldn't figure it out after a couple weeks, to now, almost 0... *maybe* a 1%....

**ORIGINAL POST**

Package pricing, installation process was decent when I ordered Fibe 25.

But when they first billed me, it was for a completely different customer... Who ordered the Fibe 50 package, after abit of back and forth they gave me bonus bandwidth for my toubles. After 3 months, the billing reverted back to the incorrect price... so I called them, but my package did not exist in the system anymore, so they gave me Fibe 50 but with less bandwidth, which was ok since I didn't use that much. But I had to call back every 3 months to "fix" the billing since it had to be done manually every time...

The Fibe was excellent, with only a few outages (less than 10 over the span of 1 year), each lasting less than a few minutes, discounting the power outage due to ice storm.

Then I moved to a new location, and they did not have Fibe there, and hence I was downgraded to 25Mbit DSL, but I have to pay even more... my previous discounts and bonuses were completely nullified. I considered moving to another ISP, but their "don't leave us" department called and gave me a "discount" that at least brought the price back down to what it was before. I took that and it has been 5 months since.

3 weeks ago the problems started. Randomly throughout the day (I have not discerned any pattern as of yet), it would go through bouts of massive packet loss. Ranging from the less severe ~5% up to 50%, which rendered even google.ca (you can't get a simpler web page) unreachable. It would eventually recover, sometimes it would take 5min, but most of the time it would be 15min+ before it returned to 0% packetloss.

At first I just ignored it for jitters in the system, but as the issue started appearing more and more often (today it "acted up" once every hour), and more and more severe (it lasts longer now, at a minimum of 10min, up to 30min). I called support, who after a 1hour call finally acknowledged that there *may* be a problem and ran some tests through the day to see what's up. The 2nd level tech I spoke with was very nice and actually called me every couple of hours to check in, but even though I was staring at my monitoring programs, which told me there was an issue, the tech claimed that there wasn't anything wrong. So the tech tested for another day... and called back saying that there is indication of something wrong with the switch outside, so we scheduled a technician to visit and fix the problem. Which happened, and even though the tech never showed up at our door, we got a call informing us the problem was "fixed".

It wasn't, it actually got worse. So I called again, and after another 30min of exactly the same things that I have already told the tech last time, with the additional upset tone of voice emphasising that it got worse after the last tech "fixed" it, another appointment was scheduled. This time no1 even called us, and when we called back the next day, they said the tech "fixed" it.

Again, nothing was fixed. And it appears to have worsened again (before I was able to reach pingtest.net and check the packetloss, now I can't even load the site when it acts up). Another phone call... and another "appointment" scheduled...

The only thing that I can link to the worsening of the issue is that it got hotter over the past few weeks... I read here (»Bell Canada Internet FAQ) that rain and melted snow could have flooded the wires, and if the wires were damaged in any way causing the copper to be exposed, then there would be problems. The tech is scheduled to come in monday morning, so we'll see what happens and I'll update this review.

Update:

2 days later, 2 more technician visits; again, it got worse each time. Maybe it's a coincidence and my line was degrading rapidly anyway, but Bell has not figured out what the problem is...

Update 19 May 2014:

Technician has been back a few more times, he says that he has replaces as many parts as he can on the switch outside our complex, and that the only remaining possibility is the lines that run within our complex is too old (he says it's 50 years old...) He then tried downgrading our connection to 15Mbps down and 1Mbps up. After the weekend away from home, it is still performing as bad as before...

Next step is trying to get bell to replace out lines, which will probably not happen due to the costs and that many people in the complex uses rogers instead. Not to mention the # of days it will further take to *possibly* resolve the issue... Looks like I'm up for an ISP soon, but I'll let Bell say what they will first.

Update 30th May 2014:

They said they would show up today to replace wires. Noone showed up. Connection still terrible.

Update 5th June 2014:

Still no sign of them doing any repairs. Phone number they gave me to call went to voice mail, called at noon left message, no call back.

Update 28th June 2014:

After 2 months, I am still having issues... To summarize, after *numerous* back and forth phone calls, departments directing us to each other (aka blaming each other), they have finally claimed to have found the problem... and the solution is to replace the riser cable to our unit, which they did... but they then discovered more problems, which will require replacing the cables underground.... which will take, yet again, an undetermined amount of time before work even starts.

The issue has now progressed to a state where I actually get disconnections now, I've just had 4 disconnections within 30min. And ofcourse the packetloss issue is still here... right now, I've been having a consistent 30% packetloss for 2hrs straight, plus the 4 disconnections, which took between 30s to 10min to reconnect).

I'm surprised with myself that I am still with them. *if* they ever get it fixed, you can bet that I'm going to ask for reimbursement for such bad service for 2 months in a row.

