Poor quality of Sympatico internet service

Posted on Sunday, January 8th, 2006 at 8:06pm CST by 206d95da

Company: Poor quality of Sympatico internet service

Category: Other

I have been a Sympatico customer for about 10 months now and haven't had any problems up until the beginning of December. Up until that point I was able to access any web pages I wished with no lag or problems and I was also able to download files with no problems at a good speed. I then started noticing that my web pages were taking a long time to load and that files were taking a long time to download so I decided to to a speed test. The results of the speed test revealed that my download rate was below 200 kbps and my upload speeds were double my download speed. I tried this on my second computer and got the same results. I knew right away that there was a problem after seeing this so I called the Sympatico tech support. They had me do all sorts of different things on my computer to see if they could get it back to speed and nothing helped. After over an hour of doing everything they asked of me they told me that there must be a problem with my computer. As a computer technician myself I told them that nothing was wrong and that I had already checked the computer for any possible viruses, adware, spyware, etc. The tech put me on hold for about 15 minutes and came back and said that they tested my line and they have a crystal clear connection so I should be getting around 2.4 Mbps download speeds and since I'm not it has to be a problem with my computer. I told them that that is unlikely since I have 2 computers and the results are the same on both. The tech told me that there was nothing else they could do and insisted that nothing was wrong on their end. I was extremely frustrated since I spent about an hour and a half on the phone with them and got nowhwere. Frustrated with their answer I decided to get a laptop from work and did the speed test on it, and I was not surprised to see the same results. A friend of mine also had a spare DSL modem so I borrowed it to see if it was a problem with my modem and his modem didn't change anything either. I called tech support a second time and explained that I have tried 3 different computers and and a different modem I get the same results with all of them. They put me on hold again and said that everything tests out ok and that I am getting a connection speed of 2.4 Mbps. No matter what I told the tech on the phone he insisted that I was getting that speed and that there was something wrong on my end. I was getting more and more frustrated the more I spoke to the tech so I asked to speak to the supervisor. The supervisor told me that he was going to run some tests on my line and call me back the next business day. The supervisor called me back later that day and left me a message that he made some changes to the line and that he would still call me back to see if it helped. I did the speed test again and nothing was changed. I called them back a few days later since the supervisor didn't call and when I called again I got the same story again about there being nothing wrong from their side. They had me do the same tests for the 3rd time and in the end they once again said there was nothing wrong. Frustrated again I asked to talk to a supervisor and after spending about a half hour talking to this supervisor he decided to send me a new modem even after I told him I tried that. When the new modem arrived I tried it out and did the speed test and just as I suspected got the same results. I called tech support again and explained that it has been 3 weeks now and I've tried everything I can so it has to be something to do with them. They told me there was nothing wrong so for a 3rd time I spoke to a supervisor and he said everything was fine and that there was nothing they could do (sounds like a broke record doesn't it?) . A friend of a mine upon speaking to one his friends that owns an ISP in our city, he found out that he has been fighting with Bell to fix the exact same problem in my area which had something to do with Bell's equipment. By this point after calling Bell 6 times and getting nowhere I have had enough and called to cancel my account with them. They told me I was in a contract and that I would have to pay a $200 penalty to get out of the contract. I explained the whole situation and why I wanted to cancel and they told me that I had to exhaust one last before they can waive the $200 fee. They said I had to call the "Get connected" team and that a group of experts would have to look at it and if they couldn't fix it then they would waive the fee. I called this so called team of experts and found out that they are the same people I have been calling all along so they deemed my problem unrepairable and that they would put that in the ticket but since the business office was closed that I would have to call back the next day to cancel my account. The next day I called and the person I spoke to said that I can't cancel since I was in a contract. I explained to them what the person said the previous day and they told me that that person shouldn't have said that. I told him that I would have no problems staying in the contract if they would offer the service they said they would when I signed it. They told me that they don't guarantee any download speeds all they guarantee is that I have a connection which I did. Steaming mad at this point I told them to send out a technician to my house because there was something wrong that they needed to fix. After putting me on hold again for 15 minutes they told me they were going to send out a tech. That night just to be sure I took my computer over to a friends house that also has sympatico and I was able to get full download speeds on his connection so I was sure it wasn't my computer. I again tried it on my connection when I got my computer back home and had slow speeds as usual. The next morning I tried it again and surprisingly it was fixed!!!! I spoke to my friend and he informed me that his friend that owned the ISP said that Bell had fixed a problem with one of their switches and in turn that fixed my problem. I wasn't surprised to hear that something that Bell fixed with their equipment fixed my problem since that is what I had been telling them all along. I spent well over 8 hours calling Bell, working on my computer, checking cables, and testing and 4 weeks of poor quality internet service to find out what I had been telling them all along, that it was a problem they had to fix. All I can say that when my contract is over I'm done with Bell, they have not respect for their customers and until they do I don't want to do business with them.

