Why I Hate Shaw Cable

Last modified on January 4th, 2010

Seriously. It’s a massive slap in the face to be on hold for over an hour with a company while they’re playing on-hold advertisements talking about how much better their customer service is than everyone else’s.

My internet has been slowing down consistently month after month to the point where it’s become nearly unusable. I’m paying for one of their higher end packages which is supposed to give up to 15 Mbps downstream and up to 1 Mbps downstream. Here’s what it’s been like for the last few weeks:

Right now I’m getting 4 Mbps downstream, and only 76 kbps upstream, with ping times of around 400ms – absurd. The plan below me offers 10 Mbps, so at the very least I should be guaranteed that, otherwise what am I paying for? The upstream is completely pathetic, and doesn’t even allow me to start up video on iChat anymore. I’ve been trying to upload a few videos from North Carolina to Facebook, but the upload duration is so long Facebook eventually shuts it down.

I called a few weeks ago and waited for about an hour on hold to finally talk to someone. They sent a technician down a few days later, and the technician agreed my speeds were pathetic and that it didn’t seem to be a problem in my unit. He said that they’d send a technician to check the building, and that the problem would magically fix itself in a week or so. Surprise, surprise, it’s still the same.

Last night I called technical support, and got disconnected while talking to a technician. I tried calling back, and gave up after an hour as I wanted to go to sleep. Tonight I’ve spent the last 70 minutes on the phone with Shaw. After 30 minutes, some girl answered, took a few notes, and then tossed me back into the queue for another 30 minutes. When I emerged on the other side, I was talking to someone in Nanaimo who didn’t have access to do anything with a Chilliwack account. So here I am again, back in the queue, waiting to talk to someone again. I’m a fairly patient person, but it honestly shouldn’t take over an hour to talk to someone at technical support, especially when I have one of the higher end packages.

If they can’t fix it in the next day or two I’m going to be forced to ditch it entirely and go with Telus. As it is, I simply can’t work from home, and am forced to work from coffee shops all day, which sucks.

21 responses to “Why I Hate Shaw Cable”

  1. Chris says:

    As mentioned in my email, let me know if I can be of any help. I can’t explain your speed issue, but it’s quite possible that the service technician determined a problem within the distribution network (essentially anywhere between our headend and your home) existed, but once repaired only helped identify a further issue. I’m simply guessing at this point, but could find out more if need be.

  2. Duane Storey says:

    It’s just frustrating because nobody has the answers. I just talked to a girl who has no answers and will try and find them tomorrow. Apparently she’s going to call me back, but I’ll bet all the tea in China I don’t hear from her, at which point I’ll have to call in again and wait another hour. She also tried to get me to upgrade to a business package, even though she admitted it wouldn’t be any faster (but at least I’d have faster customer support). Another slap in the face.

    But thanks for your offer. If you can find out anything tomorrow, I’d appreciate it.

  3. J Lane says:

    I’ve had somewhat similar experiences with Shaw. Being in the Gulf Islands, I’m supposed to connect to Victoria, but I consistently get routed to Vancouver (who can’t help me). So I call, wait on hold, get answered, ask to be connected to Victoria, put back on hold, get through. If I ever have to call them, I’m always holding for at least 30 minutes because my call never gets routed properly.

    Aside from that, I’ve had them make service appointments, and never show up, and there’s still a “weaker than usual” connection to my house (their words). I’ve got the same plan as you Duane, and today I was showing 7 Mbps down, 900 Kbps up (13ms ping) — better than you’re doing, but a far cry from the 15 Mbps down I should be getting.

  4. Duane Storey says:

    The upstream is what’s hurting me the most. Requesting web pages is slow, I can’t upload anything, and a video chat is completely off the table.

  5. Chris says:

    @Duane: As I mentioned in my email, I “might” have figured out the routing problem with your call.

    @J. Lane: My guess is the routing problem with your call could be related to Duanes. That said, doesn’t discount the service issues. Working in the Vancouver system, I’m somewhat limited to what I can do for a Chilliwack and/or Gulf Islands customer, but can definitely see if there’s anything I can do internally to get things on the up and up.

