Archive for Bell

Bell Rolling Out Fibre Out To More Places…. Further Putting The Pressure On Rogers

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 4, 2021 by itnerd

Rogers is really not going to like this. According to this press release, Bell will be spending a billion dollars over the next two years to fast-track its fibre, wireless and rural network rollouts. Here’s what’s on tap:

  • 900,000 extra fibre and rural Wireless Home Internet locations
  • Double its 5G population coverage this year.
  • Bell says up to 400,000 new homes will get broadband in 2021, along with up to 250,000 extra all-fibre connections, and up to 150,000 more homes covered under Wireless Home Internet.

This is really going to further put pressure on Rogers who already trails them when it comes to the quality and speed of their Internet access. I will be watching to see how Rogers responds to this. Assuming that they can.

BREAKING: Cogeco Internet Is Down For The Second Time This Week…. And Apparently So Is Rogers And Bell

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on January 8, 2021 by itnerd

I am hearing and seeing reports of Cogeco Internet being down for the second time this week across Ontario. Cogeco itself admits this:

The thing is that they are not alone. Rogers and Bell are having outages as well. At least according to users:

The difference is that I cannot find any evidence of Rogers admitting this. Though there is a lot of people on Twitter who have Rogers or Bell saying that they are down. For myself personally, I am online and I have no issues at the moment. Thus this requires some further investigation to find out what is actually happening.

Updates to come.

UPDATE: Apparently this is a DNS issue again. That means the fix that I suggested in this story about Cogeco’s outage from earlier this week should work. If you try it and it works, please let me know in the comments. I also still am hearing sporadic reports of Rogers and Bell having outages continue. But I can’t find definitive proof of that.

UPDATE #2: The latest Cogeco outage appears to be resolved as per this:

And it looks like Rogers and Bell might have had issues as well. But not widespread ones based on looking at Twitter.

Bell Canada Tweets About Their Black Friday Sale…. And It Doesn’t Go Well For Them

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 26, 2020 by itnerd

Bell Canada has issues with their customer service. So much so, it’s the only reason why I personally haven’t switched from Rogers to Bell. This despite the fact that Bell has a superior Internet product when compared to anything that Rogers offers. But I won’t switch to a superior product to get inferior customer service. Clearly others have issues with Bell’s customer service as evidenced by what happened when Bell decided to Tweet about their Black Friday sale:

Things went to hell in a hand basket shortly after this was posted. Take this example (Warning: Spicy language):

Ouch. That will leave a mark. How about this one:

Two hours on hold with any and not getting any service is totally unacceptable. I can see why this person would be a wee bit ticked off.

One person had an issue with the fact that they were promoting a Black Friday sale during a pandemic:

That’s a fair point. I live in Toronto and along with Peel Region, and we’re in lockdown again. And that’s true in a few other places in Canada. Which is a big hint that maybe this was an ill timed Tweet as people should be staying home as much as possible.

Back to the customer service complaints:

Bell employees and their contractors have been caught doing some shady things when it comes to getting people onboard and keeping them as Bell customers. Such as up-selling at all costs, as well as having contractors who do door to door sales say and do anything to get you onboard. Something that their contractors confirmed but Bell denied until their contractors were caught red handed. As for Bell changing their pricing on a whim. A judge did say that they can’t do that. Thus it would be interesting to see if that still happens.

If you scroll through the entire thread, you’ll see a lot of this sort of sentiment. It has the feel of that time when Rogers tried to promote their One Number service with the hashtag #Rogers1Number and that went totally off the rails when people hijacked the hashtag to complain about poor customer service from Rogers. At least in that instance, Rogers took it on the chin and publicly admitted that they had customer service issues that they needed to address. But I don’t see Bell doing that here. They don’t strike me as the sort of company who would actually admit to having a problem, owning it, and making changes. After all, having great tech only gets you so far.

Rogers Admits To Throttling Internet Users….. Could This Be The Start Of Mass Defections To Bell?