If you only read one line of this I hope that its this: DON'T DO ANY BUSINESS WITH BELL UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY!!! THEY DON'T VALUE THEIR CUSTOMERS WHAT SO EVER.

Unhappy Bell customer

Der


5 Comments

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7346f4a3, 2007-11-22, 07:17PM CST

OMG! Reading this reminded me of my recent problems with bell sympatico over the last montha and a half. My story sounds that same, adn after doing research on teh internet, I'm afraid my line will never get fixed. A tech came to my house today that said they have had alot of problems like this in my area, and he said it is a big mess. He said he was giving my phone number to his boss who will be in contact with me. I have traced this issue back to complaints from 2003!! I am getting download speeds of 200 kbps currently.

I am very unhappy with Bell, I spent over $300 fixing my computer because they insisted nothing was wrong on their part for over a month!

I can't wait to see how long this takes to resolve!!!

02e0f90d, 2008-02-16, 08:58AM CST

Bell Sympatioc lies, and it lies often still too.

"Me too I couple of weeks ago I was getting a Bit Torrent download speed of around 60kbps to 150 kbps and then suddenly the download speed dropped to 35kbps to 40kbps . When I contacted my ISP, they said I might have a virus, spyware in my machine. So I formatted my drive and reinstalled my OS. I still do get the same poor download speed, and now I rightfully do suspect that my ISP has falsely jammed my download speed. In fact I tried my ISP with 4 different computers even a latest high speed computer with Microsoft Vista, a high speed computer with XP, and my old back up computer with windows 98 and I next got the same download results."

Most Internet Service providers are notoriously known for not only their false misleading advertising, but also for their bad support services, and for lying, and falsely blaming their customers, the users for the supposedly main problem that the promised ISP high speed downloads are rarely realized, obtained now. ISP have over advertised generally their ability to deliver the capacities. and their too often old, obsolete services, equipment often cannot handle the loads.

"there are many safe programs out there that take a cap off of your file download bandwidth limit, one I used to use is called "Internet download manager" I believe. I was getting 250 avg kbps dl speed on some random website, wouldn't ever go above 280, but I used the program and went up to a consistent 370. can't hurt to try it." That is not the main issue.. the fact that the ISP providers such as the Canadian Bell Sympatico clearly are not providing their promised high speed is.. Most customer with bell do not have their promised speeds so they next switch over to a cable DSl.

"I would recommend that you look at your router first (if you have one). It may be faulty. This is often the case for screwed up Internet connections. If you can, try to connect your modem (temporarily) to your computer without the router and see if that fixes the problem. (You will have to reconfigure the computer to use the modem in order to try this). The problem unlikely could also be with your modem, if it is faulty. Yet another place where things more likely could cause a slowdown is your signal strength that you are getting from your ISP. You might also have line noise causing your Internet to go slow." I would run a speed test Speakeasy - Speed Test Test the speed of your Internet connection with Speakeasy's speed test. www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/ - For a high speed service the speed should be between 6000 to 1600 and for a low speed system about 3000 and if you are not getting these speeds complaining loud to the news media. your ISP as well ASAP. I had my router, modem changed 9 time and it had nothing to do with the low speed problem

"The following applies to broadband connections: Back again to uncapping; you can use a program called CableNut to uncap the limits that are built into your XP and your network card. http://cablenut.com/ Make sure you download the CableNut Add On Package and use the highest possible setting" is still only a marginal solution approach when the main problem is your ISP not keeping their promised high speed to you.

