Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hardware Refund cheque finally arrived...

Hardware refund cheque finally arrived.

This just leaves open the question about Telus's Deceptive Marketing Practices.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Circumstantial evidence for the root cause?

Is there a pattern of even more circumstantial evidence for the root cause of the apparently, reportedly Maritime-focused termination of the Telus (reportedly subcontracted to Bell) 'Connect 75 Unlimited' rate plan...

Someone recently posted a comment somewhere: "I've still been using 20-30 GB per month on my Connect 75 aircard; no problems so far (might be due to living in Telus-friendly Alberta versus eastern Canada though)."

Hmmm... Here is a so-called 'abusive' usage pattern - but no problem if you live in Alberta.


Meanwhile, a Bell wireless data rate page provides some insight into the other side of the same slippery back-room Bell/Telus dealings...

Bell - Mobile Internet cards and sticks plans
Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada [here] = $85 up to 5GB
British Columbia and Alberta [here] = $100 up to 250MB = 0.25GB (useless!!)


It really sounds to me like Bell and Telus (which rumours have it are subcontracting each other's towers based on geography) have decided to screw each other over royally.

And this might be what 'forced' Telus to terminate their Maritime clients that were using the 'Connect 75 Unlimited' rate plan any more than "5GB (per month) is cool".


This theory provides a rational explanation for all the facts that have been reported.

But it doesn't excuse it.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Hardware refund issued? Maybe?

It appears that my various outraged communications have somehow pressed the magic print cheque button at the Telus underground lair.

Telus replied by way of a real-live actual e-mail: The refund for the amount of $xxx.xx has been issued and will be mailed to the billing address we have on file.

Well, that wasn't so hard was it?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Play-by-play on Howard Forums

New activity on Howard Forums. HERE Go to the most recent posts.

Some Telus fan-boys are making suggestions that are equivalent to saying, "Slap me again Telus, I like it when you abuse me."

No - once the situation gets to a point where a reasonable adjudicator would clearly see that Telus is being unreasonable, then that's where I stop playing their stupid games.

We're safely past that point now.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Telus are morons...

I've tried for a few months to use their on-line "e-mail" contact-us feature. It does not work. It has a couple of flaws. 1) It demands that I enter my telephone number, but it provides no such field. I did enter my telephone and account numbers in the body, but that didn't work. 2) For many categories of inquires it does not offer any sub-categories in the pull-done menu, but the form demands the sub-category.

How can they not have noticed that their on-line inquiries have dropped-off due to these flaws?

Here is the annotated cut-and-paste screen capture (Firefox) to provide the evidence.

[Update - it barely works with IE, but not at all Firefox. I haven't used IE for months. Even with IE, most combinations of Product, Category and Subcategory do not work. Don't they check these things?]


Open Letter to Telus

You owe me about $xxx for the hardware refund. You promised to send out that refund after a few weeks. It's now been at least three months. ...

Update - Frig it - 2nd CCTS complaint launched.

Where's my hardware refund ??

I'm about to launch another formal CCTS complaint about Telus not sending me the hardware refund as they promised they would do.

Their stupid on-line "e-mail" message form is BROKEN. It reminds me to enter my phone number but doesn't provide the field. This flaw makes it impossible to send these idiots an "e-mail".

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Telus still holding onto my hardware refund

Happy New Year.

It's been many weeks since I sent the modem back to Telus. They offered a refund on the cost of the hardware. They've already sent me two monthly invoices showing a huge negative balance (they owe me for the hardware refund).

But there is no sign of them actually getting around to pressing the Print Cheque button.

I have tried contacting them via their website, but their 'Contact Us' so-called 'e-mail' page appears to be broken. The script asks me to not leave certain fields blank, but those fields are not displayed. Which makes the entire on-line Contact Us process broken.

To be clear - this refund is just for the hardware. Even after they send me an actual cheque for the hardware refund that they promised, there may be additional unresolved issues relating to their cancellation of my Internet service and all the associated discrepant statements from them.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

CCTS investigation will proceed

I was copied on an e-mail from CCTS to Telus that basically informed Telus that their attempt to wriggle free from my complaint on technical grounds was not accepted, and that the CCTS investigation into Telus's behaviour in this matter will be proceeding.

Meanwhile, the Competition Bureau is investigating from the Deceptive Marketing Practices point of view.

The net is closing and Telus is rapidly running out of options.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Telus Policies

Here are some Telus policies:

1) Your 'Unlimited' rate plan has limits
2) Those limits are undefined, ill-defined, unclear and/or insane
3) If you exceed those limits then your service will be terminated
4) No 2nd chances (because then they'd have to agree the defined limit)
5) You will be alternatively told that it's your fault, and then that it's not your fault
6) Telus will avoid putting any of this in writing

These policies clearly amount to Deceptive Marketing Practices.


Speculation: Perhaps Telus is desparately trying to improve its per-client financial numbers so that it can be bought by Bell. These two companies have been doing things together so much lately, practically lock-step, that they must be in constant communication. I suspect that Telus is trying to position itself to be bought by Bell for the highest possible price. This is just idle speculation on my part.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Caught in a web of lies

The problem with not telling the truth, as every child eventually learns while growing up, is that it is very difficult to concoct a story that stands up to scrutiny. Apparently Telus has yet to learn this childhood lesson.


Yesterday (late afternoon, 9 October 2008), the Telus "Office of the President" and I were finally able to speak. I didn't catch the young lady's name; she has a lovely Quebecois accent and her exact name eluded me.

The conversation went on and on for perhaps 20 to 30 minutes. We covered a wide range of related issues.

On the bright side, she offered to send me a mailer package so that I could send back the now-useless 595U modem for a "full refund of the price paid". I asked for confirmation that the refund would include the sales tax and she confirmed that it would. She stated that all I would need to do is include a copy of the receipt.

Fine. Thank you. But this is the third or fourth time that Telus has made this offer and I've yet to see the mailer appear in my mail box. How complicated can it be to get this underway?

She offered to allow me to rush the modem back using my own mailer to save a few days and they would refund the postage, but since she had already explained that the entire process of account credit and refund would take them 5 or 6 weeks, I didn't see the point of rushing around at my end to save a day or two when they need a month and a half to issue a simple cheque. So we agreed that she would simply send me the mailer.

I asked her if she would include clear written instructions about the refund process in the mailer, and her reaction was revealing. She blurted out, "We can't do that." before realizing that she shouldn't have said that.

This little detail appears to confirm that Telus has a strict policy of not putting some things in writing.

The real reason I was asking for written instructions is that I wouldn't put it past these people to receive the modem and then deny the refund. For this reason it would be nice to see something in writing before I send them a $300 modem with no paperwork to back it up their promise of a full refund.


We then got into quite a lengthy discussion about the basic reason behind the service cancellation. She stated that Telus was simply withdrawing the "Connect 75 Unlimited" wireless data rate plan and that was that. She said that ALL "Connect 75 Unlimited" plans would be canceled. She stated that the level of use (or overuse or abuse) didn't have anything to do with it. She stated that there is no connection whatsoever to any purported secret usage cap.

But the letter they sent to me dated 12 August 2008 (after the date of 5 August 2008, that she inferred was the start of the campaign) did not refer to any service termination - which it could, should and would have (if it were that simple). That letter simply asked me to contact Telus about our usage pattern "to avoid possible suspension of service".

So the facts simply do not fit this latest version of the corporate story.

If they were simply trying to close out all the "Connect 75 Unlimited" clients, then they could have simply sent a letter, or printed such a 30-day notice (effective from the start of the next billing cycle) on the monthly bill, or include it in the same envelope on brightly-coloured paper. It would have been clean and neat and no need for complex lies. That fact that they didn't do that reveals the true nature of the cancellation campaign.

Their whole story falls to pieces under its own weight.


Furthermore (as if we needed more evidence), this new claim about the all-encompassing and blameless scope of the cancellation campaign is directly contradicted by the statement made by Telus PR flak Johannsson (see previous post HERE).

PR flak Johannsson wrote that Telus was just dealing with a few "abusers" and that most clients were not affected by the cancellation campaign. But the "Office of the President" lady said that the 0.1% mentioned by Johannsson actually represented the percentage of the total Telus client base that were under the "Conect 75 Unlimited" wireless data rate plan.

These two claims are contradictory. Unless Telus is going to stretch the story to now claim that ALL (!) "Connect 75 Unlimited" clients are abusers. Which would again reflect more on them than on their clients.


