Category Archives: Consumer reports

Starlink: Is it worth it?

Months ago, I had made the announcement that I would be partaking in the beta test for “Starlink.” Upon using the product, I am going to be giving my honest opinion of it. Before I do this, however, I want to make it known that “Starlink” has no association to this article, This means that, “War on Corruption” is not being paid to by their company to write this. This article is being written purely from my observations.

In the satellite internet industry, there really aren’t that many options, especially in the United States. The few companies who do strictly provide internet in this format, can be described as questionable, and that’s putting it kindly. So what of “Starlink?” Is it any better? Let’s break down the pros and the cons.

Pros

The internet speed is absolutely impressive, even for a beta test. For instance, I average around 97mbps download and 10mbps upload. I expect that this is going to be improved as the network becomes more advanced. Unlike other companies, as we recently discussed in a previous article, “Starlink” has done exactly what they said they would do. They have provided exactly what they claimed. This form of transparency is refreshing as most companies have hidden conditions, to which you only learn after signing up.

Unlike other companies that I have dealt with, there are currently no contracts, though it’s unknown if this will change in the future. If you want to cancel your service, you can without any risk to you, or your banking account.

One thing that other companies love to do is “throttle.” Throttling is when a company slows your internet down for other customers. For companies, such as ViaSat, this is a constant issue as they throttle their internet regardless. However, with the introduction of this new service, it’s fairly easy to presume that these other companies may have to step-up their games if they wish to remain in the competitive field.

Cons

As with any company, there are cons. To keep this review fair and transparent, I’m going to review these flaws. Some of these flaws are will be fixed before global release. But for now, we’re going to count them, but we will mention the ones, that we are aware of, that will be resolved.

For many users, especially those who are computer savvy, the inability to access the router is a bit of a problem. This means that you cannot go to the router’s settings as “Starlink” currently does not have that ability. However, if you are one of these tech savvy individuals, this is one of the cons that they state will be resolved.

Another potential con comes in the fact that all IP addresses are currently dynamic. Though this in itself isn’t the con, the con comes in that if you need to reboot your modem, you’re going to have to setup your entire network all over again. This is something that could be a bit annoying, but it’s not to complicated as you are walked through the process, which is essentially naming and setting a password. It is unknown if this will be changed.

Nobody likes downtime. But when you’re apart of a beta test, you’re going to get it. For me personally, it’s been minor little glitches: pages not loading, forcing me to refresh, the period disconnection from the router, that sort of thing. But, with that aside, it hasn’t really posed itself as a serious issue. This is, thankfully, one con that will be resolved prior to global release.

So this is what I think about the new “Starlink” system. Overall, it’s a wonderful system with a lot of potential. If the company’s mindset, and transparency, remains as it currently is, I can foresee it quickly stomping the competition.

ISP, ViaSat, accused of shady business practices (PT:1)

Editorial Note: This article is not intended to act as legal advice. It is purely based on the research of “War on Corruption, LLC,” to bring awareness to a situation that seems to be rampant within the ViaSat corporation.

The internet age has allowed us to communicate on a global scale. Through the internet, we are able to call, video chat, and even conduct business that would otherwise be impossible. But, as with all things, it has a dark side to it. Just as honest people have found an avenue for discussion, socializing, and so fourth, this remains true for those who are not so honest. But what happens when the dishonesty comes from the very company who has provided you this global access? That’s the question that has lead to this article.

Viasat is a global internet company. Through the use of satellite technology, they provide the same service as any other ISP. However, unlike what you find with most ISP’s, the amount of complaints against this one is alarming. From misrepresentation, shady business tactics, and a lot of the in-between,  Worst yet, every business review site, including the BBB, reflect this.

Though its rating varies from site to site, we’re going to look at the BBB. According to the site, Viasat has a rating 1.04 out of 5. For a company that prides itself on providing internet service, this score is extremely low. Upon looking into the reviews, however, it quickly become apparent as to why.

