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Clearwire Kicking Heavy Users Off Network
Though Users Pay For Unlimited, Say They Got No Warning
by Karl Bode 03:39PM Tuesday Nov 20 2012 Tipped by whfsdude See Profile
Several users say that Clearwire is terminating their accounts for excessive usage, despite the fact they've used only around 5 GB, and pay for unlimited accounts. Several different Twitter users say they were surprised to receive the notices this week, informing them that they would no longer be wanted as customers. Almost every ISP in existence has some kind of language in their terms of service allowing them to disconnect heavy users, though the majority of them don't exercise those rights -- given they'd like to retain paying customers.

Click for full size
"One user excessively running heavy bandwidth applications can adversely affect the speeds and service quality for their neighbors," Clearwire tells Broadband Reports. "It is rare that we take this step and when we do it affects an extremely small percentage of our total user base. We typically contact users to notify them of this type of situation first in order to provide an opportunity to make necessary changes."

On Twitter the company is simply directing those users to the company's acceptable use policy, which has this to say about heavy use:
quote:
If you are unavailable or do not respond to Clearwire’s attempt to contact you regarding excessive use, or if excessive use is ongoing or recurring and repeatedly having negative effects on other subscribers of the Service, then Clearwire reserves the right to immediately restrict, suspend or terminate your Service without further notice in order to protect the network and minimize congestion caused by the excessive use. While the determination of what constitutes excessive use depends on the specific state of the network at any given time, excessive use is determined by resource consumption relative to that of a typical individual user of the Service and not by the use of any particular application.
While the AUP says Clearwire attempts to contact users before severing their accounts, and the warning e-mail sent to these users claims contact was attempted (see above, click to enlarge), both of the users say they did not receive previous warnings before being told they'd be disconnected. How much usage was considered too much? Clearwire won't get specific, but one of the users tells Broadband Reports Clearwire informed him he'd breached 5 GB three months in a row -- which frankly doesn't sound excessive for a modern wireless network. Some users have crossed 100 GB and don't get so much as a warning.

Clear began throttling heavy users on unlimited accounts to around 256kbps back in 2010. They've never really been specific about what triggers the throttled state for users, given it appears to be calculated on the fly based on local tower congestion -- so what triggers throttling may be different in different markets. It's not entirely clear why throttling these users back to 256 kbps wasn't substantial enough of a punishment for these "fired" customers.

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TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·MegaPath

Clear

I had Clear in Cleveland for several months and did well over 100gigs a month on their network (Roku/DirecTV, etc) and never had an issue. My least week I lived in CLE I had no TV as everything was being transferred/canceled for my move, and streamed Netflix almost 24/7, Clear never said a word. I'm willing to bet these customers are doing well more than 5gigs to get booted.

thats2badd

@qwest.net

Re: Clear

Kinda had the feeling they would -- I was kinda excited when they rolled out in vegas, but soon afterwards I hadn't heard any good reviews.

I am now glad I didn't sign up for their service when I was in vegas.

DataRiker
Premium
join:2002-05-19
00000

1 recommendation

said by TBBroadband:

I had Clear in Cleveland for several months and did well over 100gigs

The key question is when? Like most companies they start with real unlimited then when they are way too oversold they start enforcing vague limits.
copycat

join:2011-08-28
Tucker, GA
yep I agree something is fishy here. I stream movies and tv daily via netflix and have never realy had a problem.

skeechan
Ai Otsukaholic
Premium
join:2012-01-26
AA169|170
kudos:2

Uh oh

I go through 100-200GB/mo with Clear but never see speeds below 8Mb so the tower which is in an industrial area surrounded by TWC and FiOS is probably not used much. Can't imagine there is high demand for WiMAX service here.
Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1

Re: Uh oh

I wonder if its floating enforcement like the Comcast cap was. I knew people that got the Nastygram almost right at 250gb and others that pushed 1TB of data before getting one.

floating enforcement means that if someone is on a busier node(with clear I would say tower) that I bet they watch closer than someone on a lesser used node/tower.

That or the people in the article where torrenting and Clear was getting RIAA/MPAA Nastygrams.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports

skeechan
Ai Otsukaholic
Premium
join:2012-01-26
AA169|170
kudos:2

Re: Uh oh

Probably. Perhaps Clear has minimum service standards requirements with their resellers and their own customers are causing problems for the terms of those reseller agreements so they have to rein those Clear subs in.

