Several ISPs enter the ring, only one leaves...
April 20, 2008 8:48 PM   Subscribe

What is the best ISP in Vancouver, Canada?

We're moving from a house which has 'built-in' internet---i.e. we aren't dealing with the ISP---to an apartment. So who should we go to for highspeed internet? It might be worth nothing that we already have a cellular contract with Bell, so it might be easiest to go through them.

But really, I'm looking for your personal experiences. Which is cheapest? Who has good customer service? Which companies kick puppies while selling children into diamond-mining slavery?
posted by vernondalhart to Computers & Internet (17 answers total)
If you are moving downtown, check out Novus. They have great service and the fastest Internet going (I think).
posted by acoutu at 8:58 PM on April 20, 2008

We're moving towards Main street, so I'm not sure if that'll be useful.
posted by vernondalhart at 9:13 PM on April 20, 2008

I use Telus for mine, and it's been fine. Setup was fast and easy, no installation fee. I'm using the slow cheap version (high speed lite) which I don't recommend unless you need to save money. No problems with service or anything. I'm grumpy at Telus since my last cell phone bill really slaughtered me with roaming fees, but I don't have anything to complain about.
posted by PercussivePaul at 9:41 PM on April 20, 2008

I'm with Shaw, who i don't particularly like, but their High Speed service has been great so far. Affordable too, at $40 a month for a 20Mb line.
posted by chromatist at 9:47 PM on April 20, 2008

I'm totally happy with Telus' internets, they're super reliable and reasonable priced.
posted by rhinny at 9:56 PM on April 20, 2008

We use Shaw for Internet and for VOIP telephone (we don't have a landline). I can't say how fast Shaw is, but they have excellent customer servic - it's easy to connect with a real live person who can help solve problems.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:10 PM on April 20, 2008

You will, essentially, be choosing between Telus (or a Telus reseller) and Shaw.

If you are a student, or you have students in your family, I highly recommend Shaw. Telus's student deal is one-time only, and Shaw's is available for one's full lifetime as a student. The savings are incredible too. For less than the price I used to pay for my cable TV package, I now get the exact same cable TV package and Shaw's High-Speed Xtreme service (10Mbps down/1Mbps up).

A lot of people are willing to go without a land phone line nowadays, but they still want to keep their cable TV. You can save a ton of money by cancelling your landline, dropping Telus altogether, and bundling your Internet service with your cable package.

Even if money is not an issue, I'd HIGHLY recommend Shaw over Telus. Last September, I switched from Telus to Shaw because of their atrocious customer service, and I have no complaints about Shaw. First of all, they've quite obviously outsourced their customer service. This isn't necessarily a problem to the end-user except for when their reps are under-trained.

I had a credit card that was expiring last August, and I was switching credit cards. So I phoned Telus last June to switch the credit card I had on file. After waiting on hold for an hour, they switched the credit card for me. In July, I noticed my old credit card was still being billed, phoned again and switched to the new credit card.

In August, without warning, my internet was disconnected because of failure to pay. I phoned Telus, finally got them to switch to the new credit card, and requested my internet to be reconnected. I was treated like a delinquent payer through this process, despite their records that I had phoned their billing department, and after 1.5 weeks, my service was still not connected. Goes without saying that I would never, ever, recommend Telus and their shoddy tech support to anyone.

I think that was a little longer than I expected it to be, sorry ;p
posted by mebibyte at 10:20 PM on April 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

I use Telus. If you use bittorrent, it used to be the case that shaw was more aggressive about throttling/bandwidth limits than Telus but I don't know if that's currently true. In my experience, Telus doesn't enforce bandwidth limits at all, but if you're an excessively high-use offender, they might be more motivated to do something.

Shaw's customer service IMO used to be better but they recently took a step backwards (before, they let you leave your phone # in the queue and they would call you back, now they just make you hold like Telus does). I would still say Shaw's customer service is better than Telus'.

