An open letter to Vivid Wireless – “Seriously fast 4G wireless Broadband”

Please see my follow up interview with Martin Mercer – CEO of Vivid Wireless after you have read the below.

Please note, there is significant discussion surrounding this post at The Vivid Wireless Forums. I recommend you also see my follow up post Follow Up Email to Vivid Wireless

Well, an open letter to Vivid Wireless Australia and it’s users. Before I begin for those of you that don’t know Vivid Wireless is a new startup from the people behind Unwired Broadband that uses new 4G WiMAX technology to provide high speed wireless broadband. Since they begun many users have been suffering technical issues, backhaul issues, slow speeds and traffic congestion. I personally have been lucky enough to have a relatively stable connection but have noticed these issues as well and therefore wanted to put forward this issue regarding slow connections on Vivid Wireless right to the guys at the top (well I hope so anyway).

Therefore I would firstly like to set the scene… I will say that I am a heavy downloader and uploader with good cause. I do a lot of photography and one of the main sources of my traffic (not the only source) is transferring files too and from my servers in the US. That said, I do also use it for leisure downloading as well, i.e. watching Hulu through a VPN and the like.

When I signed up to Vivid Wireless I signed up on the unlimited plan for a reason… because I require a lot of traffic per month and the idea of unlimited internet is certainly appealing. I see a lot of people flaming these unlimited downloaders (on the Whirlpool Forums and the Vivid Forums) for using up all the international bandwidth and so on and so forth when in fact, they are just using what they are entitled to and what they have purchased. Now ***having said that*** I do not aggree that said users should be able to cause congestion that affects all other users, that is certainly bad.

Personally I am acutely aware of the speed issues faced by everyone on the network during peak periods and on consultation with the technical team at Vivid Wireless I now do as much of my heavy downloading and uploading as feasibly possible out of peak hours (i.e. not during 5pm to 1am).

I foresee one of two possible required outcomes:
1. Vivid needs to upgrade network capacities and network backhaul to support at minimum all users on the unlimited plan hypothetically running at 24×7 + the required bandwidth to support all other users on top of that.
2. OR (while this is not ideal) Give Unlimited Users completely unlimited data outside of the hours of 5pm to 1am and then during those hours give them a max of say 100GB a month (which I think is more than fair). Possibly you could extend this to have a bigger plan for say $120AUD a month that give 200GB during peak hours and unlimited at other times, that can then be used to support the provisioning of additional network resources and backhaul.

Personally I have always wondered how on earth a business can support a truly unlimited model, especially for a start up in the case of Vivid Wireless. I am happy for someone to correct me here as I know this is an assumption but it seems at this stage the unlimited has been provided as an overselling of resources and that is causing users on the rest of the network to suffer at the expense of people who are just using the service they have paid for. Not only do I fear will never be a sustainable business model but I also as a user feel bad for being the cause of that suffering for other users even though I am only using what I have paid for.

So what are your thoughts, are you a Vivid Wireless customer and have you been experiencing a slow connection or any other issues? If you aren’t what things have you heard said about Vivid, have they been good, bad or so on. Look forward to hearing your thoughts.