Portland, Oregon has Wi-Fi and WiMAX alternative to MetroFi

Stephouse Networks, a Portland-based wireless ISP, announced they are offering Wi-Fi and fixed WiMAX service within the five square miles of Portland’s downtown area and two square miles of North Portland’s St. Johns neighborhood. The fixed WiMAX service is targeted to enterprise users, primarily to replace more expensive T-1 lines.

Last week, I spoke to Tyler Booth, CEO of Stephouse, about their Portland network. Booth made it clear that Stephouse did not take over the MetroFi contract with Portland (even though the city is a Stephouse customer) because it contains onerous terms, one of which is the requirement to provide free wireless access. Although Stephouse provides free Wi-Fi, each user is limited to one hour a day, up to ten hours per month. Stephouse’s free Wi-Fi service is geared towards the casual user (a visitor, for example) who wants to check her email or look up an address on a map. For people who want more wireless access, Stephouse charges $20 per month.

Booth does not believe that the ad market is mature enough, at least in Portland, to support unlimited free Wi-Fi service, nor does he believe in blanketing the entire city with Wi-Fi service. Stephouse has been more strategic in that they offer wireless broadband mostly in places where there is only dial-up Internet access (such as the St. John’s neighborhood) or very expensive T1 service. Booth also says that MetroFi’s operating costs were too high and that MetroFi covered areas where there was enough competition from wireline DSL and cable Internet providers.

The backhaul for Stephouse’s downtown network is a mix of fiber and WiMax (5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.8 GHz); they use equipment from Proxim. The network has been operating for the past two and a half years.


  1. He operates a (W)ISP. This has nothing to do with “municipal wireless,” as this blog would suggest.

  2. Larry Gallop says

    I am looking for residential wifi or wimax in the downtown area. What are the choices for the area of SW 4th and Oak st. What is an inexpensive alternative to Comcast? thanks Larry

  3. Arnaldo Perez says

    Let me know , please, where can I get ISP (wifi)or DSl cheap at Portland Or

  4. Go to http://www.clear.com for WiMAX service in Portland.

  5. Recovering Clear Customer says


    I am finally shaking off the hangover of a year of their “service.” Remember those old anti-satellite TV ads where a family was complaining about how every time it gets cloudy or rainy the service cuts out?

    CLEAR IS ACTUALLY LIKE THIS. I spent a year with them, had the technician come out and replace the modem, etc. It never changed. It never gave reliable service, and often would not provide any service at all.

    It’s a scam and a shakedown in which they talk you into a contract. I’m finally free.

  6. To “Recovering Clear Customer”: I’ve been using Clear for about two years, with generally good service. The only glitches I’ve encountered are an occasional shutdown after 1:00 AM for a few hours (for maintainence, I guess), and I occasionally unplug for 30 seconds to clear the static build-up (read the instructions!).

  7. I am wondering if there is any free Wi-Fi service in Tigard Oregon or some service that costs $20.00/month for wireless internet?