Some of my email and online issues resulted in a lot of similar stories of problems and solutions, as well as some additional questions.
One interesting question was from Bob, who wrote to say:
My brother is too far away from any substations to go DSL, Cable, or fiber optics, he is still on dial up.
What options does one have do to in this case to get high speed Internet? He really doesn’t want to go satellite. We are in the process of upgrading him to a new PC with a lap top all the bells and whistles.
The only other thing I can think of is Broadband connection cards? sprint still charges $59.99 a month. Do you have any suggestions.
I wrote back to Bob to suggest a couple of possibilities.
There’s also a high-speed wireless option that involves a broadcast antenna. However, it’s really just available in a very few urban markets.
The broadband connection cards are expensive, but they may be his only choice — if there is high-speed available for him via that route… Be wary of the pricing — i don’t know about Sprint’s pricing, but AT&T’s services include a relatively small (if you’re talking about regular computer use) allowance and then a per KB / per MB pricing in excess of the base allowance.
A quick look at Verizon’s web site shows their $59.99/month allows 5GB of "data usage for Internet access*" — notice the asterisk. They’re defining something…
* 5 GB overage rate is $0.05/MB and 250 MB overage rate is $0.10/MB
If he’s got a Blackberry or other Internet-capable smartphone — and if he has the Internet plan for it — then it looks like he can tether the Blackberry and prcing depends on which Verizon "plan" he has.
However, I would not try this with AT&T service. AT&T does not currently have any plans that allow tethering of phones or smartphones to computers. Not only do the service terms prohibit using the phones to a computer to the Internet, AT&T has published pricing that is applicable if they catch you. It’s $.01 per KB. That’s $1.50 for a 150KB photo! $10 for web page that has a megabyte of images on it. They really want to sell their data-connect services, which have 2-year contracts and large monthly charges.
Bottom line: know what your wireless phone service allows,what they don’t, and what prices will apply BEFORE you connect your computer to your wireless phone service.
UPDATE TO June 2010: AT&T finally supports tethering on the iPhone. You lose the unlimited data plan and have to choose between the 2GB/month ($25) and the 200MB/month ($15) plans — and then add tethering at $20/month. So, your basic iPhone with a 2GB/month tethering package is $40 for the phone service and $45 for the 2GB+tethering option, total $85/month plus taxes and fees. BUT, it sure is nice…