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WildBlue Communications, Inc. / WildBlue's ripoff FAP policy and throttled connections

1 United States Review updated:

Wildblue’s satellite technology limitations, the “bent pipe” as it is called coupled with Wildblue’s desire to make sure that the bottom line is maximized.

The “bent pipe” if you can imagine the USA as one large rolled piece of cookie dough with one little round cookie cutter knocking out pieces as close together as possible so as to not waist any dough. That’s the “bent pipe” this technology limits the number of users per circle. Now, to overcome the limitations they “Wildblue” have perpetrated a fraud upon paying subscribers with the so called FAP policy “pure spin”. This policy has been instituted only to cover up the out right theft of paid for bandwidth. Yes that’s what I said theft; you are punished for efficient uses of you’re paid for subscription package by “Throttling” your connection. What is “throttling” you say. The bandwidth that you are supposed to get is stolen from you so they can squeeze in a few more paying subscribers all under the guise of FAP “Fair Access Policy”. This “throttling” of your connection is basically choking it to less than 1/3 of what you pay for. Their supposed 512 kbps down and 128 kbps up package rate is cut to 125 kbps down and an unbelievable 23 to 25 kbps UP! Hell, you can’t even upload a small text file to your favorite website, I’ve tried. Hardly better than dialup because of the severely choked UP rate. Their technicians refer to this as “a FAP condition”. If you pay for a 512 kb pipe then that is your limitation, neither DSL nor Cable choke their connections this way. By downloading or uploading only a few files, to much surfing, and deleting the files stored in your browsers cache requiring the re-loading of a web page or web sites that you visit. All these things can cause you to easily exceed these ridiculous limitations. Your bandwidth is taken from you for 30 days or more. All the while you get to pay for bandwidth you can’t use. They ignore your requests to cancel service and try to sell you more expensive packages instead. Half of their helpdesk people can’t answer a technical question and their favorite response is to have you call into their main number so you can be put on hold for 30 minutes or so. Don’t even think about WildBlue as a high speed access choice.

WildBlue wants you to use “ www.toast.com and www.testmy.com “ test sites for determining your connection speed however, these test sites use small packets, these small packets will falsely indicate your connection speed. A better test would be www.speakeasy.com/speedtest there large packets are used to test your true connection speed. Why large packets; the internet is a high bandwidth “pipe” using large amounts of data “large packets” so only test at sites witch transfer large packets. Sending a mouse down a small pipe may work try sending a rabbit, your connection gets choked. Once again Wildblue puts “SPIN” on their explanations to trick you into thinking wow they are looking out for me. Nothing could be further from the truth they are out to deceive their customers so they can increase their bottom line by crowding their “pipes” with more users than their “bent pipe” technology is designed to handle. By the use of “throttling” WildBlue can re-distribute unused bandwidth to even more paying customers.

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Comments

  • Ch
      8th of Jul, 2007
    0 Votes

    After seeing nearly a hundred posts regarding WildBlue - and NOT ONE of them positive - I have to thank ALL of you for posting about your experiences. I live in a rural area of NC - 15 miles from the place where former President Clinton stood and said we would have "rural broadband" within two years. BTW, that was nearly EIGHT years ago (typical of Clinton promises).

    Anyway, the ONLY two choices I have for faster than dial-up Internet are: HughesNet and WildBlue. Now, I have learned from reading these posts that neither is worth the cost or hassle. I guess I'll have to stay with dial-up for another couple of years.

    THANKS for your time and information.

  • Sh
      17th of Jan, 2008
    0 Votes

    Mike -
    Thank you for fully explaining what was going on! I couldn't get a straight answer out of Wild Blue, although one of their technicians (on yet another 2-3 hour service call) did hint that there were FCC security blocks on data sharing across their satellite.

    I KNEW ping tests were only a bite and argued with the company at length over this issue. Any secured socket layer I tried to access was immediately bogged down to an 8-10 minute load IF it loaded at all... this includes normal everyday internet use such as online shopping and payment, online banking, sharing photos thru photo books and the like.

    Wild Blue's answer is to charge ME $95.00 for an onsite service call!!
    They refuse to cancel their contract and continue to bill be at the rate of $79.95/mo!

    TOTAL SCAM!!!!
    Consumers beware!!!

  • Bo
      21st of Jun, 2008
    0 Votes

    This Wild Blue service is what I call " High Cost not High Speed" I have been using them for 2 1/2 years since I am on a farm with no hope for a high speed connection anytime soon. Dial-up was too slow and satellite seemed faster. Big issue is the latency issue for real time connections, the FAP limit, blocked service in bad weather and really bad tech support.