Furthermore (as if we needed even more evidence), the Telus response to my CCTS complaint claims, without being specific, that I violated the Terms of Service. So this also contradicts this new version of the story emerging from "The Office of the President".


None of it fits. Which indicates the difficulty of making up a story that fits with all the complex details of the real-world facts. As most people learn in their childhood...


I then pointed out that (in my case) Telus had screwed-up the service termination dates, and I had never actually been provided me with a clear 30-days notice as demanded in the Terms of Service. At first she denied this, but when presented with the facts she was forced to retreat to the position that they had been struggling to get in touch with me during early-August (and that this weak and misdirected effort somehow absolves them of the requirement to provide a minimum of 30-days notice).

She said that they had tried to call me at home several times and had "always" received a busy signal. Perhaps now that we're back to dial-up Internet access it would be partially true, but not in early August when we still enjoyed our wireless EV-DO access. The honest truth is that they must not have tried very hard.

UPDATE: I just double-checked. They do in fact have my correct primary e-mail address on file, and have had so for many months (long, long before this thing started). Me? Difficult to get in touch with? I don't think so... Perhaps the real issue is the strict verbal-only policy of Telus. That's not my fault. Next time send a letter, include the notice with the monthly bill, or e-mail me. But don't claim that our land-line was busy for a week straight and you therefore couldn't contact me....that's utter BS and everyone knows it.

And her retreat to this new claim indicates their de-facto admission that they realize that they did not actually provide me with proper notice.


It's really all quite stupid on their part. They had the perfect opportunity to send a written notice on that 12-August-2008 letter, or on the next monthly invoice (with the dates adjusted to match).


It seems perfectly clear to me that the official line from Telus is being constantly adapted to try to escape from their legal and ethical responsibilities. But they've wound themselves up into a tight web of lies that are all contradicted by the facts.

It'll be interesting to see how they struggle to escape from the regulators on this entire fiasco.


I would love to have an opportunity to bring all this in front of a Regulator and/or a Judge.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Telus still using the 'U'-word...

"Unlimited" What a strange word... I wonder what it means?


When it comes to clients using the EV-DO wireless data service under the "Connect 75 Unlimited" rate plan it certainly does not mean "without limits". So what exactly does it mean? Telus rep Simon told me that "5GB is cool", and he snorted when I suggested that I could try to keep our usage to around 15 GB per month.

Our "Unlimited" wireless data service was terminated BECAUSE we used it too much. Not just me - others report the same thing. Which means that Telus advertising of "Unlimited" access amounts to a bald-faced lie (i.e. DECEPTIVE MARKETING PRACTICES).

Telus deserves a huge fine.


PS: The 'Office of the President' (of Telus) has been trying desperately to get in touch with me. But they rather ineptly call my home number during working hours (duh!), and then do not return my calls when I'm actually available.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Telus responds to CCTS

Basically, they're claiming that because it's a complaint about Deceptive Marketing Practices, the CCTS is not the proper forum. This isn't a correct response from them and I will be responding to their response via the CCTS again. They have violated their very own terms of service.

The word "Unlimited" was a key part of the overall contract between us. It cannot be neglected.

Also, they've dragged out yet another service term. #11 this time.

Anyway, if I had to choose, I would rather they get dinged for a multi-million dollar fine from the Competition Bureau than some piddling settlement into my pocket.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Review...

Telus advertised the "Connect 75 Unlimited" wireless data service as having an "unlimited" monthly data usage cap. Lesser plans had specific numbers of GB written under that same column heading.

In my case, at the time of sale, it was confirmed to me by the Telus representative that the plan in question was, "Unlimited, unlimited, unlimited, unlimited, unlimited." I discussed my planned usage pattern with the Telus representative and we even compared WiFi routers that are compatible with the wireless modem.

Now it turns out that "5 GB is cool", and even as low as 12 GB usage per month is too much.

Telus has now cut-off our wireless data service (BECAUSE we were using too much).

I'm now back to using dial-up Internt access.

This marketing behaviour is, in my opinion, criminal. If something is advertised as being unlimited, then it is wrong to de-select your customers based on their usage. That makes a mockery of the word "unlimited".

Monday, September 22, 2008

We have been actually cut-off

Our EV-DO service was cut-off on Saturday morning (20-September-2008).


Telus violated their own Terms of Service several times.

1) On 20-August-2008 we were given notice that we would be cut-off on 25-September-2008.

2) We were actually cut-off on 15-September-2008 (this is less than 30 days notice, that's 1).

3) We called in to complain, and the service was reinstated, but only until 20-September. In other words, we had only 4-days notice of the new earlier cut-off date. Telus brought the date forward purely in spite, but in doing so failed to provide the minimum notice of the new cut-off date (that's 2).

I will be formally complaining to CCTS about these violations by Telus's of their very own Terms of Service.


Keep in mind the largest issue:

Telus advertised "unlimited" service. They did not provide any indication of any monthly bandwidth limit; in fact they advertised the plan as being "unlimited" by name and by description. And now they are cutting-off service to those selected customers where they feeel those customers are using too much bandwidth.

This is a crystal clear example of Deceptive Marketing Practices.

At this point, it's not about the cut-off. It's about the deceptive advertising and marketing practices.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The bums owe me a day of service

That Monday (15 September 2008) when the bums cut-off my Internet service all day long (here), we were only able to use 63,394 kilobytes. That's next to nothing.

The bums owe me a day of service.


For comparison, on Saturday 13 September 2008, we were out of the house all day long - we went for a very long drive (800+ km) starting at 7AM and we didn't get home till very late evening. And on that day we used 81,316 kilobytes. And we weren't even home all day!!!

And it really shows what "reasonable" usage is. 81,316 KB a day is just barely under 2.5 GB a month. We weren't even home all day !!!!


"5 GB a month" - get real. You guys are dreaming in technicolor.


Pure financial motivation due to your choice to subcontract your service Bell towers in Atlantic Canada. "Deceptive Marketing Practices"

Basic math error by Telus

A small number of customers — or “0.1 per cent” — were being canceled… because their heavy usage was slowing the company’s wireless network and affecting speeds for the vast majority of users.

Hmmm...

This 0.1% number does not jive with their claims of 'affecting other users'.

The problem is that 0.1% part of the user base is such a small number that those heavy users would have had to have been using INCREDIBLE amounts of bandwidth to actually significantly affect the total bandwidth on a given tower. But we know from first hand reports, and confirmed by Telus, that the so-called "abusers" were using somewhere between 12 and 40 GB per month. Obviously I don't have the exact average usage of this heavy users, but it must be something around 25GB. And you'll see that Telus is so far off that the exact numbers are not critical. You'd need insane numbers for their argument to hold water.

If 99.9% of the total user population is using (say) only about 1.0 GB per month (some more, some less), and 0.1% are using (say) about 25 GB per month, then these very few heavy users bring the average up from 1.0GB per month per user to 1.024 GB per month per user.

Show your work:
99.9% * 1.0GB + 0.1% * 25GB = 1.024GB average (in other words: +2.4%)

The heavy users don't have much of an affect because they are so heavily outnumbered (0.1% is a 1000-to-1 ratio).

A 2.4% delta isn't really going to have much of an affect on any reasonable network.

So it is obvious that these numbers do not support the statement that those using more than the unstated limit of 5GB are actually 'affecting other users'. It is simply a myth being propagated by Telus to try to cause infighting amongst the user community.

Their numbers are so far off from making any sense that they will have a very difficult time justifying their position when push comes to shove.

Monday, September 15, 2008

My e-mail address

Now that Telus is actually terminating clients due to their undefined (even now) supposed 'overuse' of the "Connect 75 Unlimited" wireless data plan, it may be time for various legal actions.

I have added my e-mail address to the top of the left-hand column. It is an image, so you'll have to read it and type it into your e-mail manually. I've taken this precaution to reduce robot generated spam.

Any lawyers out there that want to take on a Class Action lawsuit?

Well, they pulled the trigger early...

Today our service was terminated. This was at least 5 or 6 days earlier than the minimum 30-day notification period. Also, it was a good ten days earlier than promised.



So I called in, took several tries to find a human, and eventually got to speak to 'Bobby' in Management.

After some discussion he agreed to reinstate the service until 20 September 2008.



Bobby was still pushing me to accept the 1GB per month for $65++ per month. I did not accept his offer because it is, quite simply, insane.

Keep in mind that there is still the much larger issue of Deceptive Marketing Practices.

