JUST ASK! Why can’t I get Clear Internet in N. Keizer?

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Ask us a question about just about anything and we’ll do our best to answer it, or find the people who can. Just Ask is a recurring Keizertimes feature.

Clear Wireless, a company marketing high-speed wireless Internet, came to Keizer in 2009. But one Keizer resident living in The Vineyards subdivision – one who wants to “free myself from the clutches of mega media giant Comcast” –said the company couldn’t offer service to him. He writes:

“I recently attempted to obtain Internet service from Clear. I was informed my location in Keizer is not in the service area. The representative from Clear stated a tower had been erected and is ready for use but there is some form of bureaucratic issue preventing the company from activating the tower. Why is Clear unable to activate the tower that would provide the northwest section of Keizer with service?” – Don T.

Dear Don,

While it took longer than anyone expected for the city of Keizer and Clearwire to agree on a right of way use agreement for its tower serving north Keizer, we’re told this has nothing to do with the government.

It’s about the almighty dollar – which Clearwire could use more of these days.

Keizer has two Clear towers, according to the city’s senior planner: One near Windsor Island and Chemawa roads, and another near Keizer Christian Church on Wheatland Road.

The company showed strong growth in 2010, showing a 400 percent increase in total subscribers through the third quarter of 2010 to about 2.84 million subscribers. It’s partially owned by Sprint, which Reuters reports uses the Clearwire network for its own high-speed wireless Internet offerings.

The Toronto Sun and numerous other agencies reported earlier this month Sprint opted not to buy $760 million of Clearwire debt. Lots of agencies say the company needs “billions” to complete its network.

And Debra Havins, a public relations representative for the company, confirmed the Wheatland Road site – likely the one Don would get service from – “is in the same holding pattern as all the Clearwire sites at this time.”

“Clearwire is currently in the process of working to secure additional funding for our current build plan,” Havins wrote. “The company needs additional funds to continue its investment in network and operations nationwide.

“While we can’t make assurances about the future, we remain cautiously optimistic that we will find a solution within the coming months.”

While Havins didn’t get into details of when that might be, Reuters reported Clearwire stock rose more than 1 percent earlier this month amid analysts’ belief the company may have “new funding in its sights.”

Incidentally the right-of-way agreement for the north Keizer tower was formally completed in August 2010, City Attorney Shannon Johnson said.

“The impasse was basically due to Clear’s concern about taxes or fees for telecom or telecom-like services such as VOIP (voice-over Internet protocol),” Johnson said. “And the compromise the city and Clear reached was that they will agree to comply with any lawful ordinance or regulations adopted in the future, but they do not concede that the city has the right to charge (for) those services.”

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