Jerm

join:2000-04-10
Richland, WA
kudos:2
said by Kearnstd:

floating enforcement means that if someone is on a busier node(with clear I would say tower) that I bet they watch closer than someone on a lesser used node/tower.

Bingo.
OC Josh

join:2012-01-24
Hi,
Did your account page says that the plan speed is up to 6Mbs download and up to 1 upload??

Thanks for the check.

compuguybna

join:2009-06-17
Nashville, TN

1 recommendation

No Such Thing as Unlimited (especially in the cellular world

there is NO SUCH THING AS **UNLIMITED**.

when are companies going to STOP marketing and selling it as such?

5GB being excessive on a WIMAX network? come on, now.....

PapaMidnight

join:2009-01-13
Baltimore, MD

1 recommendation

Re: No Such Thing as Unlimited (especially in the cellular world

said by compuguybna:

there is NO SUCH THING AS **UNLIMITED**.

when are companies going to STOP marketing and selling it as such?

5GB being excessive on a WIMAX network? come on, now.....

If you advertise it, I'm going to use it. That simple. I.E. T-Mobile's Unlimited 4G. It cost me nothing to switch from my slightly grandfathered 5GB plan to the unlimited 4GB plan, and I don't use their tethering service either so my bill cost did not change. But my usage went from toeing underneath 5GB a month to well in excess of that. I'd give you exact numbers but the My Account service hasn't worked for over a week.
silbaco
Premium
join:2009-08-03
USA
said by compuguybna:

there is NO SUCH THING AS **UNLIMITED**.

when are companies going to STOP marketing and selling it as such?

5GB being excessive on a WIMAX network? come on, now.....

There are plenty of companies that still offer unlimited on land services. This area is filled with cooperatives that don't care what you do. You could host a server or torrent 24/7. All they care about is that they are paid on time.
InvalidError

join:2008-02-03
kudos:5

Re: No Such Thing as Unlimited (especially in the cellular world

I think his comment's underlying thought is that no company could actually afford to offer truly unlimited service if people actually started using all the speed they can all the time... at least not without bumping prices up a few notches in most cases.

cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7
said by compuguybna:

there is NO SUCH THING AS **UNLIMITED**.

Sure there is such thing as **UNLIMITED**. Marketing 101: You just have to define it right.

You aren't paying for unlimited bandwidth consumption. You are paying for unlimited time connected. You are free to stay connected as long as you like, you just can't download everything you want.
34764170

join:2007-09-06
Etobicoke, ON

Re: No Such Thing as Unlimited (especially in the cellular world

said by cdru:

You aren't paying for unlimited bandwidth consumption. You are paying for unlimited time connected. You are free to stay connected as long as you like, you just can't download everything you want.

To think that you pay for unlimited time connected is complete nonsense. That is what you get already. We're not on dial-up here.

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT
said by cdru:

You are paying for unlimited time connected.

What the hell is this, the '90s?

dib22

join:2002-01-27
Kansas City, MO

Re: No Such Thing as Unlimited (especially in the cellular world

said by Simba7:

What the hell is this, the '90s?

CellCOUSA is sure trying to return to the 90's... too bad technology will eventually bypass them.

David
I start new work on
Premium,VIP
join:2002-05-30
Granite City, IL
kudos:101

I know guys here at the office

that push 450GB a month on unlimited. I can imagine they will soon be hit.
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH

Re: I know guys here at the office

As I noted above, I've done well over 5gigs before, and never been hit, called or anything. Clear doesn't really care. Especially when you have "unlimited download" speed. It could come to a crawl and nothing you could do about it.

JimThePCGuy
Formerly known as schja01.
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-27
Morton Grove, IL

1 recommendation

60 minutes per weekday = 15GB

I use my 1.5Mb/0.5Mb Clear service for exactly 60 minutes per day to watch a Netflix TV episode at work during lunchtime.
1.5Mb/8bits*60sec*60min*22days = approx 15GB/mo
I certainly would not think 60 minutes per day is excessive but if they think 5GB/mo is I'm screwed.
J

norbert26
Premium
join:2010-08-10
Warwick, RI

no problem here

i use way more then 5 gb a month and netflix.
mlcarson

join:2001-09-20
Los Alamos, NM

5GB doesn't sound like heavy use.

Sounds like Clearwire doesn't actually want users but rather just payment for non-use or trivial usage.
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

Re: 5GB doesn't sound like heavy use.

