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On the Sunshine Coast of BC, we have [essentially] two ISPs, Eastlink (aka DCCNET) and Telus.

A question that I get asked daily is which Internet Service Provider should I choose: Eastlink Internet Service or Telus Internet Service.

Without taking into consideration bundled services like TV or Phone or price, a clear winner emerges.

 

Reliability

Both companies provide excellent up-time and network stability.

Reliability – Eastlink

Eastlink service is provided by a big chunky cable line that runs straight from the telephone pole to a Modem.  With the exception of there being something wrong at the pole, very little can go wrong with this setup.

Reliability – Telus

Telus service is provided via your phone lines.  These lines can be very old on the Coast causing weak signals and loss of data.  You also need to ensure that all phones in the house are filtered to ensure there is no line noise on the phone AND data loss on the DSL signal.  If you add a new phone to your house / business, this is often overlooked and a source of frustration.

 

Pricing

Both companies have similar pricing for the performance, with Telus consistently being cheaper.  With bundled services the pricing difference becomes less distinct.

ISP Base Speed Base Cost / mo
Telus 1-6 Mbps $37
Eastlink 5 Mbps $45

 

Technical Support

Technical Support – Eastlink

When Eastlink was DCCNET, I would have given them 10/10 for Tech Support.  They had competent, intelligent Tier 1 Support Agents that actually understood the technology and how to troubleshoot.

With the acquisition by Eastlink, those people still exist, you just don’t get to talk to them.  They’ve been promoted to Tier 2 and are TOUGH to get a hold of.

Tier 1 Agents are still pretty good and they are far less robotic than Telus agents.

If you have a problem, Eastlink Support will get it resolved.


Technical Support – Telus

It would appear that in order to be accepted as a Telus technical support agent, you first need to have a lobotomy.  Oh, perhaps I am being too harsh, but their dedication to following “the script” can be maddening.

They DO try, and are happy to spend hours and hours trying to solve your issue.  Generally, the issue will be escalated to someone who actually took some computer science classes, and the issue will be resolved.

 

Equipment

Equipment – Eastlink

Eastlink provides a Motorola Surfboard modem.  The same modem that is in almost every cable customer’s home in North America.  I have seen 1 of these fail.

Eastlink equipment is reliable.

 

Equipment – Telus

Without a doubt, the number one issue that KILLS any recommendation for Telus is their ridiculous adoption of CHEAP and INEFFECTIVE hardware.  They insist on providing these combo modem / router / wireless access point devices that are simply defective.

They used to use DLink modems, which were great, then they switched to 2Wire Combo units, which were pretty good, then they switched to Siemens SE567 routers, which are a complete waste of time and materials.

Essentially, they are a Jack-of-all-Trades, Master of None.

They constantly require rebooting, which causes GREAT frustration and loss of productivity.

What’s worse, if you call them on it, they will grudgingly send you another unit – but another SE567! – which is also a piece of garbage.  So the problem persists.

My recommendation: Get Telus to replace your router with a Thompson modem.  These plain-jane modems work 100% and are very reliable.  You then add your own off-the-shelf router to the modem.

 

[edit: Telus is now supplying ActionTec routers, which do a much better job of providing a reliable and stable network]

Equipment Upgrading

One other consideration is how each Internet Service Provider connects you to their network.

Without going into too much tech jargon here is the skinny.

When you connect a computer or a router to your internet modem, that device automatically gets “registered” with your ISP.  Both Telus and Eastlink allow for 2 devices to be simultaneously registered.

With Eastlink, this process is smooth and dynamic.  You simply plug in the new device, Eastlink de-registers the oldest device, and the new device is up and running in less than 30 seconds.

You can do this to your hearts content.

If you are a business that is facing a failed router, swapping in a new one is quick and easy, and productivity resumes.

 

Now, if you are a Telus customer, you need to go through a non-functioning device registration process.  What do I mean?

You connect the device, you wait up to 15 minutes for Telus to acknowledge that this is a new device, then they issue you a temporary IP address which allows you to connect to their device registration service.  Along the way, they REQUIRE you to install their Telus Support software bundle, consisting of 6 programs that clutter up your system, and provide no meaningful value to your online experience.

Now, you have this whole suite of software installed and you are STILL not online.

You have to log into your account (better have your username and password ready).  Usually this is a major stumbling block and a call to Telus support is required.

Now, you have logged in, but your account shows NO active devices.  What?!

A call back to get them to register yields this “uh, yeah, I don’t see anything on our end either, and I can’t seem to manually enter it.”  45 minutes later…. the phone gets disconnected.  Sigh.

Eventually the new router gets registered – yay!

Yesterday I installed a new router for a Telus customer.  It took 3 hours.  Had it been on Eastlink, I would have been in and out in 30 minutes. Sadly, this is a normal experience with Telus (perhaps 6 out of every 10 installs).

 

How much does this frustration and tech support weigh in your decision making?

 

So you’ve made it this far in the article.

I’m sure you can draw your own conclusions.  Should you have any questions, or would like to share your own experiences, please leave a comment or contact me.

If I’ve misrepresented any details or you see any omissions, I’d be happy to revisit this article.

 

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