Bobby confirmed that the issue in my case was my overuse of the "Unlimited" service.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Telus campaign focused on NS and NB ?

Telus was (is?) making various and ever changing claims about the real reason for their campaign.

"Streaming multimedia", "affecting other users", "just because".

Some commentators have stated that Telus subcontracts to Bell / Aliant towers in Atlantic Canada and theorized that the true reason for the purported or pending cancellations is purely financial.

According an informal poll, 75% of those responding are in NS or NB.

[Post details trimmed]

Seems to be a trend.

I feel confident that further investigation would be able to reveal if this focus on clients in certain regions is true or not. And if it is true, then it indicates that the true purpose of the campaign is purely financial, not technical.


PS: 'Simon' the Telus rep told me that the 'head honcho' for this cancellation campaign is a guy named 'Fabian'. Reportedly Fabian is pretty much the top Telus man for the Atlantic provinces. So if Fabian is 'the top man for the Atlantic Provinces', and was also apparently in charge of this "Unlimited" data plan cancellation campaign, makes it very clear that Telus is tired of reselling Bell's EV-DO service in Atlantic Canada under the terms that THEY set in the first place. It all fits together perfectly. Appears to be pure financial motivation covered with untruths.

http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php?t=1407041&page=7&pp=15

Competition Bureau investigators may wish to follow up with this regional aspect of the evidence. All my contact information is listed on my formal complaint.



Thursday, September 11, 2008

Anatomy of the campaign

You can click on this graph to see it larger.

Obviously, the campaign started around Monday 18-Aug-08. And it really got going the following week. Peak was 1067 hits in one day.


More related news...

CBC News (here)

"...When consumers are promised an unlimited service, they do not expect the promise to be broken by hidden limitations," said [NY] attorney general Andrew Cuomo. "Consumers must be treated fairly and honestly. Delivering a product is simply not enough – the promises must be delivered as well."

Canadian carriers — including Telus Corp. in August — have come under fire from customers for also offering "unlimited" services that are limited in many ways, but regulators and legal authorities have taken no action.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Annoying wireless brand Koodo is just Telus

FYI in case you haven't heard - Koodo is just a Telus brand.

Telus doesn't exactly highlight the Koodo is Telus connection.

CBC News story here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Unlimited - another example

When we were using dial-up access to the Internet, we had an "Unlimited" dial-up access plan from a very nice company called Auracom. We paid (at the time) about $15 per month for unlimited dial-up Internet access.

Now obviously the low data rate of dial-up (perhaps 48kbps) means that we're not going to be downloading very many GB of data every month, but I will tell you that we kept one of their telephone lines plugged up for many hours during the prime-time evening hours almost every night. Certainly in the ball-park of about 100 hours per month. In other words, one of their telephone lines and modems was more-or-less dedicated to us.

All for $15 a month.

Never a complaint from Auracom about "abusing" their unlimited dial-up plan. They treated us like a valuable client and we left them on very good terms.

And never a complaint from our local telco Aliant about "abusing" their unlimited residential telephone line service by using it for dial-up access for many hours a day.

Now I realize that dial-up hours aren't exactly the same thing as those oh-so-precious (sic) GBs, but it does show that not all companies engage in deceptive marketing practices with respect to placing practical limits on various "Unlimited" service plans.


Monday, September 1, 2008

The view from Kingston

'Alex J' left an important comment on a post below.

His basic point is that Telus is creating themselves a reputation of not living up to their end of the deal (his example being the new charge for incoming SMS text messages). In other words, he thinks that you can't trust them (and I agree) and you should therefore think very carefully about the position you're putting yourself in before you sign up to any long term, lopsided contracts.

You can read his comment by clicking HERE.


Your local Small Claims Court beckons for those that have been wronged. You can claim back every last penny and more; even including the cost of submitting the claim. And the adjudicator will almost certainly tell them where to stick their Early Termination Fee in cases where Telus is trying to change the deal part way into a contract.

I suppose one might want to ask Telus about their favorite mediator, but when that comes back with any expenses above the cost of Small Claims Court, then just bypass it. Your local court isn't going to allow them to be unreasonable. And sooner or later the local sherriff will seize their assets, or cut power to one their towers, to force them to pay up all the outstanding judgments


Wireless companies sometimes act as if they're above the law. They're not.

And, don't forget to file a complaint at CCTS. See HERE for the details.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Regarding 'Grandfathering'

Telus spokesman Jim Johannsson wrote that 99.9% of all 'Connect 75' (he meant to write 'Connect 75 Unlimited' LOL) clients will remain 'grandfathered'. Traditionally this implies that the historical Telus policy will apply and that these user may remain on that plan for as long as they want (even after their contract expires).

Jim Johannsson from Edmonton, Canada writes: Hi Jack, Just some clarification for you. We have grandfathered the Connect 75 plan so all customers on that plan can continue to enjoy it with the exception of a very small group of customers who are abusing it. ...Jim Johannsson TELUS Media Relations

Strange. Because that's not what Telus man Simon said to me on 20 August 2008 during our first of two telephone calls. Simon said that all 'Unlimited' users "will be gone in 30 months" (30 months apparently being the approximate time until the very last contract expires).

Perhaps Telus would like to clarify this apparent discrepancy.

Corporate Crisis Management

I just love this quotation...

Telus:

"The TELUS Wireless High Speed network ... opens the door for a variety of services such
as streaming video and other multimedia applications. ...
"

See a previous post for all the details and references (here).


My usual fee for this sort of Corporate Crisis Management would be $150k per week plus incidentals (I'm joking), but in this case my advice is free: wind back the clock, apologize and compensate, and then grovel before the regulators.

What's reasonable? It depends.

Some light-duty users of wireless data services fail to understand how anyone could possible use 15 or 20 or more GB per month. They leave ill-informed comments that such use can only be explained by some sort of illegal use such as downloading movies via bit-torrent, or similar claims of outlandish activities. The Telus representatives and spokesman seem to be under the same misconception.


Let me explain our usage pattern and you can judge for yourself if it is reasonable or not.


We use the Telus EV-DO service as a wireless replacement for high speed Internet service to our home (not mobile) because we live in a location that is out of reach of the wires. We cannot get DSL and we cannot get Cable. Also, there is not yet any WiMax systems within range. Satellite is not acceptable (too expensive, too slow, and too dorky). But we can see three 'cellphone' towers (Bell, Rogers, and Telus) from our living room window.

So when Telus announced the "Connect 75 Unlimited" wireless data plan (and Bell announced something very similar), we looked into it as an interim measure to get us connected while we wait (and wait and wait...) for another better, faster, much-cheaper high speed Internet option to become available (now promised for the end of 2009).

We decided on the Telus 'Connect 75 Unlimited' plan for reasons I've previously explained (Bell was being silly that week). We really made sure that the rate plan was really "unlimited" (confirmed by the Telus rep at the time as being "Unlimited" times five). I even mentioned the CTR-350 router and my exact plans for whole-household use. We made sure that we would always be grandfathered (confirmed by a Telus rep).

Once I had the modem in my hands, I ordered up the CTR-350 router. When the router arrived and was connected, suddenly our house in the forest was a WiFi hotspot. Since we live on a large property, there is no risk nor evidence of anyone outside our house using our WiFi. We do not share the service with the neighbours. I was so impressed that even started this blog to promote this new, almost-affordable, unlimited EV-DO service as a little-known option for people in similar circumstances.


Back to the question of usage and those light-duty laptop users not understanding about those that legitimately consume much more than about 5GB per month.


As mentioned above, our house in the forest was suddenly a WiFi hotspot enabled by EV-DO.


We have a laptop with WiFi.

We have a two desktops with added WiFi dongles.

All of these PCs require major software updates to the Windows OS and security software. All have had to download major service packs in the past few months (XP SP3, and Vista SP1). And all the many, many, many, many software applications installed all require regular updates. And because of the download managers used by the software vendors, you need to download the same updates three times (once to each PC).

I tend to keep my software and firmware up-to-date. Even the CTR-350 router needs regular software updates.

Some light-duty laptop users that have another mode of access at home, and just use the EV-DO when mobile... ...well they might not understand that EV-DO is our ONLY Internet access for the entire household.

And it isn't just the three PCs using the new EV-DO-powered WiFi hotspot.

We have a Nintendo Wii that is programmed to automatically download software updates, news and weather every night.

We have three Sony PSPs that all need to be updated with new firmware on a regular basis (several updates in the past few months).

