Toronto ISP: Is Teksavvy cable Internet a good idea, even with the threat of Usage Based Billing?
January 4, 2011 4:10 PM   Subscribe

Toronto ISP: Is Teksavvy cable Internet a good idea, even with the threat of Usage Based Billing?

I live in downtown Toronto. I've had Rogers as my ISP for around 6 years. I mostly like it - I've found the service reliable, and techs helpful in the few times there's been a problem.

But I'd really like to now have to worry about how much bandwidth I use. I'm really tempted to move to Teksavvy, but I wonder of this is a good time, given all the recent CRTC stuff about usage based billing.

Things I like about my present setup with Rogers:
- Pretty reliable
- Really fast download (25 mbps). Okay fast upload (1 mbps)

Things I'd like to be different
- I'd like to have unlimited bandwidth (most important)
- Unthrottled torrents would be pretty nice.
- Faster upload would be great. Slightly slower download would be acceptable.
- I wouldn't mind paying less than I do now. (I have a "retention" plan that gives me 15% off the monthly price for Rogers Extreme Plus, along with 20GB/mo of extra bandwidth)

Here are my questions. I realize some of these questions are probably a little hypothetical, but I'm interested in peoples' thoughts:

1) Does it seem likely that Teksavvy will be able to offer unlimited cable internet for at least another couple of years? Or will the goings on with the CRTC and usage-based billing put an end to that?

2) Can I expect the sort of reliability of service from Teksavvy that I've gotten from Rogers? Much as everyone likes to hate on Rogers, in my experience the service has been reliable (No more than 20 hours or so a year of outage, and pretty quick fixes when there are problems including on-site equipment replacement). Reliability is really important to me.

3) Does Teksavvy offer unthrottled torrents? Are they likely to continue to? That would be a plus.

Any other thoughts/advice/etc on this decision would be much appreciated!!

posted by ManInSuit to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I've been on TekSavvy cable for half a year. I'm not a massive bandwidth user--maybe 20 torrents a month plus regular browsing, YouTube and iTunes radio--but I've never had to pay an overuse fee. When I signed up they said there weren't even fees for that yet, despite the policy, because they hadn't put something on their website that would tell users how much they'd used up.

The service has been great since we got hooked up, but the one reason for caution is that, at least when we signed up, it took a LONG time to get the hookup. However, since you already have Rogers cable, it shouldn't take you long at all. I was starting without any ISP, so they had to coordinate a Rogers guy coming over to my place.
posted by Beardman at 4:17 PM on January 4, 2011

20 hours a year is quite a lot of outage in a major city.
posted by rokusan at 4:17 PM on January 4, 2011

Response by poster: rokusan- that's good to know. I don't have a sense of what's typical. 2 hours may actually be a high estimate. I know that I can live with a couple of interruptions a year, if they're not super long, but not with much worse service than that.
posted by ManInSuit at 4:19 PM on January 4, 2011

Response by poster: (typo: meant to type "20" but typed "2))
posted by ManInSuit at 4:20 PM on January 4, 2011

I would caution against making a decision based upon any presumption about "least another couple of years."

I say this because I've been a long-time Primus customer (actually I was with a local Toronto ISP that was purchased by Primus years ago, so it really has been a long time).

Until just this past week, Primus offered unlimited bandwidth, but as you said, the CRTC has changed the rules, and a couple of days ago, I got a phone call from Primus saying that unlimited access is ending in February.

Of course I'm very angry about this situation, but I realize there is likely nothing I can do about it. Even if I switch to another ISP, there is no guarantee that ISP won't change its billing practices.

Just to give you a point of comparison, here is Primus' new rate plan (and justification for the rate plan). I'm not trying to sway you to jump ship to Primus, but I figure you may as well have some additional data points that don't come from Rogers/Bell/Shaw.
posted by sardonyx at 4:24 PM on January 4, 2011

I'm not sure about the long term issues, but everyone I know who uses Teksavvy loves it.
posted by analog at 4:58 PM on January 4, 2011

I'm a Teksavvy customer for DSL, and if Cogeco ever decides to be cooperative, I'd probably go with Teksavvy for cable too.

