Is it time to ditch Eastlink?

For the second time this spring – the last time was mid-March – we’ve been left without Eastlink telephone and Internet service at our house. Our Meraki wireless router, which reports outages back to me by email, has been telling me about the Internet issue for almost a week (we’ve been away for most of this); telephone service has been off and on for the last couple of days.

I called Eastlink last night and was told, contrary to common sense, that this was likely related to the power outages in Charlottetown yesterday, and should correct itself.

When the telephone cut out mid-conversation on Catherine this afternoon and the Internet went out again we realized this wasn’t the case.

I called Eastlink back, spent several minutes on the telephone (calling from my mobile) with a telephone technical support person who took my details, checked some things on their end, and then blind-transferred me to an Internet technical support person where we started all over again (“what’s your name… what’s your address”). This guy sent me in the basement to do the usual “unplug the modem, tell me what lights are on” routine, and then reported, in essence, that they’re not seeing any life on the devices on our end.

He told me they would try to fix things remotely today and, failing that, a technician would visit us on Friday afternoon (2 days from now!) between Noon and 5:00 p.m.

So, Eastlink, here are the problems with this all, starting from the beginning:

  1. Give me a single person to talk to; don’t transfer me mid-call and make me re-explain everything. You may have “functional teams” that have different areas of expertise, but to me, on the outside, it’s Eastlink I’m talking to.
  2. I don’t know what your perception of telephone service is, but for me it’s an essential service, and one that’s not only inconvenient, but also potentially life-threatening to go without for 2 days.
  3. Given that this is happening for the second time, we should be moved up to the very top of the queue, into the “oh my God we’ve screwed up” response team; someone should be on-site this afternoon, not on Friday.
  4. It’s 2010: “sometime between Noon and 5:00 p.m.” is no longer acceptable, especially for a technical support call.

Given that I was already thinking about canceling our cable television service – there seems little point in paying a monthly fee to watch the summer re-runs, reality shows and infomercials – now seems like a good idea to consider a switch back to Aliant.

As longtime readers will recall, Aliant (nee Island Tel) and I have not always seen eye-to-eye on things (among other things they once threatened to sue me). But for all the years we were Island Tel telephone customers we never had a single problem with telephone service; sometimes it’s good to remember that, whatever sort of behemoth Aliant might be, it’s a behemoth that’s been making telephones work for more than 100 years.

Stay tuned.


Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 16, 2010 - 19:14

Updated: I called Eastlink to see what they’d managed to learn.&#160 Our case is still “in the queue” but “not too near from the top” and we should hear back “within the next hour or so.”

Ken's picture
Ken on June 16, 2010 - 21:59

Reliability is Bell’s virtue, thanks to Nortel infrastructure!

Jason's picture
Jason on June 17, 2010 - 01:47

Peter, I’m in Toronto now, but I can tell you in my case, I find myself in the opposite situation in that I like Rogers service. Now technically Rogers isn’t Eastlink…but if I remember correctly it’s “similar” and may even have ties with Rogers. Could be wrong there.

Bell didn’t sue me, but came very close. After a zillion frustrated calls to Bell, to get all our services bundled, i threatened to switch services to Rogers. The manager then threatened that because of the contract I signed while the Satellite installer was at the house, that Bell would charge me a huge amount. Luckily the installer forgot to get me to sign the waiver form. Let me tell you, when I told this to the manager on the phone, he quickly changed his tune in return for me signing the form and sending it to them. I never did sign that form as it was a bargaining chip. I did get the services bundled.

In the end, which is the lesser of two evils? Until more substantial competition comes along, we are unfortunately at their mercy.

In closing I do agree 2 days without phone service is unacceptable. If anything I would threaten Eastlink that you would at least switch that service.

Sandy's picture
Sandy on June 17, 2010 - 14:47

I suggest you re-consider the Internet service provided by Aliant before switching. It was the poor Internet service and frequent outages that chased me away. I agree that the segmented service model is very irritating, but I doubt it will be any better at Aliant. I wonder if anybody evaluates the service standards for residential customers, something beyond personal experience.
And I strongly agree with using the threat of switching when getting service. If they don’t respond, then they have made your decision for you. Good luck.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 17, 2010 - 15:04

Update: the “fix remotely” solution didn’t work and we’re still scheduled for Friday. They did “fill out a form so that if there’s a technician in the area on Thursday they’ll drop by” but I have little confidence in this (or, indeed, that they’ll show up on Friday at all). In the meantime our phone and Internet continue to be occasionally available for small periods of time, but then quickly cut out.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 17, 2010 - 17:18

Update: Catherine let an Eastlink contractor into the house around Noon today and he’s now “doing some work on the pole.” Apparently when they were there in March they did some repair work on the connection from the pole to the house; today they’re replacing the entire thing.

