Archive for Bell

Bell Announces Gigabit Speeds On LTE

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 2, 2018 by itnerd

This morning, Bell put out a press release to announce that they’re rolling out their LTE Advanced or LTE-A network to the masses after a successful trial where they achieved gigabit speeds. The rollout will take place during 2018. But be advised that you’ll need a smartphone that supports this to see Gigabit speeds.

Now I would expect to see Telus announce something similar shortly as they have a relationship with Bell when it comes to infrastructure. As for the other member of the “big three” phone carriers in Canada who is also known as Rogers? Who knows. My guess is they’re still trying to deal with the Apple Watch Series 3 debacle to try and get on level terms with Bell.

Advertisements

BREAKING: Bell Canada Pwned AGAIN…. Perhaps 100K Customers Affected.

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 23, 2018 by itnerd

Last year came news that Bell Canada was not only pwned by hackers, but they were the subject of an extortion attempt too. Well, it seems that they’ve been pwned again. They’ve sent a note out to affected customers which doesn’t say how many people were affected. But the word on the street is that the number is 100,000.

#Fail

The data that was accessed were names and email addresses. Credit card info wasn’t accessed. The telco suggests that customers change their passwords, and monitor their financial records for suspicious activity. On top of that, the telco has “additional security, authentication and identification requirements have been implemented” on affected accounts. But that’s cold comfort to Bell customers who look at this, and the previous pwnage and wonder if Bell takes the security of customer data seriously.

Consumer Group Demands CRTC Investigate Telco Upselling

Posted in Commentary with tags , on January 12, 2018 by itnerd

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre has formally asked the CRTC to hold a public inquiry into aggressive telecom sales tactics, based on recent media reports like this one, this one and this one:

John Lawford, PIAC’s Executive Director and General Counsel signed the letter on behalf of PIAC, which reads in part: “The nature of these allegations is so serious that a formal inquiry into the entire industry’s sales practices is required.”

Lawford stated today that: “We are concerned that such aggressive and potentially misleading sales practices are endemic in retail Internet, wireless, subscription TV and wireline telephone markets, in particular in relation to bundles offered by the major providers. We are therefore calling on the CRTC to publicly inquire into these practices to restore consumer trust and to craft any necessary rules to prevent further harm to consumers.”

A copy of the letter is found here.

My $0.02 worth. Someone should investigate this. Be it the CRTC or Parliament. Clearly there is something wrong here where reports like these surface. Thus in the interests of Canadians, they need to be addressed and people who are perpetrating behavior like this need to be held to account. Thus, I will be very interested to see what the CRTC and others do with this request. If they do nothing, then it tells you all you need about those who regulate the telecommunications industry in Canada.

An Update To My Slow Speed Issue With Rogers Gigabit Internet….. We’re Looking At Bell

Posted in Commentary with tags , on December 29, 2017 by itnerd

When I last spoke about the fact that my Rogers gigabit Internet connection has been half that speed for the last week and a half, and it appeared that this issue was bigger than just me, I was trying to work up the courage to phone Rogers. The reason being that phoning them tends to be very frustrating. Thus it requires courage to pick up the phone and call them.

I’m not there yet.

But my wife and I did start looking at the competition. Namely Bell. Now if we were going to switch telcos, we’d switch everything. TV, home phone, Internet. So we started to look at Bell Bundles for all of those services. This is what we saw:

bell

Hmmmm…. No bundles with gigabit Internet. No problem, they have a build your own bundle tab. So we walked through it and configured a Bell Bundle that matched what we’re getting from Rogers. Here’s the price:

Bell 2.JPG

Now we were paying about that with Rogers until the last time we had a problem with our gigabit Internet service where Rogers cut the price down to $155 a month to retain us as customers. Thus this price wasn’t a shock to us.