  6. Jason says:

    From your description, I would punt…

  7. Jenn says:

    I’ll take a look too. There is something I can do, as I moved from Kelowna (who oddly, deals with Chilliwack and their techs) to Calgary. I routinely talk to the Kelowna people and am heading to Kelowna tonight. When I get there, I’ll pass on some information and see what I can find out about your node and area. Plus I’ll get a saturation report.

  8. Duane Storey says:

    Thank you! This has been going on for a long time with no resolution. My upstream is 0.2 Mbps right now, which is pretty low.

  9. Gerald says:

    Shaw upload rates are pathetic making it pretty much impossible for any type of cloud computing. I am in Calgary I an get 175-240 kb/s. I’ve tried to optimize my router (I know what I am doing – was a system admin for many years) but no go. Shaw simply does not allow for fast uploads. I am now looking for another solution.

    As far as customer service goes, anything beyond beyond rebooting the modem means a service technician call since their phone support folks really don’t know that much. I’ve rarely used their CS but my experience is long waits and little help. I stopped using Shaw CS quite a while ago for that reason.

    Will Telus be better? I don’t know but they won’t be worse (I suspect they will be the same). If Telus can provide better upload however, I will switch to them.

    I found your blog because I did a search on slow Shaw upload. Lot’s of hits because it is a real problem.

    In your case, the ping time is just not right. Try pinging a public DNS (like or Get the ping time fixed first.

  10. Sam says:

    Ever get anywhere with this Duane?

    I’m in Chilliwack also and have noticed a servere degradation to my Shaw service over the last 3-4 months.

    Download speed in the evenings has dropped to between 50-300KB/s and my UL is anywhere between 20-100K/s (of course, 100 being fine). I’m paying for ‘extreme’ and up until 4 months ago I was getting 2MB/s down with a drop to 1.5MB/s in the evenings…

  11. Duane Storey says:

    Hi Sam. Nope, not really. They said they might upgrade some stuff after the Olympics, but I haven’t seen anything yet either. I’m in the same boat — uploads usually are pretty bad for me. They must know something is wrong, because they gave me a year of Internet for $9/month to compensate for this. I want it fixed though.

  12. Ian says:

    Hi Duane,

    I feel your pain.

    I live in Sardis and after extensive phone calls and a service visit, I am still experiencing unreliable service as well. I’m a network administrator as well, and I can assure it is not a local equipment issue. I’ve replaced the modem, RG6, splitters (I can’t get away without using at least one -3dB), and have had the signal tested repeatedly. I would switch to ADSL in a heartbeat, but frankly I have been a Shaw customer since initial rollout in 2000, and typically it has been reliable. As of late though I frequently see speeds south of 3mbit when I am paying for a 7.5mbit connection. I was told our node was split recently due to the surge of population at Vedder Crossing, but obviously it wasn’t enough. Perhaps Shaw needs to invest in better traffic shaping equipment to cut out the DHT’ers…

  13. Duane Storey says:

    Yah it sucks. Sounds like we’re in the same boat. I’m in Vedder Crossing, so I suspect this area is completely saturated. They really need to upgrade their equipment though. I’m paying for the premium plan and sometimes the speed is just pathetic.

  14. FatBastard says:

    TELUS is possibly the best answer…have had for 10years…always fast, always solid. Yes Shaw “can” download faster, but that is ONLY if the far end can send it that fast and/or it has been cached by Shaw (they used to do this). Shaw’s network is weak overall…lots of bandwidth yes, limitations YES…which becomes a pain for end users.

    As for uploads…both suck ballzzzzzz….don’t expect much…

  15. Lakepuppy says:

    Chilliwack/Promontory – I subscribe to Shaw Extreme – Speeds should be 15mbs download/800kbs-1mb upload/pings around 100. I have done over 50 tests in the past 30 days at various times using Shaw speed test & SpeedTest.net. Both tests produce similar results: sampled at 7:05pm June 28: 4.3mps/680 kps / 254 ping /: Average tests are 8-12/750/150. On June 30 4:31pm , a test produced 5/628/266. At 4:35pm the reading was an unbelievable 48.6/627/259 – similar results on speedtest.net – at 4:46pm shaw showed – 60/710/254. Do not know what is happening, but the net does not seem very fast. People at UFV downtown campus are reporting download speeds around 5mps this afternoon. Three technicians have checked my house wiring and all hardware – it worked ok when they were here mid-day to late afternoon, but they did get some readings around 10mbs for download. One tech suspected a problem in Calgary. One of my neighbors was told that Promontory’s nodes are overloaded. Have enjoyed great internet from Shaw for years, but the past 4 months have been inconsistent – turtle-slow to blazing fast.