Anecdotally, via a friend: Don't go with Bell. They're absolute bitches about bandwidth limits (extra bandwidth charges up the wazoo, cutting service for "inappropriate use" when such use did not even include any bittorrent traffic etc.)
posted by juv3nal at 11:03 PM on April 20, 2008

I'll vote for Shaw as well. I don't do a lot of torrent and stuff like that, but I do a lot of video and streaming audio, and it seems to work quite well for that. Upload speeds are slow - had to upload a 4 meg attachment a few days ago and it was like the bad old days of dialup. But I gather pretty much any broadband product is heavily tilted toward downward bandwidth at the cost of slow uploads.

I've also heard awful things about Bell, though second hand.
posted by Naberius at 11:46 PM on April 20, 2008

According to, TekSavvy has the best customer service rating in North America. I use them in Toronto and couldn't be happier.
posted by dobbs at 6:05 AM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

I've got Shaw for cable internet/HDTV and don't have any complaints. I'm not totally keen on their corporate practices but they're certainly better than Telus (and *so* much better than Comcast, which I had when I was living in the states).

Their customer service is quite easy to get a hold of and they have a automatic call-back option which is so much better than muzak for 15 minutes. They're somewhat amenable to negotiation as well. When I switched from SD to HD, I was able to get them give me a free month of service (about $100 with taxes and everything) because their HD PVR was so bloody expensive.
posted by Nelsormensch at 7:20 AM on April 21, 2008

For me, Shaw's been the less evil of the two. I hate Telus for other reasons, but i've had nothing but problems getting friend's PCs hooked up via their Telus internet. Of course, YMMV. If you use torrents, uTorrent has an encryption option that works well for me and gets around any packet shaping that Shaw attempts. (Again, YMMV, and it was a couple years? ago when I last investigated this. I still check that option box in the uTorrent application though, and regularly still get good speeds for well seeded torrents.)
posted by cgg at 8:05 AM on April 21, 2008

Their customer service is quite easy to get a hold of and they have a automatic call-back option which is so much better than muzak for 15 minutes.

As I mentioned, as of a couple of weeks ago, they didn't have that any more =(
posted by juv3nal at 1:58 PM on April 21, 2008

My first suggestion would be to go with Shaw and a non-Shaw VoIP phone (Shaw's phone service is too expensive), thereby cutting out Telus altogether. Reasons:

1. Cost: It can depend on how you bundle things. If you are getting cable, then you shave a bit off internet costs if you bundle with Shaw. If you want phone and internet, then Telus might seems cheaper via a bundle, but I would price compare with the Shaw plus VoIP combo.

2. Service: Telus can be really awful (my girlfriend had bizarre billing problems with them for months). I've found Shaw to be okay.

But I'm checking with my sources in the area to see if they come up with any better ideas. I didn't know Bell offered service (pretty sure they don't out where I live). I was unaware of any student plans, so I'll have to look into that for myself, too.
posted by warcode at 9:41 AM on April 22, 2008

Well, I've signed of for the TekSavvy one. Since I don't need a phone line to use their dry DSL, we'll give that a shot and see where it goes.
posted by vernondalhart at 10:36 AM on April 22, 2008

My first suggestion would be to go with Shaw and a non-Shaw VoIP phone (Shaw's phone service is too expensive), thereby cutting out Telus altogether.

There's a reason why Shaw VOIP is a little more expensive: greater reliability and better quality. I used Primus before Shaw, and Primus is just terrible.

Here in Victoria, Shaw's customer service is *not* outsourced and you still have the dial-back queue option.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:42 PM on April 22, 2008

Hey, li'l bro; let me know how TekSavvy goes; I was going to suggest it to you as well, since I'm moving in that direction myself at the end of the month. From what I understand they are aggressively against traffic shaping and seem to think of the people who pay the bills as their customers, which appeals to me.
posted by ChrisR at 7:53 PM on April 22, 2008

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