What I Like About Access Communications... - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 2008-08-15, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 2,056
What I Like About Access Communications...

Obviously customers are drawn to this bulletin board if they're having problems so they read and post about that.

But this thread is a place for subscribers to put their reasons why they like Access.

Did you have a good service call? Do you like some of their policies? Post it here!

There's probably going to be some dissent, so I'd suggest that if the debate over a given feature or situation goes more than a post or 2, please start a different thread for it.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 2008-08-15, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2004
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I'll start it off... I like that they answer calls 24x7. Granted, off hours you might have a wait or not get a fully qualified person. But they actually answer your call and don't send you through a huge maze of calling options.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 2008-08-15, 03:21 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Regina
Posts: 21
I like that they are a non-profit community owned company that redirects their monies back into their communities. For example the Children's fund charity that they took over from CKTV has given out thousands of $$ to help local kids. The community channel gives house bond Grandma a chance to see their grandchild play in this or that sport or dance event. I know that the Bigger Guy on the block (SaskTel) does some of these things as well , but as it is a Crown corp I just feel that they are tossing about Tax payers money and taking the credit.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 2008-08-25, 02:40 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Regina, SK
Posts: 41
I appreciate their no questions asked policy when I've wanted to trade a misbehaving set top box. It's a pain that the boxes aren't more bulletproof, but at least it is easy to get a replacement.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 2008-08-26, 12:10 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Regina
Posts: 99
I like the fact that I can rent the PVR so I wasn't faced with a $600+ bill to buy one before I could try HD .. and then another $600 when I did a second TV. And I have to agree with bhjv1 .. they have been VERY good about replacing boxes. Although I'd eventually like to see the ability to purchase, my experience in the last 3 years is that I'm glad that there wasn't the ability to purchase because the technology and industry still really is just barely ready for prime time.

Prior to HD, I loved the fact that I could get channels 2-61 on every TV, VCR, and Tivo without needing a separate box for each. I think this single handedly kept me with Access for years. And with analog/digital simultcasting, the local CTV news (CH 6) looks pretty darn good on my 50" plasma too.

Ok .. ok .. I think that was 4 things not one but I didn't feel like starting 3 new replies.

Pany 50" X77 plas; 60" DLP; S97 DVD; Yam 6090 AVR; Avel Linkplayer; Sony HC3 HD ccorder; Haup HD PVR; PCH A100
IanR is offline  
post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 2008-09-12, 11:57 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 40
Although they are still a bit dodgy about it, you have to like the fact that access will let you use a PVR you bought from somewhere other than them. Some other providers by policy don't do this.
seventieslord is offline  
post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 2008-10-15, 02:20 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Regina, Sask
Posts: 75
Access Digital Phone

I like the phone service that I get from Access, I get free caller ID and full long distance calling without the "Credit security fee" that I got from my former telephone service provider.
BillMinRegina is offline  
post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 2008-10-15, 02:11 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Saskatchewan
Posts: 310
I like the fact that they aren't Rogers.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 2011-02-07, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 2,056
The recent UBB controversy gives us reason to revive this stale thread.

Long story short, the story for internet customers on UBB sounds mostly positive and progressive.

Here's a recap of what Access Communications' representative explained about their current and planned practices around usage:

They have implemented a measurement system that meters the usage per modem. Each day is broken into 'peak', 'middle', and 'off-peak' periods, each with different weightings based on whether the bytes are for upload or download. Customers can view details for the previous 30 days, and summaries for the previous 5 months.

They feel that a weighted score is better than simplistic byte counts and would still meet the interpretations of 'usage based' if they are forced to implement UBB.

The weightings are a little funny though, with upload bytes being counted as double during peak periods. Middle periods see bytes downloaded discounted by 25% but uploaded bytes get a 50% penalty. Off peak periods are weighted at zero for both upload and download.

If they are forced through UBB to apply a weighting to off peak usage, they said they have the ability to apply a tiny fraction of a percentage (a quarter of one percent was the amount suggested)

So under the current system, 100 GB downloaded during peak times (evenings) would generate a score of 100, but just 50 GB uploaded during peak would also generate a 100 usage score.

The threshold for usage is a score of 100 in any rolling 30 day period, at which time a modem becomes a candidate for possible throttling if the score is especially high or persistent. Throttling is only applied during the peak time period and the modem is then unthrottled during the middle and off-peak periods.

My interpretation is they built this to deal with heavy peer to peer usage to provide some balance but without having to employ heavy-handed traffic shaping. It allows heavy peer to peer users to continue their usage habits while reducing the impact on other customers.