Posted in Commentary with tags , on June 15, 2020 by itnerd

A thread on DSLReports.com was brought to my attention this morning in regards to Rogers allegedly throttling the upstream connections of Internet users. The claimed smoking gun was in the form of a text chat that was captured by a DSLReports.com user by the name of “squads”:

Now, you can pretty much predict what happened next. Users were outraged. After all you can see from their perspective why they’d be a wee bit ticked off. If everyone is working from home, on VPN connections, doing Zoom calls and the like, upstream bandwidth usage will skyrocket. So if an ISP cuts their upstream bandwidth, users are going to be mad.

The thing is, another user on this thread who goes by the name of “DocDrew” correctly points out that Rogers has policies that allows them to do this. And effectively, you agree to that by signing up to their service. While this is 100% accurate, it hasn’t stopped ticked off Rogers customers from dialing up Bell to switch over to their Internet offering. The original poster of this DSLReports.com thread did. And I have to admit that since this pandemic has started, I have assisted a growing number of my corporate clients to switch from Rogers to Bell so that they can work more effectively from home. And their experience with Bell has been very positive thus far.

I think some of this goes back to my look at Bell’s rollout of the fibre to the home service and coming to the conclusion that Bell had Rogers in a position where Bell would become the dominant Internet provider in Canada. Now while that article was written in 2018, and Bell has tweaked it’s speeds slightly so that it is not symmetrical Internet access, Bell’s offerings are still substantially faster than anything Rogers offers at the moment. And via asking Bell Fibe customers who I have worked with and research in DSLReports.com and in other places, Bell appears to currently has no protocol to throttle customers in a similar way that Rogers does (though I am willing to bet that they could if they wanted to and just like Rogers they have wording in their various agreements that say so). That combined with their recent infrastructure investments makes Bell look like they are far ahead of the curve.

I will be interested to see what Rogers Q2 numbers look like. To be specific, I want to see if Rogers is bleeding Internet customers. I would also like to see if Bell when they put out their Q2 numbers are on the receiving end of those customers. The reason being that it will confirm or deny if my anecdotal observations are accurate or not. My thinking is that this could be the start of mass defections to Bell. But hard numbers would confirm or deny this.

Bell Chooses Ericsson As 5G Equipment Supplier…. Telus Announces Ericsson and Nokia As 5G Equipment Suppliers….. And Huawei Is Out…. Maybe….

Posted in Commentary with tags , on June 3, 2020 by itnerd

Yesterday, Bell dropped a press release announcing that they were going with Ericsson for their 5G network. What’s significant about this is that Bell is, or I guess was a Huawei customer. I am guessing that Bell made the decision that dealing with Huawei isn’t good for business. Thus they made the switch to Ericsson.

So with this move by Bell, and the fact that Rogers has also tapped Ericsson for their 5G network, the last of the “big three” telcos to be working on a 5G rollout is TELUS. They also dropped a press release of their own yesterday announcing Ericsson and Nokia as partners to build their 5G network. Here’s where things get weird. Earlier this year TELUS announced that Huawei would supply gear for its 5G rollout. Something that did not go over well with customers. Which suggests that TELUS is not proceeding with Huawei. Or it suggests that this is in addition to the Huawei gear that they announced that they were going to use earlier this year. It isn’t clear, and I am already seeing backlash from TELUS customers who think that TELUS is still using Huawei gear. Which makes TELUS look bad. Thus if I could give TELUS some advice, they might want to clear that up and do so quickly.

Thus it appears that Huawei is maybe being dumped by “big three” telcos. They definitely are not being used by two of them for sure. This makes me wonder what future Huawei has in Canada. It also makes me wonder if a decision on Huawei is coming from the Canadian government as it is kind of coincidental that both of these telcos came out with announcements that appear to leave Huawei in the cold on the same day.

RCMP Arrests Two In Connection With The Bell Data Breach

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 9, 2019 by itnerd

You might remember that Bell got pwned in 2018 and 2017. The first time about 100K customers were affected with names and email addresses being accessed. The second one had over 20,000 Bell small business customers affected with data including credit card details put online.

Now it seems that as a result of the 2018 incident that the RCMP got involved and today a press release went up announcing the arrest of two persons connected to that incident.  The two individuals will appear in court in relation to fraud over $5,000 CAD, conspiracy to commit fraud, unauthorized use of a computer, identity theft, laundering proceeds of crime and identity fraud. In other words, the Mounties got their men. It isn’t clear which incident that these arrests are connected to.

