Archive for Bell

Bell Named Fastest ISP In Canada By PC Magazine… Rogers Ends Up Third

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 21, 2018 by itnerd

PC Magazine has released their report on the Fastest ISPs in Canada, and Bell took the crown by a fair margin. Second was Bell Aliant which was just slightly ahead of Rogers. But both were behind Bell by fair amount.

The reason that Bell won was their deployment of their Fibe Internet offering. An offering that I’ve said is going to push Bell to the front of the pack because competitors like Rogers have no way to match that. And I fully expect that Bell’s advantage over their competition is only going to increase as they are aggressively rolling this offering out to everywhere they can.

I have to admit that switching to Bell is really tempting. If they could clean up their customer service issues, they would be free to take my money.


Chatham-Kent Gets Bell’s All-Fibre Broadband Network…. That Is Right In Teksavvy’s Back Yard

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

I’ve been monitoring the progress of Bells new all-fibre broadband network which has rolled out in Toronto, Orillia, And a couple places east of Toronto. Up until now the clear target is Rogers as they seemingly have no answer for what Bell has to offer. But today it seems that Bell has now turned its attention to Chatham-Kent which is about three hours west of Toronto in terms of its next place to roll out their all-fibre broadband network. It’s also the HQ of Teksavvy which for years has offered far more affordable Internet and home phone services than either Bell or Rogers has been able to.

Service will initially be offered to Chatham and then it will be expanding to Blenheim, Ridgetown, Tilbury and Wallaceburg and Bell promises that the first customer connections will be in the fall. It will be interesting to see how both Rogers and Teksavvy react to this. Particularly the latter as this has to be seen as a direct threat to Teksavvy.

Bell Further Twists The Screws On Rogers By Rolling Out All Fibre Network In Orillia

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 9, 2018 by itnerd

If you’re Rogers, Bell must be making life miserable for you. First they rolled out an all fibre network in Toronto, then they rolled it out to a number of places east of Toronto. Now cottage country is going to get some all fibre love as Bell is rolling out their all fibre offering to Orillia which is north of Toronto:

Fully funded by Bell, the network deployment will include more than 260 kilometres of new fibre installation and employ local workers in design and construction. Broad availability of Bell’s all-fibre connections in Orillia is expected by the first quarter of 2019. 

“Bell’s investment will put Orillia among the top 10 per cent of communities across Canada for high-speed connectivity,” said Dan Landry, Manager of Business Retention and Expansion with the Orillia Economic Development Office. “The City of Orillia will now be able to provide businesses and residents with full confidence they will have true fibre connectivity as a resource.”

With every city that Bell adds to their list of places where you can sign up for their all fibre offering, they make life more and more difficult for Rogers as from a technology standpoint, they have the upper hand on Rogers. I fully expect these announcements by Bell to become more and more frequent so that they continue to make life more and more difficult for Rogers and leave them with no path to recover.

Bell Is Going For The Killshot Against Rogers By Rolling Out Fibre To The Premises As Fast As It Can

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

If you’re Rogers you have to scared right now. I say that because Bell is stepping up its rollout of their Fiber To The Premises offering. First there was Toronto. Then in late April, Oshawa which is just east of Toronto got some Fibre love from Bell. Today, Clarington which is east of Oshawa is apparently the next on the list to get Fiber To The Premise.

It’s clear that Bell is being hyper aggressive here, and frankly I don’t blame them. They have a superior offering versus what Rogers can serve up. So why not take that advantage and run with it as hard as they can? As long as they don’t screw up, and to be clear, that could happen with Bell given their multiple faux pas over the last few months, they could run up a massive lead against Rogers. This activity from Bell as of late says to me that when it comes to residential Internet access, Bell has Rogers in its sighs and is going for the killshot.

