Bell Fibe Broke My Netflix! or Was It My Fault?

 

Bell Fibe Broke My Netflix!

I upgraded to Bell Fibe on a Friday afternoon a few weeks ago. I didn’t noticed until Saturday night that it broke my Netflix!

[Update November 13, 2013: Or Was It My Fault??? – see updated information below].

It was my original intent to write my next blog about how to purchase the best internet service, but I can’t believe that Bell Fibe broke my Netflix. So, this post is about what happened to me, and how you can avoid the same hassels from Bell Fibe, possibly by avoiding Bell Fibe in the first place.

The truth is upgrading to Bell Fibe broke all apps on my Sony TV not just Netflix. If you “upgrade” to Bell Fibe, be prepared to spend extra hours talking to Bell support to get them to do the right thing and not block internet service to your TV.

The background for this story was my Bell non-Fibe internet service monthly bill went from $57 after tax to $64 after tax over the summer. I used this as an opportunity to explore how Tek Savvy Internet serivce compares with Bell. I’ll write a blog on that topic in the future. After dealing with poor service from the Bell Loyalty department, I finally decided upgrade my existing Internet service with Bell to Bell Fibe as an temporary solution to lower my monthly bill to $41 per month before tax. Was that one of my mistakes? Maybe, but let’s continue with the Netflix story for now. Again , it looks like I’ll have to write another post to share my customer experience with Bell Sympatico later.

Here is the basic story.

Thursday: Old Bell Sympatico Internet Service: Netflix Working on my Sony TV
Friday: “Upgraded” to Bell Fibe 15/10
Saturday: Netflix not working on my Sony TV
Saturday: Bell Chat Support won’t help and hangs up on me.
Next step: Call 310-SURF and mention CRTC

Today’s blog is to tell you Bell’s reaction to my problem report. [Please look for the chat exchange I had with Bell support below]

Here’s a screenshot of the Bell Fibe router admin panel. Notice that the “TV Status” is disabled. Clearly Bell Fibe does not provide true Internet service, because the Internet does not discriminate by what types of devices are connected to it. Bell, I think we have a problem.

Bell Fibe Modem blocking Netflix and other Sony TV internet services.

It looks like I’m not alone. I did a quick google search for “Bell Fibe Broke Netflix”, and I found this video of someone with a slightly different problem. I know blogging about Bell Fibe problems might not be the most captivating of topics, but I really wish Bell tested out the Netflix problems before rolling out their new Fibe product, grrrrrrrr.

I’m pretty certain there’s a configuration setting somewhere that will fix this problem, because it was working perfectly before upgrading to Bell Fibe. My fear is that Bell has protected this configuration setting on their side of the network. Oh well, wish me luck, and don’t worry I’m sure Bell customer service will give me more to write about in the future.

 

Bell Live Chat from Sept 28, 2013

chat representative will be with you in about 0 minute(s). Thank you for waiting.

Chat representative Dietrich has joined the session and is ready to help. To start, please provide your name and home phone number.

Dietrich: Hello! Welcome to Bell Internet Services. How may I help you today?

you: hi, I just had a new modem installed by bell on Friday afternoon

Dietrich: Hi. Good evening!

you: the tech person made sure the internet would work with my pc – good

you: but I’m now having trouble connecting to the internet with my sony tv – not good

you: it worked with the previous modem

you: I tried switching ethernet ports on the modem, but no go

Dietrich: I understand that you are unable to connect to your Bell modem with the Tv. Am I right?

you: yes

Dietrich: To validate your account,may I have your B1 number and the complete billing address in this format street number, street name,city, province & postal code?

you: sure

you: b1******

you: ****************************************

Dietrich: Thank you for the information.

Dietrich: Are you trying to connect wirelessly or wired with the TV?

you: wired

Dietrich: Okay! I am sorry that we do not support configuration in TV as we do support only Internet configuration in computers.

Dietrich: For this, you will have to contact your Tv support.

you: are you serious? 😮

you: it was working fine until Friday afternoon.

Dietrich: Yes. I am sorry for that.

you: the new modem broke my existing service

you: one second, I’ll be right back

Dietrich: Okay! Are you been prompted for any information for connecting your modem?

you: back

you: prompted on my TV?

you: no, I have a valid MAC Address and IP address assigned to the TV when I check the modem admin UI

Dietrich: Okay! Yes. On your TV.

you: the modem understands the TV exists on the ethernet/IP network

you: I’ve never ever been prompted on my TV

you: with the new modem or the old one.

you: just plugged in the ethernet and go

you: the previous modem worked fine

Dietrich: Okay! If you are in need of any username or password, I can certainly help you in that and if not, I am sorry that you will have to contact the TV support as the modem works fine with the computers.

you: No problem, I’m calling Tek Savvy on Monday morning to switch from Bell. Your service is very very poor. 🙁

Dietrich: I am really sorry to hear like this from a valuable customer like you.

