Bell IPTV Fibe Entertainment Service: the Results are Impressive

by Ben Lucier on October 20, 2009

This is a follow-up to an earlier post regarding how Bell’s new Fibe Entertainment Service works. Specifically, this post will discuss the overall bandwidth expectations a subscriber can expect. The Entertainment Service is a converged service. This means that television and Internet services are provided over a single VDSL line from Bell.

Internet speeds.

Our speedtests showed impressive numbers, delivering a consistent download speed of 20Mbit and an upload rate just shy of 8Mbit. Compared to a typical DSL service of 6Mbit x 800Kbit, this is a huge improvement, especially for upstream applications (like VoIP, VPNs, sending E-mail, etc.)

Typical ADSL speed test results

Speedtest.net bandwidth results for ADSLBell Entertainment Service Speed and Bandwidth Test Results

Speedtest.net bandwidth test results

Internet Speeds while watching (and recording) TV

HDTV-Speedtest-results-2TVHDTV-Speedtest-results-1TVBell’s Entertainment Service uses a single VDSL line to provide a converged Internet and television service. Rather than dedicate a fixed amount of bandwidth for the television signal, Bell’s service uses dynamic bandwidth allocation that ensure your television signals are given preference over your Internet connection. This means that if you’re watching two hi-definition shows, Bell lower the speed of your Internet connection in order to meet the higher bandwidth demand of the HD signal.

So exactly what does this mean?

In our tests we found that our 20Mb speedtest results dropped by approximately 3Mb while we watched a single HD stream. A typical HD stream uses 5-7Mb, but since Bell already allocated 5Mb for TV, we “lose” about 2-3Mb while watching hi-def channels. A second HD stream dropped us by another 7Mbit. Bell says that when customers add additional TVs (up to 4), they add 5Mb to your VDSL service for each TV.

Don’t forget that since recording a show also uses bandwidth, these test results will also apply if the console is recording a show.

Summary

Having a 20Mbit Internet service at home hasn’t made a significant impact on our daily web surfing lives, but it’s noticeably faster when software updates are downloaded, or a visit to YouTube downloads the entire video almost immediately. Even if both televisions are in use at the same time, we get a consistent 10Mbit x 7Mbit connection… still better than a standard DSL line. If you’re looking for Hi-Def television service AND high speed Internet, you should check out Bell’s Fibe Entertainment Service at fibetv.bell.ca.

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  • George

    For customers of the IPTV service, it would be nice if Bell would give you access to the account to allow you to tune the various aspects of the service to suit you. Meaning, if you only have 1 HD TV then you can give most of the bandwidth to the internet service. From what I know, unless you know someone (Bell tech) the system is configured a specific way and your service will not vary from those parameters.

    I’ve had a VDSL connection since last winter and I’m on about a 45Mb connection (no IPTV just 100% internet). This has given me ample opportunity to see what the connection can do. All I can say is, “It’s Fast!!!” When you can connect to a site that can blast data in megabytes per second, it’s amazing, but mostly it’s no different than any other internet, Connection problems due to congestion, bandwidth and issues that normally affect web sites and their ability to send/receive data are still the normal headaches you still have to contend with.

    Oh, if you’re not aware of it, Bell does do traffic shaping and unfortunately this means that your connection may finally get uncapped sometime around 2am-3am. Sometimes, if the network is not being utilized, you may see speeds ramp up during the day but those days are few and far between.

    Unfortunately, for most people, their ultimate speeds will vary since the service throughput is dependent on how close they are to the Stinger.

  • http://mirzmaster.wordpress.com/ Sohail Mirza

    Ben, the results of your speed tests are all good and well, but there is no way I will be considering Bell’s Entertainment Service. I’ve just gotten off the phone with their customer service people and they’ve informed me that your Internet usage is subject to a 60GB cap per month (though TV usage does not count towards the cap).

    60GB per month @ 20Mbit is just ridiculously anemic, not to mention unfair. Bell is essentially trying to say IPTV is the future, though it has to be THEIR IPTV service. All other video services fed from the Internet are subject to their 60GB cap. Frequent enough usage of Bell’s IPTV service would almost certainly exceed the 60GB cap many times over were it not exempt.

    This manner of unfair usage control (and really, anti-competitive behaviour) really rubs me the wrong way. As a result, I will most certainly NOT be considering Bell’s Entertainment Service.

