Court orders Sprint to keep WiMAX network running

Is the internet a human right?
Is the internet a human right?

A judge has ordered Sprint to keep its WiMAX mobile network in place in some areas for the next 90 days.

A Massachusetts state court granted a preliminary injunction after two nonprofits, Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen, fought a planned closure of the network, according to a statement.

The groups, which use the network to provide low-cost, unlimited broadband to schools, libraries and nonprofit organizations across, said shutting down the network would have denied 300,000 people Internet access. They were seeking more time to prepare for the change.

Sprint had planned to decommission WiMAX on Nov. 6.

"Today, the courts preserved a lifeline for the communities and families we serve," said Katherine Messier, of Mobile Beacon. "We hope Sprint will now work with us to ensure the elderly, disabled, students and other vulnerable populations who rely on our service can transition to LTE quickly and avoid any disruption in service."

Sprint said it disagreed with the court's decision, but would "comply with the court's decision to delay WiMAX decommissioning where it could affect current Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen customers."

A company called Clearwire, which sold cheap Internet access via mobile hotspots, developed the WiMAX technology. Sprint bought Clearwire in 2013 and had planned to shut down the WiMAX network for more than a year.

- Hope King contributed to this report

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