Pingtests (will keep updating this, good or bad) [Packet loss, Ping, Jitter]:

May 14th 2014 23:58 - [23%, 132ms, 252ms] »www.pingtest.net/result/97676287.png

May 15th 2014 08:39 - [0%, 12ms, 1ms] »www.pingtest.net/result/97695945.png

May 19th 2014 19:05 - [3%, 13ms, 3ms] »www.pingtest.net/result/98001065.png (it got better as I was testing it, it was *much* worse right before the test) »www.speedtest.net/my-result/3511010962

May 19th 2014 23:47 - [10%, 24ms, 26ms] »www.pingtest.net/result/98012963.png

May 19th 2014 23:49 - [3%, 14ms, 4ms] »www.pingtest.net/result/98013019.png

May 19th 2014 23:57 - [0%, 12ms, 1ms] »www.pingtest.net/result/98013340.png

May 20th 2014 08:45 - [9%, 94ms 89ms] »www.pingtest.net/result/98033136.png

May 20th 2014 23:08 - [0%, 31ms, 1ms] »www.pingtest.net/result/98079800.png

May 21st 2014 20:42 - [2%, 44ms, 3ms] »www.pingtest.net/result/98142680.png

May 22nd 2014 00:20 - [0%, 31ms, 1ms] »www.pingtest.net/result/98153602.png

May 22nd 2014 08:04 - [0%, 31ms, 1ms] »www.pingtest.net/result/98168760.png

May 22nd 2014 08:25 - [54%, ~600ms, ~500ms] No image as the test was unable to finish

May 22nd 2014 08:27 - [21%, 58ms, 57ms] »www.pingtest.net/result/98169928.png

May 22nd 2014 19:30 - [30%, ~600ms, ~400ms] No image, timed out

May 22nd 2014 19:36 - [29%, 163ms, 183ms] »www.pingtest.net/result/98209180.png

May 24th 2014 02:15 - [13%, 183ms, 157ms] »www.pingtest.net/result/98293243.png

Jun 5th 2014 11:20 - [~29% packet loss]

»www.pingtest.net/result/99189049.png

member for 200 days, 73 visits, last login: 75 days ago
updated 123 days ago

Comments:

needsomehelp

join:2014-02-07
Canada

connection

are you through a direct ethernet connection, or wireless?
Can you post a trace route to google.ca?
f00dMonsta

join:2014-05-12
Canada

discussion

I have a discussion going on here, so yes I've done all that.

»Serious packet loss issue

Review by miKnutty See Profile

  • Location: Niagara Falls,ON
  • Cost: $75 per month
  • Telco party Bell Canada
Good "There isn't one good thing about this service."
Bad "Unexplained drops in line quality, noise on the line, connection lost randomly and cannot connect have to reboot. Throttling"
Overall "Need I say more? Stay the **** away from Bell Canada this company provides the worst internet service in Canada."
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

Post my review?

Ok lets see,

First off... Let me say that I am a longtime customer of Cogeco Canada for over 10 years on a cable connection. I promise you no more than 5 times had their ever been an issue with that internet connection especially in relation to random disconnects and timeouts. IT HAPPENS DAILY WITH BELL CANADA. My family decided to move to a new house where Bell Canada is our only option until I move out in September... Well, talk about getting bent over as hard as humanly possible. When they came to connect our service they completely botched the attempt; some apprentice technician who had no idea what he was doing. He actually put the wrong address and postal code into our account and left our house with no working connection. This took over TEN CALLS to rectify with their tech support and after two weeks of having no internet and four no show appointments we finally get connected. Sweet stress over.... yeah right... kidding. One month in they throttled our connection down to 2mb/s and I had to speak with over 3 support technicians (two being level 2) before they could fix the problem (that they created). Now its nothing but random timeouts, disconnects... noise on the line... the modem cannot connect to bell... this modem can not authenticate. I cannot wait until I'm back with Cogeco in September this experience has been an absolute nightmare and no one should have to go through it. Stay away from this company. They do not deserve to make another dime.

member for 1.3 years, 35 visits, last login: 59 days ago
updated 142 days ago

Comments:

Review by SpyV See Profile

  • Location: Petawawa,ON
  • Cost: $42 per month
  • Telco party Bell Canada
Good "Competitive pricing, easy setup, plug-n-play, bundling options"
Bad "Bell's infrastructure, Does not even get close to advertised speeds, media streaming next to impossible"
Overall "Paying for a service I'm not getting. Will be finding a new ISP."