    Others who feel the same way would do well to support Save Our Net’s net-neutrality movement (http://saveournet.ca/), as well as Consumers For Internet Competition (http://www.consumersforinternetcompetition.com/).

  • Ben Lucier

    Sohail,

    Thanks for stopping by. I’m very familiar with net neutrality in Canada as I have been actively engaged in the movement. In addition to this, I’m the owner of the saveournet.ca domain name and have donated it to the Save Our Net cause. Before you get too far into the net neutrality discussion with me, know that I’m already deeply in the loop. :)

    Regarding bandwidth usage I can tell you that I am a fairly heavy user of Internet services at home. I have 2 DSL lines and a mix of PCs, Macs and other endpoints, including some IP phones (I’m one of the founders of HIP Communications, a Hosted PBX voice over IP company in Toronto). I am also a former board member of the Toronto Internet Exchange (TorIX), Canada’s largest IP peering centre operating out of 151 Front Street (Toronto).

    I have no problem sharing my bandwidth utilization with you, which is currently about 25GB for the past 30 days. This is just under half of my monthly allocated cap. Even if I blow past my 65GB cap with Bell, the most I’ll be charged is an additional $30. To me, this is a reasonable proposition.

    The net neutrality debate is an important one and it’s something we as Canadians need to fight for on a daily basis. But Sohail, Net Neutrality should be a fight to ensure innovation in Canada is at the forefront of commerce; It’s not a fight to secure unlimited bandwidth for software pirates, leachers and other freeloaders.

    • DjLevel9

      I have the Fibe 25 I’m getting Down Load Speeds 41,190 Kbps DL Up Load 8,225 UP Load.
      I have 75 GB Plus Paid and Extra $5 for 40 More Gig’s and Now there Telling Me I can’t Run IPTV Servive not released untill Laste Sping Maybe Oct Maybe there not sure of the BIG Announcement yet ,
      with the Fiber Optic VDSL Run to My Building they said Here In Toronto Down I can’t have VDSL Expressvu for Condos I said I Live right be Side Radio City Condows what are you talking about and there hooked up to the De marcation Point I’m Hooked Up to the Same Fiber Node . so your Testing Equipment IS WRON g better up daye your Web System Care Software and your Launtern they Both have Flaws in it and will alway be.
      VDSL/EXPRESSVU FOR CONDOS

      This is a service Bell provides in certain apartment buildings and condos where we bring you TV without a sattelite dish. The signal comes through the phone line and goes to a receiver. The one receiver can send the signal to three tvs showing different channels at the same time. You do not need to pay for any installation, rental fees, activation charges. If you are not sure whether your building supports this service, you can try checking it at http://expressvu.logient.com/en/avai…?expressVu=105 or asking around. Note the tool may not be up-to-date so if you suspect that your building does you can ask the management or superintendent.

      The promo on now is TV for $20. You can get basic cable for $27 a month with a $7 monthly discount for the first 12 months. The discount applies to all tiers of service. So $47 becomes $40.

      Anyways, the orderdesk telephone # is 1-866-242-0008
      Digital Products Sales is Option 2
      They are around Mon-Fri 9am-9pm Sat&Sun 8am-5pm.
      If you leave a message they will call you back.
      So After Bell Prommising me The Customer for over a year Now And IPTV Prommising as soon as the VDSL Fiber Hook up was made to Our Building I could get the services now the Bell Rep just told me On The Phone she got Caught Lying To Me ,
      I’m Taking this Information Going Over Live Nation TV And Reporting Bell DeFrauding the General Public I have More then Enough evidence to Put A Hold On Any Service Bell will try and Interduce to the General Public.
      1 I don’t need to Live In An Exspensive Condo to get the VDSL 2 Service to Run TV It can Be Run In A Single Home yea That’s a Single Home The Bell ExpressVU Rep lyed to me on the phone she tried to gibe Me a BIG Sales Pitch In the Sorry it Took Me So Long she stated I spoke to other people in Bell and they told me you can’t have the servive your Building Is Not VDSL Ready I said WHAT,,,,, What Do you think My FIBER LINE to the Building is running On you Get Me To Run FIBE 25 INTERNET Service,

      1 Single Home CAN RUN VDSL up to 3 TVS .
      So Please To Night this AIRR’s Over NATION TV. Thanks BELL For DEFRAUDING THE GENERAL PUBLOC AGAIN and Another Dissatifide Customer cause I’m With Out TV With your Commpony My TV From The DISH go Off Monday cause it’s On a Plat Fourm cause the Building does Not wan’t Satilite Dish Recievers Screwed in to Side of the Building to look Like an Isore Dammanage the face of there Buildings More do they watch Holes Drilled into Building Foundations now Bell should of woke up right there on that Note and Had the VDSL for Condos Installed as soon as Possible with the Service was first Implimented.
      And they didn’t they had every Exscuse In The book why they couldn’t do it.