It will be interesting to see what details come out in this trial. As it stands, all we know beyond the arrests is that the pair then fraudulently purchased goods online through the accounts. But I would love to know if they were behind both incidents or not and how they got in for starters.

Bell Jacks Their Throttling Limit To 512Kbps For Their Unlimited Plans….. And Does A Little Bit More

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 9, 2019 by itnerd

In this post from last week where TELUS made the change to make their unlimited plans part of their regular offerings, I was expecting Bell to do the same. Instead they did something different. According to Mobilesyrup, they did two things.

The first thing that they did was they increased the throttling speed from 256 Kbps to 512 Kbps which matches TELUS but also leaves Rogers who still offers 256 Kbps in the cold. Thus I fully expect a response from Rogers on that front.

The second thing that they did is as follows:

Further, Bell confirmed to MobileSyrup that it had extended the promotional Bell Unlimited plans, and there is currently no end date. When the plans initially launched, the website listed an end date of June 30th.

Clearly Bell doesn’t want to commit to making unlimited plans part of their normal offerings for reasons only they understand. From my perspective that’s kind of lame seeing as their two main competitors have committed to unlimited plans which means that Bell really has no choice but to do the same thing.

Watching the “big 3” actually try and compete with each other is kind of interesting. I wonder what’s going to happen next on this front?

 

Bell Fibe TV Does An #EpicFail During Historic Toronto Raptors Title Run…… TWICE

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 14, 2019 by itnerd

Imagine being one of the three largest telcos in Canada and having your customers not be able to watch the biggest games in the history of the country right when it mattered most. That’s what happened to Bell Canada when it’s Fibe TV product did a #Fail twice during the Toronto Raptors run to the NBA title. It failed once during game five with about a minute to go in the game (which the Raptors lost). Which of course resulted in outrage and forced Bell Canada to send out an email to their customers that said this:

Customers using the Fibe TV app, including Mobile TV, Satellite TV and Alt TV customers, lost service for approximately 10 minutes on Monday night due to a hardware malfunction. The outage impacted all channels on the app, including the last moments of the Toronto Raptors game.

 We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and will be automatically applying a $10 credit to your account.

But last night with about 5 minutes to go in game 6 (which the Raptors won), it happened again. And the outrage on Twitter was epic:

What’s really ironic about all of this is the Bell Canada is a part owner of the Raptors, and George Cope who is the CEO of Bell was actually on hand at Oracle Arena to watch the Raptors win and accept the trophy after the victory. Something that wasn’t lost on angry Bell customers:

My wife and I almost switched to Bell about 2 weeks ago as they have some really enticing offers to draw you in. But we instead renewed with Rogers for 2 years after they came to the table with some offers that kept our phone, Internet and TV costs within the bounds of reality. And that now seems to be a great decision as it is pretty clear that the Bell TV offering isn’t robust enough to handle an event like the Toronto Raptors run to the NBA title. Let’s face it Bell Canada failed miserably on the biggest stage possible and it’s going to affect their ability to entice people to switch to them. Not only that, I suspect that their retentions department is flooded with calls at the moment from customers who couldn’t see the only Canadian NBA team win their first title.

It sucks to be Bell Canada right now.

UPDATE: Several days after I posted this story, this happened:

bell6

Well, it’s great that they reached out. But I’m not a Bell customer. At least not anymore because of Bell customer service #Fails like this one. But it’s clear that Bell is trying to make this go away. Thus if you’re a Bell customer, please let me know how they are enticing you to make this go away by hitting me up using one of these methods.

Bell Joins Rogers And TELUS In Offering A $75 Plan…. And I Pick A Winner Of The $75 Plan Battle Royale

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 13, 2019 by itnerd

First Rogers came up with a $75 “unlimited” plan (as it throttles you after you burn through the 10GB of data that Rogers serves up) that will be part of their normal offerings, then TELUS appeared with a promotional (as it expires on July 2nd) $75 15GB plan with no throttling, and just a few minutes ago Bell joined the other members of the “big 3” with their own $75 plan. Here’s the details from their website:

Our unlimited data plans start at $75 for 10 GB of data at unbeatable speeds across Canada. This allows you to upload, download and stream a ton of content at maximum speed. Beyond 10 GB of maximum speed data, you can use unlimited data at reduced speeds of 256 Kbps for light web browsing, emails and texting, without ever having to worry about data overage fees. See below for more unlimited data plan options and details on how to get started.