Judge Says Bell Can’t Promise A Price And Change It Later

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 30, 2018 by itnerd

Bell has taken some serious hits lately on the customer service front. Including having the highest amount of complaints to the CCTS so far this year. Well, here’s another hit. A Bell customer took Bell to court over their pricing strategy and won in epic fashion. Here’s the details from the CBC:

In a judgment issued last month in a Toronto small claims court, Deputy Judge William C. De Lucia said that Bell’s attempt to impose new terms after a verbal contract guaranteeing a monthly price for 24 months had been struck was “high-handed, arbitrary and unacceptable.”

It all started in November 2016, when David Ramsay called a Bell customer service representative to inquire about TV and internet services.

The sales agent told Ramsay he could get Bell’s Fibe TV and internet services “for $112.90 a month for 24 months” and then said he’d get an “email confirmation of everything that was just discussed.”

But when the email arrived, it said prices were actually “subject to change” and that Bell was planning to increase its price for internet service by $5, two months later.

“I was stunned and appalled to find these buried terms in an email,” says Ramsay. “I had a contract, and this ain’t that contract.”

Ramsay called Bell to say the emailed contract was different from the verbal contract he’d made on the phone.

I’ve heard this from other Bell customers and this is one reason why I have not switched from Rogers to them. This business practice really rubs people the wrong way.

Here’s what ultimately led to this epic win:

In a move that was pivotal to his legal case, he requested a transcript of the call in which the customer service rep promised him a fixed price for two years.

All contact centers be it sales, customer service or technical support record your calls and keep them for anywhere from six months to two years. And they have to tell you that before you talk to someone live. I know this because I help contact centers set up these recording systems and design the policies for them. You have a right in Canada to get a copy of the recording or the transcript. Usually through the privacy office of the company.

There were two other things that I should mention about this case:

  1. Bell tried to pay off this guy before the case got to court and get him to sign a hush agreement. He refused. And good for him for doing so.
  2. The customer complained to the CCTS before going to court. They closed his case. But when this judgement against Bell surfaced, the CCTS changed its tune and said that they will look at falling in line with this judgement and look into previous complaints of a similar nature.

This underscores the fact that while Bell is the worst when it comes to this sort of thing, the telco industry in Canada needs a serious shakeup due to the fact that Canadians don’t get the best value from any of the “big 3” telcos. It’s high time that one of the “big 3” simply just offer Canadians the best deal possible right up front. No tricks. No gotchas. No fine print. The other two would fall in line instantly if they did that. If that doesn’t happen, I say that the Canadian Government needs to step in and clean up the business practices of the telco industry. Because, clearly the “big 3” are unwilling to do so on their own.

CCTS Mid Year Report Is Out…. Surprise! Bell Is The Most Complained About Telco In Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on April 10, 2018 by itnerd

In a sure sign that Canadian telcos are frustrating and infuriating their customers, The Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) published their mid year report and noted that complaints are way up. And by that I mean a 73% increase over this time last year. And what are people complaining about? Here’s the number one issue:

The most frequently-raised issue in complaints remains the non-disclosure or inaccurate information about the terms under which a service is being provided. This is by far the most problematic issue for wireless customers. For TV and phone customers, the largest area of concern is incorrect charges, and for internet customers the number one concern is quality of service.

Hmmm…. Bell have been accused of that recently. I wonder how they finished in this report. Let’s rank the telcos in order:

  1. Bell with 2275 complaints
  2. Rogers with 707 complaints
  3. Telus with 511 complaints

Additional details can be found here.

That’s not a shock that Bell is number one seeing as the sort of stupid stuff that they’ve been caught doing recently have surely annoyed Canadian consumers from coast to coast. It illustrates just how bad their customer service is. It’s also a major reason why I haven’t switched from Rogers to Bell for my telco services. Sure Bell has a way better Internet offering than Rogers. And unlike Rogers they support the Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE. But their customer service is so bad and they have a reputation of “baiting and switching” when it comes to their pricing, that I would rather just live with what I get, and don’t get from Rogers than to switch to Bell. By the way, Rogers shouldn’t be celebrating Bell’s misfortune as they got caught doing some of the same things that Bell has been accused of.