    Recently I exceeded my upload limit by some accident that I still don't know what happened. The only answer I get from them is you are over your FAP limit, too bad for you. The first person said, I should take my PC to a repair shop to get it looked at. Gezzz thanks a bunch for your help I said. I went on and on with different people looking for an answer to how this could happen. After I was asked some pretty insulting questions regarding my knowledge of how my computer works I was told that my teenage son had caused it. Now that made me mad, since after this long we know how to use the system properly.

    My big issue was if I exceeded the limit and you can't even tell me what kind of traffic was uploaded how can I believe you. I found no evidence on my PC to show what happened and they could not access the upload info themselves. Basically I went from my usual two years of a 200 MB average upload to Exceeding 5000 MB in seven days, yes it went from from 200 MB to 5000 MB. I wanted answers and they couldn't say anything except thats too bad. No answers or help.

    I am now limited so bad that I can't access my personal website without a reset. I can't send out anything in E-mail or I will just add to my upload issue. I don't trust their traffic monitor, and since this has happened I have been turning off the device to lower my usage yet, in 9 days time my upload graph has not changed. It is all too suspicious for me and they won't answer my technical questions.

    I hold a degree in electronics and my son is attending college for networking and networking security. I guess this company figures they can milk you for all they can and think we are all too dumb to see the fraud. I hope this warns potential customers not to use Wild Blue.

    Sincerely;
    Bob

    Chehalis, WA

  • An
      9th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    There is no real easy solution yet to getting internet in rural areas and there are so many different reasons why people exceed their limit on the Wild Blue network. One cm0mon mistake I see constantly as a tech is an unsecured wireless network. Essentially this allows anyone within range (your neighbors) of your wireless router to have access to your network and tax the allotted download limit by your Wild Blue Internet provider. This is easily fixed by securing your wi-fi network with an SSID. All the latest routers support this function so look in your manual or ask some questions online on how to activate this function.
    Another problem I often see is when there is a computer savvy Teen or Adolescent in the house. They can easily delete the content. cookies and history of the websites they have recently visited and make it appear to the lay-person as if no activity has occurred on the computer. There are many ways to monitor your connectivity and some routers can actually be set so that they limit both the amount of bandwidth and data that is being used by any specific ip. address. You can also restrict web pages or view what sites have been accessed. This can be a helpful tool provided your savvy teen does not have access to the router via your password. Software also exists to monitor what goes on your computers browser but this can easily be sidestepped when a new browser is installed. I have seen cases where the new browser was completely hidden from view hidden even from the typical directories and in one case actually installed on a separate usb hard drive. The latter two of these cases are rare yet still occur.
    That being said there are obvious flaws to satellite internet. If your dish is not peaked correctly you will have signal degradation. Older antennas and or improper cabling can cause various other problems. There have been some large leaps to correct this problem by implementing stricter pointing/installation procedures and as the technology advances it will become cheaper. The newer Ka band satellites (and the proprietary ones that the government uses) have a monstrous download and upload capacity. The difference is their bandwidth is not dispersed amongst millions of individual homes. The solution is relatively easily fixed by sending more high yield Ka band satellites into orbit. And it is still comparatively much cheaper to do this than run millions of feet of copper cable to people in rural areas. This is why satellite communications is where we are all headed.
    We are not there yet and the people who do buy in to satellite communications are spearheading the way for everyone else. The Wild Blue and Hughesnet satellite internet providers are still going through some growing pains but have some promising projections for the future.
    All things aside the technology on either of these two companies is not meant for heavy downloads as of now because of the data cap in place due to the Fair Access Policy (FAP) that is implemented by both. However there is a difference in the way they go about this and depending on your preference it might help you make your decision if you are considering one or the other.
    Wild Blue has a monthly cycle on their data cap (or the amount you are allowed to download). This means that you can download freely until you reach your data cap for the month. For instance if you are downloading movies say from netflix you may do so freely until you reach that cap. Then your downloads are limited until the beginning of the next cycle.
    Hughesnets Data cap is considerably smaller however they are on a daily cycle. So if you overtax your limit by mid day, your access will be restricted the remainder of the day. However you will have full access the following morning to your allotted data cap. There is also a window on the Hugesnet network from 11:pm to 2:am CENTRAL TIME where they open the floodgates on the amount of data you can download provided you have not previously gone over your data cap and have been restricted for the remainder of the day. If you have you will have to wait until your cycle resets which is basically midnight Central time. If you know how to schedule your downloads during this window it means you can download unrestricted during this time without the danger of going over your data cap.
    It is important to note that the amount of data allowed varies per company and per plan so do the research and find out where you are and what you are getting with each package. Additionally bandwidth is particularly low during peak hours. This is no different than if you had the lowest rate plan of dsl.