Offer ends June 30, 2019.

So this sounds like a clone of the Rogers plan. Except that like TELUS, this offer is time limited as it expires on June 30th. It also doesn’t offer any sort of data top up like Rogers has (which is 3GB of full speed data for $15 after you hit your 10GB cap which makes you eligible for throttling). At least, there’s not one that I see.

So, now that all 3 of the “big 3” have put their cards on the table. Who wins? If you want my opinion, it’s Rogers. That may surprise some of you. But hear me out. Rogers $75 offering is now how they’re going to do business going forward. That gives them the advantage here as TELUS and Bell are only offering their $75 plans as time limited promotions. That’s going to draw a clear distinction between Rogers and the other two of the “big 3” in which Rogers comes out on top. If I were Bell and TELUS, I’d be rethinking their strategies as it looks like we are actually starting to perhaps see some actual competition in the Canadian wireless space, and those two don’t look too competitive at the moment.

Documents Show Bell Canada Trying To Get Canadian Regulators To Slant The Playing Field In Its Favor

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 29, 2019 by itnerd

University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist has scored via an access to information request a treasure trove of documents that show that Bell Canada is trying to shape the universe to suit its own needs by getting Canadian regulators to do its dirty work:

This post starts with the submission from Bell, which was released via ATIP and which I’ve posted for research and news reporting purposes. The running theme from Bell is a simple one: regulate others, but not us. For example, the Bell online video regulation proposal conveniently seeks to regulate Netflix, Amazon, and other large U.S. providers while largely avoiding regulation for Canadian-based services. It does so by limiting regulation to those Canadian services with $300 million or more in revenue from online video services (likely no one right now) vs. the same $300 million threshold or $1 billion in total global revenues for foreign operators (thereby capturing Netflix, Amazon, CBS, Disney, etc.). Bell acknowledges the difference, effectively arguing that Canadian policy should encourage Canadian market entry without regulation and that domestic market entrants have long been supporting the system.

As for the proposed regulation, Bell wants a mandated contribution of 20% of Canadian revenues to support Cancon. It argues that the same foreign companies that would be required to pay into the system would be ineligible to access the funding nor able to use their existing investments to off-set the mandated contributions. This is notable for several reasons. First, foreign sources are already outspending Canadian broadcasters such as Bell on priority programming such as English-language drama, yet Bell argues that spending is irrelevant. Moreover, while Canadian entities would be able to tap into the Canadian funding, companies such as Netflix would be required contribute hundreds of millions of dollars without being able to do the same.

And there’s more:

No Bell submission would be complete without a call for website blocking. Bell resurfaces its arguments for the FairPlay site blocking system (even including one of its CRTC submissions as an appendix). In addition to changes to support site blocking within the Telecommunications Act, Bell wants an expansive new criminal prohibition in the Broadcast Act that would make it a criminal offence to knowingly “operate, advertise, supply or sell or offer to sell access to a distribution undertaking that retransmits broadcasting without lawful authorization from a programming undertaking.” In other words, Bell is calling for widespread criminalization of anyone even tangentially associated with unauthorized online video streaming.

Bell also wants its privacy obligations under the Telecommunications Act eliminated. It argues that the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has applied a lower standard to companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon than it has to Canadian telecommunications companies. Bell’s claim rests on requirements that it obtain express consent for its consumer surveillance program (referred to as a relevant advertising program), whereas it argues that other companies do not face the same requirement. It describes this as an “Internet platform privacy gap” and it wants the same standard applied to all (how eliminating the CRTC’s role over privacy would achieve this is not explained).

Bell Canada clearly is living in an alternate universe where they clearly think that any or all of the above is acceptable. Perhaps Bell should seriously rethink the above because now that all of this is public and consumers start to find out about this, Bell can expect a fair amount of blowback that they will have difficulty dealing with. Though I will admit that if they are bold enough to come up with a strategy like this, they likely don’t care what Canadian consumers think. Which means that Canadian consumers should likely take their telco dollars and spend them with companies other than Bell Canada.