I'm a long time Bell user, I'd say my first experiences with Bell was years ago in Kingston Ontario when I made the switch from Cogeco. Nearly 10 years ago now I was posted to Petawawa Ontario, and I once again purchased Bell internet. It was easy to bundle with satellite services, and it was "high speed" after all. Also, back then where I lived in Petawawa there were no other options. Suffice to say, for the past ten years I've had nothing but substandard service at each new residence I lived in here at Petawawa. Current advertised rate for my package is 5 down and 1 up. I'm getting .5 down, and .1 up consistently, without ever seeing any variations. I receive 10% of the advertised speeds, and while Bell is quick to point out the caveat that we are unlikely to actually get the advertised rates, I don't believe for one minute that receiving 10% of a service constitutes the full bill.

Along the way, and over the years I've called numerous times. Sometimes I ended up with credited months, sometimes I got several months credited. Sometimes it was the furthest thing from my mind. Suffice to say, I've had enough. The excuse I always receive is that I'm too far from the node, so if that's the case, why do you offer a service you cannot provide?

All in all I cannot blame Bell exclusively. Petawawa is a small town, where the infrastructure just doesn't support the top of the line high speed internet that you would see in other parts of the province. I could also have cancelled at nearly any time over the past few years, but at some point you decide that some internet is better then no internet.

member for 7.7 years, 13 visits, last login: 135 days ago
lodged 151 days ago

Comments:

ScottFr

@76.180.191.x

Bell Canada

I subscribed to Bell Canada internet service about 1 1/2 months ago for a cottage that I use a handful of weekend each year. I arrived there earlier this week to find the internet connection was not working. I WAS ON THE PHONE WITH BELL CANADA FOR 3+ HOURS. IT TURNS OUT THAT BELL CANADA ON THEIR OWN TRANSFERRED BY SERVICE TO A LOCATION NOT AFFILIATED WITH ME 5 MILES AWAY AND THEN TOLD ME IT WOULD BE OVER A WEEK TO RECONNECT ME. THEY ATTEMPTED TO MAKE ME FEEL BETTER BY TELLING ME THEY WOULDN'T CHARGE ME A RECONNECTION FEE!!!

Review by Thane_Bitter See Profile

  • Location: undisclosed location
  • Cost Contract price not specified.
  • Install: about 9 days
  • Telco party Bell Canada
Good "Most over priced Highest DSL speed packages in Canada"
Bad "need perfect line conditions to get it and it's costly! Throttling, lost of Newsgroups, forged migration of email to Hotmail."
Overall "Need a DSL ISP? RUNAWAY! SAVE YOUR MONEY BY GOING ELSEWHERE!"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

Thinking of signing up? Caps too low, sign up elsewhere.

Stuck for a while?: Seek technical support at the Bell Direct Forum

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There are several other DSL companies that provide the same DSL service that Bell offers but at a reduced cost. True, Bell does offer the highest DSL speeds available; however because of the technical limitations of DSL chances are your area does not support it (Bell will of course try selling it to you anyways!).

Presales information was somewhat incomplete, the standard price of service was and still isn't made particularly clear to potential customers. Bell prefers to front offers with a special price for 1/6 to 1/3 of the contract duration and provides little data on the price after this time frame. The material is further misleading because Bell advertises the overall speed of their service (under ideal conditions) including DSL overhead. The result of this is that any package will automatically be 15% then advertised. Finally Bell has and continues to use the disqualifier "up to" which allows them to offer a product that will not match advertised speeds. Again because of the nature of DSL, unless your DSL line has near perfect electrical characteristics - few are, the delivered speed will be less then advertised. A customer may be paying for a 7MB profile, yet due to a bad phone line/dry loop be placed on a 5 or 3MB (See Bell's FAQ on this site for profiles)

Installation is straightforward, order the service, receive the installation package in the mail, install DSL filters on phones, and finally connect the modem as described. Actual activation of the line will occur sometime on the activation day. A technician may make a service call on that day and require access to the phone equipment in your home.

Reliability with Bell is typical for all DSL providers in Ontario, however, email service with Bell has been problematic at times as they have been dropping their traditional POP mail service and converting it to a re-branded Hotmail service. (Note: that there may be privacy issues associated with this change as the Hotmail's servers are located across the globe) Bandwidth or Internet usage website has been plagued with outage issues, and reports data which can be up to 60 hours old.

Technical support at Bell had greatly degraded (exponentially), and is presently an abysmal, incoherent, intelligible, and next to useless do to outsourcing of this division to the other side of the planet. Watch out for misrepresentation, hidden contracts, and unexplained billing charges. Existing customers with unlimited (bandwidth) plans should take extra caution in discussing issues with the CSR as they may soon discover they have been moved to a contract or onto a fixed usage plan. In recent months technical support quality has improved slightly however there is still a great deal of miscommunication and misrepresentation of products and services.

Phone/service Technicians remain competent when performing service calls or line repair. I have found that the technicians are friendly and willing to answer any questions you may have related to their field.