Another option is to just get Internet from Bell and keep or TV and home phone service with Rogers. At least for now. Here’s what they’re serving up for gigabit Internet service:

bell 4

Well, $99 a month is not a bad price. So you’re likely wondering why we didn’t pull the trigger. Two things. The first being this:

bell 3.JPG

 

Bell discounts their services for a period of time to get you in the door. Then the price goes up. We’re not fans of that. A company should just give you their best price all the time without playing games like this. The second reason why we didn’t pull the trigger is that Bell was caught using extremely high pressure sales tactics on every call. And this was coming from current and former Bell call center employees. Of course Bell denied this, but the scale of customers who were reporting the same thing made it clear that Bell has a serious problem. And we’ve experienced a version of this before we dumped Bell several years back. This is giving us a reason to question if we should go back to them.

So the bottom line is that we’re continuing to look at options while working up the courage to call Rogers and see if they can fix this issue, which we wonder if they can seeing as this is the third time we’ve had speed issues with them.

One last thing. If reps from Rogers and Bell are reading this, you’re free to reach out and convince us why you’re the choice to go with as we’re open to hear what you have to say. If you can show that you can provide consistent speed and great customer service, we’ll sign on instantly. Because all we want are services that deliver what is promised at a reasonable price with great customer serivce. No more, no less.

UPDATE: Just after 5PM today, I got a call from The Office Of The President at Rogers. Clearly my posts got their attention. I had a quick but productive conversation with them and they noted that a couple of my downstream channels were out of spec. Whether this could be responsible for what I am seeing, he wasn’t sure. In any case, a tech was going to come out on Tuesday afternoon. But what he said about my channels being out of spec sparked my interest. So I put my IT Nerd hat on and logged into my modem. This is what I saw:

Screen Shot 2017-12-29 at 6.00.15 PM

Generally speaking the signal strength for down stream channels should be between – 10 dBmV to + 10 dBmV. Ideally at 0dBmV. What I notice is that the signal strength for channels 29 and 30 (look under the Channel ID column) are just outside the upper limit of that spec. In terms of the signal noise ratio, it should be in the 36~40 dB range. I notice that a lot of my channels are just outside the upper limit of that spec. But neither of those should cause the sort of issues that I am seeing. The reason why I am pointing this out is that in previous go rounds with this issue, I could find clear and convincing evidence that something was up with Roger’s network. I’m not seeing that here. This merits further investigation as there’s something weird going on here and I am not 100% sure that this is a Rogers issue. Thus my weekend is going to be spent really digging into this to fully understand what is going on here.

UPDATE #2: Last night I spent a couple of hours digging into this and I couldn’t come up with a reason why this was happening. But I could see that there was a problem. That was highly frustrating. Thus I decided to park my troubleshooting and pick it up the next day.

Today at 7AM I did another speed test and to my surprise my speeds are back to normal. With normal being something north of 930 Mbps downstream at the Rogers modem. I thought that was weird because things just don’t fix themselves. So I logged into the Rogers modem to see what was going on. This is what I saw:

Screen Shot 2017-12-30 at 10.56.32 AM.png

If you look at my signal strength, every channel except channel 30 is within spec. That was different than the picture of this same screen that I took yesterday. That was weird. It was about that time that I heard the sound of a truck backing up. I took the liberty of going out to the balcony to take a look outside and I saw two moving trucks. That made me wonder if the cause of the issue was one of the people who was moving out today. You see Rogers Internet is a closed loop system. What that means is if someone has a bad piece of equipment like a cable splitter on their connection, it could affect other people. Thus using that logic, it is plausible that one of the people who moved out today had something bad on their cable connection and I was collateral damage in terms of whatever havoc it was creating. And the second they disconnected the problematic piece of equipment, things returned to normal. Either that or something else that’s customer facing changed inside the Rogers infrastructure that I am connected to that accounts for this. Another data point is that it is unlikely that Rogers had the time or the ability to send someone out to the condo development overnight to look at any of their equipment on the property. Especially on a long weekend.

I’ve reported all of this to the person at the Office Of The President that I was talking to and suggested that instead of sending a tech out to visit me, that tech might want to poke around the equipment outside to see if something is up. In the meantime, I will continue to monitor this to see if this is just a fluke or if all is good going forward.