  16. Jeff H. says:

    Well I switched to Telus a few months ago for internet, TV, Phone and Career. I was with Shaw for 12 years decided it was enough… (I thought i would be upfront with my loyalties.) One of the reasons I switched (besides Shaw rolling back benefits, lowering peoples pay and the facist style of management) was technology.
    The telus ADSL2, VDSL and gpon technology is pretty amazing. Shaw is now trying to play catch up with their n+1 technology but will never be able to do anything with their upstream as long as they are using coax. It gets eroded pretty quickly at 1 mb because of the shared network. On some nodes the drop can be 80% or more which means you may be getting dropped request for data. One of the frustrations i used to go through with Shaw cleaning up after other tech who would blame the modem, swap the equipment and hope for the best, or the other great one was to say it was an area problem and put it to a department that dealt with line issues and not usage and speed issues. When that happens you are in limbo and the only way around it is to contact a supervisor, become a pain in the arse to the point he either deals with it to get you from bugging him or you switch.
    It will just get better with Shaw as their hiring policy is for attitude at the moment and not for experience and education. In a department of 15 there where 4 people whose previous experience was burger chefs, 1 that worked at a bank, 1 that was a janitor, 1 who trained horses and the supervisor who was a friend of the managers who worked at future shop a total of a year before getting a position of authority…. Besides myself there was 1 other person with telecom. Pretty frustrating our co-workers would tell us how they ‘thought’ the network ran and we would just smile and nod… Good luck but with all the deals on connections and switching out there you would be crazy to give loyalty to any 1 corporation for your business.

  17. brent says:

    i just wated a hour on the phone in shaws system again myself, but just said to hell with it. they had a large problem aperantly and are soposidly working to fix it. but hears a question why when they have problems ,they dont increase there staff to acomidate the higher call volume. ive spent 2 mutch time waiting for services and im paying for there highest service availible yet get no help from shaw when it counts. so i myself ame cancleing my subscription not that others are better i have no idea but at the end of my tolerance leval for shaw

  18. Me says:

    I have wireless in my apartment and have only one laptop running and one smartphone. My smartphone is faster on the bus! I am getting so sick of Shaw. At one point I thought maybe someone was piggybacking on my bandwidth, but alas, it truly is just shotty service. Over priced, sad, shotty service.

  19. BILLYBOB says:

    @JeffH…I’m reading your post almost 3 years after the fact and Shaw hiring policy has not changed. It’s attitude not experience or education. Do you know why that is? It’s easier to control and manipulate people. It takes a special kind of person to last at Shaw and I would say it is special ed, but that would be insulting a remarkable group of people. Special ed is too good for Shaw. I’d say if you don’t want to think, are ok with your suggestions being stolen by others and don’t want to take responsibility for anything, then Shaw is an excellent place to work. Not for me because my IQ registers on a scale. I chose another carrier 🙂

  20. Curtixman says:

    I couldn’t agree more with this. Shaw upload speeds are truly pathetic by third world standards. Telus now offers a 10Mbps upload with all their standard internet packages and I must say that I LOVE IT!!!
    I don’t use it too often but it is so nice not to sit here waiting three hours to upload a small video to Facebook or send a file to a friend on Skype while saying “Fu@k Shaw” over and over.
    Twelve years ago I left Telus swearing I wound never return due to their poor customer service. Two years ago I went back solely because they had a 10Mbps upload and Shaw (My ISP at the time) absolutely, flat out refused to give a reasonable upload speed. In fact, they seem to be in complete denial about the demand for it.
    The representative on the phone spent a solid 5 minutes arguing with me weather Telus actually had such a upload available before I finally told him to stop wasting my time and just look it up.
    He did. Followed by the following response;
    “Holy shit! They do.” and still refusing to offer anything comparable.
    I mean, not even in the ballpark. Shaw’s max is 5Mbps and you have to pay a small fortune for that. Half what Telus offers.
    What a team of chumps.

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