Services - Services provided by Bell including their PPPoE software, diagnostic software, etc are not recommended. Bell only offers technical support on their own equipment (i.e. the modem) for free. Bell charges a rental fee for their modem which has increased substantially in the past few months. Even if you supply your own hardware, Bell will still charge the rental fee. Bell's bandwidth checker requires accessing their website (i.e. uses bandwidth to check bandwidth) and is up to 60 hours delayed. This coupled with their smallish usage caps often spells expensive over usage fees. Old plans still allow for up to 10 hours of free dial-up access - this can be useful while traveling aboard; a list of dial-up numbers can be found on Bells website if you search long enough, or can be obtained using Bells automated phone system 310-SURF.

Value for money - Due to Bells implementation of throttling, dropping of news services and mail serves, and their collaboration with Microsoft a the Bell MSN.ca portal, Bell is less interested in being an ISP, and would much rather regulated its users into surfing the web (especially partnered websites) in a method that is reminiscent of AOL.

In Canada there are few other options for high speed internet access, as both the cable and phone companies have control of 90% of the market. The lack of competition has stagnated improvements in service and maintains high prices. Fortunately the CRTC has opened the DSL market slightly, other ISP's have entered the market, however Bell is attempting to make changes that will effectively kill any competition by switching to a Bill by the Byte usage.

HSE (High speed edition), no longer offered by Bell, offers unlimited bandwidth at 6MB profile. This plan costs more then Bells current offerings (which are capped).

Equipment provided by Bell was originally an Alcatel SpeedTouch modem which was later replaced by a SpeedStream 5200 (e242) a later by a SpeedStream 5200 (e240). Bell deliberately locks out the firmware on the DSL modems providing only the most rudimentary interface and very limited support.

It took over three years to have an intermittent hardware issue to be repaired on the phone line. The issue was due to a damaged component that was part of Bell's local POTS service, and affected several other customers feed from the same service areas. Once an apt Bell Technician finally uncovered the problem (the issue with a subterranean device that several phone lines connected to), it took another four months for a different division of Bell to repair it.

UPDATE (5/09)

Bell has increased the cost of the modem rental. Take note that Bell does not included the cost of the rental in any of the promotional materials. Because the services is useless without a modem there is no justification for doing this and misleads the customer.

UPDATE (7/09)

Bell has changed their plan pricing packages and removed the 7MBSP service. Caps have also been lowered across the board on all plans (legacy plans are exempted). Potential customers that are still interested in sighing up (you really should not sign up with Bell) should note that the promised speed and actually real world results will show that AT BEST your service WILL BE 15% slower then advertised due do the nature of DSL technology. Examine all contracts, user agreements and related documentation carefully, as none of the advertising provides the actual cost of service, further more the prices advertises are lower then what the customer will pay because of auxiliary charges, fees and related hidden costs.

UPDATE (8/09)

Bell received approval for UBB billing from the CRTC; UBB allows Bell to move to usage based billing. It is expected that Bell will reformat their offerings to included usage in the very near future and that a typical bill will include a flat service cost, modem fees, usage fees, over usage fees, plus any other administrative fees and related hidden costs they wish to conger up.

UPDATE (1/10)

Bell Canada has discontinued operation of their POP servers (proxy gateway servers that directed traffic into the MSN mail system) replacing them with the “Hotmail” HMPOP servers. Users are required to change the settings of their mail client so that Bell may continue to cut costs and outsource more of its infrastructure to foreign corporate partners. 310-SURF support is still sub-par, users are recommended to use an Ouija board for pertinent information and technical answers.

UPDATE (2/10)

Bell Canada has increased the cost of HSE and other legacy plans to force users to switch into capped plans.

UPDATE (4/10)

A technical issue has given me the opportunity to reassess Bells technical support, but only for the staff at the Bell Direct forum. Unlike the conventional phone or chat support offered by Bell (a.k.a. the support sinkhole), the small, capable, friendly, human staff at Bells Direct Forum hosted on this website, can and do have the ability to respond to customer complaints, technical questions and general inquires in an efficient, timely and satisfying manner. As such I have bumped up my rating regarding their technical support.

UPDATE (6/12)

Done with them, bi-yearly price hikes and zero improvements to their local infrastructure puts them as the most overpriced ISP in the area. Speeds are still at sub Fibe levels and show no signs of improving. Again only the cost of service has been increasing and with Bell's on again off again usage caps they are the least desirable service. Bye Bye Bell

A reminder to anyone that goes ahead and has to have service with Bell, read the fine print and explore every little *, + , #, or subscript that spells out additional fees or secondary terms of conditions that relate to the product you are interested in. Bell's presale information is poor and the total cost of the product once additional fees and conditions apply is not what they show you in their advertising.

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updated 167 days ago

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