My friend who DID have an iPhone that he bought off of eBay that was ‘jailbroken’ finally decided to become ‘legal’. We played with this ‘free’ wifi calls for nearly 6 months. He did save a few coins from his sprint bill, did make and receive calls for free and had practically all of the other goodies on the iPhone working OK, but its not quite there yet. Meaning, we estimated that about 60-70% of all calls were either dropped or not received by him. This made the iPhone really not usable for business and a bit annoying. So, after nearly 6 months, he walked into an ATT store and is now totally legal. We enjoyed hacking the iPhone and making it do what its not suppose to do, but in the end, getting phone calls was key and until wifi gets stronger and the hand-offs’ more seamless, we will wait.
We moved outside of Los Angeles 2 years ago and I was forced to subscribe to Directway because there was no broadband coaxial cable nor DSL through the phone companies. Cell service was spotty, so I reluctantly bought a package from Directway (DirectTV sister company that supplies Internet access). I purchased a ‘professional’ package (or what they call a ‘business’ package) with a larger dish ( nearly $2,000 all in including installation ) and all. Supposedly I was going to get 500mbps upload and 2.0 mbps download for…$200.00 per month (Yikes!). The speed wasn’t even close. While I was spoiled by my TimeWarner connection when I did have broadband (3 mbps download) , Directway was barely better than dial-up for $ 200.00 a month. What a joke! Even after calling Directway many times for many months to complain, the service never came close to this kind of speed they claimed it could get . I was maybe getting 500mbps download. To top it off, they had a download ‘threshold’ that was suppose to dissuade people from downloading music and movies. They didn’t need that, because who could or who would want to download anything with the way (slow) their service worked. Then WildBlue came along (a bunch of guys from ATT and Direct got together to form this company). So, I switched. I had to purchase their dish (now I have 2 dishes growing in my backyard). But first, I had to get out of my 2 year contract with Directway which was not easy without paying a disconnect fee of about $ 200.00. So I decided to complain directly to the corporate parent. After a few weeks, I got through to someone there and they reluctantly agreed to let me out of my contract. So, I installed the Wildblue dish (only $250.00 cost) and bought their most expensive package $79.95 for the ‘Pro’ pack. Speed of 1.5 mbps download and 350mbps upload. It worked faster than the 2.0 mbps speed I was suppose to get at Directway. I thought I was in heaven. Until I met with WildBlue’s ‘FAP’ or Fair Usuage Policy’ which was no more than 17,000MB down and 5,000MB up. Since I blog and test various new pieces of software I quickly met that threshold’s ‘upload’ limit. Not download mind you, but upload. Must have uploaded too many blog text entries?? This was just plain stupid. So I called them and they told me that this was a 30 day ‘rolling’ policy and I’d have to reduce my uploading to be less than the 5,000MB for more than 30 days. Well, for $ 80.00 a month this was just unreasonable. So, I turned to Sprint who had just released a new EV-DO modem for plugging into a laptop or desktop. I could get my Internet access through a cell phone tower. So, I signed up, installed the modem at home and guess what. I have no threshold limits, and it works better than either satellite services for $60.00 a month. I then promptly called Wildblue back and lowered my monthly bill and speed to $49.00 a month (as low as I could get it). I will be disconnecting this service next week. Thanks Sprint. So, for anyone who is struck with either of these dinosaurs, drop them and disconnect, get as far away from them as you can as fast as you can. Try anything else but these services. I’m sure you’ll be much happier. Its just a matter of time before wi-fi and wi-max cover all of the rural areas that cable can’t and then hopefully these lame services will go out of business. Its just a matter of time. I plan on writing both of these companies again and I will include a link back to this blog. Hopefully others will read this and NOT send any business their way.