About this blog

Incoming BYTES
contains highly variable subject matter including commentary on the mundane, the extraordinary and even controversial issues. At Incoming BYTES
we want YOU to think...if you dare...


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Internet Providers: Bad service or Fraudulent?

The internet happens to be an integral and important tool  for  communication in the life of a writer,  like it or not.
  Right now I'm not liking it much. I have bad internet service, how about you?

Access to the internet, to the outside world, data, news, websites,  research, culture,  information of all kinds --and communication with people-- is indispensable.
We live in North America, supposedly the most communications-advanced countries in the world,  so  why is internet service so bad? 
Not being located in a big city does have it's disadvantages, like having a very limited choice of Internet Service Providers. Fine.
Service providers are communication giants that buy broadband width to sell internet access to consumers in the form of 'dial-up, ( tying up your 'land line' telephone),   broadband DSL, (digital subscriber line), cable subscription, wireless cellular service via tower coverage, or directly via satellite to their customers.

After surviving with 'dial-up' speed  (26KB/second) for about $20.00 per month,  being offered  Xplornet's Kazaam  package  0.5MBps for about $60.00 a month via satellite  by Xplornet Internet Services  seemed to be modernization, logical progress,  reasonable and timely.
Subsequent testing however, showed that speeds promised were seldom achieved by the satellite system, and when the service was recently cancelled in absolute  rage frustration, average speeds of  19 to 20 KB/sec  and even outrageously pathetic  speeds as low as 670 Bytes---NOT KILOBYTES--were recorded. Their 'normal speed' was no better than land-line dial-up--in fact, often  far, FAR worse.

Xplornet  offered the excuse that they have a 'fair use' policy of throttling service when 'fair use' is exceeded by any customer.  Their version of fair use appears  to be, turn on the computer, and the 'fair use policy' kicks in.   First turned on, and instantly tested showed  speeds of 0.49Mbps,  and a half hour later, speeds were typically down to 20KBps.  Initial start-up speeds were also measured at less than 0.25KB/sec.

Their first excuse version of 'fair use' was throttling the internet speed down  to 50% of speed promised ---for 30 minutes-- after 24Mb of data is downloaded by the customer.
Let's keep in mind,  here at Incoming Bytes I  do NOT download movies from Netflix, or any huge files other than essential program updatesfor example,  downloading an update for  AVG virus software (some 80Mb)took all day
Little wonder, when the download speed was as low as 1.6KB/second,  even dropping at one point to 670 BYTES per second. 
 I am not a happy internet user.  We don't have to wonder why.
Subsequent communication with Xplornet  offered  the new magic excuse of  25% of maximum speed  (magically reduced from 50%)  now  being the  punishment  'throttled  speed'  inflicted allowed for 'fair use'.
Apparently these people are also  mathematically-challenged or incredibly arrogant. Perhaps both. 
Since when does  1.6KB transfer rate   =  25%  of the  63KB transfer rate which equals their --promised speed of 0.5Mbps internet speed?
When does service being "unavailable" for two or three hours, or two or three DAYS equal 'fair use' ?  They actually had the gall to state that the recorded speeds fell within their 'guidelines'.

By the way, XPLORNET  tested the equipment all the way to my modem --and said it was functioning 'perfectly' or 'phenomenally'.   How about that?    The recorded results reveal a test NOT throttled.
No matter.  In the simple minds of  the  ISP,  stupid  consumers could not be aware of such devious details....  

The fact IS,  there is lack of ethics involved. They have purchased a tiny bandwidth and continue to jamb ever more customers onto it over the last few years, charging everyone either  approximately $59.95  a month or $79.99 a month, depending upon the throttled plan chosen.

The satellite service became progressively worse, at times not useable --and not even available.
The SAME company is now urgently "renting" their equipment for $5.00/month to try to nab more fools customers.
Is this just bad service by one unethical company or is it a fraudulent, common practice?  
Am I, the customer, allowed to throttle the $60.00 per month payment based on the CRAPPY non-service I have received?   No. 
  I have asked for a refund for the NON-service.  Will they send me a refund willingly?  NO. Will their service improve?  NO.

Needless to say, I CANCELLED  the lousy service from  XPLORNET  and have blocked ANY further payment to this unethical,  so-called "internet service provider".  

I am now testing the  'Rocket Hub' which is a wireless system based on the cellular-phone system.   The service speed has at times shot up to 4.7MB/sec  download speed -it is supposed to go up to over 7.0Mbps --but depending on the load on the cell system,  also drops off  'at or equal to '  the  0.50MB, the  'fast' speed offered by the sick satellite system.  Imagine that.   I have 14 days to evaluate it.