And one of those PSPs (mine) is programmed to automatically download a large number of RSS feeds every night. I'll bet that just that one PSP goes through several GB per month by itself.

We have some other WiFi enabled gadgets that get occasional use.


Bit-torrent? We haven't used any such peer-to-peer application in at least six years. Never on Telus.

Downloading DVDs? Nope. We buy our DVDs the old fashioned way: in plastic boxes.

Endless hours of VOIP? Nope. I did make sure that my new Skype / Cordless phone worked with a short test call to the Skype robot, but I only use the device as a landline cordless telephone. We do not VOIP. We use the telephone line.


All this sort of normal run-of-the-mill usage, when combined with very active blogging (I have many blogs) and many, many, many hours of surfing the net easily bursts through 5GB of usage and heads up into the range of about 15GB to 20GB per month.

And that is before anyone starts talking about high levels of 'multi-media streaming'.

So what is reasonable in our case is what's required to support an entire (active) household. Not just occasional road-warrior mobile access for a laptop that has other options when not on-the-road. We're using EV-DO in the wireless mode of application (as advertised), not to support mobile access (we only ever used it mobile once, as a test).


The Telus rep Simon clearly stated to me that even our normal 15GB to 20GB per month was waaaaaay over the secret limit for the 'Unlimited' plan.

Which leads to the question of why they didn't contact me in:

November 2007: 2.8 GB (in the very first week of service)
December 2007: 14.3 GB
January 2008: 12.6 GB
February 2008, 13.3 GB
...etc...


During our first telephone call recently (20 August 2008), the Telus rep Simon clearly stated, and I quote his exact words:

"5GB is cool."

That is an exact quote.


That telephone call was also the first time that I ever heard about a 5GB (or any other) limit to my "Unlimited" wireless data rate plan.

Don't miss this important post

Don't miss this one!

http://evdo-novascotia.blogspot.com/2008/08/does-anyone-mind-if-i-quote-telus.html

It's related to the supposed Telus prohibition on 'multi-media streaming'.

Contradicted by their own advertising.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

An example of how it should be done...

Thursday, August 28, 2008 -- Comcast, the largest provider of cable-based broadband service in the U.S., will limit residential customers to 250 gigabytes of bandwidth a month beginning Oct. 1, the company announced late Thursday. Comcast will contact customers who go above the 250G byte limit and ask them to curtail their use, Comcast said. ...

1. Note the press release
2. Note the full month advance notice of the new cap policy (no secret)
3. Note the explicit number: "250GB" (no secret limit)
4. Note that 250GB is fifty times more than 5GB
5. Note that they will contact to discuss first (as opposed to hair-trigger cancellation)

Isn't it amazing that Comcast - in terms of their honest, ethical, sensitive, explicit and legal approach to the exact same issue - runs rings around Telus?

CBC News links to this blog

CBC News picks up the story (here) and they link to this blog.

Welcome CBC readers.

I'm sure you'll find some very interesting information just a few posts below.

Suggestion for Telus

Review the previous post just below.

Set aside a little quiet time to think through the implications.

Does anyone mind if I quote Telus?

Cut-and-paste (just minutes ago) from the Telus website :

"The TELUS Wireless High Speed network allows for fast and reliable Internet connections. This opens the door for a variety of services such as streaming video and other multimedia applications. Mobile professionals will be able to get broadband-like connections to corporate Intranets, e-mail servers, the Internet, and other online services."

[emphasis added]

http://www.telusmobility.com/ns/1X/index.shtml (extracted ~9:40pm ADT, 28 August 2008)


Here is a picture (you can click on it to see it larger):

A Most Excellent Summary

See this re-interpretation: click here

Who are the abusers?

Jim Johannsson of Telus said, "Some of these abusers have a habit of moving from carrier to carrier and doing the same thing until they get caught." The Gazette

This attempt at corporate spin certainly does not apply in our case. We are users, not 'abusers'. And we do not move 'from carrier to carrier'. Before Telus EV-DO service we only had dial-up Internet access. If and when Telus arbitraily cancels our EV-DO service sometime in September, then we will be back to dial-up until some distant future when some other high speed Internet option becomes available.

The only abuse in this issue is the Telus abuse of the word "Unlimited", and their abuse of their customers. In my case the limit to "Unlimited" was never revealed. And there was no warning. Only summary termination with 30 days notice rounded to the billing cycle.


Using "Unlimited" to mean something other than without limit is clearly an example of 'Deceptive Marketing Practices'.

And the thick trail of slime left behind more than adequately reveals that the true issues are internal, contractual, reported use of Bell towers (if true), poor strategy, etc.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

On 'Multi-media Streaming'

I note with some amusement that the very Globe & Mail webpage where Telus spokesman Jim Johannsson posted his comment was displaying multi-media streaming advertisements. The ad that I saw was the streaming video advertisement of the dancing robot for Microsoft Server 2008.

EV-DO throughput for comparison's sake

3.1 Mbps (mega bits per second, mega = million, bit = a 1 or a 0)
There are 8 bits per byte (by definition)
3.1 / 8 = 0.3875 MBps (capital B is Bytes)
This is same as 387.5 KBps (K = kilo = thousand) or 387,500 Bps.

x 60 seconds/min
x 60 minutes/hr
x 24 hours/day
x 30 days/month

1,004,400,000,000 Bytes/month
1,004,400,000 KB/month
1,004,400 MB/month
1004.4 GB/month (GB = gigabyte)
1.0044 TB/month (TB = Terabyte)

So: about 1000 GB per month per EV-DO channel.

This is per EV-DO channel. A tower could support multiple EV-DO channels. All that takes is money.


Some bandwidth is used for overhead. But I've seen 2.4Mbps as an individual user (so the actual is within sight of the theoretical).


So if 'abuse' is defined as 5GB (to pick a 'random' number out of the air), then this lone abuser (remember, they are only 0.1% of the user population) is perhaps using as little as 0.5% of the capacity of a single EV-DO channel. Or maybe ten times that much (5%). Which leaves 95~99% of the channel capacity available to the other users who barely use the system at all anyway.

In other words, the "0.1%" doesn't quite seem to square with the math. (Is that 0.1% of your entire customer base - spin spin spin - or 0.1% of just your Connect 75 Unlimited and Connect 100 Unlimited wireless data plans?)


The simplest explanation that does make sense (if true) is the one about Telus paying for EV-DO bandwidth from Bell in NS and NB and perhaps elsewhere.

Response to Telus - corporate spin

This comment was left at the Globe & Mail is in response to the post by the Telus spokesman. But for some unknown reason they chose not to publish it.

Jim Johannsson from Edmonton, Canada writes: Hi Jack, Just some clarification for you. We have grandfathered the Connect 75 plan so all customers ... Jim Johannsson TELUS Media Relations


The following addresses just the subtle corporate spin in the extract above.


The plan in question is NOT called "Connect 75".

It is called (and I'm quoting the exact name of the plan from my bill):

"Connect 75 Unlimited".

(The '75' of course refers to the monthly Telus fee of $81.95 before tax. Ah... okay.)

The same three-part name, including the word "Unlimited", was used on the advertising.

The rate chart showing the permitted data usage per month had the word "Unlimited" in the same column where lesser plans had a numerical value (for example: 5GB).

The Telus representative selling me the system assured me that the "Connect 75 Unlimited" wireless data rate plan was "Unlimited, unlimited, unlimited, unlimited, unlimited!" (I'm quoting the exact words used to describe the nature of the plan).

It is typical corporate spin by Mr. Johannsson to cleverly eliminate the third word ("Unlimited") from the name of the wireless data rate plan under discussion.

Now, what is reasonable usage for the EV-DO wireless data system?

The EV-DO channel is specified to support a data rate of 3.1 Mbps. The actual data rate seen by an individual user might be slightly less at 2.4Mbps (which I've seen). So each individual EV-DO channel supports a monthly transfer rate of approximately ONE THOUSAND GB. Towers would normally provide multiple EV-DO channels.

To claim that anyone using a bandwidth in the low, or very low, single digits (%) of the capacity is abusive... ...well that seems to be stretching the truth.

Now - please explain again what the exact data usage limit is for 'overuse' and termination? Being in the top 0.1%?? What? Did you provide me with a monthly update showing me where I sit on the Bell Curve chart? I must have missed that information... LOL.

I'm sure that this formal admission in writing by a senior Telus representative that there actually is an as-yet-unspecified usage limit to the so-called "Unlimited" data plans will help the authorities with their inquiries.


(This post has been updated with some applicable extracts.)