Derek Martin's picture
Derek Martin on June 17, 2010 - 17:50

I wish we could be choosing between the better of two goods as often as we have to choose between the lesser of two evils.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 17, 2010 - 18:57

Agreed. Although it’s likely my immediate issue will get resolved today, I’m thinking that it might be time to look at cutting all of the wires in my life and going completely wireless. While this doesn’t remove faceless corporate giants from the equation, it does put me in a situation where a system failure is likely a total system failure, affecting many, rather than a site-specific failure, affecting just me. Which means, in theory, it should get fixed faster.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 18, 2010 - 16:39

Final Update: As reported yesterday, Eastlink sent a technician over a day early and they ended up replacing the line in from the pole on the street to our house. This did the trick, and we’ve had both phone and Internet since yesterday afternoon. Case closed, for now.

Ken's picture
Ken on June 20, 2010 - 15:15

Eastlink’s net is built on co-ax which is less reliable than the copper wire pair used by Aliant. In the extreme heat and cold is when Eastlink’s co-ax presents problems. Also, the co-ax is using higher frequencies that are modulated on the same wire as multiple video channels and is more sensitive to noise and faults than copper. Then there are the multiple amplifiers and multiplexors on Eastlink’s net, versus the copper pair which has it’s own path directly back to the central office. So in short, co-ax networks are less reliable. I’ve experienced this in North Carolina with RoadRunner co-ax internet and many other places. The trade off is that co-ax gives so much more bandwidth in both directions, where Aliant’s DSL is slower especially on the outbound bandwidth from your home. Eastlink faster, Aliant more reliable.

Since Meraki networks manage more than one internet source, the ultimate would be to have both an Eastlink and Aliant service in your Meraki mesh network. If you partnered with a neighbour you could split the cost and have the best of both worlds!

Another way to do this is to have a two wire private line installed by Aliant ($190) which cost around $18 a month to lease. Then get a pair of SDSL modems and bridge your home and office networks. I have done this in Tyne Valley and my SDSL link worked at speeds of 700Kb. Both premises must be with a total of 6Km of an Aliant Central Office.

Rob's picture
Rob on June 21, 2010 - 13:14

I’m sure the “Eastlink faster, Aliant more reliable” maxim is technically true, but in reality Eastlink has failed me only once, for a total of about one hour, in the last nine years; whereas my parents seem to be calling me once per month to help them get their Aliant internet back online.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 21, 2010 - 13:41

I’ve found the way that Aliant uses to connect customers to their DSL, using a complex system that involves entering a username and password into a webserver running on the local DSL router, to be the source of many problems as well. In most cases a simple power recycling of the DSL router fixes things, but sometimes a central office reset seems to be required.

Steve's picture
Steve on June 23, 2010 - 00:37

Will Bell Aliant be offering its FibreOp service in PEI anytime soon? I found reference to this being rolled out in Fredericton, Saint John, Moncton and Sydney.……

I recall that NB Tel/Bruncor received massive subsidies from Frank McKenna’s government in the late 80s and early 90s to implement a fibre optic network to every single residence in that province. I assume that this network was inherited by Bell Aliant (ex Aliant, nee NB Tel).

What level of fibre optic service currently exists in PEI? Just the major teleco switches, UPEI and the ATC? Wasn’t there a Bell Aliant fibre optic line accidentally cut by a construction crew in Pictou last fall which impacted service here in PEI?

Faith Harlten's picture
Faith Harlten on June 15, 2011 - 21:24

My husband and I have had NOTHING but trouble with Eastlink. They claim that customer service is their priority — this is false. We recently moved to a new house and within the first month of service we came home to no internet nor phone. They proceeded to turn it off because of a unpaid bill. Here’s the catch we had been waiting for a bill to arrive in the mail but got nothing. This was because they proceeded to mix our mailing box number with our residential address. When I contacted them they told me they had sent the bill out 3 times before cutting everything off — here’s an idea the first time it was sent back maybe you could take the time to contact your customer to verify that the address is correct. They told me they could not do this because they don’t have my phone number…. That’s funny I am pretty sure that Eastlink set up the phone account and gave us a number. I find it hard to believe that they don’t have that on file, give me a break. It is ridiculous we have had service with Eastlink before and they always seemed to get the bill to the right mailbox then, but as the representative told me they don’t know that. So here’s a question Eastlink — What do you know? Other then how to harass your customers and make them feel like they are to blame, because you as a company do no want to own up to your errors.

