Computers & Electronics

What alternatives to Shaw/Telus Internet exist in BC?

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[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 19, 2016
117 posts
14 upvotes

What alternatives to Shaw/Telus Internet exist in BC?

Any recommendations for a reliable, cheaper alternative to Internet service in BC? I'd like to move away from Shaw and Telus who really seem to own the market at this time and subsequently don't care much about customer service.
29 replies
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Mar 20, 2009
8862 posts
2687 upvotes
Vancouver
Obviously you can't get away from Shaw and Telus entirely, because they own the infrastructure. If you want to try 2nd-tier ISPs, there are many, e.g.:

Teksavvy
CIKTel
Lightspeed
Uniserve

They offer cheaper published monthly rates than Shaw or Telus, but:

a) They often have higher up-front costs: you have to buy a modem, pay an installation fee, put down a last-month deposit etc.
b) Shaw and Telus deliberately provide 2nd-rate service for any infrastructure problem when you are a 2nd-tier ISP customer
c) Shaw and Telus may still match them on price if you negotiate hard

There are options like Novus if you live in a condo in a central high-density area, but not available for most people.
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
28716 posts
14277 upvotes
Unless you're one of the lucky ducks that lives in a building with access to fiber, nothing.
There's resellers of Shaw/Telus but you're ultimately backed by them but have to deal with your reseller in terms of support.
Fine if nothing goes wrong but a pain in the butt if something does.
Jr. Member
Jan 15, 2016
158 posts
31 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
christmaspi wrote: Any recommendations for a reliable, cheaper alternative to Internet service in BC? I'd like to move away from Shaw and Telus who really seem to own the market at this time and subsequently don't care much about customer service.
I recommend surfinternet.ca. I recently switched after being a long time shaw customer. After one month I have no complaints, no service interruptions, and they are using shaw's infrastructure anyways. Bill went from 73 to 39.99 before taxes. Like the previous poster was saying, up front costs are 85$ install, 50$ modem purchase and 1 month deposit. If you are worried about losing shaw wifi, there are some coffee/bubble tea places which post their shaw login and password=)
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 19, 2016
117 posts
14 upvotes
JamesA1 wrote: Obviously you can't get away from Shaw and Telus entirely, because they own the infrastructure. If you want to try 2nd-tier ISPs, there are many, e.g.:

Teksavvy
CIKTel
Lightspeed
Uniserve

They offer cheaper published monthly rates than Shaw or Telus, but:

a) They often have higher up-front costs: you have to buy a modem, pay an installation fee, put down a last-month deposit etc.
b) Shaw and Telus deliberately provide 2nd-rate service for any infrastructure problem when you are a 2nd-tier ISP customer
c) Shaw and Telus may still match them on price if you negotiate hard

There are options like Novus if you live in a condo in a central high-density area, but not available for most people.
in regards to point C, have you ever managed to get Shaw to match a price. The most they have ever offered to drop my bill by was $5/month for perhaps 6 months at the most.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Mar 20, 2009
8862 posts
2687 upvotes
Vancouver
christmaspi wrote: in regards to point C, have you ever managed to get Shaw to match a price. The most they have ever offered to drop my bill by was $5/month for perhaps 6 months at the most.
Sure. I got Shaw internet once for $10/month for a year. More recently I managed to get 12 months of Shaw internet at half price. Right now I'm getting about 1/3 off Telus internet for 12 months after getting it for $15/month for the first 6 months. No contracts ever.

It never hurts to ask, and keep on asking. It also doesn't hurt if you know exactly what the competition is offering and you're prepared to switch if you don't get a deal.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 12, 2005
10666 posts
2528 upvotes
Victoria
Outside of a small fibre company that operates in downtown vancouver, your stuck with shaw/telus and companies who rely on shaw/telus to offer their service. Here in Victoria teksavvy only offers DSL. Last fall they couldn't bond it or offer me 50mbps. They didn't offer cable services here either (if I lived in Vancouver I probably would of gone with Teksavvy cable internet). I did try a service here called juce (website is juce.ca). They were ok for a while but then I had big speed issues.. Every day around 5 or 6 my speed with completely drop off. It made watching anything in the evening impossible. I wasn't sure if the node was overcrowded, if they were throttling me, if they didn't have enough backend bandwidth etc.... I gave up went on a Telus promo. Telus has been solid..... the best kind of isp is one you don't need customer service on. You want installed and never have problems.

