Monday, September 23, 2013

Getting On the Grid

There is a lot written about people wanting to get off the grid.  The 24/7 connectivity of mobile phones, email, instant messaging and Facebook is being eschewed by more and more seeking a simpler life.  In the real world however, unless you are independently wealthy or really want to live like a hermit, connectivity to the internet is becoming as important as the availability of water and electricity.

In our area it is simple.  We need only call Time Warner orCincinnati Bell and we can have high speed access in our homes and offices.  Our mobile carrier can handle our smart phones and tablets.  A recent email from a reader pointed out that there are still some spots in our community that do not have easy access to high speed broadband.  These people live in areas that are not served by Time Warner and are on the fringe of Cincinnati Bell’s DSL coverage. 

The emailer asked about other options such as Verizon’s HomeFusion System so I did a bit of investigation.  HomeFusion uses the Verizon wireless 4G network to provide internet to homes and businesses unable to connect to wired services.  In essence it uses the same network used to connect smart phones and other mobile devices.

In order to use HomeFusion you must purchase a 4G modem/router from Verizon for about $200.  The device is connected to an antenna located on your roof.  As many as 20 wireless devices can connect via wifi to the system.  Once the equipment is installed you will also need to purchase a monthly data plan. 

Here is where things get a bit complicated.  Unlike Time Warner or Cincinnati Bell where you have unlimited bandwidth for a fixed monthly charge, Verizon charges you based on your use.  The least expensive is 10 GB for $60 per month.  While this may be sufficient for getting email, surfing the web and checking Facebook, if you plan to watch videos, subscribe to Netflix or Hulu you will need a more expensive plan. 

HomeFusion may be a good option for some but “buyer beware.”  First make sure that Verizon provides a robust signal to your location.  The good news is that a check with Verizon showed that they have a 14 day money back program if the system does not meet your needs and expectations.

The big concern you should have is running up fees for going over your monthly bandwidth allocation.  If you are a power user, this service may get very pricey.  Compared to some of the other options, such as a satellite provided internet connection, HomeFusion is less expensive.

One final caveat, calls and emails to Verizon with regard to HomeFusion being available in our area met with mixed responses.  The Verizon website will show addresses in 45030 are not covered but conversations with some customer service folks indicated that some addresses may be served.  All the more reason to take advantage of the 14 day trial period.


Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home