The only choice we had really was DSL, which means AT&T. To be honest I just dread dealing with AT&T so much (based on past experience) that I kept putting off ordering the circuit. Then I ran across an ad for Clear (aka Clearwire), a new soon-to-be nationwide WiMax service provider. I'd heard about Clearwire in the industry press, but what I'd heard was somewhat skeptical - the "let's see if they can really make a business out of this" sort of thing. But they launched service in Atlanta on June 16, and the price was certainly right ($55/month for 4Mbps downstream and 1Mbps up) so I figured I'd give it a try.
That was two weeks ago. After a great experience at work, I ordered it for my home ($40/month) and set it up tonight. Here's the thing - I've been setting people up on the internet for 15 years now. I know my way around a router, and I've seen about every possible way to get online that's ever been invented. This Clear system is hands down the best I've ever seen in terms of setup. It goes like this:
- You order the service.
- A box arrives at your door (actually I had to go to Fedex to sign for it, which was pretty annoying)
- You open the box.
- You remove the modem.
- You plug modem into your computer (or router).
- You plug modem into an electrical outlet.
- You are online.
Coverage can be a problem. You can see a huge speed difference just by moving the modem a few inches left or right, and it's going to work best when it's near an exterior wall or window. The nice thing is there is an easy 5-light indicator on top of the modem that makes it easy to see when it's getting the best signal.
Right now Clear is only available in Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Portland but they plan to roll it out to several more cities this year. For me my $40 Clear bill ($45 with a leased modem) let's me cancel my $100 AT&T home phone & DSL service (since I only use my cell phone anyway). That's a net savings of $55/month or over $600/year - PLUS I don't have to deal with AT&T customer service, which is an extra bonus.
Time will tell, but so far I'm definitely a Clear fan.