More on Bell Sympatico

Posted on September 8, 2008. Filed under: Trends | Tags: , |

I am not getting into the specifics here but in the past week this is what I have experienced with Bell Sympatico:

  1. Called on behalf of customer re. speed issue (160 KB/s). Tech support insisted on upgrading client to 8 MB/s. Client wanted 500 KB/s. Tech support ignored client’s wishes and upgraded to 8 MB/s without client consent. Coincidentally Bell called client to bundle services and verified upgraded ISP service. Downgraded on client request.
  2. Speed tested one client. Paying for 5 MB/s and getting 2 MB/s.
  3. 3 clients complain of not being able to understand the accents of Bell Sympactico tech support representative. Several clients have had so much trouble understanding the representatives they have requested I call on their behalf.
  4. Tech support continually wants to upsell or change services instead of solving problem. They will NOT admit a problem and simply state that changing the service solves the problem.

Relating to item 1 and 4: this is a particularly disturbing call because the technical support representative was so aggressively maintaining the need to upgrade to 8 MB/s it bares the question:  Are tech support representaives on commission? I was in sales and the only thing I can think of to explain that tech support rep’s aggression (and I do mean aggression) to have my client buy that level of service is that they are being payed or spiffed for changing client accounts to a higher level of service.

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Bell Sympatico Customer “Service”

Posted on July 30, 2008. Filed under: General | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Wow. What a hassle!

I was on a service call to a client’s place and the following transpired trying to solve an email configuration problem in Outlook Express.

Part 1

The client could not send emails so I checked his setup in the email account profile. Surprise, surprise! The settings were out of date. This client has been a Sympatico user since 1998 and some time ago Sympatico changed the way the email accounts need to be configured. (more…)

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Sandvine Hit Over Net Neutrality Issues

Posted on July 8, 2008. Filed under: Hardware, Software, Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Seems there is a backlash from the products Sandvine offers and the net neutrality debate going on in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere may continue to negatively impact this company on the short to medium term.

Factors undermining the forecast include “the effect of the network neutrality debate on Sandvine’s North American installed base, the reduced predictability associated with expansion into new markets such as Sandvine’s entrance into the tier-one DSL and wireless markets, and the increasing number of opportunities being pursued through the indirect sales channel,” the company stated.

I do not wish ill on Sandvine but this story only hi-lights the forces at work as this debate goes on.

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Bell Sympatico/Bellnet Speed Issue

Posted on July 2, 2008. Filed under: Service Alert | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

I was one of the first Bell Sympatico clients in this area. I had the old Nortel modem and had decent service. Compared to dial-up it was a dream but eventually as I wanted more speed the problems started to occur:

  • Service drop-outs lasting minutes at a time.
  • Service outages averaging once a week.
  • Power supplies on old Nortel modem failing 3 times and 5 business days to get a new one.
  • New Speedstream modem does not suppot new speed package as I am too far from the concentrator.

This week I called Bellnet tech support for a client and they have been paying for 6 MB/s internet access for years only to find out they can only get 1 MB/s! The “solution” was offered to “upgrade” the client to the new wireless internet access. Sure it was $6.00 cheaper per month but it was half as fast as the client was expecting from their original service.

It totally amazes me that someone would bother selling such services when the advertised thoughput is no where near the client’s actual experienc.

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Symantec Products: Norton Antivirus Family

Posted on May 28, 2008. Filed under: Software | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I have a low opinion of Norton Antivirus (NAV) and the family of products that Symantec produces. Time and time I do service calls and find this insidious software residing when it is APPARENTLY removed…

(more…)

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Traffic Shaping and How it May Affect You

Posted on April 2, 2008. Filed under: Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

I have long been a fan of a company called Sandvine located in Waterloo, Ontario. Take a moment to read Sandvine MSO Case Study which overviews the impact of peer-to-peer traffic on a typical Multiple System Operatornetwork. It has a suite of hardware and software tools that “help” ISPs define what type of Internet traffic is going over their Internet infrastructure. These tools, at first glance, appear to be of value not only to the Internet service providers as they can determine how their subscribers are using their services but an interesting, and I believe, disturbing trend is emerging.

ISPs can now “traffic shape“. They, not you, can determine the quality of Internet service you receive and they can do this arbitrarily and legally.

Recent developments, that are now coming to light in the mainstream press, with Bell’s Sympatico Internet service are a prelude to a trend that may, in the end, restrict competition and fair and open access to the Internet for the average home user.

In summary, the concern is that Bell, or any other ISP for that matter, can “bundle” their services so that Internet access and download performance is optimized for their services and partners. Say, for example, you want to see a video at a site not affiliated with Bell and you are a Bell Sympatico subscriber. Practically the video you watch on a Rogers/Yahoo site will be identified as such, and since they are a competitor the download speed may be restricted. If you serve the same content from a Sympatico/MSN site you will get faster download performance.

With the convergence of audio-visual entertainment and news in video format moving to the computer, which every day is becoming an appliance like the television, users will notice content degradation if they visit sites Bell deems as competitive to the slew of partnerships it has established.

I am not saying that Bell is the only one, Comcast in the States is currently having it out with its subscriber base over the very same issue.

It should be noted that peer-to-peer traffic is a major traffic type on the Internet. All the same, does Bell or Rogers restrict and analyze the content you create over the phone, be it land-line or cellular? No. Because, by law that is an issue of privacy and they are restricted from doing so. I would think that the same standards apply for the Internet.

Another impact is that soon, if not now, end-users (i.e. consumers = you) will be getting or will get notices soon telling you that your subscription model has changed. Each person has to assess the amount of web traffic they generate and buy a “package” of so many gigabytes per month. Sounds good right? Well guess what the charges are for going over?

Frankly I would rather they deal with email spam as, not only is it a major irritant, but it eats up bandwidth too. Any many of it is simply illegal.

So, take a look at your ISP bills when they come in. If you have people using BitTorrent, LimeWire and do heavy gaming you might be in for a surprise.

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