Here are extracts from my monthly bill and the My Account webpage. Note that the plan name clearly includes the word "Unlimited". There is another word that means almost the same thing as corporate-spin.




Open letter to Jim Johannsson of Telus

(name 'Johannsson' corrected - sorry about that - not intentional)

See the Globe and Mail article, and especially the comment by Jim Johannsson (here).

My reaction to Mr. Johannsson's comment:

Each 3.1 Mbps EV-DO channel can (in theory) support more than ONE THOUSAND GB per month.

My usage of the EV-DO system, even in the peak summer months recently, is therefore in the low single digit (%) range of the available bandwidth for just one EV-DO channel.

I doubt that there are that many users out here in the forests of NS (where most other neighbourhoods in the coverage area already have one or two less expensive wired high speed Internet options). It seems unreasonable to expect a user with such a low use (relative to the stated capacity) to anticipate that it would have any actual impact on anyone else (except perhaps, your financial arrangements with Bell for use of their towers).

Many of your other statements are at odds with what I was told by your rep Simon. His latest telephone call (#2) he clearly stated that 'Usage has nothing to do with it. Telus is simply exercising escape clause 18' (or words to that effect). So you two don't even have your stories straight.

Now - please explain again what the exact data usage limit is for 'overuse' and termination? Because I was explicitly told that my data access was "Unlimited", and now you've just admitted that it actually wasn't unlimited.

I'm sure that this formal admission in writing (finally) by a senior Telus representative that there actually is an as-yet-unspecified usage limit to the so-called "Unlimited" data plans will help the authorities with their inquiries. Thank you for that.

One simple explanation for your post in the Globe and Mail today might be that Telus was starting with the users using the highest bandwidth, and now, seeing the reaction, you're going to terminate the campaign (I'm quoting that word) after the first 0.1%. If this means that Telus is coming to its senses, then that's a good thing.

Well over 1000 hits a day

Yesterday, 1067 hits to this blog.

So far today almost 200 (and it is still early).

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Attn: Competition Bureau

Look at this:

Telus's Service Term 7 says that the damages for "...anti-competitive behaviour of Telus, is limited to $20."

LOL

Google just called about my "Unlimited" blog ;-)

In happier ("Unlimited" EV-DO) days, this blog used to get one or two hits per day.

Maybe 30 or 40 minutes ago it was at 580 hits so far today. I just checked it again and it is 690. More than 100 hits in less than an hour.

Which proves that bad news travels about 500 times as fast as good news ever did.

This has made Slashdot

Slashdot here.

Simon sez

Simon sez that this cancellation campaign has been approved by the highest levels of Telus (mis-)management. So it is not some out-of-control Fabian making bad decisions, and not some VP named Rob choosing the wrong path. It is reportedly driven straight from the very top.

Wiki: Darren Entwistle is the current President and CEO of Telus. He is one of the highest paid CEO's in Canada with earnings from salary, benefits and stock options averaging over 5 million dollars per year since 2004.

Apparently they're not really all that frightened of the CCTS since the penalty might be as low as $5k for this whole fiasco (seems to vary with different sources).

So maybe the Competition Bureau will have more of an impact.


Thanks for all the info Simon, I do appreciate the level of detail that is being provided with each call. Are we starting to see the advantages of a nice, well-drafted letter with approved wording? Ideally you would include some carrot with the stick and you might have come out smelling like roses. Perhaps such a more reasoned approach might have cost a bit more time and money, but do you think this is going to be as cheap as you thought?

Get it in writing!!! (good luck with that)

I note that Telus is trying to do everything verbally only over the telephone.

Telus has indicated to me that they will offer me some new blah-blah-blah-whatever wireless data plan (at something like several times the monthly cost) but THEY WILL NOT SEND OUT ANY DETAILS OF THE 'SPECIAL-OFFER TO OUR ABUSED CLIENTS' PLAN IN WRITING. And it is complicated enough, with purported cost ceilings and various limits, that I certainly need to see it in writing. Especially given their bad behaviour regarding the definition of "Unlimited" being 5GB (in spite of more-recent denials).

I have informed them (verbally) that I am simply not accepting any new data plan. So far as I am concerned, I am on 'Connect 75 Unlimited' until told otherwise in writing. Terminate, suspend and/or cancel the service after the notification period ends if you wish, but I do not accept any offer of a new plan.

If there is a new rate plan, then they have (effectively) not told me about it. Not in any detail sufficient for me to accept it. And, in any case, if they think that paying hundreds of dollars per month for a reasonable level of Internet service (~15GB +/-) is going to work for me, they're fricken insane.

So the ball is their court. Put it in writing.

There are laws (certainly provincial) about selling things by telephone. Do you want to play that game? Better read up on the rules covering such direct selling; legally it is treated the same as door-to-door vacuum salesmen.

So put it in writing.

Telus has changed their approach

First call: On Wednesday, 20 August 2008, Telus rep 'Simon' was using Service Term 5 to justify suspension and/or cancellation of service.

Second call: Today, 'Simon' called me back to inform me that they would do nothing other than refund the hardware price (well duh, of course you'll refund the hardware). This time he quoted ONLY service term #18 and denied ever quoting any other aspect. I requested that he send me details of the new offered plan in writing and he refused to do so (almost certainly grounds for a second complaint to the CCTS & Competition Bureau).

But 'Simon' was still going on about my recent two months of data usage of about 45GB each. So the real truth is still poking out from under their pile of bull.

(PS: I just noticed something which proves - no doubt - what is the real issue. It only takes two simple logic steps to connect the dots. I'll be keeping it in my back pocket for now.)

Competition Bureau response

Dear Mr. (me):

Thank you for the information you provided regarding Telus.

We have reviewed your information and determined that the matter you have raised requires further examination under the laws we enforce. We have not yet determined what action, if any, would be appropriate. A Bureau representative may contact you if further information is required.

Should we determine that action is warranted, we can use a wide range of educational, compliance and enforcement tools to deal with false or misleading representations and deceptive marketing practices. These include issuing public alerts to educate consumers or businesses about certain marketing practices; contacting parties directly to encourage voluntary compliance with the laws we enforce; and pursuing legal action.

...

CCTS response

Dear (me),

Thank you for contacting the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS). The CCTS is an independent agency with a mandate to receive, facilitate the resolution of, and, if necessary, resolve eligible consumer and small business complaints relating to certain retail telecommunications services.

We have received your complaint #xxxxxxxxxxxxxx and hereby advise you that your complaint falls within the scope of our mandate and will be processed in accordance with our Procedural Code (the “Code”),...

...

Complain to CCTS !!!!!

To quote from Howard Forums (here):


Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services

Online Complaint form (for those who got a letter):
http://www.ccts-cprst.ca/ots/cf/Exi...rm.do?locale=en


Also:
Competition Bureau
http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/...n/h_00130e.html

Remember the bureau does not get involved in contract disputes, just file a complaint regarding Telus and their "DECEPTIVE MARKETING PRACTICES". note (74.01 (1)(a) of the Competition Act).

http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/showdo...orbo-ga:l_VII_1

Attention Telus

Hi Simon at Telus,

I'm sorry that we couldn't come to an agreement that was acceptable to both of us.

But please don't make up cover stories about what you did or did not admit to me during our previous telephone conversation. I have no reason to lie, but Telus has every reason in the world to lie. My statements in this blog are a true record of what you said during our previous conversation on 20 August 2008.

Your pal.

Monday, August 25, 2008

200 hits a day

Geesh.

I wonder if Mr. Fabian and Mr. Durham at Telus were expecting the sort of reaction they're getting?

Here. Howard Forums. Prof Micheal Geist.

I suggest that they start making settlement offers sooner than later. And better put the ill-conceived campaign on-hold pending finding a better approach. Ever hear of traffic shaping? Still evil for plans advertised as "Unlimited", but a whole lot more subtle.

But I guess since you're (according to reports) just reselling Bell EV-DO service in the provinces most affected (NB, NS), Bell isn't going to help you out with that are they?

Related links

Michael Geist here

Howard Forums here

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Review the basics:

Welcome to those linked here by electronista.com. Please see the whole blog, not just this post, for more details about Telus Connect 75 Unlimited.


We paid a fairly high fee in order to have an "Unlimited" data plan. The terms of service make no mention of any particular bandwidth cap. The word "unlimited" implies "without limit". Telus did not communicate any such limit to us. In fact, I was told that "Unlimited" meant "Unlimited, unlimited, unlimited, unlimited, unlimited!"