Dietrich: I apologize for the inconvenience.

you: no cut and pasting your text please

you: I’d prefer to talk to a real person

Dietrich: I am sorry for that.

you: me too

Dietrich: To speak with us over the phone , Kindly contact Bell us at: 310-SURF (7873) from Bell phone line or  Non-Bell phone line: 1-800-773-2121

you: do you understand that my internet service was working fine until the modem was changed?

Dietrich: Yes. I do certainly understand that.

Dietrich: Also your Internet works fine with computers now.

you: you are an internet service provider, not a device provider

you: so why do you care what device I’m using on the internet?

Dietrich: If your TV prompts for any username or network name, I will be able to help you in regards with that and in connecting any modem configuration.

you: I guess Tek Savvy will be more helpful than you.

Dietrich: But since that does not asks for any information from the modem or Internet connection, I will not be able to assist you in this regard.

Dietrich: I’m sorry to hear that.

you: Can you please confirm that you will not support my Sony TV on the new modem that Bell installed on Friday?

you: That’s the key question I’m asking.

Dietrich: It is not just Sony TV, We do not support configuration in TV. For this you should be subscribed to Fibe TV services and could you confirm the light status corresponding to TV in your modem?

you: Please confirm … your internet service does not support TV devices unless I want to subscribe to the Fibe TV?

Dietrich: If that is just a plug and play, our Internet service would support, but we at support level does not support the configuration of Bell Internet in TV.

you: ah, thank you.

Dietrich: Welcome.

Dietrich: Do you have any other questions or concerns that I can assist you with?

you: My device worked plug and play until you changed the modem.

you: the new modem does not allow plug and play

Dietrich: Okay! It seems that you have upgraded the plan to Ontario DSL Fibe 15/10 and the new modem is only suitable for the  new plan that you are subscribed to

you: can you please confirm that the Ontario DSL Fibe 15/10 plan will not support unrestricted internet access to a Sony TV?

Dietrich: It is not the plan that restricts the access, but the modem that you are using now. However for the specifications of plug and play regarding the modem, please check the manufacturer web page of the modem.

you: are you serious?

Dietrich: Yes, It is not the plan that you are subscribed to. It is the modem configuration that we do not support.

you: and you understand that Bell installed this modem yesterday afternoon. I did not choose this modem.

Dietrich: So, for further information key in for the Sagecom F@st 2864

you: Does Bell accept any responsibility for downgrading my service when I switched to the new Fibe plan?

Dietrich: Yes, This is the modem that Bell provides for residential Internet connection.

Dietrich: Could you please explain more specifically?

you: Okay, let’s try this 🙂

you: 1) My internet service was working fine for all my device yesterday morning

you: 2) Bell installed a new modem in my house yesterday afternoon

you: 3) Today you tell me that the modem that Bell installed broke the internet service that was working fine yesterday morning

you: 4) and then you say it’s not the Bell Fibe plan, but the modem Bell installed that broke the service

The chat session should begin shortly, thank you for your patience.

The chat session should begin shortly, thank you for your patience.

Could not send

It seems to me you’re not accepting responsibility for breaking a service that was working fine yesterday morning

 

November 13, 2013 UPDATE:

This is one of those embarassing times in my debugging career when it turns out that the first idea I had about the source of a problem turns out be wrong.

So, here’s what happened today. I finally got around to looking at the Internet TV problem that began a few weeks ago. I started debugging by going back to basics -> checking out the cabling. To my surprise I noticed a problem with the ethernet connection from my DSL modem to my TV. Whoa!

It’s been awhile since Bell Fibe was first installed, so I wasn’t sure if the connection problem existed at the time of my orginal complaint. I know I definitely moved the cables around after the Bell Fibe upgrade, so it’s possible the connection problem was introduced after upgrading to Bell Fibe. However, if the connection issue was there from the start then I might have been blowing a lot of hot air. Shoot! I hate when that happens.

So, I fixed the ethernet connection issue and retried Netflix on my Sony Internet TV. Guess what? It worked! Woo Hoo!

Lesson to be learned from my embarassment? Check the cabling before asking for help. If a friend or family member is also available, it would not hurt to ask them to independently check the basic cabling connections too.

By the way, I’m still not happy with the way Bell managed my pre-Fibe Internet service (see previous posts). At least now it looks like all my devices are working at the same service level as before upgrading to Fibe. Whew!

