Beware WildBlue and DirecWay
by TONI H - 12/30/05 3:52 PM
satellite service contracts.
If you go to either of their websites to check packaging prices, they will show you that the packages you purchase have various bandwidth upload and download speeds for each price.
What they are NOT telling you is that in the fine print of the FAP (Fair Access Policy) link, that the 'bandwidth' you are paying for also includes a very limited amount of what I refer to as 'total monthly file size' downloads and uploads.
Every website you visit downloads information automatically, such as graphics, advertising, streaming video or music, files you want to download, news/weather tickers, e-cards using Flash, java games you play in real-time, multi-player games, etc. Now add in the bandwidth for getting your email delivered to you via Outlook Express, or if you use AIM or MSN to chat.
These are all FILES that add up to a monthly total that those ISP's are keeping track of. Now...if your package limits you to 7500MB such as the smallest package at WildBlue has on their FAP page, you will hit that limit quickly, especially if you have your own website out there somewhere (even if it's hosted by somebody else) and you download it occasionally to your harddrive as a backup. If you download a game demo that is 150MB in size and do this frequently, you will cut yourself off at the knees quickly.
To pay $40 per month for 'fast' speeds, hit your 'threshold' and then be cut off from the net or have your bandwidth speed reduced to dial-up-networking speeds is unacceptable....especially when you are not aware that there even IS a threshold when you purchase the package because they have not given you full disclosure in the packaging advertising prices when they quote the price for speed ONLY. You have to hunt on the site itself to find the true package limitations.
I purchased WildBlue six weeks ago....I had to pay for the installation equipment up front two weeks prior to the installation. I never received a copy of my contract until the installer handed it to me after the dish was already installed, set up, activated, and my account was set up on line. I received an 'abuse' email from WildBlue this morning advising me that I was close to my 11,000MB threshold and that if I went over that amount and it happened 'often' they could terminate my account for abusing it. This was the first I knew that there was a limit because the contract itself never indicates that there is one. The only way I would have known was if I went online and typed in the URL to one of the 'links' that was printed in the contract...which would have taken me to the FAP page.
I am in the process of having the installation removed and a credit issued to my credit card that was used for deceptive sales practices for not giving full disclosure on their package price page on their website and instead burying the rest of the disclosure into an obscure link on that page that one would normally expect would give the normal 'abuse' limitations and restrictions such as downloading copyrighted information or pirated movies, music, games, programs, etc. You would NOT expect to find what I found.
AND....since this morning when I went to that site, I went back again about an hour ago, and the Value package I have has abruptly been reduced down to 7500MB per 30-days instead of the 11K MB that it was this morning. According to the updated notice at the bottom it goes into effect immediately on Jan. 1, 2006.....without notice. Since I already hit 8800 when I got the abuse notice this morning, I would have already been penalized without warning......
Fortunately, I have not canceled my subscription with Starband. I've been with them for nearly 8 years now and checked their site and talked with their sales and tech support departments and they have NO limitations and never have had any. They have the normal and expected restrictions only for the $50 per month I pay them.