On top of all this here we are now 2 months into our service, still have received no bill in the mail (after a call yesterday I was assured it is in the mail) and I come home today to discover no telephone service. This being the second telephone outage within our first 2 months of service. Another one of those unplanned outages that they claim they have no knowledge of, nothing they can do, blah blah blah. So Eastlink here I ask you when does customer service become a priority over robbing people of services that half the time they are not even receiving. They are quick to hunt someone down for an overdue account, but when an error has been made on their part they offer no form of retribution or ow-nus to the issue. Eastlink you are the worst!!

Jay MacNutt 's picture
Jay MacNutt on November 3, 2015 - 08:18

I think I top the list of dissatisfied eastlink customers. For 6 mths I've had I initially wifi problems. 2 mths later, pixelating channel. Then gateway errors (no cable) for months. After dozens of calls and service calls and changing dvrs etc...I was assured it was fixed. Not!! Now the problem is with the pole. Only 5 mths to figure that out. Was told it would be anywhere from 2 days to 20!!!. But the offered me $100 off my $370 per mth bill! Thanks so much eastlink.

Dave's picture
Dave on September 21, 2011 - 03:53

I used to swear by Eastlink, and i’m probably responsible for switching quite a few people over from Aliant. I’d play video games with friends and classmates back when i was in school, and poke fun at their horrible ping they would get with Aliant.
But lately, I’ve started to lose faith. I moved back in june (I can literally see the old place from the window, so it wasn’t far). I contacted Eastlink, and told them when i would be moving. They said switching over would be free…Great. Honestly i wouldn’t expect any less. I told them when i’d be in the new place. But for some reason they couldn’t schedule it. I’m giving them 1 month advance, with 4-5 possible days, and none work for them. Wow, they must be busy…
Anyway, things seemed to go ok, It was a few days after i was moved in that they got my phone and internet hooked up. Seemed to work fine. Recently (few weeks ago) my problems started. Since thursday i’ve spent no less than 5 hours on the phone with Eastlink, attempting to correct my problems… I’d value my time at minimum wage (normally i make 16-25$ per hour) so my opinion is that eastlink owes me 50$. Here’s the good part, after a 2.5 hour call, they informed me there was really no point in calling, since nothing can be done. Ahh, well thanks for not telling me at the start. Today I woke up, and was suprised the phone didn’t ring as i was expecting a very important work call. Oh… My phone is disconnected. I would have had no idea, if my sister didn’t drive 30 minutes to visit me and ask why it was. Thanks Eastlink. What if I was a surgeon, and someone was dying.

My internet for the past few days (they claim it’s fixed) just goes off randomly. I thought it might be one of those foreign games my cousins play, but then i sat here playing guitar, with absolutely nothing running on my computers, and bang the internet just died randomly, and it lasts anywhere from 15minutes to 4+ hours. I should get a discount if i’m only getting the internet once in a while for not sure how long, lol. They told me they could send someone out, but same thing, anywhere from the middle of the day, to while you’re sitting down having supper. This is terrbly inconvenient for myself. If i told my clients “yeah i’ll be around sometime on thursday, you might be waiting 5+ hours though” I would not have much work, lol. As someone above said, they need to get modern in that regard. Well, seems i’m online now for the time being. I’m reluctant to call, since i don’t find them all that friendly, and honestly I don’t have the time, nor am i a person who enjoys lenghty yet useless phone calls. I’m hoping it just magically works.

Mark's picture
Mark on December 15, 2011 - 21:19

Why did u switch Internet and Home Phone to EastLink in the first place? Were you lured by the idea of a bundle?

Kelly's picture
Kelly on January 25, 2012 - 21:59

This is funny as I googled Eastlink net cutting out to see if anyone else had the same issues as me. Now I don’t feel so bad. lol. It is Eastlink that sucks. I live in a small town in Ontario and Eastlink bought out our local cable/net/tv company that offered awesome quality and customer service. Ever since Eastlink took over we have experienced nothing but problems. I didn’t have phone for a week once! It took them that long to fix it. They came and installed a new box in the basement. For the net always cutting out they said because World of Warcraft is played in my house to up to the “wicked fast 40” speed. I did so and I swear it cuts out more! They told me it is my wireless router. So I bought a very expensive wireless router for homes that have multiple wireless connections and good for gaming, etc. Shocker, net still cuts out all the time so it can’t be that. To have them come and fix it is silly. They come, after making you wait ALL day, and say nothing is wrong on their end. The technicians are rude and place the blame on you. Calling is pointless. I hate them but don’t have any other option but Bell in my area and I don’t like Bell that much and they are more expensive. However I am seriously considering paying the extra…I am so frustrated with Eastlink!