And now, without any warning about limits, Telus is canceling accounts with just 30-days notice.

And they are lying about violation of Terms of Service (such nonsense as multi-media streaming which any subject matter expert would be able to disassemble). They'll look foolish if they actually stick to this pathetic excuse in court, under oath.

I believe that Telus is headed for a world of hurt on this issue. Bigger companies than them have been burned. Verizon (in just one state!) had to pay a $1M penalty. I honestly believe that Telus just started down a road that will prove to be more expensive in the long run.

I don't know how they'll get out of this one.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Re: Service Term #5

"You will not use the service for: multi-media streaming..."

"Streaming" in this context is clearly a verb in the sense of a Telus customer setting up a multi-media streaming [verb] system. A reasonable example of such an application would be 24/7 webcam that is streaming [verb] a video feed out to the world. Applying this term to normal day-to-day, run-of-the-mill Internet surfing (which inevitably involves some reception [verb] of multi-media streams [noun] from websites such as CBC.ca and CNN.com) is a stretch. This sort of noun/verb confusion is very common. And even if you interpret it their way, then the enforcement is selective and based on other factors (bandwidth, as admitted). And thus this service term would very likely be found to be unenforceable.


"Excessive": what is excessive when the limit is "unlimited".


Telus is taking a big Verizon-size risk with their approach. If they were smart, they'd offer compensation and get agreements. If they don't, then someone somewhere will be taking them to court (after a token mediation attempt). Then the lawyers get involved, and years later Telus is making out a cheque for huge sums. And all staff involved are no longer working at Telus.


If you didn't mean "unlimited", then you should not have called it "Connect 75 Unlimited".


All You Can Eat Buffet [one plate limit, no seconds]

A history lesson for Telus

October 25, 2007 (old news):

The debate over whether unlimited data plans really mean unlimited data came to a head this week as Verizon Wireless agreed to settle a lawsuit brought on by the New York attorney general's office charging the operator with deceptive advertising over its unlimited data service pricing. Verizon will pay a total of $1 million to customers who were booted for using certain high-bandwidth applications. The attorney general says Verizon cut off more than 13,000 customers since April 2004 for excessive use of the network. By April 2007, the operator had stopped the practice. According to a statement from the attorney general: "Verizon Wireless sold its plans as unlimited plans without disclosing that common usages such as downloading movies or playing games online were prohibited. The company also cut off heavy Internet users for exceeding an undisclosed cap of usage per month."


Deja vu all over again a second time.

It's important to reiterate that the Telus representative that I was speaking with admitted to me that the real issue is not this or that particular application, nor this or that data protocol, but the usage when it exceeds about 5GB per month.

In other words, they're not even good liars about the real reason for canceling the service. The real reason is that they've decided that Unlimited means about 5GB.

I smell a Class Action lawsuit coming, or perhaps government intervention for deceptive trade practices.

Telus Connect 75 Unlimited being killed off

The Telus (Canada) "Connect 75 Unlimited" data plan is being killed off (not just unavailable to new subscribers, but terminating existing subscribers). If you use more than about 5GB per month, and if you're not under contract, then you'll be getting a call soon in priority order of your usage (heaviest users first). I've seen people mentioning even just 12 GB of usage getting the call.

You'll be given about 30 days notice. If you have a contract, they will try to get you off the plan by invoking the prohibition against Streaming Multimedia (LOL) or VOIP or whatever. Never admit to anything when you're forced to speak with them (it might delay your disconnection). The real issue is your bandwidth consumption (they have admitted this to me) - not the particular protocol you use.

5GB is the actual monthly bandwidth limit for the Connect 75 Unlimited data plan.

Lots of people getting calls eh?

This blog usually gets several hits per day.

In the past week, we've had nearly 400 hits.

Obviously lots of people are getting those 'Terms of Service' letters from Telus and are being asked to call Telus to discuss.

Please leave some comments with your experiences.

Are you a Connect 75 Unlimited account holder?
Have you been queried about your usage pattern?
Have you been informed that your service will be canceled shortly?

Free advice during this campaign

Free advice - if and when you have to speak with the Telus representative, do not admit to doing anything except web-surfing and e-mail.

Streaming multimedia? Never.
VOIP? Never.
What are you doing? Just websurfing and e-mail, nothing more.
75GB per month? Yep, lot's of CNN.com. Big webpage ya know.

This approach might buy you some time while they are forced to investigate your actual usage further.

Blog opened for comments

I've opened up this blog for comments because of this new issue of Telus canceling all (sooner or later) Connect 75 Unlimited accounts for using too much bandwidth and then making up stories about that it is because of streaming multimedia or whatever.

Try to keep the comments on just the later posts. Maybe this one.

Back to dial-up then, eh?

The neighbourhood I live in doesn't have any Cable TV lines in the immediate area. There is no Cable TV (and thus no Cable Internet) option available here. Of course we've checked and double-checked and triple-checked.

The neighbourhood I live in is 22,500 feet from the nearest telephone 'central office'. They only offer DSL service out as far as 20,000 feet. They are not willing to give it a try. Of course we've checked and double-checked and triple-checked.

Satellite Internet is a 7th rate solution. $1000 for the kit. $200 per month for 2Mbps. Long latency times as each mouse click travels 40,000km up, 40,000km down and each webpage travels 40,000km up and 40,000km down. Plus they fiddle with the information to compress the webpages. Yuck.


So in November 2007 we got High Speed Internet service through Telus's EV-DO service paying just over $93 per month (expensive!!) for their relatively slow 2Mbps service. We chose their almost Top of Line data plan offering "Unlmited bandwidth" (the only higher plan was for people roaming into the USA).

Based on the assurance of continued service from Telus, we bought more PC hardware. When we were using dial-up, we just had one clunky old PC from early 2001. But once we got high speed from Telus, we bought a bespoke EV-DO WiFi router, a nice laptop, a new desktop, 802.11 hardware for the systems, and much more.

Obviously they'll have to offer a full refund on the Telus hardware (about $300, that goes without saying), but the losses in my case will be much higher than that. Even a full refund of the total service fees paid to date will barely cover the investment I've made based on their assurance that this service would continue to be available for the foreseeable future.

Not to mention the inconvenience.

And their half-hearted lies about the real reason for the service termination isn't going to do them any good. The representative I was speaking with admitted that the real issue is too much bandwidth usage.

But the plan is called "Unlimited", not "Limited to about 5GB bandwidth per month".

Telus is making the mistake of trying to redefine the word "Unlimited" to mean something less.

I suspect that this is going to get very very messy.

Some myths about Telus EV-DO service

Some Telus myths...


Myth #1) 'Unlimited' really means unlimited. [Source Telus representative (see ref. A)]

No it doesn't. The unstated limit is up to about 5GB per month. Anything more than that and you will be moved up the list for cancellation without any 2nd chance (no warning, just 30-days notice and you're gone). Note that this 5GB monthly bandwidth cap is somewhat variable and is not mentioned anywhere in the Ts & Cs.


Myth #2) Once you're on a Telus service plan, you will be grandfathered for as long as you wish. Telus will never take away a plan. You don't need to sign a contract to ensure that your plan will remain in place for as long as you want to keep it. [Source Telus representative (see ref. B)]

Telus is reportedly, right now, actively canceling all customers presently under the Connect 75 Unlimited plan (prioritized in order of bandwidth usage, heaviest users go first). Those not under contract are getting thirty days notice that the party is over. Those under contracts will not be able to continue once their contract expires. "Everyone will be off this plan no more than about 30 months from now."


Myth #3) You're not permitted to use streaming multimedia using EV-DO. [Telus stated Ts & Cs.]

That is not true. Virtually every Internet user encounters streaming multimedia to some extent on a daily basis. The actual restriction is their unstated 5GB per month bandwidth cap. This streaming contractual term is just there in case they need it. It is selectively enforced only to enforce the unstated bandwidth cap.


Myth #4) Nobody should need anymore than 5GB per month. [Implied by Telus's secret policy regarding 'unlimited' data plans]

Oh puhlease. Maybe if you're 80 years old. Our normal usage pattern is 15 GB per month, and that's the slow months. Just the Microsoft and other security updates can be several GB per month.


Refs:

A. Telus representative, Burnside outlet (Dartmouth, NS), at time of purchase and sign-up. Representative assured me that the Connect 75 Unlimited plan was "Unlimited, unlimited, unlimited, unlimited, unlimited."

