The things you say online can have devastating consequences, and the Internet can keep them around for a long time. That's why you should always think twice before posting something to your favorite social media sites and elsewhere on the Web.
But one man is being sued by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) because the claims he made about their service may actually be true.
Russell Petrick, a man with 10 year background in computers and Web hosting and nearly terminal with cancer, made claims that Peak Internet, an ISP in Colorado, was lying about their Internet speeds.
So Peak Internet decided to sue Petrick, for an amount to be determined upon trial, for posting "defamatory" messages on Yelp, YouTube, Yahoo!, and other platforms after complaining to the Better Business Bureau, nearly a year after his first complaints.
Petrick claimed that Peak was providing below-average service, especially for the price that he paid. Petrick paid $50 a month for an Internet download speed of 20 mbps, but says that he got nowhere near that speed and usually averaged about 6 mbps.
"The fastest speed I got was 13.6 mbps download and 3.1 mbps upload," Petrick said. "I didn't get anywhere near the 20 mbps mark."
What was so big a deal that this ISP decided to sue a customer with cancer? Apparently, Petrick has proof that it was lying about its Internet speeds.
You can see Petrick's Yelp review of Peak Internet below. It seems to be one of the only reviews left standing, since Peak went above and beyond to delete his reviews on other sites. The company even posted fake reviews to salvage its reputation.
1.0 star rating 10/7/2013
First to Review
Beware: This company advertises fast internet speeds, but in reality rarely provides those speeds. Like every ISP, the advertised speeds are up to that speed. You shouldn't expect to get the top speed all of the time, but you can expect an average speed about 70% of the advertised speed. That's how a regular ISP works. I am receiving speeds at 50% or lower of the advertised package speed.
Peak has a guaranteed minimum which is nice, but they seem to think the guaranteed minimum is the speed that you should average at. One thing to keep in mind with wireless internet is your speeds may fluctuate due to weather and interference. This is not the issue with the package I ordered, as I explain below.
I order the 20Mbps plan. I ran speed tests and monitored the line for a full week after install, and these were the results:
* Speeds to Peak Internet hosted servers: 90% to 100% of capacity. This is useful in determining that there is not an issue between the transmitter on my house and the tower.
* Speeds to any other speed test server, CDN, website, regular download server: 50% or less of capacity. I tested to multiple types of servers at multiple locations across the USA. My average speed was 7Mbps. My max speed was 12Mbps. I never once went above 12.
When I contacted Peak Internet about this issue and provided them the documentation of the tests I had been running they refused to acknowledge the issue. They said I was getting above their guaranteed minimum (4Mbps) and that I should actually be happy that I was getting 12Mbps. If I wanted that, I would have paid for the 12Mbps plan.
Peak Internet has major issues with peering and their bandwidth providers. When I pay for internet access, that means the whole internet. I'm not paying for fast speed tests to internal servers. They also just don't seem to care. They didn't want to look into the speed issue. They didn't have any desire to provide good service. They just wanted to make their money and not deal with people who call them out on their false advertising.
I feel sorry for somebody less technologically savvy that is paying for their higher packages but getting slow speeds. They don't know that they're paying double or triple than they could be for the exact same speed they are getting now with the same company.
edit: Got to love this company's response. Getting "well above" the minimum. If that's all they can deliver, then why is their package listed at higher speeds.
An ISP does in fact have control over their traffic as it leaves their network. When you have good peering agreements your customers get good speeds. When you have crap peering agreements that you paid $1 for, your customers get crap speeds.
This company is also afraid of letting people know that they have no idea what they're doing. They deleted reviews as well as comments on their facebook page instead of addressing them.
This isn't the first time an ISP has tried to take out nay-sayers. Click here to see what happened to other folks when they come up against a big company.