Jordan C.'s picture
Jordan C. on February 20, 2012 - 06:19

My parents live in New Liskeard and they recently cancelled their phone, tv, and Internet service from Bell to switch to Eastlink. They were promised it was cheaper and more reliable than Bell. This was the biggest mistake they have ever made. Although we have never had problems with the tv or phone service from Eastlink, their Internet service is absolutely unnacceptable. There are third world countries that have more reliable Internet services than Eastlink. I came home this weekend for a short Family visit and since I arrived the Internet has cut out FIVE TIMES in two days. This is unnacceptable and I am advising my parents to demand a repair and some compensation for the services they are paying for but are not receiving. If I were them I would call Eastlink CS and tell them where they can shove their bill. The worst part about this… I yada research paper to write this weekend and now have to cancel my visit early so I can go home and write this paper. Thanks Eastlink, not only for providing the worst Internet service in the world, but for also ruining Family Day weekend for me and the rest of my famIly.

charlie's picture
charlie on March 15, 2012 - 22:52

I have Bell/Aliant for my wireless internet, phone and TV.  Love them all.  First of all, you do not lose your phone service if it is not cordless when the power goes out.  All my friends who have Eastlink phone have nothing but problems when their power is out.  Secondly, the wireless internet is NEVER down and is fast and totally reliant.  Thirdly, my Eastlink TV was cutting in and out all the time.  They replaced something on the pole and told me it would now be fine and nothing changed.  I already had phone and internet through Bell so changed over to TV and love it.  The TV works perfectly all the time.  Am now waiting for fibre optic which is fantastic.  Eastlink does not have that. PS:  I would like to add that if you have internet problems, the tech. people are wonderful to deal with.

clarence grant's picture
clarence grant on March 31, 2012 - 17:13

i cannot get my phone working. help me?

George's picture
George on April 18, 2012 - 23:56

It will only get worse as Eastlink is not hiring any more technicians and contracting out all new work. The Union shops will be the first to go but I have a feeling they will eventually go 100% Contractor. It is a shame for the dedicated techs and are being made to feel worthless. Sign of the times I guess. Eastlink is not the nice home grow company you think it is.

Anonymously's picture
Anonymously on April 23, 2012 - 15:34

Eastlink internet service is literally the absolute worst “high speed” internet service I have ever attempted to use, Constant outages, And no one EVER seems to have an answer, It’s always a power outage somewhere, or static noise that is untraceable and doesn’t even cut your internet all the way off, no packet loss sometimes, Just a whooping 4k — 9 k MS respond delay which is unacceptable, It really sucks competing in online tournaments and events where you could enter a match with 65 ms and halfway through be at 2 — 6 k not seeing anything on your screen move at all until the screen flickers and you lose to someone with a 200 ms connection, and you’re both connecting to a US or Canadian server the only difference is that they live across the world in another country across seas. It’s pathetic sometimes I can’t even surf Google and get search results without the connection timing out. IF YOU’RE PLANNING TO DO ANYTHING ON YOUR INTERNET THAT REQUIRES MORE THEN RAW SPEED (ex. YOU TUBE , GAMES OR ANYTHING THAT HAS MEDIA IN GENERAL) GET ALLIANT HIGH SPEED AND SAVE YOURSELF THE TROUBLE OF CALLING EVERY WEEK FOR A WHOLE YEAR LIKE ME. THAT’S RIGHT ONE WHOLE YEAR I HAVE BEEN HAVING EASTLINK INTERNET ISSUES. I AM ACTUALLY MOVING SO I CAN GET ALLIANT ITS THAT BAD. THAT IS ALL — POISONEDWOW@HOTMAIL.COM

LEW MAC NAUGHTON on September 19, 2015 - 11:12

dont ever---i repeat --dont ever apply for windows 10 unless you are satisfied with poor service.all my previous input has been whiped out and have no idea of how to get it back. am at the point where i am going to cancel my internet service .no need of paying for junk.

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