Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Portland's clear.com Not Up to the Task

I was excited to see WiMax coming to Portland via clear.com but that excitement has ended now that I've learned more and that the service has been rolled-out:

  1. My main interest was for mobile access. I love the 3G on my iPhone, but without a way to tether to my laptop, I'm still forced into situations where I want to get online but cannot or have to pay yet another provider for service. Unfortunately, clear.com does not support Macs for their USB devices which I find stunning considering I see more Macs in downtown PDX than practically anywhere else I've traveled in the last few years. I'm feeling like they didn't research that one at all.
  2. Support reps for clear.com's online chat is uneducated on their actual products. I asked if they support Mac and if there were Linux drivers for the USB dongle and the support resource happily told me "yes" to both. In talking with two different reps at clear.com kiosks around town, both confirmed only Windows is currently supported (again, in a town where Windows probably has the least market share of any urban area in the US for personal devices).
  3. I suspect that clear.com is blowing up my satellite radio signal. Others in PDX seem to suspect the same. All I can say for sure is that since clear.com's service came on line, my satellite radio equipment that was previously working just fine stopped holding a signal. The same equipment did not move, just mysteriously stopped functioning with a similar experience in my car's unit.
  4. For home service, the speed isn't really that impressive. Its slower than Qwest's high-end DSL at roughly the same price point, and definitely slower than Verizon's FIOS if you're lucky enough to have access to it - I for one can only dream.
In general, beware Portland WiMax and specifically clear.com.

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