Are You Paying Too Much By Mistake For Your High Speed Internet?

On Friday, a consumer related show(J.E. - it's in French) raised the issue about cases where clients were paying to much for their Internet connection. In this instance, it's was about Bell Internet(Sympatico - DSL) service but it may touch anyone in the world even cable modem.

The Example

Five years ago, you subscribe to a 1.5Mbps Internet connection which was considered the High Speed package. Over time, the overall service was upgraded to 7.0Mbps or higher. So, you were paying about the same price. Of course, the price might had increased because of inflation, upgrades, ....

The Packages

The Internet Service Provider(ISP) also know that not everyone need those higher speed thus create a Basic speed package of 2.0Mbps that also cost less. Now, you have Basic and High Speed to which you have subscribe since you got your Internet connection.

The Speed Trouble

Most consumers are not tech savvy. So, they might not know that the maximum speed to their house/neighborhood is still 1.5Mbps. That's what some client found out. They were paying for High Speed while they should had paid for Basic since the creation of the new package.

The Verification

Before you cry foul to your ISP, you should check what is the maximum speed your are getting at different times of day during the next week. You can use this speed tool that was recommended in the show. Make sure that no one/application are using the Internet during those test.

Remember that your package is the maximum speed you could get. Even at High Speed, you may get 5.0Mbps thus still in the High speed package.

To Switch Or Not To Switch Package

You should consider what is the monthly bandwidth(download/upload) quota your are using/getting too. For example, you might have unlimited download. If you decide to go for the Basic, you might be limited in most cases. You ISP often has a way for you to check the monthly bandwidth.

What's considered bandwidth: In short, it's any communication(in/out) going through the modem. This mean chatting, updating a blog, emails, watching(streaming) or uploading a video on YouTube, Peer 2 Peer(Bittorent, eMule...) transfers, listing to Internet Radio or podcasting .....

Example of packages:

Basic: Maximum speed is 2.0Mbps with a 20GB/month bandwidth
High Speed: Maximum speed is 7.0Mbps with a 60GB/month bandwidth
You speed is 1.5Mbps but you average bandwidth per month is 80GB/month
You speed is 1.5Mbps but you average bandwidth per month is 40GB/month

You will notice that I used a monthly bandwidth for the High Speed. Some ISP might have what we called here "Grand Fathered" your package thus you have still unlimited bandwidth until you change something. A new client will now have the 60GB/month bandwidth.

Many ISPs have a limit for uploading too. For example, it could be 10GB/month while the download is 20GB/month. So, check that too.


The ISP do know the speed but sometimes the client's house might cause the lower speed or be too far from the ISP distribution center unlike the next direct neighbor. Yes, even a house can make a difference.

If you find your self in the same situation, don't expect to get a full refund from Bell at this time. In the case on TV, that's not what they offered.  They offered a montly credit for the next 18 months.  What if the client moved before then? They would loose the rest of the money. In my mind, Bell should had refunded the difference since the new Basic package was created.
Keywords: Bandwidth, Bell, Cable, Consumer, DSL, Internet, ISP, Mbps, Money, Speed, Sympatico


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