Technology is wonderful until it fails to work, or is deviously 'throttled' by the company  in an unethical attempt to gouge more money from customers wanting better service.
By the way,  the last communication I received from XPLORNET suggested I buy their "KAZOOM" package, at 1.0MBps  --subject to the same throttling policy.
Get it?  Apparently, this clever company believes consumers  are IDIOTS uninformed.

The Federal CRTC  (Canadian Radio Television Communications)  has reportedly ordered Rogers to halt the practice of 'throttling'  internet speed. Rogers may even have to reimburse  consumers.
Throttling internet speed is now illegal, or soon will be.

I wonder how long it will take XPLORNET to get the message?
---OOPS....not long !  The CRTC will soon know about XPLORNET.  For the uninformed, they are the handy Federal Government  people that review ISP  licenses in Canada.  Consumer and Corporate Affairs will soon know about it too.    Isn't that nice? 
 Not being one to shirk the obligations of being a good consumer,
 I  have filed a mad consumer complaint with my Federal Member of Parliament, including recorded test data. I am such a helpful fellow. 

So, aside from "what else is new?",  the questions of the day around here must be: 
How fast is YOUR internet working?  Is it being unfairly throttled too?  
Go to: speedtest.primus.ca   or an equivalent service.  You can also instantly Google 'internet speed test" -- and test it yourself.
You'll figure it out. |It's simple. Press the button, and read the results. Compare them to what your ISP provider 'promised' you.
Are you, too, getting inexplicably bad service and not getting what you are paying for?  You may be surprised.

The fact is, I'm a consumer,  I'm a writer, and  I'm  mad as hell --and I am not taking it any more. Enough is enough.  Soon we'll be occupying something.
Meantime, we'll smile and wait for our BIG REFUND when  the  new CRTC ruling comes into effect with   "No throttling allowed".
Is that incoming I hear?

that's my story and  I'm sticking to it.


  1. Hi, I am also a writer and sometimes experience slow speeds. Using Google Chrome helps a lot even though I still have crashes. The problem is that almost everyone is on the net these days and I don't think the grid is growing to keep up. Greed is everywhere on and off the net. My ISP calls with lies all the time about how if I pay thus and such, my service will be faster. Tried it a couple of times and got suckered.

    I just started writing for a new site and posted a poem. I got a message that I exceeded the bandwidth. For a 16 line poem! Wonder what would happen with a short story.

  2. Alkalinus, ask your service provider what your internet speed IS, get it written down, and how many Mb of data you are allowed to download.

    It sounds like something is wrong there. Someone is trying to play you for a sucker. Who is your provider,and in what city? Look around, you should be able to get far better service! A 16 line poem? Somebody has to be kidding --or they think you're uninformed. Show them otherwise! Thanks for commenting!

  3. Raymond, I use Shaw here in BC for internet and it seems to work well for me with my connection. Well except the other day but I am thinking that was due to the high winds... I hope you get a good provider soon as I like seeing your smiling face travelling around my circles. Another good post from Incoming BYTES my friend.

  4. Christyb, thanks for visiting! I think Shaw is one of the better providers. I don't think any of them are totally free of problems 100% of the time, but at the very least, they should not be 'throttling' to gouge more money from the consumer. I am now on a 'Rocket hub' for the time being, but do not know if that will be permanent or not, there's another system to be tested yet. I am listening to Christyb, is that incoming I hear? ":)

  5. @ Akalinus, by the way, sorry for the typo on your name last post, this thing won't allow me to change it, don't you just love it when technology runs us around? I just had to get the modem replaced--failed--and only in use a couple of days too! I hope you are able to sort out your problem with your internet service provider.

  6. I have been having internet issues too this past week... but I suspect its because of the settings on my computer. However, I can relate to very slow net speeds and the inability to download / upload or even surf with ease. In an age when lightning speed is the way with the internet, especially when services are promised for the appropriate payment (which incidentally is always paid to get it in the first place), the service can be a total sham.

    I think you did the right thing with complaining. The more complaints and petitions that are put forth, the faster the response to the pleas hopefully WITH A REFUND(?).

  7. @ Mandy, my internet service was PATHETIC. It seems some of these ISPs just arbitrarily throttle your internet speed down to "encourage" you to buy a more expensive "faster" package. It is an unethical business practice. I believe that EVERY internet customer should test their download/upload speed and compare it to what the ISP is providing....and file complaints if it is NOT being met properly. I believe that in Canada, the CRTC has already ordered a company (Rogers) to CEASE the practice of throttling internet speed. Thanks for commenting, Mandy! Maybe we will get some refunds! ":) ~r


Comments are always appreciated ! No SPAM allowed.