Internet via BridgeMaxx

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I wandered by the BridgeMaxx table at the mall last week and took a look. I’d seen the van around town, and knew that they had moved in to the old Verizon location near Target, but wasn’t sure exactly what it was. Now I know: it’s high-speed internet service, but with a neat twist. It’s a box – about the size of a hardback book – that plugs into your computer on one side, and into an electrical outlet on the other. Voila, you’re surfing!
At least, that’s the promise. And the price is reasonable: only $30 per month, but with a one-year contract the first three months are only $15 each. And you can unplug the box and take it with you: to the coffee shop, to your friends’ house, to your office – as long as there’s an outlet to plug into, you should be good to surf.
So what’s the catch? It’s like real estate, apparently: location, location, location. According to the BridgeMaxx crew, you have to be near one of their towers; there are three in Great Falls right now, with a fourth being installed next week. Proximity makes all the difference. So sometime this weekend, I’m going to fire up my BridgeMaxx connection and see how it works. I’ll keep you posted. And if any of you have experience – good or bad – with BridgeMaxx, drop a comment here and let everyone know.

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27 Comments

  1. I have a friend who just signed up for it and really likes it. They said it was very easy to get going.

    It is faster than local DSL but slower than local cable internet. So if you want screaming fast, don’t leave cable. If you have DSL you should notice a little increase in download speed.

  2. I am using it for my wife’s accounting practice and for our home internet. Pretty good; I am generally happy with it.

    You can get tiered pricing based on speed requirements. You can go all the way up to 5Mbs up/down. Basic package is 1.5 Mbs up and 500 kbs down.

    The nice thing about it is that it is consistent speed. Cable is faster (down, anyway), but the speed you get is variable. Sometimes bresnan gives you 7 Mbs Down, and other times it drops significantly down. That’s because you are sharing bandwidth with your neighbors.

    Qwest DSL can be faster if you are downtown. I am using Qwest DSL for my business, and I am getting consistent 7Mbs down/500 kbps up.

  3. Bridgemaxx has been a nightmare here in Missoula. Every time I lost connection I would go to the local coffee shop to use the phone to call them and at least a half dozen people in there were unsatisfied customers as well. Sine I opted to have VOIP I could not call them and they went dawn a lot.

    In the end they came out and installed a professional install which included a external antenna. They drilled through my land ladies porch and now I am involved in paying for restoration. I am a couple blocks away from their antenna but since it is a campus location the signal gets weaker as the night wears on.

    I am finally released from their contract and it is like getting out of a VERY BAD relationship. At one time I almost died because the connection went down just as I tried to call for help. This company is a nightmare!

  4. Just as a note, I haven’t seen Bresnan drop below 6-7 Mbps since I started with them a month ago. I pay for the 15 Mbps, though.

  5. I am a customer of BridgeMaxx and am unhappy with their speed of upload and download. In speaking with their office, a new antenna is installed but is not turned on. My speed at 6:00a.m. for download is great, about 1700kb/s, but at 7:00 p.m. it drops to about 400kb/s and several times, I could not get on line for an hour at a time. This is due to the company over selling customers and not having the space on the antenna for so many receivers..
    Great office people, but their hands are tied as to when the company will turn on the new antenna.
    I am suggesting to people I know, hold up on subscribing to this service until you know the antenna is turned on as dial up is faster at nights when many want to use the service.
    By the way, I have never worked for this company, so I don’t have an ax to grind..

  6. Thanks for the info, I was looking at them, to the point they dropped the monly chare in half fo a year to connect with them. I am (was) still thinking on it.

  7. BridgeMaxx has been a real nighmare in Missoula. Their service goes down a lot and when you need it. If it goes down on a weekend we have had service out for sometimes three days. Also in the year I have been with them they have tried to raise the price four times and without notifying me. The first few months I was paying for Gold service (Fast service) and I complained about not being up to speed. They kept saying oh that is a good speed test. At last one of their people found out that we hadn’t been upgraded to the fast service even though we where paying for it from the start. Then the speed came up and I made them refund the difference. But then they started trying to add a White Paper Charge(If you won’t give them your credit card to bill as they want to on their side even though we paid ahead as much as 6 months but at least two months all the time.), raised the rent on the modem and increased the package price. They do this without notifing you. They say it is their right to charge what they want to even though they quoted a price for the service. So this next week this service gets changed to Bresnan. I have had all I want of this company. They do have good people working for them at the local level.

  8. I have a friend that worked for them and left the company because they were always promising the towers would be up next month and that went on for 4 months. The main man from Virginia even came out and told everybody in great falls, he promised they would be up and they still arnt up. That was 6 months ago. I bet he wont even show his face in great falls,,,2 face jackass he is. They also stiffed my friend on his last paycheck….what a worthless company!!