One other data point. Clearly the increase in complaints is affecting the CCTS too as they have a job posting for people to help them to field all the complaints that are coming in. That shows the level of discontent that Canadians have when it comes to telcos.

If I were an exec at any of the three major telcos that was responsible for customer service, I would looking at this report and say to myself that I need to up my game. Then go about improving things so that my customers don’t complain. But when it comes to Bell specifically, they need to take a bit of a different angle as this just further highlights how bad they are as a telco when it comes to how they treat customers. And I don’t know how they fix that so that they can regain the trust of Canadians. Bell has a good product offering, but without quality customer service, that doesn’t mean anything.

Why Bell Has The Upper Hand Against Rogers When It Comes To Internet Access In Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags , on April 9, 2018 by itnerd

Last week I posted a story about Bell rolling out fibre across Toronto and offering up 1 Gbit/s symmetrical speeds today, with faster speeds coming in the future. In that story, I said this:

Having symmetrical speeds is something that in the past was only found in business class Internet. The fact that Bell is bringing it to consumers is a big deal. And the fact that they’re the only ones thus far to do so has Rogers on the back foot as Rogers doesn’t offer fibre to the premises nor do they offer symmetrical speeds. 

That got me a few emails over the weekend asking why Rogers can’t compete with Bell. Thus I decided to write a follow up to explain why Bell has the upper hand against Rogers in this regard.

First of all Bell is delivering fibre optic cable to the home. Meaning that it’s an end to end fiber connection which benefits you the consumer by delivering a low latency connection that’s capable of delivering very fast speeds. Low latency is important when you’re playing Call Of Duty online or having a video chat with relatives overseas for example because in the former case, you’ll be better able to pwn your opponents as there will be no lag for you to contend with, while in the latter case you will get a fluid video stream going in both directions which means that you get a better video chat experience.

Now contrast that with Rogers. They deliver Internet access by using a system they call “Hybrid Fibre” which means that the Rogers network is largely fibre optic cable. But the so-called “last mile” to your home is copper cable. The problem with that scheme is that copper cable can only handle so much bandwidth. Since Rogers is in the process of rolling out DOCSIS 3.1 across their network (at present they have DOCSIS 3.1 enabled on the downstream part of their Internet connections, but not on the upstream part of their Internet connections), that means that they’re capped at 10 Gbit/s downstream and 1 Gbit/s upstream as per this Wikipedia page. Bell is talking about speeds of 40 Gbit/s in both directions. Not only that, having the last mile over copper cable introduces latency to the connection. Sometimes as high as 30ms based on my testing with my own Rogers Gigabit connection. Some of the people in my condo who have the Bell product are getting latency as low as 5ms. Clearly, Bell has the upper hand from a technical standpoint. And that’s ignoring the fact that Bell is able to offer symmetrical speeds which Rogers can’t.

In order for Rogers to compete with Bell on this front, they only really have two choices. The first choice is to hope that a technology called DOCSIS 3.1 Full Duplex comes to market quickly and they can roll that out as that would give them a fighting chance with their current infrastructure. DOCSIS 3.1 Full Duplex would give them the ability to provide the symmetrical speeds that Bell does, which would level the playing field somewhat.  The last time I checked it was still in the R&D stage, so that may not be an option as any rollout would be years away. Plus it likely wouldn’t solve the latency problem as you’re still pushing Internet over copper which introduces latency. Which brings me to choice number 2. Rogers will at some point have throw in the towel in terms of “hybrid fibre” and provide true fiber to the home for that last mile. While that’s not instant, it may be their best chance to compete with Bell. And Rogers has done this in a very limited fashion in some places in Toronto. Thus they know how to get that done. Whatever choice Rogers picks, they have to get it done quickly as Bell is on a full court press to take this advantage that they have from a technical standpoint and turn it into something that makes Rogers an afterthought when it comes to Internet access.

This will be interesting to see how this plays out in the months and years ahead. Because right now Bell has the upper hand when it comes to Internet access and Rogers is clearly on the back foot with no clear path to getting back on the front foot.