Last week, CivSource reported on a lawsuit recently filed in Massachusetts by two non-profits – Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen. In their complaint, both organizations say that Sprint’s plan to shutter the CLEAR WiMax service on November 6, will leave some 300,000 low-income individuals without internet access because of the company’s failure to honor a 30-year lease made with CLEAR’s parent company Clearwire.
Sprint is pushing back against this claim saying that Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen could move their clients over to the LTE network, but the non-profits say the the LTE service is being throttled. Now, some 40 non-profits ranging from Habitat for Humanity to Color of Change have sent a letter to Sprint CEO Marcello Claure calling on him to come up with a plan.
The letter is also being sent to Tom Wheeler Chairman of the FCC.
It’s unclear how much weight the letter will carry in terms of getting the FCC to look into the matter or influencing the court currently looking at the case, however, the court’s decision could be significant for other non-profits that provide low-cost data-only access.
We asked Sprint about the throttling claim last week and they had this to say:
“We do not offer unlimited data-only service to any customer. Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen are using data-only devices. Yes, Sprint engages in reasonable network management practices as it is contractually entitled to do to ensure that their customers did not lose access in the middle of the month. Sprint does not have a retail relationship with Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen – they resell Sprint’s service to their own customers. We have repeatedly made attempts to discuss with them how we can best meet their end users’ needs and resolve this matter. But instead of working it out like reasonable partners, they chose to file a complaint.”
Watch this space.