  9. Has been a nightmare!! Hasn’t worked since I got it installed on going on 1 month tomorrow!!! Got the phone and internet combo. Phone never worked internet slooow!!! Tech came out and installed an antenna in my window, left with out fixing phone said coulndn’t figure. Was told by 3 agents they would order new VOIP box, never processed right, basically lied to. Have been playing phone tag ever since. Said they would call back on FRI, now Sunday, called and said someone would call within the hour never called back. Nightmare, have like 5 cases open, still don’t know if new VOIP box will even resolve but after the horrible customer service and going on 1 month now is a out of hand. DO NOT RECCOMMEND!!! ANY one had any luck getting out of contract. They are trying to charge me $150 to get out of it!!! Thinking of going to the better buisnness bureau and taking to arbitration to get out of contract…

  10. I dumped the service after struggling for several months. I was also trying to use VOIP, which just won’t work. The issue is not bandwidth, it is latency. I was seeing latency times up to 550-650 ms, and my VOIP provider (vonage) would drop the call if latency times exceeded 120 ms.

    I was able to get out of the contract after sending their corporate office ping and traceroute logs that showed these latency times. They were very nice about everything, and very politely let me out of my contract. They explained that they knew about the latency issue and that it was a problem they were having with their upstream service provider. Whether they should have been selling service that they knew wouldn’t work, that is another story.

    Bottom line, you get what you pay for. There is a reason that they are cheaper than their competition. Their service DOES work, but I would not rely upon it for any data intensive services that need snappy responses from servers. That means no VOIP, etc.

    However, I still might consider them for basic internet access, as their price point is much lower than Qwest or Bresnan.

  11. Aaron I felt that if you had to depend on the service they wheren’t the company to buy from as they went down a lot in Missoula. I use Ooma (VOIP) and it worked fairly well with them. It works real well with Bresnan. But they where down so much that you couldn’t trust them to be there if someone called you. I found the local people where really nice but the corporate people could care less. One of the problems they had was that if the service went down it wouldn’t come back up unless you rebooted everything and made sure it found your router and was working so you couldn’t leave it with your wife and know it would be working when she needed it. Also they blamed your router when it wasn’t the problem, it was them changing the ip address when the system went down and came back up. Their local people admittd this and said it wan’t our fault and they hated the company telling us this lie. Their billing was really fouled up and they admitted it. Plus with the way they are raising prices here you might as well get good service with Bresnan or someone else.

  12. I have had Bridgemaxx since Dec 31st 2008. I can’t say anything bad about them. I have had perfect signal with them and hardly any problems with the internet. The phone I have and will not use because of the fact i have a cell phone and dont need a main phone. You know reading the other statements on here and you all complaining that they didnt get the towers up fast enought. Well the last time i checked we still lived in MONTANA and cant control the weather, also they are human beings too. They cant expect to work 24 hr a day. Things happen. I would just cut them a little slack. Also i dont miss paying that $60 internet charge on my cable bill every month.

  13. Joshua I was with them from Feb of 2008 and they tried to raise the rate four times plus bill a white paper charge if I didn’t give them my credit card to bill which was not required when we started with them. They waved this when I said no just terminate me. They didn’t give us the service we paid for for six months then they found out they hadn’t upgraded me to the fast service I was paying for. Then I asked for credit for this. We where always at least two months paid ahead and sometimes six months. The service would go down because of their resetting the service or it going down and they would say it was our router causing it. I found out from their people that they told their people to tell the customers to get customer computer support people to correct the problem when it was their problem. I asked for a fixed address and they wouldn’t do it. I had a fixed one when I started with them as the faster service gave you one. But then they changed it and it really got bad. When I asked for an reason for the increase in billing when I couldn’t find where their rate had gone up they couldn’t explain it to me. Maybe you can trust a company operating like this but not me. Like I say the local people really did try. But the last time when they where down for four days was enough for me. I couldn’t leave and expect it to work so my wife could use it. Because it took so long on the phone and a long conversation with them to get he service reset and reboot all your equipment. It was not worth it. Plus their sales agreement is about 23 pages long and they say they can change it and you are bound by it. They didn’t have this went I started with them. They threathened me with this agreement when I asked why the rate went from $28.99 to $48.99

  14. Something about BridgeMax rubs me the wrong way. Right off the bat, BridgeMax bought out Sofast, so I’m wondering if they will be ‘Sofast v2.0’.

    But about a month ago they actually solicited at my house. I was kinda shocked when I opened the door and saw two guys dressed in button shirts and ties asking if they could talk for a second. I was going to tell them that I’d already found Jesus and wasn’t interested, but they weren’t carrying Bibles, they were carrying little black internet hubs. Not immediately recognizing what the small machines actually were, I then assumed that Scientologists were in town and paused a moment to try to remember if I’d unloaded my shotgun.

    They still handed me a pamphlet and asked if they could tell me about the services they were offering (for this life, not the next) but I took the pamphlet and made a bogus excuse about going barhopping on a week-night… well, maybe it’s not so bogus for me…

    Anyways, after they left I read the pamphlet and it sounded alright until I read the part about $150 cancellation fee as well as the standard monthly fee that isn’t low enough for me to go through the headache of switching ISPs.

    Judging by the other commentators above me, I made the right choice.