I think I’ll go forget about the public embarassment of my debugging skills by watching a little Netflix on my Internet TV using the Bell Fibe Internet service. 🙂

 

 

$350 Saved, But No Service Improvement

An update with my Internet service troubles …

My Bell Sympatico Internet service is still cutting out periodically, so I called them today to cancel my Internet and phone service. I ended up with talking to someone in the “Loyalty Department” and managed to get my monthly bill for Internet and phone service cut from $ 78.82/month down to $49.39/month. That’s a savings of over $350/year. Assuming I stay with Bell, which may or may not happen. lol.

Before I called, several friends told me I should talk to the Loyalty department. If you want the best deal possible on your phone/Internet/mobile service, you definitely should call the Loyalty Department too. Unfortunately you may need to put them on speed dial, since it sounds like the “deals” change constantly. The lack of transparency disappointments me. I wonder if Bell Sympatico should change the name of their “Loyalty Department” to “Disloyalty Department”.

Here’s the painful part …

The loyalty lady could not tell me when the optical fiber upgrade was coming to my house, so she passed me to a “Senior” second line support person. His first response to me about when I when I asked when I will have fiber to my house was that it would be “soon”. I admit his vague response triggered a little anger because my original service complaint experience. I mentioned to him that his response is a poor way to run a business and then asked if he could get me more detailed information. When he came back the second time, he told me that the service is expected in my neighbourhood at the end of the summer. Hmmmm, this meant the information I received just a couple weeks ago has changed, or more likely that I was not told the truth on the original estimate in the hopes they could delay my decision to cancel their service. It always bothers me when companies hide the truth from their customers. It’s like aren’t mature enough to deal with reality, or more likely they prefer to lie to their customers to keep the money rolling in. Oh well, it’s not my problem if they want to destroy whatever level of trust I had with them .

Bottom Line:
1) I continue to have crappy service from Bell Sympatico.
2) At least the crappy service might not cost as much while I look into changing service providers.
3) My level of trust with Bell Sympatico continues to drop. Funny the more I interact with them, the less trust I have. lol.

When will these companies learn this is not not the best way to treat a customer? It’s simply bad business in the long run.

In the meantime, I’ve had reasonablely good Satellite TV service from Shaw.ca, so I may switch to them. Unfortunately, they don’t offer phone service in my area, so I’ve been looking at ComWave. I’d have to swtich from POTS (Plain Old Telephone Switch) technology to VoIP, but the savings could add up to $100/year.

Internet Service Insanity

I had another run in with my Internet Service Provider, Bell Sympatico, a few weeks ago.

We had been regularly losing Internet service for 5 minutes a day for about a month or so. I finally had time to complain a few weeks ago. I try to avoid calling large companies unless absolutely necessary, because of the pain and suffering I typically receive at the hands of their so called “customer service” process.

I was not disappointed this time.  The 30 minute wait on the phone just to get a first line support person who wants me to reset my modem again is always an annoying start. Ten minutes later I’ve followed her script, and I’m allowed to talk to a second line support person. This is where the amazingly bad service starts. The second line support person wants me to wait for him to test the DSL line. I said PARDON? Why do you want me to wait on the phone while you do your work? Get this … His response was that if I hung up the phone, another call would come in and he would not be allowed to work on my issue anymore. 😮 It’s hard for me to understand how long Bell Sympatico expects me to wait for them to fix a problem with their service. Being annoyed with the additional delay, I kindly asked the second line support person to wait for a few seconds while I wrote down what he just told me. This is the funny part. He hung up on me!!! It appears Bell Sympatico wants their customers to wait for them, but they don’t like it when their customers ask them to wait a minute while they report about the bad service on the Internet. It was at that precise point when I decided I needed to start looking for another provider. Unfortunately the search would have to wait, because after an hour and fifteen minutes into the call, I ran out of time. I needed to take James to a lacrosse game. Life must go on.

The good part of Bell Sympatico’s customer service is that they called a day later to find out if I still had a problem. Of course, I still had the problem. Unfortunately, their second effort didn’t turn out much better than the first attempt. They decided to send someone out to my house to look at the wiring in my house. I had to wait at home from 8am to noon the next day to find out the verdict. Guess what, the technician didn’t find anything wrong. He then told me I had to wait for four weeks until a new fiber optic network is being installed in my neighbourhood. I like the idea of upgrading to the fiber technology, but I have no confidence that they won’t try to boost the price for my Internet service rather than just fixing the original problem that I called in about.

I’m still investigating about switching to another Internet provider. Does anyone have an Internet service provider that they like, or do they all have the same bad customer service?

By the way when I was complaining to my friends about the bad service experience with Bell Sympatico, a few of my friends told me about talking to the “Loyalty” department at Bell Sympatico to get the best price. It sounds like a secret club. I’m not sure “secret” deals last very long in the modern shopping age, but maybe I’ll look into it while I’m still with Bell Sympatico.