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Clearwire Sued Over WiMAX Throttling 166

suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from Ars Technica: "Wireless operator Clearwire has had a bumpy few months, and now things are getting worse. A lawsuit has been filed by 15 users over the company's throttling practices, accusing Clearwire of not delivering advertised 'high-speed Internet' services to customers and charging them termination fees when they walk away unsatisfied. The complaint focuses heavily on Clearwire's advertising, which not only highlights the speed of the connection, but also the fact that there are no limits on data usage. 'Usage is unlimited — believe it. You can upload, download, and surf as much as you want for one low price with any of the CLEAR Internet plans. We don't slow down your connection — the way some Internet providers do — if we think you are using too much bandwidth,' the complaint quotes from Clearwire's website. (That text appears to have been removed at the time of publication)."
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Clearwire Sued Over WiMAX Throttling

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  • Wow... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @11:25AM (#35452950) Journal
    Who could ever have expected that a wireless(and thus inherently shared-medium, with some partial exceptions from clever antenna shaping and stuff) ISP would be even worse than the wireline ones about bandwidth throttling and general dickishness? I, for one, am shocked.
  • T-mobile does this. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @11:28AM (#35452976)

    We really need a federal law that defines "unlimited broadband internet." Throttling me down to dial-up speeds past 5 gigabytes per month is not unlimited broadband. Hell, anything under 3mbps shouldnt even be called broadband.

    The DSL reports forums about Clear are horrific. I was thinking of using them for a remote office's backup line, but absolutely no way now. Random throttling to 256k for day or weeks on end is not acceptable.

    I feel if they had a decent business level service and priced it accordingly they could really break into the business market. Instead, the "business" package they sell is just a static IP and the same horrible throttling policies.

  • by jacobsm ( 661831 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @11:43AM (#35453126)

    It seems to me that government is less evil than corporations right now. I'd welcome its intervention in ensuring that the internet isn't hijacked by corporate evil-doers.

  • Antenna Animosity (Score:4, Interesting)

    by garcia ( 6573 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @11:48AM (#35453158)

    The single biggest issue was that residents, especially those in cities around me in Dakota County, Minnesota, were unwilling to permit the antennas to be placed where Clearwire wanted them.

    Clearwire planned to place the 125 foot tower in a city park and residents surrounding the park became motivated and forced the city to deny the request.

    Kinda hard for them to provide the speeds they want to their customers when residents won't allow the infrastructure to be built out as the ISP originally planned.

    Sucks for all involved regardless of your place in it.

  • by gimple ( 152864 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @12:04PM (#35453356) Homepage

    I used Clearwire for a little over a year, and dropped them due to their throttling.

    Cool story bro time:

    Working from home for an enterprise software company, and moving to a rural area with no real broadband other than Clearwire, I went to their store/office to sign up. Since I was using it primarily for work, I worked with a sales manager who specialized in business accounts. After making it clear what I would be using the access for, including the data volumes I would be using, I was assured that the speed and access I needed would be no problem. I even made it clear that my company used VOIP. I was even given a loaner modem, so I could test the service. After about a week of testing, I decided to sign up, putting the recurring charges on my corporate AMEX.

    About three or four months of everything working swimmingly, I was on a call one day, when the phone just stopped working. I had a hardware VOIP device, so I could see the LEDs weren't working, but my other Internet access was fine. I called our VOIP support, and they figured out that the port for VOIP had been blocked.

    I called the Clearwire sales guy who I had worked with--and who had assured me that VOIP would not be an issue--and he denied that the port had been blocked, but he contacted Clearwire support, and was told by a manager that indeed the port was blocked. He put me in contact with this manager, who helped me figure out a port that would not be blocked, so I could set the VOIP modem to that port. During this time, he warned me that the speed would be throttled when the system registered the usage that was coming from my IP address and port.

    I saw my speeds slowly degrade to unusable on all Internet access, not just VOIP, and by this time DSL had come to my area, so I took the modem in to the store to return it. The very unfriendly person who took the return informed me that I would be hit with a ~$300 termination fee, even though I had not agreed to a contract or terms, and she could not prove that I had.

    As soon as the charge hit my AMEX, I filed a dispute on the charge, which was promptly reversed, and I never heard or saw anything again.

    Cool story, huh?

  • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spinkham ( 56603 ) on Friday March 11, 2011 @12:22PM (#35453586)

    Which is exactly why there is a proposed bill in NC written by the Time Warner that would make it illegal for any more municipal Internet, and greatly increace the tax burden and accounting practices of the few that have already sprung up. They're scared still they might have to provide good service, so are willing to hobble broadband in my state for the forseeable future. My rep has gotten an ear-full about it, with more to come as the bill moves through...

In the realm of scientific observation, luck is granted only to those who are prepared. - Louis Pasteur