      Even Star Choice Got In Trouble from This And There Owned By Shaw Cable,
      Star Choice Had to Switch The Name and Go Under Shaw Now.

      • DjLevel9

        –reply deleted. Please stay on topic.

        -Ben

  • http://mirzmaster.wordpress.com/ Sohail Mirza

    Ben,

    Thanks for your input.

    65GB may be more than enough for you, but in my household of 4 very active ‘net users, it’s certainly not enough, nor do I find the prospect of paying an additional $30 very enticing.

    You’re right, this isn’t really a debate about securing unlimited bandwidth, but one about serving innovation as you mention, and the fact remains that usage & bandwidth are key to innovation. Is innovation really going to be best served with increasingly anemic usage caps for faster and faster broadband connections? Was the explosion of Internet video ever going to happen within Canada where Bell and Rogers want a controlled piece of all the action? Let’s face it.. the vast majority of Internet video is being consumed by US residents, where bandwidth caps are far less anemic, where content producers and distributors are already figuring out how to deliver content to their viewers over the Internet, and that’s also where future of Internet innovation will happen.

    We see this future developing right before our eyes. As I mentioned, the future of video and TV is on the Internet. The future COULD be a landscape with unlimited video providers and specialty channels, but I’m certain it won’t be… not while Rogers and Bell have vested interest in TV services.

    So, how badly do we want to drive the next great Internet innovation, and will the Canadian incumbents be facilitators or gate-keepers?

    I think they’ve already proven (and continue to prove) that they want to be the gate-keepers of Internet innovation within Canada. What else is Bell communicating when their own IPTV service is exempt from the usage caps they want to subject every other Internet service to?

  • Ben Lucier

    Sohail,

    Before I address your questions, I want to make sure I fully understand your concerns. I’ve summarized your concerns below based on your comments above:

    1. You’re concerned that in your household, with 4 people you will exceed 65GB of usage each month and incur the full $30 charge.
    2. You believe that unlimited usage (or at the very least, higher bandwidth caps) is the key to fostering innovation on the Internet in Canada.
    3. You believe that as long as companies like Bell and Rogers control the networks, they will stifle content producers. You believe that idea is proven because Bell doesn’t “meter” the IPTV content.

    Is there anything you’d like to add or change before I address your points that I’ve summarized?

  • http://mirzmaster.wordpress.com/ Sohail Mirza

    If I may be so bold:

    1) I’ve lived in the US for a number of years. I’m concerned about coming back to Canada and subsequently having to think about my current usage levels before consuming Internet content. That, and that the usage caps do not seem to be increasing proportional to bandwidth increases. I believe this is to encourage more/greater ‘net use, and then subject subscribers to the increasingly inevitable overage charges that will follow.
    2) I believe that unlimited usage, or at least higher usage, is *A* key to fostering Internet innovation, as it has already been in years past. With more and more services moving into the cloud, greater usage is inevitable.
    3) As long as companies like Bell and Rogers control the networks AND compete with other content producers for similar (or the same) services, they will ensure that they retain an unfair advantage.

    I’d like to add a 4th point:

    4) With the costs of network infrastructure development declining, and revenues increasing, what is the argument for stricter data caps? Arstechnica has a great look into the costs/revenue of American telecom operators (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/05/isps-costs-revenues-dont-support-data-cap-argument.ars). I have a hard time believing Canadian operators’ cost/revenue structures look much different.