  • Ba
      4th of Jan, 2010
    0 Votes

    I just returned from visiting my parents in Colorado. They signed up with Wildblue and were told they had purchased a .5mb service. The download speeds they are receiving are .04mb off peak (11:30 pm to 5:00 am per Wildblue customer service) and .012 during peak times. I called Wildblue while visiting and was told that they should never expect to see .5 mb and that .2 would be exceptional. They did say that if the service were upgraded to a more expensive service they would get a faster connection. No definition or guarantee of connection speed if they pay another $20 and month. I have done some research on the BBB website as well as site like this. I firmly believe that Wildblue is a company that everyone should stay away from. The only reason to use this service would be if you do not have landline phone service, do not have cellular service, and can afford $60 a month to send email. My parents have cellular service at their house and were told that the satellite service was faster. Wildblue is preying upon our friends and family that are less savvy. Please do all you can to spread the word and prevent anyone else from being taken advantage of.

  • No
      6th of Jan, 2010
    0 Votes

    BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID!
    Avoid the stress and tether your cell phone as a USB modem it is much faster and cheaper.
    Or drive to a FarceBucks and use their WiFi, or use your 1980's dial up for comparable speed.
    Or respect our Amerindians and learn smoke signals to communicate, or just talk face to face.
    But DO NOT fall victim to this company's false claims of fast speed through a satellite.

    When it is 2AM and a 22MB file transfer takes 2 hours, that is less than dialup speed!

    NO OBLIGATION TO PROVIDE YOU WORKING SERVICE
    Naturally the slow speeds are proven after signing the contract and believing the WildBlue sales claims. But you cannot do anything about a refund or otherwise. You have to pay for the full contract term. If you cancel service, they charge you for the 2 years at that time. Scammed, they won.
    If the service is down for a week or a year, you still pay and have no recourse, they are not obligated to provide any network service levels to you at all.

    BBB STILL SHOWS THEM ACCREDITED
    The BBB (Better Business Bureau) site shows thousands of complaints, even after the BBB recently and generously reset the previous complaint count for them, knows how high it was before. Most of the complaints we still see documented were just closed without any resolution? Yet the BBB still lists them as "Accredited".
    Maybe there is another reporting service we can rely on for the truth of the complaint volume.

    NO SUPPORT
    Technically they do have an 800 number to call in to, but that is it.
    Yes also technically you have a satellite network installed at your house too. But whether it works, or doesn't, and at what speed is not their problem to support.

    1) Everyone eventually realizes the service is slow and problematic about every other day.
    If you don't believe yourself, most home firewall systems or browsers can track the speed from the firewall through WildBlue's "network" to anywhere and you can prove to WildBlue it is them, and not your PC or the entire web. But the support line will argue with you as if it is your PC.

    2) After an hour of frustration, you win the waiting game and they finally agree with you -- but just say, "We do not guarantee any service levels or networks speeds, sorry." (click).

    3) It is one thing for another "American" company like WildBlue to demonstrate their U.S. loyalty by outsourcing IT support jobs abroad so their customers can enjoy rude incoherent-English, but to not even support you, or be accountable for providing anything for your money is normally considered criminal (outside of politics).

    4) What is also NOT disclosed in the contract, but discovered when you call to report slow speed, is that you can only be "supported" if you install their special optimizer software on each machine that will try to be using their "network service". After that if you have problems, as mentioned above, they say we are not required to deliver any service levels or speeds or uptime. Sorry. (click).

    SPECIAL SOFTWARE?
    For most users and especially remote business workers installing software other than your network drivers you already have is not only an impossible security authorization to get approved for install, but as an IT professional this is not even needed. Besides who needs another product in the mix to have problems with.

    This software ends up mostly being a support, accountability and confusion stall tactic. Or it is basically just some compression software to make you think your surfing faster by compressing and/or caching what you have received, or it builds or caches a table of places you've been to avoid looking up the names again to make it seem faster. More proof that the speeds are not real.

