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Discussion Starter #1
[--Edited to responsibly meet forum rules--]

I want to tell my story about ordering FibeTV.

A lobotomy would have been more fun -- but I am relieved now.

After a lot of haggling and fighting with less-trained Bell CSR's, and endless holds, transfers between departments, I finally found intelligence and successfully ordered FibeTV. I even was well on my way to ordering an alternate -- Bell satellite TV -- even to the point that a tech showed up but did not complete install. While I was haggling over getting that resolved, it was discovered I was eligible for Bell FibeTV after all. Via an unusual method of obtaining FibeTV. The high-def goodness arrives the evening of August 3rd to downtown Toronto.

Part of the reason is that I imagine that the difficulties arose because I may be the first FibeTV subscriber in my condo tower that's normally serviced by satellite-dish-on-the-roof, and a phone line had never before been activated in my unit that finished construction about a year ago. Bell's systems *simply* do not have easy provisions to provide FibeTV in this case. In fact, I had to get a Bell Home phone line installed, activated, and tested first, *and* then use an unconventional channel (a Bell Canada sanctioned discussion forum, with paid Bell employees monitoring the forum, normally used for Internet technical support). It was much easier to order FibeTV this way than by phone, which was pretty much *impossible* and I even had a CSR tell me that they are making a note in my account that I am outside of FibeTV coverage area, and the next CSR I called at Bell saw this note, so it felt like I had been kinda 'redflagged'.

Since I found that I qualified for Fibe25 Internet and is downtown Toronto, but Bell told me I couldn't get FibeTV. Bell has paid employees that followed a forum that I posted in as a last resort, a forum normally used by Sympatico/Bell Internet users helping with Internet tech support and installs. However, this forum apparently works getting FibeTV ordered too. Bell tells me I'm the first person in Canada to order FibeTV via a Bell-sanctioned discussion forum!

I thought, FibeTV is a kind of Internet TV, so I gave it a try. Someone at Bell Canada named Daryl was a huge help, once I had a Bell Home Phone installed first, and had a number to provide for qualification (even though I already did that by phone, and was told I did not qualify). The forum channel normally used for Internet technical support, so I used an excuse of ordering Internet at the same time (happens to be included with FibeTV at this time -- a mandatory inclusion, because FibeTV is IPTV over Internet).

Anyway, Daryl has been a wonderful help, getting my Bell account in order. The FibeTV with Fibe6 Internet is being installed this coming August 3rd -- and this is after 4 people at bell told me I do not qualify (my address don't qualify, my phone number don't qualify, my location's out of the footprint, the new fibe tool says I don't qualify, etc, etc.) I even went as far as having a CSR claim they put a comment in my account saying I don't qualify for FibeTV. That the NEXT CSR found this note and informed me!

Of course, this may all become moot when Bell Canada has trained their employees properly for FibeTV installations, and their big advertising campaign starts later this summer or fall, but in the meantime, if you got a Bell Home phone line with phone number, that qualifies for Fibe25 Internet and happens to be located in the ballpark of downtown Toronto (even if you're somewhat north of College Street), it's not all hopeless...

Anyway, thanks to Daryl at Bell, who indeed, saved me from switching back to Rogers (I was this close to getting a Rogers PVR at a Rogers Plus store), and so I'm a new Bell triple-play customer for HomePhone+Internet+TV (although I remain a Rogers cellphone subscriber, due to my great tethering-allowed $30/6gig grandfathered plan)

Will update this thread on August 3rd or after, when the actual install happens.


[edit to readd certain extra info]: The other reason is that I am hearing impaired (deaf), which requires me to use the relay service or TTY/TDD lines, which also complicates the ordering process somewhat. So getting things moving forward, was a relief as well.
 

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Just to avoid any misconceptions, FibeTV does not actually reach the Internet. All FibeTV data traffic is routed through a separate VLAN. The term IPTV may seem misleading, as the protocols are similar.

That said, I am insanely jealous of all of these people in the availability area of FibeTV, I despise cable, and satellite just doesn't do it for me anymore, too much infrastructure to run multiple TVs.