The main nature of my complaint is the willful misrepresentation on the part of their sales personnel at the time we were investigating switching to a satellite provider. As with so many, we live in a rural area and had endured unusable DSL for years from ******** **************. We needed something better. We knew that ViaSat was not going to be perfect, but we were discussing going from a monthly fee of $78/mo for intensely unreliable service to $179/mo for service described as ‘variable once our data cap had been reached’. We GRILLED the salesperson as to what that meant, because what we had been enduring were speeds between 0.1 and 1.0 mbps. Anything under 0.8 and our internet becomes unusable and believe me I have learned a lot of tricks; everything from extensions that play videos only once they are fully buffered to tab suspenders to features on my gaming computer that allow the entire resources of my computer to be used only for one browser tab. We were ASSURED up, down and sideways that it would never, ever be worse than 5mbps at the very, very worst. With this fear assuaged, we signed up. So once again last night our data cap ran out (we pay for the highest tier; we cannot purchase more data and we have tried) and at 7pm I was confronted with a Zoom meeting and a 0.2 mbps connection. When I contacted customer service the next day to tell them that this was unacceptable and that they needed to do something, she figuratively threw up her hands and could only say ‘this is how ViaSat works.’ I told her that this apparently translated to their sales personnel lying as much as necessary to sign people up and then abdicating all responsibility once their customers were stuck in contracts. I gained the sense this was hardly the first time she had heard this. I would not mind being slowed down. I mind having totally unusable Internet as I am sure almost everyone here does. I mind even more that I was bait and switched; I don’t like liars. What this company does would be illegal in Washington state. I wish I lived there and I hope the day comes when their ‘business plan’ dries up because **** **** and ******** put them out of business. When that service comes online, I will be out the door faster than you can say ‘speed test.’

The above comment is one of the most common ones that we’ve found, in regards to the shady business tactics. The fact that their sales representatives knowingly and willfully provide false information to potential customers, falls into the category of “misrepresentation.” Misrepresentation, in the legal sense,  is defined as: Getting into a contract with a person or a company on false grounds by making statements that are not in accordance with the facts.

What this means is that if the company misrepresents itself, its provided services, or information pertaining to the contract, that contract can be classified as void. All the consumer would have to do is prove it. Sadly for Viasat, there are hundreds of reviews that establish the claim of deceit against potential customers. But Viasat is accused of doing more than misrepresenting their service and plans. In at least one instance, they tricked a potential customer into signing a contract. A contract that they were completely unaware of until they attempted to cancel the service.

In response to a callout that we did, via Twitter and Facebook, one of their current customers sent us the following statement:

I have been with Viasat for a little over a year. During this time, I have never once gotten decent service. In fact, even when my service renewed, it still registered that I had used more data than what I was allotted. After months of dealing with this, I decided today was enough; I attempted to terminate my service. Now, before I continue, I need to backtrack. When I first signed up, I paid, as shown in the image provided, the entire equipment lease charge. I did this under the impression that by doing so, I would not be under a contract and that I would own the equipment. So, back to my termination attempt.

They tell me that I am under contract and that I do not own the equipment. I explain what I was told on the phone, only to get into an escalated conversation with the representative. I end up putting my service on a hibernation, which means they’re still going to take money out of my account. The company lied to me about being in a contract, they lied to me about the service quality, and now they’re trying to dupe me out of more money. This can’t be legal, is it?

Well, let’s go ahead and answer this one. No, it is not legal. In fact, with a good attorney, you might be able to make a fraud claim. Fraud is defined as: wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain. Clearly, by informing you that you were not in a contract, when you were, they defrauded you. They defrauded you because they knew that if you attempted to cancel the service, you would be liable to pay an ETF for the remaining contractual months; this is where the personal gain comes in.

We’re still deep diving into this company. Because of the large number of complaints, we simply cannot cover it all in one article, there will be a PT: 2 in the near future. This company demonstrates the “why” people need to conduct a through investigation into any company to which they intend to conduct business. It’s unfortunate that so many people have learned this, after the fact. However, we’re going to do our part in preventing this from happening to other consumers.