B. Telus representative, Bedford Mall (Bedford, NS), at the time when Telus website announced the upcoming end of the period when the Connect 75 Unlimited plan would be made available for sign-up. I went in and asked if I should sign-up for a two or three year contract to ensure that I could continue to have this plan. It was explained to me that Telus always allows customers to continue with their current plan under a grandfathered basis for as long as you wish. I was reassured that there was no need for me to sign-up to a contract. I could remain under the Connect 75 Unlimited plan for as long as I wished (just like some people are still under the Talk Halifax plan many years later). See a previous post about this assurance.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"Unlimited, unlimited, unlimited, unlimited, unlimited"

Five "unlimited" in a row. I counted them. That is a direct quote of what the Telus representative said when I signed-up for the Connect 75 Unlimited service.

Letter today:

"We have reviewed your use... outside the bounds... authorized by our Service Terms."

Here we go...


THE TELUS CONNECT 75 UNLIMITED ISSUE IS COVERED IN THE POSTS ABOVE.

Everything below this post is from happier times before the cancellation campaign.

Monday, July 7, 2008

New mast in the neighbourhood...

Our neighbourhood is already well served with cell-phone towers. So the new mast that just poked up above the trees is probably not just another cell-phone tower.

I must go check to see if WiMax or similar has arrived...

(But, I had better be very careful to check the Fair Usage Caps before signing up to a new provider. It would be annoying to end up paying more for less.)

UPDATE: No news. Bell and Rogers websites still suck; monstrous pigs of bandwidth wasting stupidity. Anyway, once I had waited for the multi-megabyte webpages to finally load, there is nothing new in the Sympatico Unplugged nor Rogers Portable Internet (exactly the same thing except the plans vary). Also, nothing new mentioned on the HRM Broadband project either (but I'll bet that is what it is).

Monthly bill for data usage = $1.3 MILLION...

...NOT!!!

Our data usage this past billing cycle was about 45 GB (triple our normal usage pattern for various reasons). Our monthly bill is unchanged (as opposed to some other plans where it might have been $1.3 to 2.3 million dollars).

Thank goodness we're on the really-truly-really-is-actually-true 'Unlimited' plan.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

US Roaming Rates jump by 1000x

In a previous post (here), I'd mentioned that the US Roaming rate was cheaper than the Canadian rate.

They changed the US Roaming Rate for the Connect 65 plan from GB to MB. And I know I copied it correctly because I had cut-and-paste the rate into my post.

Here is what is says now:

Additional Data Usage1 +$12/MB +$8/MB +$10/GB
U.S. Roaming Usage2 +$6/MB +$6/MB +$3/MB

$3 (or $6) per MEGABYTE?

Crazy.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Telus - no sign of cost-effective data plans

No good news. Still only offering 1GB for $65 and then $10/GB from then on.

Useless.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Bell Aliant's EV-DO data plan rates

They don't even know themselves. I stopped in at an outlet today and they didn't know. They didn't have any flyers. The staff checked the Bell website and the Data Rate Plan page was blank.

They couldn't answer the question How much for how much? if their life depended on it.

Monday, May 5, 2008

You know it's insane when...

The additional data rate in your home country (Canada) is more expensive than roaming in another country.

Additional Data Usage(1): +$12/MB, +$8/MB, +$10/GB
U.S. Roaming Usage(2): +$6/MB, +$6/MB, +$3/GB

Roaming cheaper than home use. This is insane.

If you live on near the border, get a high gain antenna and aim south to see if you get get into the network via a US tower.

Crazy.

Looks like the Connect 75 Plan is gone

The unlimited Connect 75 Plan is gone. Now it is $65 for only ONE measly GB, and $10 per GB after that. So my typical monthly usage would cost $65 + ($10 * 14GB extra) + fees = $205 ++

Telus Rate Plans = LINK

I've been informed that I can remain on the present plan until the end of time.

Sorry to those that missed it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

CradlePoint now has a Canadian Dealer

Details on the CradlePoint website.

Telus 'Connect 75' (promotional) rate plan

Although the Connect 75 and similar "promotional" rate plans are supposedly ending soon (4 May 2008?), I've been assured by a Telus representative that those presently on these plans are entitled to remain on their plan as long as they want (even for those on a month-to-month contract).

At least this is what I've been told.

[Update: I've just checked their website (morning 4 May 2008) and there is no new information yet. They're still listing the same 75 Connect promo plan and that it's available just until today. I guess we'll see what happens tomorrow...]

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Monday, March 31, 2008

Need longer range?

The CTR-350 mobile router has a built-in WiFi antenna. It works fine for its intended purpose, but you're not going to set any records for maximum WiFi range with it.

Now that the Ethernet port of the CTR-350 can be used on the LAN side (as of firmware 2.0), it should be possible to attach another WiFi router (set to a different WiFi channel keeping mind the overlapping channels, [use 1, 6, etc.]). So the extra router could be equipped with an external antenna in the usual fashion to achieve whatever range you care to attempt.

The 595U has an antenna jack for extending the EV-DO range if required.

CTR-350 firmware now at 2.1

Now at 2.1

World's most complicated telephone call

An outfit called 'Princess Auto' has (had?) a bunch of LinkSys Skype cordless telephones (CIT-300) in their surplus section for $50. It'd be better to buy a model with built-in Skype and WiFi so that it would go directly to your WiFi router. I just bought it for laughs and to learn a bit more about the related subjects. And since it also has a POTS (RJ-11) connection, it is a reasonable DECT cordless phone anyway.

In spite of information to the contrary, a Vista-compatible driver is actually available. Don't bother manually searching the LinkSys Canada website for it, just Google CIT-300 and Vista and it should lead you indirectly to the LinkSys USA page with the download.

When I was playing around with this set-up (minus the WRT-54GL) I noticed that there were three wireless links going at once: DECT, WiFi amd EV-DO. I found that a bit amusing.

UPDATE: Although I have this equipment, I have NEVER paid any money into my Skype account. I have never made an actual VOIP telephone call. Basically we do not VOIP in this household. The only reason I bought the Skype phone is because it was so cheap and functions as a normal cordless landline telephone.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Cause of occasional service drop-outs

Occasionally the Internet would be unavailable. Upon investigation and sometimes a bit of frustration, I would determine that the EV-DO + Router had gone off-line. Up to now, I just 'fixed it' by cycling power to the CTR-350.

Finally I had time to check the logs inside the CTR-350 (amazing gadget, so much in such a small box) and I found that the root cause was a 'lease expiry' of the IP address. I expect that this issue comes from Telus. Perhaps they don't expect people to remain connected to their EV-DO network for such a long time.

No big deal. It doesn't happen all that often (at least not that I've noticed).

UPDATE: There's a setting inside the CTR-350 for the IP Address lease expiry time (LAN side I presume). It seems to be set to 1440 minutes (exactly 24 hours). This means that if you're farting around with the CTR-350 (cycling power for example) at 7:15pm one day, then the next day it may hiccup at exactly the same time (i.e. likely to be prime time). I think that I'll set it to some other value than exactly 24 hours to avoid deja vu all over again a second time day after day. Either that or perhaps I'll wake up at 3:30 am and cycle the power to get it on a schedule that I won't notice. Disclaimer - I'm not sure about any of this.

Friday, March 14, 2008

New firmware for CTR-350

I just updated the firmware in my CTR-350 from 1.6.2 to 2.0.1.

One neat new feature is that apparently the wired Ethernet port on the CTR-350 can now be used in either directions (WAN or LAN). Previously the wired Ethernet port was intended for the WAN side only; in other words an alternate modem such as DSL or Cable. But now it can also be assigned to the LAN side so that local wired-only devices such as the PlayStation 2 consoles will be able to get on-line.

Yee haw.

Just in case the people at CradlePoint are reading this blog, THANK YOU.

CradlePoint has some cool new products

CradlePoint, the people that offer the CTR-350 EV-DO router, have some new products.

The Personal HotSpot PHS-300:

PHS-300

The Mobile Broadband Router MBR-1000:

MBR-1000

Link = CradlePoint

This month's usage and bill...

13,291,284 kilobytes (about 13GB).

Bill was still $93.03 (plus a very small late charge of under $2 because I missed paying the bill last month exactly on time - my fault).


If I was paying 'only five cents per kilobyte', then my bill would have been $664,564.

But some might cry out: GET A PLAN STUPID! NO NEED TO PAY THAT MUCH.

Okay, so if I had a plan with a couple of MB cap and the balance at 'only THREE cents per kilobyte', my bill would have been about $398,738.