Congrats, hope you enjoy.
 

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Wow, quite a story. It's too bad Bell makes it so complicated, IPTV is such a great thing...it really feels like Bell is not ready at all for the big launch.

I've a friend who also tried to order Bell IPTV. When he called customer service, they transfered him several time to different department because no rep was able to answer his questions. Then, a rep told my friend to call another phone number..and they gave him the exact same phone number he had just called. Go figure!? Ahh Bell...

It took a few calls before he could finally speak to the right person.

I'm impressed by the "untraditional" ordering channel (discussion forum) though! That's pretty nice. Can I ask which forum that was? Sounds like DSLreport...is it?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
According to this forum's rules (I had to post a revised version of my post) I am not allowed to answer which forum I ordered via, as it is not on this forum. But if you're in the correct forum you'll notice my name there too.

Today's the big day. Bell comes after 5pm tonight. The whole condo is pre-wired with Ethernet jacks and cable jacks in every room, and everything stars out from the phone demarc, so should be a super-easy install for the tech. He/she will even have the choice of sending video over Cable or Ethernet to the TV area. (I heard that the FibeTV modems have that selectable option)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Here is the private discussion thread I had with Daryl at Bell Canada:
(Not in a publicly-visible thread)
All my identifying information beyond my name has been removed.

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mdrejhon
join:2004-02-02
Ottawa, ON

2 edits Fibe25 versus FibeTV -- Conflicting info about qualification

Hello!

I'm located in downtown Toronto, at [ADDRESS EDITED OUT]. My line qualifies for Fibe25 service. I have been informed that there is dish-on-the-roof service.

However, I'm more interested in Bell FibeTV service with its Internet, instead.

I heard that once I get Fibe25, I can't switch to FibeTV later.

I also heard a resident has FibeTV in my condo building, but I was informed that I can't get FibeTV. So I got some conflicting info. Is it possible this person is misinformed or a beta user of FibeTV?

Can someone at Bell clarify?

NOTE: I am deaf, so I can't receive phone calls. (though I can make outgoing relay calls)
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Bell_Darryl
join:2010-02-15
Ottawa, ON Sure,

Can you supply me with a bit more info?
A phone number helps to be able to get accurate information.
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mdrejhon
join:2004-02-02
Ottawa, ON

2 edits The number is [PHONE EDITED OUT].

Some notes:
- I just moved here.
- I am deaf, so this is just a basic line. I use Internet instead.
- I am still trying to get this Bell line working. There is no dialtone at the demarc.
- This is a new condo tower in downtown Toronto on [ADDRESS EDITED OUT]
- A BellTV [satellite] tech came and left. He seemed rude (probably a sub contracted company that was impatient) complaining the previous tenant had Rogers (and didn't bother to go to the building's central network closet)
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mdrejhon
join:2004-02-02
Ottawa, ON

2 edits Note: I still don't have television service. I need help rescheduling an appointment but I don't have a functioning phone line to call (even with a TTY). Bell store said they could not help me and to call 611. So here I am...

I do want to get the Internet situation clarified ASAP because I can only choose between Internet over FibeTV .... Or go directly to Fibe25.

My preference:

1. FibeTV with its included Internet service

or

2. If impossible, then Fibe25 with regular BellTV service
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mdrejhon
join:2004-02-02
Ottawa, ON

1 edit I'll try to call back from a TDD/TTY phone, but it's still pretty extremely slow method of communications for me, and I'll be forced to type at 10 words per minute from a TDD coin telephone (most Bell CSR's are not that patient).

In the meantime, it would be wonderful if I could have further information through this Bell Direct forum because I need to make a new appointment, as well as *add* Internet to my order (depending on the answers I get) so I can get Internet in my new downtown Toronto condo...
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Bell_Darryl
join:2010-02-15
Ottawa, ON

Well I do have some good news for you.

With the phone number I was able to qualify and find out what services you can get.