I'm not defending Clear but that sounds like what every wireless carrier wants. In fact, that's pretty much what every business wants -- a monthly recurring fee for the possibility that they might have to provide some service to a portion of their customers.

If you'll step into the my WABAC machine, I remember the dawn of the HMO in the late 80s. The HMO provided 100% coverage for their subscribers. No deductibles. No copays. No fees. Prescribed Rx 100% covered. There were even dental HMOs where everything was free. Absolutely no out-of-pocket expenses for the subscriber. (In a way this was unlimited healthcare!)

They paid the primary care physicians a flat rate for each member ($20/month) regardless of how many times the patient needed services. I'm not saying doctors did this but you can certainly imagine the temptation to reject sick patients and keep as many healthy 20 something year olds as possible who might never step foot in their office!

JimThePCGuy
Formerly known as schja01.
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-27
Morton Grove, IL

1 recommendation

Are those being booted 3G users?

Curious,
Are those being terminated 3G users?
There has always been a limit on 3G usage on Clear.
J
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH

Re: Are those being booted 3G users?

The same as Sprint on WiMax on data cards.
canestim

join:2012-01-20

1 recommendation

Clear is pretty decent

I had Clear for about 4 months while I was waiting for a DSL port to open up at my new house that I bought this past February. Used about 12 gigs per month or so the first few months. I didn't stream because I had heard all the stories about getting throttled. But right before I canceled I asked my neighbor and he streams Netflix and torrents all day on Clear using over 200 gigs per month.

So then I quit worrying about it and started using it however I wanted, no issues. It really just depends on the tower congestion. I doubt the user with only 5 gigs is telling the truth or Clear just made a mistake and picked the wrong account. Either that or the guy was downloading music or video illegally.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: Clear is pretty decent

They didn't have a DSL port available? And there's no cable company?!?!?

Jerm

join:2000-04-10
Richland, WA
kudos:2

Re: Clear is pretty decent

When the DSLAMs fill up, they have to add a new one ... which can take a bit. Or you just hope someone cancels.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: Clear is pretty decent

I'm assuming no cableco? If there was one, then the lines would be in about year 3 of opening up as people switched en masse to faster cable. Just like phone lines that now have tons of dead pairs after the whole second line thing came to an abrupt end when cable and DSL came in.

Guspaz
Guspaz
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-05
Montreal, QC
kudos:23

My cap is bigger than that.

My smartphone plan is $30 for 6GB of data. So an unlimited user getting kicked off for 5GB? Yeah, that's absurd.
--
Developer: Tomato/MLPPP, Linux/MLPPP, etc »fixppp.org
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

AT&T Made Clear's Usage Meters

Just saying...

WiFiguru
To infinity... and beyond
Premium
join:2005-06-21
Irvine, CA

45GB

I use 45GB on average per month with Clear Unlimited Home service (Clear Hub Express).

Have not had any issues. Been a customer for 4 months.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

What about Sprint?

What the Sprint users out there on UNLIMITED WiMAX? This is sort of irritating, especially considering that they advertise this as a replacement for wireline internet (although that's kind of dubious). They need to define things a little better. That being said, who's using CLEAR? Their coverage, and even their speeds are terrible.
PastTense

join:2011-07-06
united state

Fixed vs Mobile Users?

Does Clearwire behave differently for fixed vs mobile users?

PS. When DSL Reports first started reported on Clearwire there were numerous suggestions of Clearwire being a competitor to cable and DSL. Anyone remember more detail about this?

But with these very low limits clearly those suggestions were wrong.

Jerm

join:2000-04-10
Richland, WA
kudos:2

Re: Fixed vs Mobile Users?

The difference is fixed users chew up the GB on one tower. Now if that tower is already busy, and speeds are degrading for everyone, whats the most logical step? If there is one guy eating more bandwidth than everyone else combined you solve the problem by getting rid of the power user.

Simple really.
34764170

join:2007-09-06
Etobicoke, ON

Re: Fixed vs Mobile Users?

said by Jerm:

The difference is fixed users chew up the GB on one tower.

And that's why these wireless services will never be a replacement for wireline services.

