Clearwire Customers Complain Of Throttling
Users see usage throttled to 256 kbps, consumption limits not clear
While Clearwire's Clear Mobile WiMax often delivers speeds of 8-12 Mbps, several customers have written in to us to note they're having their speeds throttled back substantially. While network management is not unexpected, it appears that Clear isn't being particularly, well, clear about what triggers this throttling. Clearwire's acceptable use policy
reads the same as most ISPs' -- giving them the right to throttle users during periods of congestion:
Clearwire uses various techniques such as reducing the data rate of individual bandwidth intensive users whose use is negatively impacting other users. This temporarily limits the amount of bandwidth available to the bandwidth intensive users until the congestion has diminished, at which point Clearwire will endeavor to lift any limits it may have imposed on bandwidth intensive users during the period of congestion. Clearwire may also consider historical usage patterns when temporarily reducing the data rate of bandwidth intensive users during periods of congestion.
Users both in our forums
and over at the official Clear forums
are running into these limits, though again, Clear isn't getting specific about exactly how much usage is considered excessive, or how far back users should curtail use if they're looking to avoid the throttle monster. We've contacted Clearwire in the hopes of getting more specifics from the company in terms of what they consider excessive use, and/or what triggers "ISDN mode," but have yet to hear back. One user writes in to Broadband Reports:
When I called Clear technical support they said that they are having major bandwidth issues and have decided to throttle connection speeds during peak hours until they can upgrade tower backhaul. Notes on my account say the issue should be resolved by Jan. During the morning and afternoon my download speeds are normally 8-14 Mbps. By 4pm CST download speeds drop to 256K until well after midnight. They offered to suspend my account until January but I declined and instead requested a cancellation. The rep that I spoke with said they have many towers that need to be upgraded and its going to take some time.
The company's AUP only goes so far as to insist that "the continuous unattended streaming, downloading or uploading of videos or other files" is prohibited. While limits on capacity-limited wireless networks aren't shocking per se -- invisible limits with no clear trigger does run in contrast with company statements that their "unrivaled spectrum position
" allows them to offer truly unlimited service.