A couple of years back, frustrated with Bell’s pricey Internet service, we switched to Teksavvy (See post Goodbye Bell, Hello Teksavvy). Teksavvy still offers significant savings over Bell but my initial enthusiasm has cooled considerably. I’ll explain why in this post.

Teksavvy’s 6Mbps, 75 GB per month DSL Internet service costs $29.99 per month. We find that sufficient for our moderate usage, which includes bandwidth intensive activities such as watching movies over Netflix. A similar package, albeit one at a slightly slower speed and much lower bandwidth, at Bell (5Mbps, 20 GB per month) costs $43.95 month. There are other minor differences between the two. Teksavvy requires customers to purchase their own modem while Bell rents it to subscribers. Also, it should be pointed out that Bell offers a discount for bundling with other services and might knock down the rate even more for some customers for a limited time.

At first glance, Teksavvy appears to offer a better Internet package at a significantly lower price but there is a catch. Teksavvy is essentially a reseller for Bell Canada, which owns and operates the telephone wires running to your home and charges a fee for doing so at a price set by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). Therefore, when a Teksavvy customer orders a new service or a change to an existing service or reports a problem, the service order is often routed through to Bell Canada. Bell Canada, which offers its own suite of competing products, now has every incentive to be less responsive to the needs of a competitor’s customer compared to its own.

A case in point: last year, we moved to a new residence and called Rogers, Bell and Teksavvy to move our cable, phone and Internet services respectively. Rogers and Bell sent technicians to perform the move within 1 business day and followed up to check whether the service was up and running. Teksavvy said that it would move the Internet service one week later. And when the next week rolled around, Teksavvy could not complete the move saying that Bell claimed the phone service was still at the old address even though I had put in a move request to Teksavvy *after* moving the phone service and the move will be delayed one further week. We did get Internet service at the new residence the next week after a two week downtime and we have had no problems since. It turns out that my experience isn’t an isolated one. You can check out negative reports on Teksavvy on this forum but in fairness, it should be pointed out that positive reports far outweigh negative ones.

The bottom line: Teksavvy offers DSL Internet at a much cheaper price than Bell but you should be aware that if you run into problems, you may fall between the cracks because Teksavvy depends on Bell to fulfill its customers’ service orders.

This article has 27 comments

  1. One of teksavvy’s clients is hosting hundreds of pages of scraped copies of my web pages on their teksavvy connection – and running ads to make money from it. In the U.S. I could file a DMCA report and have them taken offline. In Canada when I contacted teksavvy about it, they couldn’t be bothered to care even a little bit.

    I have nothing good to say about a company that happily takes money from people like this and even when confronted with it, simply don’t care. Anybody but teksavvy should be your choice of ISP’s.

    • It’s not an ISP’s job to police the web. Your complaint is a civil issue between yourself and the owner of the webpage in question. If they are violating your copyrights, you could start by asking them to stop. If that doesn’t work, try getting a lawyer to send a cease and desist letter. If they continue to infringe and it’s worth it to you to do so, you are free to sue.

      • In the US, it is an ISP’s job to respond to DMCA complaints. Whether it should be their job is a matter for debate, but US law is clear about ISP’s having to respond to these complaints. I’ve had dozens of pages infringing my copyrights taken down.

      • It may not be the ISP’s job to police the web, but it’s disingenious to suggest that they have no part to play if they are hosting scraped and copyrighten content. They’re knowingly taking money from customers who are using their resources illegally AND choose specifically to ignore it. I choose not to do business with people like that.

      • @Michael James: Understood. Personally I would debate whether that’s a good thing, but obviously yes, ISPs are required to adhere to the law of the land. And heck, if my copyrighted work were being re-posted in a way that caused me damage and I had the option to use DMCA to have it removed, I likely would. That doesn’t mean I think it’s a good thing for ISPs to be the ones making these sorts of determinations though.

        @Life Insurance Canada: The thing is, do we want ISPs to have the power to make these sorts of decisions? Say someone scrapes a bunch of your content, and puts it up on a nice, professional-looking site of their own… then files a DMCA report against you! Your ISP doesn’t want to risk breaking the law, so they comply and take down your page. Now, yes, you could eventually have it put back up, and you could sue and probably eventually win damages, but at the very least, this could be a huge, unjustified mental drain.

        This is just one extreme example, but there are others. Basically my opinion is that ISPs should simply be a pass-through utility, like power or water. Say your neighbour could call the electric company and have your power shut off because they suspect you’re running a grow-op in your basement. Or because you’re playing loud music at night, infringing upon their rights. Would that be a good thing? There should certainly be recourse to defend your rights, but in my opinion it should require more oversight than simply sending a report to an ISP. I personally am happy to hear of Canadian ISPs choosing not to get involved in legal disputes when they are not obligated to do so.

    • Glenn, I’ve never had much success in requesting web hosting companies to take down scrappers, most of whom were in the US. Granted, this was a couple of years back and things could have changed now. Did you try reporting to Google?

