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Portland Gets WiMAX Service

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Web surfers in the Pacific Northwest will soon join the denizens of Baltimore, Md., in their ability to get WiMAX service. Although those in Baltimore are still surfing under the old Xohm brand offered by Sprint (s s), Clearwire (s CLWR) plans to launch the first citywide Clear branded service in Portland, Ore., on January 6 — a little more than a month after Clearwire and Sprint completed their spectrum deal, and raised $3.2 billion for a nationwide WiMAX network.

Pricing ranges from $30 a month for 200 MB to $50 for unlimited data — and looks to be cheaper than cellular data plans, but pricier than Xohm’s pricing. There’s also a $35 activation fee and some questionable terms of service agreements, which Clearwire says will be changed.

In a TOS section of the web site dated from Oct. 19, 2007, Clearwire limits the use of  bandwidth-sucking application such as P2P file-sharing and continuous FTP uploading and downloading. This isn’t in and of itself bad, but the TOS site also says Clearwire will take action against such bandwidth hogs by “managing network resources through techniques such as limiting the aggregate bandwidth available for certain bandwidth intensive protocols such as peer-to-peer applications and newsgroups.” (emphasis mine) That sounds like throttling certain types of traffic.

That contradicts what Cleawire CEO Ben Wolff told me this month when I asked him how the Clear service would deal with network management. At the time he said the company won’t ID specific bandwidth-hogging apps and try to restrict or limit those. Because the terms of service date from over a year ago, my guess is they need to be reconciled with the new Clear service. Clearwire says that should happen soon.


17 Responses to “Portland Gets WiMAX Service”

  1. mikedb

    I’m seriously considering a class action suit. I will be looking into this soon w/ the help of some fairly prominent folks around the Portland area. Don’t worry, if things unfold as planned, there will be plenty of information available if you or someone you know are interested in being a part of the suit.

    I have had Clear since Jan, moved twice. I was living at NE 24th and Sandy, less than a half mile from a transmission tower, and could not connect, and now i am in N Portland at Killingsworth and Interstate, and have the same problem.

    I don’t EVER get the 6mb service i am paying for, and usually don’t even get 1mb, let alone a connection. I can find a few “sweet” spots around the house, but even if I do get 1-2 bars indicating a connection on the modem when i point it the “exact” direction the of transmitter towers, my connection ALWAYS manages to fail, and the modem searches for hours before it reconnects assuming i don’t touch it, move it, or try and restart it. If i fiddle with it a bit, sometimes i can get the connection to come back, but even if i do it’s always less than the 6mb i pay for, am promised, etc.

    Now i have spoken to Tech Support, and got the typical run around I hear from everyone else with Clear service. I was unable to get my service canceled when i called to cancel because of various excuses i was offered. I have had technicians come out to the house at BOTH locations and tell me I am right (imagine that) that I cannot get the connection speeds, or reliability Clear claims to offer.

    I’ll be 100% CLEAR about Clear. I want my money back… all of it… and maybe some more for the grief i’ve had to suffer at the hands of their technical support…

    I know others, probably MANY people feel the same way I do about Clear’s service, and I believe we CAN unite and inform and educate people just how bad Clears service can be for some people. All you’ll see on the TV, and Online is good reviews from people who live 50 feet from a transmitter, but trust me… there are many more unsatisfied people out there who just need to get together, and get the ball rolling on a class action suit.

    Lets do this people!

  2. pdxbrit

    I have also just returned by modem, and canceled my service after having it for a grand total of three days. Completely hopeless. I’m in close-in SE portland, and signal strength and achievable bandwidth was terrible.

    Useless, non-technical, technical support, only aggravated me more after spending a number of hours trying every single spot in the house for service. I was told that logging into the modem would void its warranty! Bit of bugger that the default password is motorola, as I was trying to change it. On trying to cancel I too was offered, this time $40, to refer a friend to a service that sucks.

    Still waiting for my refund to show up, I’ll be calling visa fraud if its not there by the end of the week.

    I’d skip clear, it ‘clearly’ isn’t ready for prime time, and nor is their support department.

  3. I signed up (97214 – 3 miles from downtown) and it didn’t work out of the box. Was on the phone with a technician who had me move the modem all over the house. He also explained they had a power outage during the winter storm that brought their network offline in portland. I wanted to run a couple of little web sites, and was told their network could not reliably support this.

    So needless to say after this experience I decided to cancel within the fee trial period and return my modem. While speaking to customer service, he asked if I might know someone else I could sell the modem to and also earn a $25 referral to recover some of my costs…

    After I counted to 5 and took a deep breath, then had to ask him to please let me speak for a moment, I explained to please give me an RMA to send the modem back and I expected a full refund for the clear service that did not work for me 3 miles from downtown Portland.

    I’ll follow-up and let everyone know how the refund goes. I’m a little concerned after the tone and attitude of the ‘customer service’ representative.

    So is Clear wimax a lot of hype where the marketing is way out in front of the reality. In my experience – probably.

  4. WiMAX is the next evolution in wireless Internet, offering the best available mobile broadband experience with service covering entire PDX metropolitan area. WiMAX frees you from staying within a Wi-Fi Hot Spot to be connected – turning Portland & Vancouver into one big hotspot. Once you get WiMAX, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. Call today 503-516-8457 before 3pm and get your Modem and service tomorrow.

  5. Far cry from 2000 where cable and DSL (Qwest and Verizon) service areas were small. Now I have my choice of cable (Comcast), fiber (Verizon FiOS) and wireless (Clear, Cricket, At&T, Verizon Wireless and T-mobile). FiOS won my subscription two years ago. About 98% of the time I have no need for mobile/wireless Internet but the very rare times I do, I thank the Personal Telco Project.

  6. Metro-Fi tainted the waters here in Portland with their terrible service. Plus, people here love the great free wifi, courtesy of Personal Telco. I also have an EVDO card I can use anywhere. Why do I need wimax?

    These guys have a lot to prove, never mind changing a TOS that would make any geek here cringe just thinking about some arbitrary cap on bandwidth. Are these guys really throttling bandwidth? What is this? Son of Comcast?