An injunction originally granted in November to keep Sprint’s WiMax network running despite a planned shutdown was extended by a Massachusetts court on Friday.
Under the extended injunction, Sprint will complete its WiMax shutdown in phases, starting with 16 cities – including New York City – on Feb. 2. WiMax will go offline in another 39 cities on Feb. 29 and the final 25 cities by March 31.
The extended injunction was granted in response to a joint motion filed by Sprint and several non-profit organizations who use the WiMax network.
The original injunction, which resulted from a motion made by Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen, two non-profit organizations that utilize the service, only required Sprint to keep the WiMax network operating through Feb. 2.
Sprint’s WiMax network provides low-cost wireless internet services to schools, libraries and nonprofit organizations across the country. Sprint took over the network and associated contracts after its 2013 acquisition of Clearwire.
In October, Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen filed a lawsuit against Sprint in an effort to prevent the scheduled Nov. 6 shutdown of the network. The organizations claimed the carrier had failed to live up to the terms of its licensing agreements and would leave move than a quarter million vulnerable citizens who receive internet services through the non-profits in the lurch with the shutdown.
Sprint has contended that the Mobile Citizen and Mobile Beacon fight is a manufactured crisis, citing the majority of its other Educational Broadband Service (EBS) partners who have already successfully made the switch to Sprint’s 4G network.
The non-profits said Friday the extended injunction will not impact its ongoing lawsuit against Sprint, but said the joint filing for an extended injunction is a step in the right direction.
“I take it as a good sign that Sprint has joined us in making this request,” said Katherine Messier, founder and managing director of Mobile Beacon. “Although it doesn’t change anything that is yet to be determined in the overall lawsuit, finding some common ground in the short-term is a good first step. I’m hopeful we can build on this and work towards a long-term resolution.”