This customer qualifies for the following DSL products:
•Bell Internet Fibe 25 (up to 25.0 Mbps)
•Bell Internet Fibe 16 (up to 16.0 Mbps)
•Bell Internet Fibe 12 (up to 12.0 Mbps)
•Bell Internet Fibe 6 (up to 6 Mbps)
•Bell Internet Essential Plus (up to 2.0 Mbps)


Also,
This customer qualifies for the following Video products:
•Fibe 6 (FibeTV) (up to 25.0 Mbps)


I will find out more information for you about what happens if you get one or the other and if you can switch.
Will get that information when I arrive into the office tomorrow afternoon at around 1pm.
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Bell_Darryl
join:2010-02-15
Ottawa, ON So it looks like your first preference is available to you .
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mdrejhon
join:2004-02-02
Ottawa, ON

4 edits Excellent!

If my first preference is available to me, then how do I switch my pending uninstalled BellTV order to Bell Fibe6+FibeTV?

I will try to call using a TDD/TTY today (because I am deaf)

EDIT: I made the call, cancelled my pending BellTV order and there's now a pending Bell FibeTV+Internet order. (But you can doublecheck for me)

Because I was switching to Bell, my earlier attempt to order FibeTV included free PVR for 3 years and free installation, and it was the premium (8 theme packs plus 1 premium movie pack). Hopefully I get the same benefits (or better) with the new order...
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mdrejhon
join:2004-02-02
Ottawa, ON

reply to mdrejhon
Ok, I called back to finalize my order that I placed (which had to be via the Home Phone department, I think because Fibe TV department was busy), and I got through directly to the Fibe TV department this time.

They said my line does not qualify for Fibe TV?

I'm confused now.
Can you look at my [PHONE EDITED OUT] history again....
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mdrejhon
join:2004-02-02
Ottawa, ON Ok, it looks like I don't qualify at all.
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Bell_Darryl
join:2010-02-15
Ottawa, ON Qualified TN: [PHONE EDITED OUT]

I just double checked and all of my tools say that you do qualify for the service. Going to make a few phone calls to see what they tell me.
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mdrejhon

join:2004-02-02
Ottawa, ON

4 edits Please....

I'm about to call Rogers tomorrow to switch back to Rogers after all of this... I even had difficulty reinstating my Bell satellite TV order that just got cancelled by someone at Bell who thought I qualified for FibeTV (The alternative is there's a dish on the roof. Or so it was claimed. But I can't even re-instate the cancelled satelliteTV order, because my balcony north-facing!)

Also, I am deaf and I am at the mercy of relay interpretors, so some of the callcentres may be a little more impatient with me because of slow communications through a TDD relay interpretor.

Let me provide more information that may help you cut through any confusions:

- The address is [EDITED OUT]
Just one block north of [EDITED OUT].
- If anyone needs to email, my BlackBerry is at [EDITED OUT]
- If anyone needs to call, my spouse's [EDITED OUT], which is the cell phone.
- If you want to see call notes, my name is Mark Rejhon (last name spelled R E J H O N). Someone at bell seems to have already flagged my account as me not qualifying for FibeTV. Why?

So far, there's two camps at Bell that has given me conflicting information (A few people at Bell said I qualified, while a few others say I don't qualify). One person at Bell was confident enough that I qualified, to the point to actually canceling my pending satellite TV order, thinking I would get FibeTV when I got transferred to the next department.

So if anyone can pull off a miracle at Bell, it's you (you're now my last line of defense)...

Thanks,
Mark Rejhon
»www.marky.com/resume/ (to show I'm technically literate)
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Bell_Darryl
join:2010-02-15
Ottawa, ON I am currently on the phone with FIBE TV ... finally reached someone.
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mdrejhon
join:2004-02-02
Ottawa, ON Monitoring this, so I can get to the bottom of all the confusion.
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Bell_Darryl
join:2010-02-15
Ottawa, ON Your not the only one that wants to get to the bottom of this
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mdrejhon
join:2004-02-02
Ottawa, ON

1 edit That's why I am glad forum people like you exist. But Bell's computers need to be a little smarter too, methinks (even you bell employee complain a lot about that too)

Anyway, more details if you pull off a miracle;
- I want the internet that's a part of it too (included in price)
- The HD PVR is free for 3 year (promo)
- I intended originally to switch away from Rogers
- I'll go for the premium TV with 8 theme packs and one premium movie pack
- Install preferably 5-9pm on next Wed (28) or Thurs (29) or beyond.

