Archive for Bell

Bell Canada Wants To Block Access To Pirate Websites…… WTF?

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 28, 2017 by itnerd

If you’re into “acquiring” content via torrent sites and you’re Canadian, you are likely not going to like what I am about to write. In what has to be considered to be an over the top move, Bell Canada is floating the idea of blocking any or all access to websites that are related to piracy:

Canada is a safe haven for internet pirates, Bell Canada says. The telecom giant wants the federal government to fight back by blocking Canadians’ access to piracy websites and stiffening the penalties for violations.

“People are actually leaving the regulated [TV] system, not just because they want to watch Netflix but because they want to watch free content,” Rob Malcolmson, Bell’s senior VP of regulatory affairs, told federal politicians last week. He was speaking at a government hearing in Ottawa on NAFTA negotiations.

According to Malcolmson, this is how the website-blocking plan would work: an independent agency, such as Canada’s broadcast regulator (the CRTC), would create a blacklist of sites that allow people to download or stream pirated content like movies and TV shows.

Internet service providers, like Bell, would then be required to prevent their customers from accessing the sites.

“So you would mandate all [internet providers] across the country to essentially block access to a blacklist of egregious piracy sites,” said Malcolmson. Canadians made 1.88 billion visits to piracy sites last year, according to Bell.

Hmm….. The government and private companies putting together a list of sites they consider “pirates” and blocking them from your view. There certainly no potential for abuse here. None whatsoever. Also, Bell Canada owns the rights to some the content that is being pirated. Thus I am sure that this factors into this proposal, even though they likely won’t admit it.

The fact this that this is an insane over-reach if it were to be adopted. Hopefully Canadian politicians have the common sense to smack Bell Canada into reality as they are way offside here.

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BREAKING: Phone Service Down For Many Canadians

Posted in Commentary with tags , on August 4, 2017 by itnerd

There’s some sort major outage that seems to be affecting many Canadians. According to Canadian Outages,  cellphones, Internet, TV and phone lines are down for people across the country. Specifically those on Bell and Telus. By extension those on Virgin and Koodo are also affected as those brands are owned by Bell and Telus respectively. Outage reports are coming in from Halifax, Toronto, St. John’s, Dartmouth, Moncton, Ottawa, Saint John, Fredericton, Mississauga, Calgary and Sydney.

This a a major problem because according to the CBC, it’s affecting critical services such as people’s ability to dial 911:

A spokesperson for the Nova Scotia government’s Emergency Management Office says 911 service itself is not being impacted, but people whose phones are down may not be able to call.

Nova Scotia’s Emergency Health Services has ordered all ambulances and on-duty crews to return to their stations and monitor their tablets for emergency calls. 

I’ll be keeping an eye on this to provide any updates as they develop.

UPDATE: There are now reports via Canadian Outages that Rogers has issues as well as Bell Aliant.

UPDATE #2: It seems you can take Rogers off the list in terms of outages in Atlantic Canada based on what I am seeing on social media.

UPDATE #3: It is becoming clear that cellular phones are affected by this outage as the CBC story that I linked to indicates that landlines are apparently not affected.

UPDATE #4: The CBC story has changed to say that its both landlines and cell phones that are affected by this outage. CBC also confirms that Rogers is not affected by this.

UPDATE #5: We have a cause for this epic outage:

UPDATE #6: Service is apparently being restored.

UPDATE #7: Apparently service has been restored (Bell) or on its way to being restored (Telus).

Hyundai’s BlueLink & Kia’s UVO Intelligence Services Hits Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on June 9, 2017 by itnerd

Yesterday, Bell Canada announced that they were teaming up with Hyundai Canada and Kia Canada to bring Hyundai’s BlueLink and Kia’s UVO Intelligence Services to Canada. If you have a vehicle that is properly equipped, you’ll get emergency roadside assistance and automatic collision notification, and connect a suite of services like remote start, climate control, local search, remote door lock/unlock, maintenance alerts and on-demand diagnostics.

The first Kia Canada vehicles that will get Uvo Intelligence will be the 2018 Optima and 2018 Rio 5-door. Over at Hyundai Canada, you can expect to see BlueLink in the 2018 Elantra GT and the 2018 Sonata. More vehicles will surely follow with this functionality. Both Hyundai Canada and Kia Canada will serve this functionality up free for 5 years.

Bell Ignored Ransom Demand Prior To Data Breach

Posted in Commentary with tags , on May 19, 2017 by itnerd

Earlier this week I told you about Bell having customer data leak and the possibility that more leaks would be coming. It now seems that the reason for the leak was the fact that Bell ignored a ransom demand from the hacker behind this. Here’s what The Financial Post had to say:

“A demand for payment was made by the hacker, but it was not paid,” Bell spokesman Marc Choma said via email on Tuesday. “We did not reply to their demand.”