Optional suggestions such as -

Using a Flash Drive or a software to supposedly "Dramatically speed up any Broadband connection and to get improvements in performance from download speed, with Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox, to increase your online speed with everything you do, even up to 500% faster Web browsing if using Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, while keeping the original perfect web site quality is sill marginal... Optimizing the Windows and Browsers to give you faster and smoother downloading, browsing, streaming, e-mail, P2P, gaming and yes you check it with Web browsing speed and data download performance tests.

ReadyBoost is a disk caching technology first included with Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system. It aims to make computers running Windows Vista more responsive by using flash memory on a USB 2.0 drive, SD card, CompactFlash, or other form of flash memory, in order to boost system performance.

ReadyBoost is also used to facilitate SuperFetch, an updated version of Windows XP's prefetcher which performs analysis of boot-time disk usage patterns and creates a cache which is used in subsequent system boots.[1] The Prefetcher is a component of versions of Microsoft Windows starting with Windows XP. It is a component of the Memory manager that speeds up the Windows boot process, and shortens the amount of time it takes to start up programs. In Windows Vista, SuperFetch and ReadyBoost [1] extend upon the prefetcher and attempt to accelerate application and boot launch times respectively by monitoring and adapting to usage patterns over periods of time and loading the majority of the files and data needed by them into memory so that they can be accessed very quickly when needed.A system with 512 MB of RAM (the minimum for Windows Vista) can see significant gains from ReadyBoost. In one test case speeding up an operation from 11.7 seconds to 2 seconds (increasing physical memory from 512 MB to 1GB reduced it to 0.8 seconds). [2]. Systems with 1 GB or more do not show a significant effect on tests to date. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prefetcher

Using a Download manager such as the great free download manager that speeds up download connections by opening multiple connections to the source file is still a marginal approach to the low speed download problem now as well.

Internet Overbooking

Let's face it not all internet connections were created equal.

Internet connections come in all shapes and sizes ranging from horrifically slow dialup connections to high speed Wireless, Satellite, DSL and Cable broadband connections.

Now days more and more people have joined the broadband wagon and it seems that the broadband has taken over the world.

But even broadband connections differ significantly in speed and Quality of Service (QOS).

Further more, many users do not experience a fraction of the speed that they are promised by their Internet Service Providers or ISP's.

There are several problems related to underperforming internet connections, but one of the main problems is connection overbooking.

Internet Service Providers or ISP's, purchase bandwidth and telecommunications equipment. The bandwidth and equipment are expensive and in general ISP's tend to have the minimum bandwidth and equipment they can get away with, with out losing most of their customers.

This is where overbooking comes to play.

Overbooking is an accepted standard within the ISP industry and in other industries such as the airline industry.

For airline companies overbooking means: book more people to each flight then can actually fit into any given plane. The underlying assumption is that you will always have cancellations hence overbooking ensures a near optimal usage of airplane space.

The ISP's of the world use the same concept to optimize their profits.

For ISP's the overbooking principle works on the assumption that most users will not be using their Internet connection at full capacity all of the time.

Another hidden and more sinister assumption, used by some ISP's, is that most users do not even know or understand what bandwidth they are supposed to have and consequently what speeds of download, upload and QOS they are supposed to achieve.

The ISP's overbooking industry standard normally stands between 1:10 to 1:50 ratios. This means that for every 10 to 50 customers they promise X amount of bandwidth they can only provide X amount of bandwidth at any given time (instead of the promised 10X to 50X bandwidth). To put it differently 10 to 50 customers will be sharing X amount of bandwidth instead of having X amount of bandwidth dedicated to each one of them.

It might seem a horrible scam but surprisingly it works well for both the Airline companies and the ISP's assuming they keep their ratios down to an acceptable level.

Sure you will always have a few disgruntled customers, ones that booked a flight only to find that there is not enough space on the flight or people that find their Internet connection unbearably slow.