They said for the future they have no plans or desire to institute any caps, and if forced to implement UBB they would point to this system as their form of usage based billing and control. They also said the 100 score was an initial setting and they are planning to raise the threshold in consideration of the increase prevalence of media streaming.

I had the impression these weightings are arbitrary at this point since I can't see a lot of foundation for penalizing the uploaded bytes so heavily, especially in what is supposed to be a fully 2-way system. It also doesn't take into consideration neighborhoods like mine where the distribution system is heavily over-saturated and usage is effectively bottlenecked even if the modem itself isn't throttled.
Neild is offline  
post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 2011-02-10, 04:08 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Regina, SK, CA
Posts: 620
It's not perfect but it's more than reasonable.

As for being forced to apply data caps, I can't see that happening. The CRTC's ruling prevents resellers from being able to demand unlimited bandwidth (in terms of volume). I don't think it requires resellers to limit, it merely gives them the option, and it turns out that since Shaw, Bell and Rogers cap their own customers' bandwidth, they of course want that to apply to resellers of service on their networks, too.

If, however, Rogers didn't want to have caps, I don't think it would have a problem. It would possibly be bound to pass that through to its resellers; this I don't know.

As far as I know Access has no resellers so it can do what it wants.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 2011-02-11, 09:04 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Regina
Posts: 99
Neild .. I find your comment "They said for the future they have no plans or desire to institute any caps" interesting. Many months ago my son did a lot of downloading one month and they phoned him and told him to stop or they'd throttle him back. And I've heard one other person say the same thing. Not sure if they're still doing that.
Sorry if this is hi-jacking the thread.

Pany 50" X77 plas; 60" DLP; S97 DVD; Yam 6090 AVR; Avel Linkplayer; Sony HC3 HD ccorder; Haup HD PVR; PCH A100
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 2011-02-15, 03:57 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 41
I would like to second IanR's comments. On two separate occasions (months apart), I was warned that my usage was 'over the acceptable limit' and that I would be subject to throttling if my usage remained the same.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 2011-02-15, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 2,056
What was your usage and/or usage score Nix?

I certainly believe you, as Access has been known to say one thing and do another, or say one thing to one customer and the opposite to the next customer.

I mean they are still running the same awful buggy software from July that they claimed would be fixed in a matter of weeks... and it's now almost 8 months later with zero progress. Their tech expert Dean swears there is NO other software available, yet at least one user on this board is running newer code!

So I do consider their credibility in claims of what they will and won't do.

They do describe a soft enforcement practice where they contact the customer first when usage is high or goes up. Personally I hope their motivation is to pre-empt situations where someone has a worm or unknown P2P process running and this triggers them to fix it. Supposedly if the use is heavy and prolonged over several months, that's when they apply throttling. The throttling is said to only apply during the peak period, and supposedly drops off when usage falls below the weighted 100 score.

I was signed up for unlimited, so if they ever do try to pile on extra charges or reduce service, I'll consider that a broken promise. It hasn't happened yet though, but if it does I guess I could throw it on the pile of broken Access Communications promises that I'm using to build a Olympic ski hill.
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 2011-02-18, 03:32 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 41
NeilD, I am actually not sure. I travel on a weekly basis between Vancouver and Regina, so I simply switched my high bandwidth activities to my Vancouver connection.

Is there an easy way to check your usage score online?
Nix is offline  
post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 2011-03-01, 03:43 PM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Regina, SK
Posts: 41
The Access internet service is still technically 'unlimited' as they won't cut you off or charge you extra no matter how high your usage is.. but they will throttle your speeds severely if there's a lot of heavy usage. The points system is okay, and I really like how they've adjust the usage in off-peak hours to not count towards your points total. I haven't had a problem with it recently, but if you leave your torrents open during the day, you can rack up the points pretty quick. When more average users are doing bandwidth heavy tasks like streaming Netflix videos, and using it for usual gaming/downloads/surfing, the limit might be set a little low.

The way it worked (at least until recently, not aware of any changes) is that once you go over 100 points, you get the first warning, then a 2nd warning is issued a few days (a week?) later, then a 3rd warning, then you're a candidate for throttling during regular hours (unthrottled during the off-peak hours in the middle of the night). You can check your usage status in the account online part of the website under Internet or whatever it says.

I live in a fairly new non-downtown area so I don't have any issues with internet speeds due to traffic congestion, my main gripe with Access now is the lack of new HD channels being launched.. Lots of sports junk, but no new network channels.. I see Sasktel has AMC HD which will be nice once Walking Dead and Madmen come back for the next season.. Access better grab that one by the fall.
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