  15. A neat idea, but quite impractical and unreliable in reality. I had Bridgemaxx service last year. I am enrolled in an online college program, and need a reliable and fast internet connection. This service just couldn’t deliver. I live in an area of town (NW side) that’s right between two towers, and typically what would happen is that my antenna would invariably lock onto the tower with a weaker signal. The end result was that, when the service worked, it was o.k. I would check my speeds at speedtest.net, and averaged about 2mbps. Not terrible, but not great either. The problem was that, the times when it actually worked well were few and far in between. I was on the phone with tech support on a weekly basis having them reset my antenna so it would lock onto the right antenna. I even went as far as having an external antenna mounted on my roof, and did not see an improvement in speed or reliability. I was quite happy when my one year contract expired. So, my advice to anyone who asks is this: It’s more trouble than it’s worth. It is a great idea, but before the company started hyping their service, they should have done a better job perfecting their system, and improving their infrastructure. Sure, it’s very reasonable, in comparison to many local competitors, but….how much is your time worth? Can you spare an hour to deal with tech support, and to trouble shoot your connection, every time you get online?

  16. i have had the shittiest time with bridgemax ever! i would never reccommend bridgemax internet to anybody…for one the service is very shitty most of the time, two they always bump your bill up slowly like you wont notice it, I would love to make a website on how much bridgemaxx’s company and the internet sucks!!!!!!!!!

  17. Just found out that Bridgemaxx is closing down. They have an F rating with the BBB the Idaho Falls office has closed there doors and more are likly to follow. They will also try and make you pay your disconnection fee. Check out http://www.bridgemaxx.net this is a website dedicated on how bad Bridgemaxx really is.

  18. This is the worst company that I have dealt with in a long time. We tried to run the service at my house but there was no signal. I was OK with that and got a reliable service in here that is as inexpensive and works flawlessly. 2 months later, I discover that Bridgemaxx is still billing my bank account. I call the number on the e-mail I recieved and it is in Detroit. They are convinced that I am still using the service and told me that I have the modem. I assured them I am not using thier service and I do not have thier modem and I want the all the money returned to my account. Now they say they are investigating. Any nitwit running a real ISP can simply look at the the modem and IP with the activity to see that it is not here. This is how the Feds can find the amatuer hackers. I called the local office and they are worthless as a roof underwater and will not return my call. I called Detroit back and they will not give me any info. I started checking online and discovered; http://www.bridgemaxx.net/ . I called back to the local office and the woman there actually hung up on me and I never said one foul word. It is worth paying more for a little customer service.

  19. Hey thanks for the valuable feedback about this company. I am trying to get my friend to switch to cable but for some reason they insist on keeping their Bridgemax. They can’t even watch Netflix properly so I am about to show them these comments and a demonstration on how amazingly fast Optimum is.

  20. Missoula guy, they are actually worse now, We would switch to Optimum but no one ever returns my inquiries for optimum We have at least 2 downs a week with Bridgemaxx. I will say that for a “rural” as we are my general speeds are all right, We can upload to my website, watch Netflix (my hubby works for a TV station so he is anal retentive about quality) and someone can surf an ipod or two at the same time and still have a decent speed. However, it’s not predictable and when running a business I need it to be,when it’s fast it is fast, that’s when it’s not down!

  21. I have had service for over 3 years with Bridgemax and won’t do it again. My speed is on average .49 up and .62 down. I keep calling and they say it should be higher than that and I can pay more for a faster speed. I upload or watch any videos on it at my house in riverview. At my office, downtown it works fine. I love the portability. Good luck!

  22. If you haven’t read their sales agreement look at the 22 page item http://www.digitalbridgecommunications.com/Portals/0/Support%20Center/DBC%20%20Terms%20and%20Conditions.pdf
    It says you pay what they say you owe them regardless if it is in the agreement or not. They say they can bill you what they want to, without written consent or an agreement because they can change the rates anytime they want to and can bill you any charge they want to that they think is their right. They try to use this even if you are paid ahead on your payments. I asked them why I was being billed $48.99 when that rate wasn’t listed by them at all and I had never been late plus being paid ahead quite a bit. They told me to read the agreemnt which I had never seen and wasn’t in place when I started with them. They tried to bill White Paper charge if I didn’t give them a credit card which wasn’t needed when I started with them but backed off that demand. When I cancelled them I said I wanted back what I paid ahead and they quickly inserted charges to the account and used up what I paid ahead. Sorry but I don’t trust this company and this seems to be the policy from their main office. They have some very good people in some of their field offices but I think they get fed up with the head people also. Over the years I have had several Internet Providers and this one is at the top of the list on how bad it was for me. I got to know their local people very well as they had to come out so often to reset the towers in this area so much and of course when they reset them all the peoples ip addresses in the area had to be reset. So if you had a program running while you where gone somewhere that needed the Internet it would be out of service now and you would have to reset all your equipment because the ip address was different now. The head people would tell their employees to not help the customers (As was told to me by an employee that was mad at the company for this policy) but make them contact their computer support people to correct this even though it was a BridgeMax problem. Of course most people can reset their own equipment but for those that can’t it could get costly just to reset their equipment because of a BridgeMax problem.

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