Airlines deal with this problem by offering rewards to people who are willing to give up their space.

ISP's normally dismiss client's complaints, saying things along the lines of: prove to me that your connection is not performing well or The problem is with your home equipment or Sorry, you should have read the fine print, we never promised etc. If they are faced with a really persistent customer they might offer him a free month of service but normally they will just promise they will look into it and then burry the problem.

So when does overbooking become a problem?

The problem starts when ISP's start to get too greedy.

When this happens overbooking goes well beyond 1:10 to 1:50 ratios. During the past several years we have seen several ISP's over the world that take the ratios up to 1:100 and even to 1:200.

What this means, at such high share ratios, that most customers in most hours of the day will suffer great delays, reduced bandwidth and an overall lousy internet connection.

Some of us who live in major metropolitan areas are lucky enough to have a choice of ISP's, there by increasing competition and improving service levels.

But most of us do not have many options to choose from or get stuck in draconic agreements that lock us in for long periods of time.

If you suspect that your service is not up to par and you would like to check your real connection speed and QOS you can run a test over here.

If you consistently do not receive a upload and download speeds that are at least 80% of the promised upload and download speed you might be a victim of excessive overbooking or just a plain old BSS(Bad Service Syndrome). If your QOS is below 80% certain bandwidth sensitive applications like Voice Over IP applications (e.g. Skype, Vonage Etc.) and online games will not deliver good performance.

Here are a few things you can do when your connection is not as good as promised:

Complain to your ISP using email or the phone. When enough people complain they will start thinking about improving the situation.

Threaten you will leave them for another ISP (even if you don't have another viable option). This might give you some discounts or upgraded service.

Shop around for alternative solutions and if possible replace your ISP for a better one.

To sum things up, overbooking is a real problem for many internet users.

Currently, in my opinion, there is not enough regulation on internet service providers.

Some of them tend to promise their clients promises that they never intend to keep. Others obscure the actual offers they make with technical and legal jargon that is incoherent to most users; leaving most users unaware of the real service levels they are supposed to be receiving.

If an ISP advertises a certain level of service they should be clearer about what the actual service level is going to be like.

You can not in good faith, tell your customers that they will have a broadband connection with a certain amount of bandwidth, when in fact, most of the time they will be receiving a fraction of that amount.

And last but not least, remember that you are paying your hard earned money to your ISP and there is no good reason why you should not be getting your moneys worth.

Next time we will talk about what can be done on your end to improve your internet connection speed and QOS.

Until next time,

DR. OOS. http://www.mypccenter.com/Blog_11_06.asp

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ebe32619, 2008-02-17, 10:57AM CST

1) I pressed the "Report abuse" button by mistake.

2) I only wanted to reply to the report and say that now (Feb.2008) things haven't changed - the complainant's story is VERY similar to mine, except I got no happy ending, only improved speed for about half an hour while the technician was there (?!) and then went back to bad. The temporary improvement was of course highly suspicious (the technician called a colleague during his visit, so for all I know he may have told the colleague to raise speed temporarily so he could leave my house pretending that the problem had been fixed

5db1bba4, 2008-05-21, 07:59PM CDT

Guess what - they haven't changed - they tried to upsell my sister, blame Dell for bad conmputer parts until I told them that the problem existed on the IBM as well - I tested it again and again. They gave me a new tel number and the problem was still there on both computers.

They finally came back after 20 min of them telling me the problem was our comptuer to tell me that it was their problem but would not tell me when the problem would be fixed.

I can't wait for Bell to wake up - there will be another customer who walks from Ma Bell

02e0f90d, 2008-05-22, 06:06AM CDT

I had many of the same problems and more

http://thenonconformer.wordpress.com/2008/05/18/on-how-to-deal-with-it/

http://thenonconformer.wordpress.com/tag/bell-sympatico/

If you only read one line of this I hope that its this: DON'T DO ANY BUSINESS WITH BELL UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY!!! They are big liars, and THEY DON'T VALUE THEIR CUSTOMERS WHAT SO EVER.

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