  • http://mirzmaster.wordpress.com/ Sohail Mirza

    Ben, I’ve just realized that all my links are broken. Here are they again, for the benefit of your readers:

    Save Our Net – http://saveournet.ca/
    Consumers For Internet Competition – http://www.consumersforinternetcompetition.com/
    ArsTechnica’s look into costs/revenues of American telecom operators – http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/05/isps-costs-revenues-dont-support-data-cap-argument.ars

  • http://bellent.currentinternet.com Alex Sirota

    Folks,

    I’ve started a specific Bell Entertainment bulletin board at

    http://bellent.currentinternet.com

    Share your reviews, ideas, requests there — let’s grab the attention of Bell and help them shape the service in the years to come.

  • http://thiscantbe.it Christopher Aceto

    I have been using this services since November 2009. I went from 20Mbps down and 8Mbps up to 10Mbps/1.4Mbps.

    They have capped the user profiles and the service is much slower now.

    There are also a ton of problems with both the set-top box hardware and the router hardware. Stay away from this service until it is fully launched.

    • http://bellent.currentinternet.com Alex Sirota

      Christopher,

      I would not be so harsh. There’s a problem with your service that it has gone down so much. Most Bell Entertainment users I know over at http://bellent.currentinternet.com are enjoying 20/5 service right now. It used to be 25 but it was scaled back a bit recently.

      And while there are stability problems, I won’t lie, this is a beta test right now and the whole idea is to test out this platform before it launches. I hope early adopters see the value in a package that is 50% off and are willing to contribute to Bell’s surprisingly aggressive stance in introducing IPTV to Canada in a big way.

      This technology could revolutionize TV with the convergence we’ve all been dreaming about for many years. And bring interactive entertainment to the masses that haven’t bought into watching TV on small screens that Apple is forcing on us.

      • http://mirzmaster.wordpress.com/ Sohail Mirza

        Alex, the enthusiasm around IP-based media convergence is definitely warranted, but I don’t know if I would be so enthusiastic about Bell’s foray into this domain.

        The problem with Bell’s offering is that they unfairly discriminate against all other competing services. Do you prefer to watch Comedy Network online? Hulu (or any Canadian alternative)? Netflix streaming? YouTube? Perhaps you’re interested in one of the upcoming Android-based set-top boxes that will pull media in from all over the Internet? Tough luck… all these competing services are metered against the anemic bandwidth cap (which at last check was 60GB/month).

        If IP-based media convergence is all about doing it on Bell’s terms, you can count me out.

        • Ben Lucier

          Sohail, there’s a bandwidth cap sure, but there’s also a cap on the overage you’d have to pay, so I don’t care one bit. Honestly, I’m ecstatic to have the speed I have for the price I pay. In the case of Bell’s IPTV, it’s a $30 cap if you exceed 60GB. I’m constantly exceeded my bandwidth cap and I’m happy to pay the $30 overage. Bell offers a wickedly fast Internet connection that I have been very happy with. I stream movies all night long and I download without any worries.

          Not sure what you’re complaining about… price for exceeding the cap? You know, I used to have a 3Mb DSL line that cost me more than $200 a month. Today, I have 22Mb x 7Mb that costs < $100 and that’s AFTER the $30 cap. I have nothing to complain about.

          • http://mirzmaster.wordpress.com/ Sohail Mirza

            Ben,

            Perhaps paying $30 in overage charges works for you, but I don’t think many other Canadians are as excited at the prospect of paying an additional $30 on top of what they already pay.

            You’re absolutely right in your observation that broadband service levels have come a long way in the last 10-15 years. However, we have only to look at our global peers to see that we’re still being left behind when it comes to broadband innovation. The US telecoms still feature far less restrictive caps, let alone the service providers in progressive nations like Japan, Korea, Sweden, and even elsewhere in Europe.

            Innovation will happen where producers and consumers are not paying a tax to, or competing with, the infrastructure providers. This is a key point you’ve thus far failed to address.

            In a future where we are increasingly reliant upon the cloud and Internet-based content, AND where the costs of network operators are decreasing, can the anemic caps be seen as anything *except* an opportunity to take a few more dollars from the pockets of Canadians?

            In the face of this, your jubilation at the prospect of paying an additional $30 is truly remarkable.

          • Ben Lucier

            I wouldn’t describe it as “jubilation”. I would say that I am quite content to pay $130 for hi-def television and 20Mb Internet. This post isn’t mean to be a philosophical discussion, or a platform for you to champion net neutrality. If it were, I’d probably have a different attitude (and I would most likely be on your side).

            This is a post about the current price point I’m paying for Internet + TV and my satisfaction level with it, Sohail.