So it's true, with the right plan one can save hundreds of thousands of dollars per month. ...ROLLS EYES...

Almost always just plain works...

Once in a while the Internet is unavailable on both the desktop and the laptop. So I need to reboot the EV-DO system (CTR-350 + 595U). I'm still not sure exactly what the issue it, but I simply unplug the power from the CTR-350 and then reconnect it and everything is fine again a few seconds later after it automatically logs on again.

This only happens about once a month or so. Not a major issue. Most of the time, the Internet access just plain works.

And since it is WiFi, everything with a WiFi connection just plain works. Left out are a few Internet-enabled toys that have only wired Ethernet connections, things like the PlayStation 2 consoles.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Actual download speeds

I seem to be getting numbers as high as 277KB/s (kilobytes per second). You need to multiply KB/s by eight to calculate kilobits per second (there are eight bits in a byte).

This works out to about 2.2Mbps. Not always. Sometime it is more like one Mbps. Sometimes there are unexplained delays. Once in a while the WAN side logs off and reconnects a minute later. But the actual download speed seems to be in the range of 1.0 Mbps to as high as 2.2 Mbps.

This is exactly what they 'printed on the tin' (advertised). Their honestly is refreshing as compared to the stories about people paying other famous ISPs for high speed and not getting high speed.

Just for comparison, to get this download rate from satellite would cost $200+ per month. And in fact, it would be 2.0Mbps peak, not 2.2Mbps peak. Not to mention the latency or time delay of bouncing back and forth to the satellite. Plus I hear that they (satellite) down-res web graphics - as opposed to the perfectly transparent ISP that Telus seems to be (just a pipe to the Internet).

All-in-all, a very satisfied customer. And I have no connection to my ISP (Telus) except as a satisfied customer.

Amusingly, our TV is Bell ExpressVu, our landline telephone is Aliant, our cell phones are Rogers, and our high speed is Telus. Our former dial-up ISP was Auracom. We're not exactly a good example of a customer with a 'Bundle'. LOL.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Telus EV-DO Coverage - central NS



The dark red is the high speed area.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Monthly fees - review

Telus:

Connect 75 Unlimited: $75.00
Network and Access: $7.38 ($6.95 blah-blah 'fee' and $0.43 NS 911 fee)
(It would more honest to call it 'Connect 82.38 Unlimited', but that isn't as catchy a name)
NS HST: $10.75

Total per month $93.03


This month's usage was about 12.6 GB.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A new blog - The WiFi Limo

I've created another blog called The WiFi Limo.

The purpose of the new blog is to explain that the only difference between the high speed Internet WiFi hotspot in my house, and what can be done in an airport taxi or limo, is what sort of AC versus DC adapter is required to power the CTR-350 router. Everything that I'm doing in my house with the high speed Internet, can also be done in a car traveling at any speed up to 160kmh.

Link= The WiFi Limo

Sunday, December 23, 2007

WiMax precursor system - news

[NOTE - This post has nothing to do with EV-DO.]

Rogers now offers the outdoor WiMax antenna to provide better coverage. Their website links to maps that show details of the slightly expanded coverage areas.

Interestingly, the coverage is now VERY close to my house. It just barely touches the edge of my neighbour's property (a few hundred meters from here).

Last time I checked, Bell had a better offer for this service, but YMMV.

PS: Both Bell and Rogers are marketing the exact same system. It is one system, not two.

Peak speed almost 2Mbps

The other day I downloaded some .net packages from Microsoft. One file was about 24MB and required less than 2 minutes to download. So the average download speed for the entire file was about 1.7Mbps.

That's not bad at all.

Friday, December 21, 2007

How's the billing? Is it expensive?

Telus 75 Connect Unlimited.
One month's usage, about 13.4GB (Nov 19 to Dec 20).
Extra fees for data: $0.00
Just the monthly fees as agreed ($75.00 + $6.95 + $0.43 + tax).

The house is now a WiFi hotspot. Everything works.

Speed is at least 1 Mbps. Sometimes files download at more than 2 Mbps.

Mark me down as a very happy customer.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

People think I'm joking...?

CBC News - A Calgary man is disputing a cellphone bill of nearly $85,000, claiming the phone company failed to tell him using his phone to surf the internet would cost so much. ...

Link= CBC News

I'm not joking.

See The Inquirer.

The Register picked up the same story.

More comments.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cradlepoint CTR-350 Cellular Travel Router

CradlePoint CTR-350

Wow.

Wow wow wow.

My new Cradlepoint CTR-350 arrived today.

It is tiny, about the size of a deck of cards. The 595U plugs directly in the USB port on the side. The only other connection I use is the AC adapter (5Vdc, 2.5A).

There is an Ethernet port, but for Internet access only (DSL or Cable). At this time the Ethernet port is NOT for your PC.

[UPDATE: New firmware allows Ethernet port to be used in either direction: WAN as before, or LAN.]

Price class around US$150, plus US$25 for FedEx. I really like FedEx. I had to pay the HST (about $21) when it cleared customs, but at least the FedEx fee was only about $7 (which is perfectly fair). Not like being hosed by UPS for $50. Anyway...

To use, just plug the Sierra Wireless 595U into the side of the CTR-350. Use WiFi from laptop to access CTR-350 which then accesses the Internet via EV-DO over the Telus network.

The thing just plain works. Now the whole house can access the Internet all at once via our own little portable WiFi hot spot. Right now the DSM-320 is streaming a radio station from the Philppines, the kid's Nintendo DS is battling on-line, and I'm here typing in the blog.

They call it a 'Travel' router I guess because no one is really thinking about EV-DO in terms of being a viable alternative for high speed Internet access from a primary residence. But it is!! When there are no other options (other than satellite), then the EV-DO option floats to the top.

Satellite can be a bit cheaper ($55 per month), but you need to sign-up for a multi-year contract and the speed is only 0.5 Mbps for that monthly fee. If you want 1Mbps, then you pay $100 per month. And don't even mention the Ping-time latency bouncing up and down to a satellite as compared to a nearby cell phone tower.

More to follow later about all this gear.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Installing Sierra Wireless Watcher on Vista

When I tried to install Sierra Wireless's Watcher onto my laptop [under Windows Vista] an error popped up as follows:

Internal Error 2753. DriverInstaller.exe

This is a Windows Installer error message and it happens with many software installations, not just Watcher. Nobody seems to know why... [See update at bottom of post]

Note - The Watcher software was installed on my old desktop [under Windows XP] without any problems.

I downloaded the very latest version of Watcher from the Sierra Wireless website, tried the installation on my Vista laptop again, and the result was exactly the same.

I sent an e-mail and the Sierra Wireless support folks provided a quick response the next morning. I adapted their suggestions and did the following:

From the Admin account, I called up the command prompt (Start, Run, cmd [enter], or Start, Accessories, Command Prompt) and then typed in:

regsvr32 vbscript.dll [enter]

This command threw up an unexplained 0x80004005 error but the wording seemed to imply that this particular error message was non-fatal. Then I re-ran the Watcher installer and this time it seemed to work fine (no '2753' error and halt this time).

The end result is that the 595U AirCard works just fine on the laptop under Vista.

I hope that this helps.

[UPDATE 9 April 2008: My esteemed colleague Dr. 'Ali' G explained that this error and cure relates to the vbscript DLL file not being registered. This is normally a sign that an MS-Office (or similar) product has never been installed (yep!) and, in such circumstances, the vbscript DLL file is typically not registered. Well there ya go.]

Disclaimer - at your own risk. Best to ask the support folks.

Telus links for EV-DO (and the slower 1x)

Link= Wireless High Speed
Link= Sierra Wireless 595U
Link= What is Wireless High Speed (EVDO)?
Link= Atlantic Provinces coverage (.pdf)

First evening with Telus EVDO

Downloaded about 160MB this evening (surfing, updating & downloading).

With Rogers that would cost about $8000.

Well, okay then. Only about $4800 with a plan.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sierra Wireless AirCard 595U (USB Interface)

Sierra Wireless AirCard 595U

This little tiny gadget has a USB interface so that it can plug directly into your laptop or desktop PC.

Certain versions also come with a nice docking base (as shown above); but reportedly the later versions just ship with a USB cable (not confirmed).

The price class is around $300, maybe $250 if you happen to be lucky.

They're as low as $50 if you sign-up for a three year sentence, I mean plan. But, for most people, that would not be a good idea. Three years is a LOONNGG time to be locked into an expensive plan.