Gamma24

@sbcglobal.net

Clear

Clearwire never seemed like a company that was trustworthy.
cmarslett

join:2006-11-22
Pflugerville, TX
Reviews:
·Clearwire
·T-Mobile US
·NetTalk
·Clear Wireless
·Clearwire Wireless

Re: Clear

Of course my DSL providers in the past (Verizon and AT&T) might "seem" trustworthy, but so far I've had a lot better experience with Clear than either phone company.

In fact, the only better customer service, and the only better connections I have ever had were when I was on cable in Washington State (I think, Comcast).

anon name

@clearwire-wmx.net

I am one of the "bad" users of Clear.

I was told yesterday that Clear is going to terminate my contract in 14 days. I got a notice about a week ago. I have been a customer for over 4 years and we've always been heavy users. Most of our usage comes from streaming video via Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc since we don't subscribe to cable tv. We also do Xbox Live sporadically as well as uploading and watching video on Youtube. No torrents or nzb's for a long time now. The connection is so horrible at times that I give up on doing anything on my computer and use my phone to do email. I took a screenshot of my usage which I think is at about 85g for this month, which was fairly heavy since my son is on a Halo4 bender recently.
»sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-a···64_n.jpg

I took it to the internet and complained loudly yet intelligently to them. I received a voicemail from them saying they wanted to talk about "issues" even though I didn't provide the # connected to my account via Facebook or Twitter. No thanks, I'm done. There is no reasoning.
I signed up for cable internet which I ditched when I got Clear. I will be allowed 300gb transfer per month. It will be installed on Saturday.
markbot

join:2012-11-21
New York, NY

1 recommendation

Src is random people on internet

I guess this site doesn't care about journalistic integrity. The source is random people on the internet. This story should not have been reported.....pathetic and biased.

whfsdude
Premium
join:2003-04-05
Washington, DC
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: Src is random people on internet

said by markbot:

I guess this site doesn't care about journalistic integrity. The source is random people on the internet. This story should not have been reported.....pathetic and biased.

How so? Clearwire confirmed it with their replies.
Expand your moderator at work

ranger

@myvzw.com

type of traffic more than the amount

For all you people that have been "fired" as a customer, as one guy put it, I would look at the type of traffic you have been using more than the amount of traffic.

If you use apps that generate thousands of connections, or thousands of small udp packets, such as file sharing or torrents, you were probably "fired".

Now, go do a test on your home network and see what type of throughput you can get just by passing a large file between two computers, but first break the data up into small udp packets. On a 10mbps link, (std Ethernet connection, or the Clearwire wireless connection), you will only get about 1.5-2mbps of throughput, MAX! Do that on a 100mbps link (fastethernet connection) and you only get about 15mbps max. Try sending another file between 2 other devices at the same time and the throughput will suck worse. Add opening thousands of connections, like file sharing or torrents do, and it is worse. Now apply that to a 30mbps wireless link with 50 or so other users and you will have 49 pissed off customers because they can only get 3 or 4 mbps speeds, when they should be getting 30mbps.

The cable companies have more capacity available on their connections so it isn't as noticeable, but if you hit that 50GB limit of use you will hear from them.

So if you are the wireless decision maker, do you piss off 1 customer or 49 others? I would rather piss off 1!

cutwire

@telus.net

Hi

Yeah I heard about this being a problem for several months myself. While my buddy " Good friend of Gandi " claims his " Spiritual Connection " to god is waining, and 96 of his closest friends are now moving to rogers. Hes threatened to do this for some time but I dont think clearwire cares about its customer base. Sometimes I almost think its the goal to provide such crappy service that it chases all the real customers off the system so that corporate gets faster and they can focus on the real way they make money. Just creating electronic exchanges like the big banks do and forget about the reality of no one wants to be treated like crap and pay for the right to do so. But what Do I know I live in a area where wire wont reach signals seem to be dampened so bad they just can't reach the phone properly and the cable guy is scared to stop by. So yah 96. something mhz seems to be overloading...

Pakapab
Premium
join:2002-03-17
Cap Haitien

On and off user

I travel a lot, and when I am away from my home I have been using clear. I usually average about 20 gigs a month. And I do not consider my self a heavy user. I use Satellite internet when at home and have used it for many many years so I am use to FAP's or AUP's.. I use about 5 gigs a week on avrage and am fine. Now if clear wants to go and start doing this to their customers, then I am gone... I ll find some other mobile provider for those long weeks when I m on the road. At least the Satellite providers give you clear limits and tools to tell you when you are getting close to the Cap for your plan. If Clear isnt Clear..... screw them!!!!