Unfortunately your stuck with resellers (they'll say they aren't resellers but they rely so much on the incumbants technology, that I still use the term).
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 22, 2010
1796 posts
404 upvotes
BC
christmaspi wrote: Any recommendations for a reliable, cheaper alternative to Internet service in BC? I'd like to move away from Shaw and Telus who really seem to own the market at this time and subsequently don't care much about customer service.
I've been with Shaw forever and I've had no problems with Customer Service. YMMV.
Their on-line techie solved my email problems yesterday efficiently and fast (after a 3-5 minutes wait). I've had absolutely nil complaints about TV and phone service. Everything just works. Maybe I'm lucky.
Sure their prices are high but so is the cost of living in Vancouver.
I wouldn't go to the smaller Companies. They may be a few bucks cheaper but the associated extra costs is not worth the hassle.
"No amount of evidence will ever persuade an idiot." Mark Twain.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Feb 6, 2003
10652 posts
1092 upvotes
Vancouver
I stick with Telus and just haggle the price down repeatedly. For ammo, I use whatever the best deal being offered by a reseller is at the time. They're pretty good about this. Negotiating with Shaw is hit-or-miss from what I hear.
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Deal Fanatic
Apr 5, 2016
5834 posts
4256 upvotes
Calgary/Vancouver
Shaw is useless to negotiate with. Even worse if you constantly go over. This is why they aren't willing to budge for me. Best they willing to do was $10 off 12 months. 500gb is not enough for me and my family. We have too many devices. Sucks that Telus caps data, or would've switched. Now just waiting for corporate rate so I can get 50% off. I even have a friend that works for Shaw, and there's not much he can do. Gone were the days where they can add all the packages and just discount everything.
Newbie
Aug 2, 2017
1 posts
1 upvote
This thread could use a current 2017 price list for the ISPs mentioned along with another suggestion, VMedia.

Internet Lightspeed Cable Internet 60 is currently the cheapest on this list at $49.95/month but tech support is limited (M-F 7am-10pm and worse on weekends).

Uniserve and VMedia Internet 60 is next in price at $59.99/mo. Uniserve's tech support is limited (M-F 7:30 am - 11 pm and less on weekends). VMedia's tech support is 10am—9pm PST 7 days a week. Also, VMedia has Cable Internet 150 for $69.95/month.

Next in price is TekSavvy Cable Internet 60 currently at $62.95/month. Tech support and sales are both 24/7.

CIK Telecom is the most expensive on the list with both Internet 60 and Internet 150 for $109.99/mo. with 24/7 support.
Newbie
Dec 27, 2017
98 posts
29 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
Internet Lightspeed Cable Internet 75 is currently 39.95./month. Cable 150 is 69.95/month.

I've been a Lightspeed cable user since 2014. Never once had to deal with a support issue; cable service very reliable, just like it was before when I paid Shaw a lot more. I have zero reservations recommending them to anyone, provided their existing cable internet service is known to be reliable. I've also been using their voip phone service since 2014 and the only interaction with support I've had is they requested I make a change to the device and reboot once about a year ago. I'm about to move our phone service to voip.ms just to have more flexibility, not so much the minor cost optimization.

I may try to negotiate a deal with Telus for cut rate fibre service... but to be honest I'm perfectliy happy with Lightspeed cable service, mine is very constant; I agree with the comments above that Shaw is not that flexible when it comes to customer retention. Their loss - I was spending almost 2k$ a year with them, now I just take basic cable and soon cutting that off too.
Newbie
Nov 4, 2005
38 posts
9 upvotes
Vancouver
Just a note that I’ve been with Surf for a few years now and the first couple of years were great but this last year the connection goes down for several hours every week or two. I’ve had a tech visit in the past but to no avail. When I talked to tech support they tell me it will go down for up to four hours any time someone new gets hooked up on cable internet in my apartment building. Sounds strange to me. I’ve been thinking of trying another provider. Maybe DSL/dry-loop.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Dec 3, 2004
6511 posts
7577 upvotes
Edmonton
Novus has the best internet service in BC (and probably in Canada) but it is only available in Vancouver, and only in certain high rises.
Deal Addict
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May 8, 2007
1197 posts
399 upvotes
BC
Got an offer letter from Shaw about 6 weeks ago (I'm using Telus in GVA), but it expired last week. I'm still thinking about what I should eventually do. Want to do some network wiring changes in my house before I change anything related to Shaw/Telus.