You can completely understand why Bell didn’t pay. It would have opened the floodgates for extortion. But you still have to wonder how this happened in the first place? Bell isn’t exactly offering up those details. But the Canadian Privacy Commissioner is investigating and if they discover that Bell dropped the ball, we’ll be told pretty darn quick.

BREAKING: Bell Customer Info Leaked… More Leaks May Be Coming

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 15, 2017 by itnerd

CBC is breaking a story where 1.9 million Bell customer email addresses and some other info have been leaked by a hacker and more may be coming:

It is not clear when the breach occurred, how the data was accessed, or how long the attacker had access to Bell’s systems.

A person or group alleging to be behind the attack wrote in a post online that they were “releasing a significant portion of Bell.ca’s data due to the fact that they have failed to cooperate with us.”

“This shows how Bell doesn’t care for its customers safety and they could have avoided this public announcement,” the post continues. “Bell, if you don’t cooperate more will leak :)”

Bell has apologized for the leak, and affected customers have been contacted, but questions remain. How did this happen? And what will Bell do to ensure that this never happens again? How about the fact that it looks like this hacker was communicating with Bell? What was that all about? There’s serious questions here that Bell needs addressing. I want to see a response from Bell that is fulsome and complete when it comes to this. But knowing Bell, that likely won’t happen. Though, they are free to surprise me.

Globe & Mail Discusses Bell & Rogers Rollouts Of Gigabit Internet

Posted in Commentary with tags , on March 31, 2017 by itnerd

There’s an interesting article in The Globe & Mail today that talks about the rollout of Gigabit Internet in Canada and the costs and challenges associated with that rollout for Bell and Rogers. Here’s a snippet of what I am talking about:

“Rogers has completed its upgrade to the next generation of cable technology (known as DOCSIS 3.1) and said Thursday that between itself and BCE, the city of Toronto is now covered by gigabit Internet services.”

“It costs cable companies such as Rogers and Videotron Ltd., which is BCE’s biggest competitor in Quebec, about $250 to $300 a home to upgrade their networks and provide gigabit speeds, according to an estimate by Desjardins Securities Inc. analyst Maher Yaghi. In contrast, he estimates it costs BCE from $1,000 to $1,500 a home to make its fibre-to-the-home upgrades.

However, in both Toronto and Montreal, BCE is making use of aerial options – such as hydro poles – to string its cables, which is cheaper than building underground. Barclay’s Capital analyst Phillip Huang estimates it costs about $400 to $700 to connect homes using aerial infrastructure. He said that while 60 per cent of the build in Toronto had to be done through buried infrastructure, it will only be about 10 per cent in Montreal.”

This explains to some degree why Rogers and Bell have been engaged in battle to grab as many users as possible. They have to recoup the costs of this rollout somehow. I suspect that this will escalate over the next few months. That means that users will win because prices for Gigabit Internet will drop because of the competition between the two. If you’re in the market for Gigabit Internet, see if both Bell and Rogers can service your area with that service. If they can, I can say from personal experience that you’ll have leverage over both to get the best deal that you can. Especially if you bundle your services.

Bell, Rogers & Vidéotron Targeting Android TV Box Sellers…. Why This Is A #Fail

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on December 20, 2016 by itnerd

The CBC reported yesterday that Bell, Rogers and Vidéotron are using the court system to go after those in Canada who sell Android TV boxes which give you “free TV”. All you need to do is to supply high speed Internet and you’re good to go. Now you can completely understand why those three companies want to take out people who sell boxes like these. They see it as copyright infringement and they feel that they have to go after them. There’s a second reason though. They’re also afraid that people who have these boxes will cut the cord which will cut off some lucrative revenue from those customers. The cynic in me says that it’s more the second reason than the first. Regardless, there’s a problem with what they’re doing. It’s not going to work.

The fact that Canadians are gravitating towards these boxes is a sign as obvious as the Bat Signal that Bell, Rogers & Vidéotron are not meeting the needs of Canadians with what they offer for TV services. I’ve always said that if you offer consumers a decent product for a fair price, they will have zero incentive to pirate anything. Unfortunately none of these companies do that. As a result you have this situation. If Bell, Rogers & Vidéotron really wanted to address this, they could simply provide more choice at lower prices. If they did, the Android box market would be dead tomorrow.

But clearly these three companies don’t see things that way and it’s going to cost them in the end because as fast as they try to take one of these sellers out, two more will pop in their place. Plus there’s also the option of customers building their own Android TV boxes which frankly isn’t that hard. So what are they going to do then? Hunt down every subscriber and sue them? That wouldn’t be really productive or cost effective. Not to mention that the optics of that would really suck.

The cable TV companies have to simply admit that this horse has already left the barn. Thus they should address the real issue which is their pricing and the lack of choice. If they did that, I believe that they would find it to be more effective in encouraging consumers not to cut the cord.

So how about it Bell, Rogers and Vidéotron?