          • http://mirzmaster.wordpress.com/ Sohail Mirza

            Ben, I had no intention of hijacking your blog post!

            I suppose my point could be distilled to the following: I’m glad that you are happy with the value you’re getting, however, I think it’s a step towards a future where Bell wants a bigger and bigger cut of your Internet action. They are becoming (one of) the gate-keepers of Internet innovation within Canada.

            So, while you’re content with 20Mbps Internet + TV for $130 (no doubt better than competing services), you also have to acknowledge that they have unfairly positioned their IPTV service to be more appealing than other Internet-based alternatives.

            As intelligent, Canadian consumers, we should demand more of them.

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  • http://bellent.currentinternet.com Alex Sirota

    Folks,

    FibeTV is the launch name of Bell’s new IPTV service. It’s being launched in the fall of 2010 across several cities.

    More information is available at http://fibetv.bell.ca/en/features/introduction/

    We’ve started a Canadian IPTV community forum over at http://bellent.currentinternet.com — over 70 subscribers and enthusiasts there discussing the various ins and outs of the system. Looking forward to seeing you there.

  • DjLevel9

    I fixed the Propper Obtanible rate what the IPTV & Fibe TV should be in order for the Home Res Buisness Customer as my self who works from Home here.
    The System for the Fibe 25 over 7 and eqauil amounts for the TV even if your watching the HD CH’s
    V4588-128-9024-128-88212 the system on this Profile Automaticly Correct’s the right Speeds Only for the Fibe 25 over 7 who Pay the $30 For The Bandwitdh now can we impliment and report this back to bell and stop the aurrguing what the Speed should be geesh lol Please do not put the Customers on the V2 4.5 it will Only cause erros for the tv and the DL And UP Load Speed, Do I need to work at the Toront Simco Street Office and Teach the guys there about the peopper sppeds to both the Bell And The Customer happy you wan’t them to try and use your system only be Fair to The Customer and cheat them out with a cap off cause the emppolyess wern’t trained enough on the system.

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  • Peter G

    How is the bandwidth cap affected by this sort of set up? Do you have to pay extra if you watch too much HD TV?

    • TechieChick

      No you don’t your internet usage is separate from that of your tv.

    • TechieChick

      No you don’t your internet usage is separate from that of your tv.

  • http://profiles.google.com/kiss.olie Oliver Kiss

    Very informative article!

    PS: I don’t think your rating system works properly. I gave this article a 10 as well as a thumbs up and neither registered. On XP + Chrome.

  • Nevermentioner23

    But bandwith still costs a lot. Bell recently made it more expessive. $5 per 25 gb extra bandwidth and $2.5 per 1 gb over use. Before it was $5 for 40 gb extra bandwidth and $2 per 1 gb over use.

    Personally, if I were to pick out of the two monopoly evils, I would have to pick bell. Rogers are just information whores. They asked me for two pieces of ID to register with them. They suggested a choice between passport, social security number, birth certificate, credit card number, drivers license, etc. Why they do they even ask for passport, social security number, birth certificate? They are not the government and privacy Canada even says do not give out these number. These days it is so easy to get your identity stolen, different kinds of cards including passport made. Who says rogers agents are not selling peoples identity on the side and what prevents them from it. Or they can get their system hacked like sony, microsoft, google, etc. I am mad because I offered to go in store and show them my drivers license and credit card but they said we have to record it and do a soft credit check. No way, you are worried about your $50 monthly bill while I am concerned about my identity worth much much more.Even more, if i want to go with Teksavvy or other re sellers. Rogers intentionally make it very hard for the smooth connection and installation so their customer gets frustrated and leave them back to rogers or bell.In conclusion, to relate these to the bigger context (essay requirement lol), these companies are just one corporation among others in the capitalistic, greedy, non humanistic society. They structure and system needs to be changed at the top. So people go get more active in current affairs of your country (leave the popular media).Have you guys noticed since the targeted assassination of Jack Layton, they now targeted his wife. Read about left leaders all getting cancers, heart attacks, diseases compared to pro inequality leaders, pro royalists, and other evil people.

  • RCAF Baby

    Has anyone run any of the perfSONAR tests on the Bell Aliant fibreOp network ? 

    This is a real performance test package. (Are you still using that “Greasy Kid Stuff”? for speed testing.)

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