Shaw letter offered Internet 75, 500GB monthly date, free wi-fi modem rental.
Also Limited TV - main Can/USA channels, 2 months HBO Canada/CraveTV, free boxes for 2 TVs including a HDPVR.
$60/month 6 months, $114 afterwards next 18 months.

I was planning on asking Telus to beat the Shaw offer but never got around to it. I'm in GVA - Telus generally works fine, I only have 20 Mbit rate VDSL but it's enough for me. No reliability/speed problems, they are trying to get locals like me to move to fibre (but only 25 Mbit) for a slightly lower initial rate than I pay now, but what I want is at least 50 Bit speed and two 4K TV boxes and basic TV channels at a longterm price a lot less than my current $100/month.
Newbie
Aug 24, 2018
1 posts
Im thinking of going with Juce. Hearing only great things about them. They use the shaw infrastructure.
Deal Addict
Jul 3, 2017
3859 posts
2805 upvotes
TehaniB479 wrote: Im thinking of going with Juce. Hearing only great things about them. They use the shaw infrastructure.
A 1-post recommendation for a little-known internet service. That's not suspicious at all! :)

Juce (Juce (https://www.juce.ca/) seems to have started on Vancouver Island, and recently expanded to Metro Vancouver.

What great things do you hear? From who? Why is it better than others?
Newbie
Mar 6, 2018
2 posts
Novus was great when I lived downtown. I am with Shaw now and have been on the phone all night and waiting in line for an internet chat, to find out about my TV box just quit working. They booked me into tech call on THURSDAY! This is Monday! Left my call number but they never called back tried about and the robot said I 196th in line!!!! My customer chat started at 132 minutes to wait. actually went down to 2 mins and since has climbed back up to 12 minutes and now nothing! The first tech person far away in Manitoba, told me it was my box had quit. So I asked one why they couldn't FEDEX me a new on in the morning and I will plug it in myself! Nothing doing.
I am going to Telus, but my former experience with them is that they bill you a price deal, then sneakily add dollars to your bill bringing it up again. So ALWAYS check your bill with Telus.
The obnly reason I have been waiting for this internet chat for THREE HOURS is to find out how to cancel them in the morning. (Telus is offering me a 55 inch new Smart TV, the box, and a PVR for cheaper too!)
Let the Americas in for some real commpetition and get the old boys out of the CRTC!
Deal Addict
Jul 3, 2017
3859 posts
2805 upvotes
User732854 wrote: I am with Shaw now and have been on the phone all night and waiting in line for an internet chat, to find out about my TV box just quit working. ...
Let the Americas in for some real commpetition and get the old boys out of the CRTC!
Shaw seems to have cut back their customer service significantly in recent years as a cost-saving measure, whereas Telus improved theirs after going through a similar spell of complaints when they first outsourced customer service to the Philippines a few years ago.

But it's useless to suggest opening up the market to U.S. competition. How would that work when Telus and Shaw own the communications infrastructure? There physically isn't room for anyone else to add new cabling, and government regulators wouldn't permit it even if it could be done cost-effectively (which it obviously can't!). The only real internet competition comes from companies that can install a direct microwave dish link or lease an optical fibre cable to serve a concentrated customer location like a condo bulding (e.g., Novus) or a large business, and they don't serve the home market.

Of course there are plenty of 2nd-tier ISPs that run on Shaw or Telus infrastructure, but they suffer from a few problems that keep them from being as competitive as we'd like. Government regulators allow Shaw and Telus considerable leeway to pass along any costs they deem reasonable in the basic access rates that the 2nd-tier ISPs pay, giving them a built-in cost advantage. And anything to do with telephone service is burdened with outdated government regulations and fees, so for example anyone using a 2nd-tier ISP running on a Telus line has to pay Telus an additional "dry loop" fee of $5-15/month for not having Telus telephone service.

The real solution would be for the government to do what they did for the gas pipelines that bring natural gas to market: force the vertically-integrated gas companies to divest the pipeline portion of their business as a separate company that charges the same transport fees to all gas producers. Similarly the data communications infrastructure could be split off as separate companies charging the same fees to everyone that needs data transported. That would level the playing field for all ISPs.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 12, 2005
10666 posts
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Victoria
I tried Juce when they were brand new. It worked great for a while but then I had severe speed drops in the evenings. They kept telling me they were working on it, but after a while I gave up. I haven't seen anyone else give them negative reviews, so I'm guessing it was local to my area, or they've since fixed it.

What I did learned is that it's hard to get problems resolved when your with a TPIA. Now I play Telus off Shaw and negotiate my bills downwards and use one of the big 2.

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