Minneapolis Wi-Fi: Still a few bugs left to be squashed

  • Article by: STEVE ALEXANDER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 26, 2009 - 10:28 PM
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  • Comments

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eracer3193May. 26, 09 4:28 PM

I'm in an area covered by wireless service and have had it for almost a year. It worked great for 4 months. This morning it was down. When I call them, they offer me very little help, and when it suddenly starts working again, all they offer me is, well it looks like it's working again, so, hey! that's good! then it stops later in the day. I am movin gon Friday and can't wait to switch back to comcast.

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davedinmspMay. 26, 09 4:55 PM

that the signal quality is less than ideal. I live 5 houses away from an intersection which doesn't have an antenna so I must angle the receiver towards the next intersection. Of course, the sightline to my intersection is free and clear. Not so for the intersection that matters. The signal is erratic and drops CONSTANTLY. To their credit, USWireless has notified me that they can see the signal is bad and that they are working on it. It's been 10 months now and no improvement has taken place. I can't drop the service at the moment because of a 2 year contract but I will 11 months from now.

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jaw_kneeMay. 26, 09 5:17 PM

Do Not sign up for this unless you can get a tech to come out to your house and show you it functioning. There phone reps will tell you "all's good" when its not. I'm a tech orientated guy and everyone I've spoken with has had problems.. USI likes to blames trees and such.. as if trees went here before they installed routers.. They lie, yes down right lie. Spend your money on qwest or concast.. you'll at lest get internet.

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oseafoamMay. 26, 09 5:27 PM

Lousy performance as a general rule. I've spent almost 15 years in wireless and communications, and am a certified wireless engineer. I wont get into all the reasons the system is not all its cracked up to be, but it isnt. What ticks me off is as a taxpayer--this was just a giveaway to US Internet. If the city isnt going to hold them accountable, who is? As "customers" (although I think they dont think of us that way) we dont seem to have much pull with the company. nice going, minneapolis. Another triumph.

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mikejohnson4May. 26, 09 5:40 PM

Sounds like service is pretty awful based on the comments of some here and in other venues. I find it hard to believe that the police and fire responders will ever actually switch to this given its reliability issues.

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dskarjuneMay. 26, 09 5:45 PM

Minneapolis Wi-fi was a challenging project, and no other municipality this size has completed a project like this. Unfortunately, the results are mixed. A single computer user might squeak by with a low-end broadband connection (some neighbors use it), but there are intermittent service outages and other problems (and I gave up). The modem supplied by U.S. Internet does not work well with home network routers, and the modems are easily confused by multiple radio nodes in some areas. Worst of all, U.S. Internet customer service is almost useless. Representatives are uninformed, unresponsive, and issues are not tracked. This should be a reliable service for low-income users, but the problems seem to outweigh the benefits. The real story is that critical city services will NEVER use this system, it's so unreliable.

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kbrown2001May. 26, 09 5:55 PM

I signed my mom up for the service as a good (I thought) reasonably priced alternative to cable & dsl. She lives in a low rise condo in a very residential area and according to the USI website, she should have been able to get service. But we couldn't get it to work for her. As others have noted, the customer service was poor. As an IT professional myself, I'm pretty capable with this kind of configuration but found that I was the one explaining stuff to their tech support. USI told me that my own condo on the 10th floor of a downtown building wouldn't be able to use the service when I checked a few months ago. But after my mom's experience, I'm in no hurry to try.

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ajnaguyMay. 26, 09 6:34 PM

Not only has her service not been interrupted, they've called HER twice to inform her that the speed wasn't quite what it should be. They came out both times without charge to make adjustments and add equipment. When Comcast went out at my house, it was a nightmare just getting someone on the phone, and I'm pretty sure I wound up with an older cable modem than the one I finally got them to replace. After testing my laptop on her wireless router (a Linksys, which also works flawlessly, by the way), I'm considering switching for the price, the speed, and the service.

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foobarxyzMay. 26, 09 6:56 PM

My family and I love it. It is fast, reliable, and less expensive than Comcast or Qwest. Add in that I get wi-fi on my laptop pretty near everywhere in Minneapolis, and this is a great deal on a great product.

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SMBowner3 May. 26, 09 7:30 PM

I'm proud to pay my taxes and I appreciate the services that government provides. However, here's another example of a government trying to do more than what it should. The result is wasted money, bad service, and frustration. The intentions were great, but government should limit themselves to necessary services. The City of Minneapolis should end this arrangement as soon as possible and leave the ISP business forever.

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