      • I’ve had a lot of success getting material infringing my copyright taken down by US ISPs. So far I’ve succeeded in every case. But it took a while to learn the right way to do it.

      • In the U.S. I’ve had success using the DMCA to get my content removed.

        In Canada, I’ve had success calling the infringers with implication of a cease and desist to follow. Unfortunately when someone’s on a home connection like teksavvy, there can hide themselves – and when they’re taking content they take every step to hide themselves.

        My online content takes a lot of work and effort. Copying it harms me directly and specifically, it’s not just someone blowing off ‘hey, I copied an article, what do you care’. I care. If it’s no big deal, then go write your own article.

    • @Nathan
      >>>>@Life Insurance Canada: The thing is, do we want ISPs to have the power to make these sorts of decisions?

      What absurd, hypothetical nonsense. Nobody is having any power. They have the power to decide who they take money from, it’s not any more difficult than that. Someone at teksavvy could’ve picked up the phone and called their client who was scraping my content. Or they could profit from people who are stealing other’s content by pretending not to be responsible for how they make their money. You don’t get to make money and then claim no responsibility for how you earned it. Sorry, you take dirty money, you’re dirty too. Don’t try and whitewash it.

    • FWIW, I do business with companies that refuse to disrupt the service I’m paying for solely because some offensive twit on the Internet decided to send an email to my ISP–or worse, set up a robot to spam my ISP with questionable DMCA takedown requests.

      The DMCA is a gift from the US government for Internet bullies and others who engage in online harassment. Other countries, thankfully, have much better processes.

      If you do have a legitimate copyright case you can subpoena the subscriber information and sue them to stop. That is, at the end of the day, what copyright law is for.

      That said…it would be nice if TekSavvy would at least forward the complaints it receives to customers. One of my clients had a WiFi AP which kept resetting to factory defaults spontaneously–effectively making it an open AP that anyone could use. Lots of people did use it, and some of them were a little evil. That could have been detected and fixed months earlier if Teksavvy had forwarded just one complaint to the customer.

  2. IME Bell does this with their business-class resellers as well – they meet their SLAs, barely, by postponing work until the last possible instant…

  3. I switched to TekSavvy last year and could not be happier! TekSavvy rocks! When you call TekSavvy support, you speak to a live, english-speaking Canadian from Chatham. Call Bell and see who you get, if you can understand them over their ESL accent, in the middle of their night, on the other side of the world…

  4. Paully is bang on. I have been a TekSavvy customer for two years and am extremely satisfied. I constantly refer friends and family to them. They are one of the few good companies in a mainly oligopolistc Telecom industry in Canada.

  5. Have you considered using TekSavvy over the Rogers lines? I’d cut Bell out of the equation all together. Both TekSavvy and Rogers offer better phone service than Bell.

    Another alternative is start.ca which handles more locations than TekSavvy (also works on Cogeco as well as Rogers and Bell lines).

  6. Hi
    I ran into the same problem described in the article above. If you need any service, TekSavvy has to put in a ticket with Bell and it takes two days minimum for them to show up. But, Bell always seems to find a problem, for example, they will tell myou the line at the old house hasn’t been disconnected, or the line coming in needs to be replaced, etc. Other than the service issues, TekSavvy has been excellent.

  7. Point well made, however a couple of points:

    1) My daughter had similar issues with Teksavvy in Kitchener, getting things set up, which took forever, but now seems to work fine. She likes the service, but had no Internet for about 2 months, due to the technicians being unable to figure out they were using the WRONG twisted pair in an apartment complex.

    2) Bell FIBE is now offering crazy deals to convert, and they offer an “UNLIMITED” (I am not sure what that really means) service for an extra $10 and rumors of $100 for Phone/TV(Cable)/Internet in one package

    Your mileage may vary.

  8. I have had both Bell and Teksavvy and both have their pros/cons. Yes, it seems that Tek has their hands tied relying on Bell for service calls. If Bell is regulated to provide third-party internet access like through Teksavvy then they should be held accountable for providing proper technical support. Two weeks outage is unacceptable. But given my experience I would still recommend Teksavvy to friends and family as their price is good, never had a billing issue (unlike having to chase Bell each month because my bill is wrong) and their super high bandwidth caps are great if you do a lot of streaming.

  9. BarStoolAdvisor

    Please don’t blame Tecksavvy for the fact that Bell deliberately tries to sabotage it’s competitors’ attempts to provide a more reasonable alternative to their efforts to continue to monopolize and rip-off the Canadian telecommunications consumer.

    I am not a Tecksavvy customer but get my service from Acanac who are a similar telecom reseller. Unfortunately for consumers like myself, Acanac customers suffer the same abuse and poor service from Bell as does Tecksavvy and any other reseller for that matter. Bell has only profited because they were given a monopoly over telecommunications, not because of better or more efficient service.

    The bottom line: If all consumers were educated consumers, Bell would have no customers at all. Nor would they deserve to have any. It is the Canadian consumers who have paid too much and suffered too much under Bell’s monopoly and continue to do so even now.