(Details I've provided already on the phone via TDD relay. But probably all lost by now)
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Bell_Darryl
join:2010-02-15
Ottawa, ON Is there a way we can chat on Instant Message ... via MSN (if you have that installed) ??
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mdrejhon
join:2004-02-02
Ottawa, ON MSN - [EDITED OUT]
Google Talk - [EDITED OUT]
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mdrejhon
join:2004-02-02
Ottawa, ON

Ok -- it looks like we're getting somewhere now.

Someone called and set up an appointment for 5pm. Someone who seemed to be more clueless (wasn't even sure if it was fibe TV or satellite TV). Would it be possible for you to double check my order?
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mdrejhon
join:2004-02-02
Ottawa, ON

2 edits Ok, now that a (hopefully successful) order has been placed for FibeTV+Internet (Fibe6), can you check the status of the order to see if it is all in correct details?

- Fibe TV (not regular Bell TV)
- The internet that is included with it.
- One HD-PVR, free for 3 years (advertised at bottom of »fibetv.bell.ca/en/receivers/ )
- This is a one-TV household, so only one box is needed.
- "Premium" TV package with 8 theme packs and 1 movie pack

Make sure I have all the discounts I am qualified for: I am a new 3-service Bell member: new Bell Home Phone, new Bell FibeTV, Bell Internet. And I'm also switching from Rogers which I originally had before moving. Hopefully it also means I qualify for all the discounts that I am eligible for (and whatever other additional discount you might discover applies to me in my special case).

[edit]: P.S. If the order is still going through Bell's system, you can reveal which of the details you're able to see -- at least enough to see if things are on the right track...
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mdrejhon
join:2004-02-02
Ottawa, ON
reply to mdrejhon
Re: Fibe25 versus FibeTV -- Conflicting info about qualification

Ok, was in MSN conversation with Darryl, who apparently have successfully prevented me from going back to Rogers.

So far so good it looks like what I ordered.
However, some muddy information from other less-trained Bell representative:

- Since FibeTV includes mandatory Internet, someone else at Bell said Fibe6 was included for free. Or is it charged separately?
- My installation is free? Or extra? It's free if I switch from Rogers, but that special was for BellTV, not sure if that applies to FibeTV too.
- Exact install date.

Further questions to ask next time you talk to the Fibe department.
__________________________________________________


Bell_Darryl
join:2010-02-15
Ottawa, ON

Alright so the order is now flowing.

First to answer some questions.
-Yes the internet fibe 6 is already included in the price.
-The installation does have a cost of $59.99
-Install date is on August 3rd after 5pm

Now a few things to point out. They were able to tie you into the promo for the 3 years. Which means that you will have free rental of the receiver for the 3 years. Michelle (the agent that assisted me in getting the order into the system properly) will try to save your phone number for you. She has also been able to work into the mix a little bonus for you, the first month of service will include all the channels (excluding adult content or Pay per view events) at no extra cost.

Now for the information you can keep handy.
--Order confirmation number: [EDITED OUT]
--Bell Internet Username: [EDITED OUT]

Now I am able to see the Bell Internet account in my tools, which meas the order is going through the system properly and is really there. We got it.

