Thursday, March 08, 2012

Verizon Wireless targets remote, rural areas with HomeFusion wireless broadband

On Tuesday, Verizon Wireless announced HomeFusion, a version of its wireless broadband service targeting rural and remote areas that can't get cable or DSL broadband. As with many of these wireless broadband services, a very low data cap is the biggest issue.

To get the service, a cylindrical antenna, about the size of a 5-gallon bucket, needs to be installed on an outside wall. The antenna costs $200, but the installation is free. Service begins at $60 monthly with a 10GB data cap. That's very small when compared to some other providers that have made their caps public, such as Comcast, with a 250GB data cap.

However, that's for wired broadband. Compared to satellite broadband providers, the data cap is competitive.

The speed is competitive as well, with Verizon Wireless selling HomeFusion in areas with its 4G LTE service and obviously leveraging the service for the broadband access. Dallas, Nashville, Tenn., and Birmingham, Ala., will be the first areas to get the service, later this month.

Verizon is advertising 5 to 12Mbps for downloads, and 2 to 5Mbps for uploads, just as with its LTE mobile service. Speed is one thing, though. The recent outages on the Verizon LTE network have to be factored into the equation as well.

The data cap is another negative. As reported by Sandvine, in Sept. 2011, the average U.S. and Canadian household used 22.7GB of data.

That's average, not median data use, though. Median data usage was just 5.8 gigabytes, which means that half of all households used less than that value. The service could therefore work for many households.

If you're in one of the rural or otherwise wired broadband-limited areas, HomeFusion may be for you. Don't forget the other alternatives, such as satellite broadband, though.

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