One thing that seems to be common when it comes to disasters is that they bring out the charitable qualities in people. Clearwire, a 4G mobile broadband provider, has stepped up to join the ranks of several other companies providing free goods and services to small and medium-sized businesses hit by the hurricane. To that end, they--in a partnership with the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce--have begun offering free 4G Internet service, out of their retail location in Manhattan.
The Clearwire service giveaway is usable for 30 days from the day users sign up at the Manhattan Clearwire store, and those businesses that are members of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce can go to the store and pick up their choice of a CLEAR Spot Voyager mobile hotspot or a CLEAR Stick Atlas USB dongle for their service. Those getting in on this deal will need to bring both a valid driver's license--a New York State I.D. will also qualify--as well as proof of their membership in the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. Then, they'll get what amounts to backup Internet access for 30 days.
Additionally, Clearwire has also set up a set of four 4G broadband Wi-Fi stations, free of charge, at several Clearwire retail locations. Not only will the Manhattan location serve as an access point, but so too will the stores at the Cross Country Mall in Yonkers, as well as at two Brooklyn locations, Kings Highway / Ocean Parkway and Fulton Avenue. However, Clearwire recently warned its customers about longer than normal wait times for Customer Care representatives, as well as both temporary and intermittent service outages as work continues to get the service back online.
Clearwire has been, of course, hard at work in getting service restored throughout the Northeast, and this latest measure steps up the system considerably. Of course, some might find their focus on Manhattan a bit undue--are there no businesses in Queens or the Bronx that could have used such service?--but given that Manhattan is essentially the business district, it makes some sense to focus scarce resources there. Being as this is a temporary problem--everyone's doing their level best to get services back online in what amounts to the nation's financial heart, and crews have come from all over the United States to help--the slight snubbing of outlying regions is unfortunate but likely necessary, and hopefully won't be too big an impact.
Still, it's good to know that Clearwire is making the offer, and for affected businesses in the area it will likely mean the difference between a total shutdown and limited service. Even limited service is better than none, and it will likely help keep some businesses moving until their full service can be restored, which will hopefully be soon.
Edited by Brooke Neuman