If there is anything else, please let me know.
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mdrejhon
join:2004-02-02
Ottawa, ON

Hey Daryl,

Not to press any pressure on getting this order through to completion, but I put a good word for you in the DigitalHome forum

That said, I'm looking forward to all of this.
The only thing I would like to make sure is that I can get an account on www.bell.ca -- to log onto my online account. I am not sure if the online account is set up for FibeTV, but it would be at least useful for my Bell Home Phone line. However, it looks like I have to receive my first Bell bill before I am able to register for an account?
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Bell_Darryl
join:2010-02-15
Ottawa, ON

Well, you can create an account on the site no problems.
But to be able to link one of your services, you would require a bill to have the account number. It will then link your account to the profile you have, and you can easily manage your account(s) from the bell site.
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mdrejhon
join:2004-02-02
Ottawa, ON Aha, in that case, I'll have to wait for the bill before it's of any use.
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Bell_Darryl

join:2010-02-15
Ottawa, ON Yup ... pretty much.
__________________________________________________

mdrejhon
join:2004-02-02
Ottawa, ON
1 edit Today's the day. Let's hope it goes well!

P.S. If you see this today, check my account to make sure that my install appointment hasn't been rescheduled or postponed.
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Bell_Darryl
join:2010-02-15
Ottawa, ON Yup, I just checked for you, and I can see that the appointment is still posted on the Calendar as it was originally done. I will check again after 5pm to see when it gets picked up.
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mdrejhon
join:2004-02-02
Ottawa, ON

My roommate got a call from someone that sounded competent and friendly, and an approx 5:30-6:00pm visit was scheduled.

I'll definitely be home by then. I've written clear instructions for the technician, to point him/her to the pre-existing building-installed Ethernet wiring and Cable jacks, so that the install might be achieved with zero additional wiring.
__________________________________________________


--end--
(private discussion thread I had with Daryl at Bell Canada -- not publicly-visible thread)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It is now active! And it works!

FibeTV has really great picture. Not quite Blu-Ray quality, but it definitely does beat Rogers high-def. Less compression artifacts. Waterfalls look like normal waterfalls, and fast moving stuff don't pixellate nearly as much. It's far more watchable.

And I've got sufficiently TiVo like funtionality on up to 4 simultaneous recordings, INCLUDING SEASON PASS-LIKE feature ("Record Series" feature) -- the primary reason I got the service, because there's no TiVo in Canada, and this is the best high-def-capable PVR in Canada.

The network topology is what I expected. A cellpipe modem at the demarc, and a Motorola TV box running Microsoft's Mediaroom at the TV set. It actually doesn't feel buggy, but AT&T U-VERSE has been trailblazing this platform for a few years now, on exactly the same software, so hopefully I don't run into too many beta glitches.

I saw maybe two brief hiccups during a 2-hour movie, possibly interference on the line. This is acceptable as the hiccups were very brief and recovered nearly instantly (less than half a second). Rogers frequently have similiar or worse statistics (picture breaking up in a much more messy manner). Otherwise, video ran perfectly smooth. Picture looks best at 720p. (I'm not sure yet if FibeTV has 1080i material, I'll need to do some testing)

Speedtests show 23 Mbps when the TV is turned off, and between 13-17 Mbps when the TV is turned on. Which seems about normal based on a single channel of SD/HD data.

More to come after I have had more experiences with it....
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I wonder what the speed profile is. It is behaving like a 25Mbps/4Mbps Internet connection that gracefully degrades the more TV's you turn on. Standard def seems to take away about 4 Mbps and high def seems to take away about 8 Mbps. The speed never suddenly drops to 6 Mbps, but gracefully degrades the more TV's or more simultaneous channels are being recorded. Bell sells it as Fibe6 but it is behaving nearly Fibe25 when nothing is being recorded, and the TV's are off.

I am using HDMI cables. No problems here. The TV is a Sony KDL46E703 (High-brightness LED TV that was on sale at $300 off at Future Shop a few days ago). I noticed the FibeTV picture went into standby sometime after I turned off the TV (it still automatically records scheduled stuff). Over the HDMI cable it's almost as if the FibeTV box seems to be aware the TV is turned off, and preserves bandwidth if it is off. (It probably has something to do with the HDMI-CEC protocol, which allows HDMI devices to talk to each other) I will have to do more tests.