    • I’m not blaming Teksavvy at all. I cannot blame Bell here either because I do not know their side of the story. All I’m saying is that a customer contemplating a change in providers has to make an informed decision by keeping in mind that they could encounter a hiccup or two in their service orders.

  10. @Harald: If Bell is at fault on most of these issues, what is the CRTC doing about it? Any other monopoly utility is not allowed to abuse its position, so why should Bell be any different?

    @Paully: I agree with you on Bell’s customer reps. They are usually terrible. What annoys me most is that if you call to get a problem fixed, they’ll try and up sell before fixing the problem first!

    @Steve: Don’t get me wrong, I still like Teksavvy, just not as much as I did in the past. But they do have an issue that people thinking of switching should be aware of.

    @Jeremy: I guess I could have switched to cable Internet when we moved but now that I have DSL working, I’m loathe to go through the trouble of changing.

    @Dave: My opinion is the same as yours. Teksavvy is usually excellent but if you put through a service order, you should be prepared to go through some hiccups.

    @Alan: 2 months is a super long time to get an issue fixed. Looks like your daughter fell through the same cracks as I did. I wouldn’t say $100 for Phone, TV and Internet is a low rate. That’s pretty much what I’m paying now with 3 different companies.

    @Michael: I would still recommend Teksavvy because one gets comparable service at about two-thirds what Bell is charging provided one is willing to live with some occasional hiccups.

    I agree with you that CRTC should be looking into this. Can you imagine the outrage if say a company like Enbridge which owns the pipes and also sells natural gas treats its own customers differently than a resellers and leaves people freezing for a week or so in winter? Why is Bell allowed to take advantage of its monopoly status?

  11. Blame the CRTC for not forcing bell to treat teksavvy the same as any other bell customer.

    The true test is if customers are still moving to the smaller ISPs in spite of the “issues” Bell and Rogers inject.

  12. Pingback: Weekend Reading - Budgets, austerity, restructuring and blogs

  13. For those of you who like Bell, consider this, my experience.

    I own a considerable amount of BCE stock and the comapny is indeed good for investors. Its stock pays good dividends and has appreciated considerably recently. Thumbs up here.

    On the service side, I have so little good to say about Bell that it’s not worth mentioning here. I had problems with its Internet service years ago and switched to Teksavvy, and have been a Teksavvy satisfied customer for many years. Sure, service goes through Bell, but it is rare that one needs that and a few days of inconvenience is not a big deal once in ten years!

    I once worked for CN Rail and Bell runs its cables under tracks everywhere. My office looked after approvals for that. Bell used to hire contractors to do that work, and many times it failed to follow the rules and pass them on to its contractors, putting the workmen on site and the railways’ operations in danger with heavy equipment on the tracks, sometimes without authorization. Not a very good corporate citizen!

    I once had supposedly two phone lines, one for voice and one for Internet in the days of dial up. Every time we used the voice line the Internet would cut out. I placed numerous complaints to Bell over the five or so years that was going on, only to be told by some idiotic Bell employee who never went to the site that the problem was in my house wiring. Eventually, after dozens of complaints, someone actually went out to find that there were only three wires going to the house from the box across the street, one of them being common to the two lines, thus causing the interference. So, in effect, I had only one line all the time they were charging me for two! When comfronted with the problem for financial rectification, Bell would not make good until I went to the CRTC and was then given credit for the thousands of dollars that I had paid for the second line that I never had for about five years! Even then it was only a credit issued to my account even though they had collected the money long ago! I was also able to extract some interest on that money using the CRTC’s clout, but it was still a rate far lower than I could have invested that money at!

    So what was that all you folks were saying about Bell being so great on service?

    Enough said. 🙂

  14. I called techsavyy 2 weeks ago to sign up, they said there was a 3.5 week waiting period to get someone to come out and setup the internet, I stayed with my old supplier ( not rogers or bell), 3.5 weeks is unacceptable, its obvious that there is not enough man power and they dont want to invest in it either, they claim that bell or rogers (cant remember) does the hook up, they need to invest in field techs.

  15. BS. I’ve been with teksavvy for almost 10 years now and never have had any problems. I’ve even moved twice and all is good

  16. So, in theory, it’s not Teksavvy’s fly in the ointment so much as Bell trying to snuff out the smaller guy once again? I had this same thing happen on account of BELL and Teksavvy did their very best to get everything going as best they could. Teksavvy still beats out over Bell anyday. People ought to know by now that Bell are only thieves with every trick in the book. Dropped Bell and never went back, and never will either.

  17. Moderators must be Bell lobbyists they delete my truthful comment every time. I was saying the the fly in the ointment is not Teksavvy’s fault but Bell’s fault as they are once again trying to squash out the smaller (and better than them) competition. I had the same thing happen to me on account of Bell and Teksavvy did everything in their power to fix the problem and delays caused by Bell – and they did.