People Who Have Bell & Telus $60/10GB Plans Can’t Have Apple Watch Series 3 On Them… Customers Outraged

Posted in Commentary with tags , on December 27, 2017 by itnerd

It seems that if you were one of the many Canadians who rushed to get a $60/10GB plan from Bell, and you have an Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE, you might have a problem. Based on these Tweets, you can’t add an Apple Watch Series 3 onto that plan:

In two of the Tweets above, it seems that reps for Bell said to those customers that they could add an Apple Watch. Only to find out later that they couldn’t. Thus it seems that Bell still has issues when it comes to dealing with their customers in an upfront manner.

But Bell isn’t alone in this. Telus customers seem to have the same issue:

As for Rogers….. Well…. They still don’t have Apple Watch Series 3 support at all. But clearly those Canadians who wanted a cheap cell phone plan because Canadians get screwed by cell phone carriers may have to give up those plans if they want an Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE. That shows you what Canadian telcos think of their customers.

Pity.

UPDATE: Telus seems to have bigger issues. Apparently you can’t add an Apple Watch to a Telus corporate plan either:

But it also seems that Telus might have a workaround to not being able to add an Apple Watch to their $60/10GB plans:

If this is accurate, then it looks like Bell might be the big loser here. If you’re a Telus customer and you have an Apple Watch with your $60/10GB plan via this method, an email or a tweet to me confirming that this works would be really appreciated.

It Seems That Canadians Don’t Really Like Bell Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 27, 2017 by itnerd

In the days since I posted this story and this story on Bell Canada’s sales tactics, I’ve gotten lots of emails and Tweets from people that make it clear that Bell Canada have really not made a lot of friends with Canadians. In fact, I have been pointed towards protest groups that have been set up in relation to Bell Canada and their activities. For example, I was pointed to a Google Community that has frequent postings about anything negative that Bell Canada does. Related to this, I also was pointed towards a Twitter feed called “Bell Canada Lies” that is similar to the Google Community.

The thing is that these two examples, combined with other things that I have seen in the last few days, is above and beyond anything that I have seen with any other Canadian telco. Bell Canada has a real PR issue that has existed long before I posted my stories on Bell. That’s a huge problem if you’re Bell. And the fact that people are bringing this to me is also not good for Bell. It says to me that Bell really needs to clean up its act and fast.

If Canadians Want Bell Canada To Change Its Behavior, They Need To Stop Doing Business With Bell Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 22, 2017 by itnerd

Earlier this week it came to light that Bell Canada was forcing it’s call center staff to upsell customers at every opportunity. Since then customers have been coming out of the woodwork to say that that report is 100% accurate. For example, the CBC has a follow up report with some truly horrifying examples of what Bell is doing to customers. I encourage you to read it as some of the stories that are in that report are truly horrific. One thing that was suggested in that story was this:

The growing number of allegations about Bell employees using high-pressure sales tactics to upsell customers has prompted the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) to call for a public inquiry.

“The CRTC needs to take a look at the sales practices of telecommunications and broadcasting companies in Canada with a particular emphasis on upselling or misleading sales,” PIAC executive director John Lawford said.

“Right now, there’s nothing in the Wireless Code that says you have to sell customers products that are suitable,” said Lawford.  

“If sales practices that are inappropriate and ripping off consumers are endemic in the industry, that’s completely appropriate for the CRTC to say ‘We’re going to set out rules.'”

The problem is, that’s not going to cut it. The CRTC has proven that it doesn’t have the will or ability to really act as a regulator. At least not when you compare them to the FTC or FCC in the states which does a far better job of this sort of thing. Though, they are free to surprise me by taking this on and producing results that will matter to Canadians. But I’m not holding my breath on that front.

The only real way to force Bell Canada to ensure that this behavior isn’t going on is to not do business with them. While Canada does have issues with having a truly competitive telco landscape, there is some choice out there in the form of Rogers and Telus. And shifting dollars away from a telco who on the wireless front accounts for 31.8% of complaints to the CCTS so far this year [Warning: PDF], would send Bell Canada a signal that this is not acceptable. And it would likely change their behavior way faster than any regulator or government could. The bottom line is this, Canadians have the power to do something about this and all they need to do is exercise that power. If they don’t, Bell will simply weather this storm and continue to do the things that are described in the CBC reports on this topic. Which is not good for Canadian consumers.