Most have read about FibeTV but two people new to FibeTV have already emailed/private messaged me some questions. So here goes: FibeTV consists of two boxes -- a modem and a settop TV box. They can be in separate rooms. The modem ideally goes near the telephone demarcation point. The TV box goes into your entertainment center with the TV. The modem can connect to the settop box via either house Ethernet wiring or house Cable wiring. Can choose. My Bell FibeTV technician preferred to use Ethernet instead of cable. No wiring installation was necessary for my condo as it was already pre-wired.

______________

[Stop reading here if you're not technology savvy -- programmer-league. Otherwise, it's just technobabble]

The modem is the Cellpipe 7130, which is a VDSL modem with a built-in 11n WiFi router and 4-port Ethernet switch (the ports are 100Mbps, phooey -- I wanted Gigabit -- but I can daisychain a separate box). The IPTV never hits the real Internet, and is instead routed over a separate local VLAN over my last mile (here to CO). As I am a programmer with some Internet knowledge, it is interesting to see a pratical use of IP multicast technology. Whenever I switch TV channels, the TV box signals the CO to a different multicast stream. The process is surprisingly slightly faster than Rogers Digital because this is remote channel changing, not local channel changing. The Bell FibeTV uses H.264 (MPEG4 Part 10) which is the same standard Blu-Ray can use, albiet at lower bit rates than Blu-Ray. Rogers uses the older MPEG2 video compression. HDTV at approximately 7-8 Mbps looks surprisingly good, and it doesn't look multiply compressed. There is really truly a lot of advantages to transferring the responsibility of channel-changing to a remote location (essentially an Internet-like video architecture running behind the scenes), because there is no real limit to the number of channels possible, Bell can just upgrade the CO to add more channels -- no capacity upgraded needed to the home, no extra satellite to launch, no major firmware upgrades, no modifications to existing household because the Motorola boxes with Microsoft Mediaroom already supports mind boggling large numbers of channels without a software upgrade (in theory) -- it's just simply an integer parameter in a TCP/IP request to Bell's VLAN, possibly supporting millions/billions of channels in theory.

I can't get heavy Internet downloads to make the TV hiccup. The modem seems to It is doing really aggressive QoS internally because I cannot get my HDTV to hiccup during an intense download (single stream, not torrent). I'm consistently getting 1.6MBytes/second (with TV simultaneously on) to 2.5MBytes/second downloads (with TV box off) -- that's full bytes.

I am curious if the speed will ever be capped (throttled). The settop box is advertised to be able to record 4 TV channels simultaneously! So the VSDL speed profile cannot be lowered. Throttling the speed would have to be done in modem firmware or at the PPPoE level (using throttling software to limit speeds to 6 Mbps). The Cellpipe architecture would require a software throttle because the profile will always stay at the maximum in order to allow up to 4 channels to record simultaneously, because that will require something like lamost 20 Mbps for 2 HD and 2 SD channels recording simultaneously, while allowing 6 Mbps to be leftover for Internet. Meantime, hopefully Bell will choose to leave download speeds unthrottled when the TV box is off. Non-knowledgeble CSR's may misinform that the speeds are throttled, until pointed out that on FibeTV the speeds aren't throttled, so I would not trust (yet) what the CSR's are saying, until there's a wider deployment with more trained CSR's.
 

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Mark Rejhon, based on my experience with MTS TV, the remote that comes with the STB is usually programmed to turn off the TV and the STB at the same time. The bandwidth is then available for other TVs or internet. If the STB is left on, it will shut itself off after 6 hours. When the STB is "off", it displays a screen-saver.
 

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She has also been able to work into the mix a little bonus for you, the first month of service will include all the channels (excluding adult content or Pay per view events) at no extra cost.
I'm curious why he thought this was a special deal, as Bell themselves advertise that you will get all channels for a period of 30 days after installation.

http://fibetv.bell.ca/en/programming/
Bottom of the page.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
This Bell employee who works in the forum, normally works for Bell Internet support, but nontheless was able to get me FibeTV. He may not have been aware that it was standard.

Nontheless, what matters is I got FibeTV working now. It was impossible to order in a dozen phone calls including the FibeTV phone number, and I went to the forum (monitored by Bell) as a last resort.
 
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