Clear Communications Wimax Informative - Poor Experience with Clear
Clear opened a store at our local shopping center where you could pick up your wireless modem, take it home and hook it up.
The Web site said that I was not in the coverage area, but the salesman in the store said that I was. So I signed up for the 6Mb down/1Mb up package. Of course it says "up to" next to the speeds....
I hooked it up and it worked right away, no problem. To test it, before converting my whole network, I connected it to the laptop in the kitchen with a wire. And I ran the Internet Speed Test. Several times. Speeds? Download at 2 to 3 Mb, uploads as slow at. 1 Mb. But even worse was the ping time, which was never less than 100 msec.
Of course, I IM'd tech support. At COMCAST when you call tech support, you connect with a tech who works with you through the whole problem. Not the case with Clear! The first person I got was clearly working through a script. So I jumped through a lot of hoops, rebooted my machine, restarted the modem, all of that. She wanted me to run the Internet Speed Test three times and give her results--I did it once, told her it was consistent with many executions. After brainlessly insisting on three for a while she gave up and accepted my result.
When she told me to delete my browser history I quit playing--that loses all of your cookies and a lot of information that helps you. So we skipped that step. Finally, she told me she had done everything that she could do and I needed to be in touch with tech support! So what was she?
My IM went on hold (!!!) for a while and then it was picked up. I was asked what the problem is, asked the support guy to please read the chat so that I wouldn't have to go over it again. So he did. Finally he had me check the signal strength and it was weak. Then he checked my address and told me I was outside the coverage area. Then he told me he couldn't help me but I should call a phone number he gave me and those people had a lot that they could do, even send someone to my house.
Of course once I called we'd be starting all over again. So at this point I decided that this wasn't the way I wanted to go--in particular I didn't want to deal with this support hierarchy every time I had a problem. I decided to take the device back to the store.
Guess what? At the store they told me they can't take it back! Their stores only sell, they don't take back returns! So now I have to wait until Monday and talk to their return department, who will furnish me a return label....I really look forward to that experience.
I had looked at FIOS, but the installers wanted to run a cable around the outside of my house, so I passed on that. I have a new appreciation for COMCAST's speeds and how they do customer service.
So I'll stick with COMCAST until Verizon comes out with their own wireless 4G, which I understand is in the works. It is an improved protocol over Wi-Max, that Clear has taken forever to bring out. Also, both Wi-Max and the new protocol can carry television, although Clear has decided to not take that step--limiting the value of their offering, IMHO.
I do plan to purchase OOMA at Costco, where I can easily return it if reality doesn't measure up to the promise, and use it to eliminate my $55 a month phone bill from Verizon. I expect that'll transition to 4G just fine when it arrives.