However, be sure to read the reviews on DSLReports before changing over. Consider the squeaky wheel bias etc., but there have been many people who've experienced challenges, and as soon as you aren't Rogers' direct customer, they become a bit less interested in helping you (same with Bell and DSL of course).
posted by clicking the 'Post Comment' button at 6:47 PM on January 4, 2011

I have Teksavvy cable in downtown Toronto. I love it. It's better than Shaw (who I had out west) and it's better than any US cable company I ever dealt with. Their customer service is great, and unlike the person above I didn't have a long lead time (I think it was six days or something? I was moving across the country, so it didn't get in my way.)

1) No idea. But I doubt anyone else knows, either.
2) Absolutely. I haven't had any outages at all since signing up six months ago. (I think there was one incident of scheduled maintenance, but they gave a week's warning and it was at like 4:00am or something.)
3) As far as I can tell.

I've never had to pay any overage/usage fees, but I'm not exactly a power user.
posted by criacow at 7:33 PM on January 4, 2011

I've been a very happy Teksavvy customer for more than a year now. I've dealt with both large cable and DSL providers in Ontario on my behalf and that of my parents, as well as a number of smaller ones swallowed up many times in the acquisition madness of the early naughts. Teksavvy beats all of them, IMO.

They are by far the best company I've ever had to deal with for telecom. Support has been excellent, and only infrequently necessary. Outages are short and very uncommon. I've had time refunded once because they went over a scheduled upgrade outage period. I did not have to ask for for a refund; they did it automatically.

We're on DSL resold from Bell. We are P2P-throttled ~18h00 to 2h00, because Bell throttles Teksavvy. I don't know how that works on cable. TS has said that they would prefer not to traffic shape.

I'd recommend them to anyone who was fairly comfortable with being their own support person. They don't hold your hand (which I like), but at the same time, you can talk to a support person about the flaky modem problem you're experiencing directly without having to work through a 20 minute Tier 1 script. I really like that.
posted by bonehead at 8:29 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have TekSavvy cable. It is so fucking fast and awesome. They don't throttle anything. I download torrents like a motherfucker. I'm on the 200 gig plan which is a shit ton of data. I can't talk it up enough. I fucking love TekSavvy.
posted by chunking express at 8:32 PM on January 4, 2011

Consult canadian isp, which lays out speeds, caps, price etc in a handy table.

Very few Toronto ISPs claim to offer 25Mdl, but plenty still have no-caps.
posted by ecco at 9:04 PM on January 4, 2011

I have Teksavvy DSL and have had it for 3+ years. I used to be with Rogers, which was a nightmare.

In my almost 20 years online, I've been with many ISPs and have dealt with many other ISPs for clients (I was a web designer for 14 years). Teksavvy is hands-down easily the best ISP I've ever had or had to deal with, no question whatsoever.
posted by dobbs at 10:35 PM on January 4, 2011

After moving to the country and getting stuck with Xplornet internet services, I would give almost anything to go back to having Teksavvy as my ISP. They were a class act, great service, great price. Since they rent Bell's lines I do believe they were subjected to throttling at times of the day, but we had a router (WRT54GL) that let you bypass a good portion of this. Not sure if that trick will work with UBB or not, but there it is.
posted by Meagan at 5:48 AM on January 5, 2011

nthing TekSavvy for downtown Toronto. Superb customer service. A knowledgeable person answers your phone and doesn't try to upsell you stuff. Imagine that! And I've never been charged any overage fees.

I can't find it at the moment, but I think I saw a report that the Usage Based Billing might not even yet apply to TekSavvy as it's exempt due to being an older company. Still, Rogers' friends the CRTC have a habit of changing their minds. Perhaps it might be worth any extra money for less hassle, and to support smaller, better-run companies?
posted by randomination at 5:55 AM on January 5, 2011

I've been a Teksavvy DSL customer for 3 years. They've done everything they could to stop Bell/CRTC from screwing me over.

I would go with Teksavvy just for the satisfaction of not giving money to the Canadian telecom oligopoly.
posted by anthill at 2:43 PM on January 7, 2011

Not giving it to them directly, that is.
posted by anthill at 2:44 PM on January 7, 2011

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