    Which means if you cannot install the software for security reasons and DO call support, and CAN waste an hour or so proving they are slow; you have to have build a dedicated system just for WildBlue Support to get them to admit it is their service and not your PC. After rebooting the placebo machine they worked on speeds magically starts working again.

    But the transfer speed on the machine that you were using before you called are also faster, and you did nothing to it, nor even rebooted it. This really means that your support call is only an escalation to temporarily open up the network pipe for you that has been oversold by WildBlue to too many customers, to close out the issue and blame your system needing a reboot. Tag you're it again, but working after an hour of hassle.

    INSTALLERS
    The local sub-contracted installers WildBlue finds and hire scam you into an ugly pole on the ground so they shorten the flat rate install time that WildBlue pays them. Or they try to charge you $300 extra for running the wiring in the attic instead of across the windows outside your house and drilled in through the walls at their convenience.
    You have to be savvy on installation stuff to argue with them on what can be done to avoid the extra charges and brackets they say are not part of the deal. If you tell them you will take the 5 minutes and run their wire yourself to avoid the $300 attic charge (which I had to do, since WildBlue sales tells everyone the Installation is all FREE!). They did not gouge me for the attic fees since I ran the wire myself. But they did gouge my stucco out front with a large black wire clamp placed every 3" on my beige stucco wall to hold down the wires. It is beyond ugly. But hey, if the West Coast ever gets Hurricanes I can count on the ground wire still being attached to that part of the stucco wall as the house flies apart.

    WHAT ABOUT HUGHESNET?
    Well, just re-read this and replace WildBlue's name with HughesNet, Direct (owned by Hughes).
    Seriously use a cell modem tether (384Kb) or a dial up (56Kb). If someone is reading an email or two once a week it might be great for your great grandma, but a waste of money for just that.

    For the rest of us in America that are indirectly forced to rely on network connectivity for our jobs and communication and need reliable 256Kb bandwidth, just give up on Satellite.

  • Tr
      19th of Sep, 2011
    0 Votes

    They have a daily cap when traffic is high they will push the disconnect button to try and stop your browsing session, this seems to occur when you are streaming video during your session. All these people complaining about having to unplug the modem works but only temp until they disconnect you again. I've had Wildblue for 23 months, everyday problems, I can say it isn't even worth having if you do any type of streaming. Not worthy except for video free web browsing and email and occasional downloads, thats it. And if you think the new SAT is going to get you a sweet deal, think again!! This company is waaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy crooked!!

  • Da
      3rd of Mar, 2013
    0 Votes

    I have had Wildblue since May of 2017. At first is seemed ok but not as fast as my phone line DSL. After a few months Wildblue reared it's ugly head and the problems began. Since last September I bet I have reset my modem at least 100 times. Sometimes several times a day but at least 2-3 times a week. I have not had uninterrupted service for more than a week in a row without encountering service problems. When you call customer service they all tell you to reset the modem. Well, that is their issue and I should not have to solve their problem for them. If there was an alternative I would ditch them in a heart beat and pay the penalty. Of course they know you have no choice and they are the last resort which is why their service stinks. Pay up or do without is their company mantra and it stinks and so do they.

  • La
      7th of Jul, 2013
    0 Votes
    WildBlue Communications, Inc. - Limited GB -POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE - high pricing -
    Ohio
    United States

    First our installers installed our dish wrong. broken seal, had to deal with lag / no connection for months until they sent someone out to fix it. Installer did not run enough cable, nor explained anything to us.

    Now we are ALWAYS over our GB's a month and we hardly use the internet anymore. 15gb's in 2 days? where? how? we are paying 79-100$ a month for no internet, ( YEA THE PRICES VARY MONTH TO MONTH?) I have to use a friends internet 90% of the time. IT IS THE 7TH AND WE ARE OVER, we wont reset until the 20th!!! LETS not even mention when bad weather comes threw, never fails "connection lost" forums are cluttered with complaints, have reset modems at least 100 times, false usage etc...


    SICK OF this. this company takes advantage of people who have no other options when it comes to internet!!! you are better off with dial up!!! NO JOKE!

  • Ex
      8th of Jul, 2013
    0 Votes

    Hello ladypearl2138.
    I would like to assist you with your issues as I do understand you are having concerns with your data usage and installation. We can definitely work to get this corrected as we do appreciate your business. I would love the opportunity to assist you with your concerns. Will you please send me an email to [protected]@viasat.com with your name, phone number and a good time to contact you. Please be sure to mention you posted from Complaints Board too to help expedite a resolution for you. Thank you!

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