Cable Technology Feature Article
FreedomPop Starts Taking Pre-Orders for Free Home Broadband
By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer
Free home broadband! That's a phrase to warm most anyone's heart, especially those who are shelling out big money to keep themselves online. But it's more than just a touching concept; it's a heart-warming reality thanks to the folks at FreedomPop, who are taking pre-orders now for their FreedomPop Hub Burst home modem, bringing speeds faster than many DSL and cable providers can offer – all for the preposterously low price of free.The FreedomPop Hub Burst modem works with the Clearwire (News - Alert) WiMax network, which can offer some pretty impressive speeds by itself, as well as both Ethernet jacks and wireless antennas for the best variety of use. Users will get access to at least one gigabyte of data per month free – which admittedly isn't much – but users can boost that number by adding contacts to their overall network, or by participating in sponsor offers.
Conversely, users can even boost their data cap by the simple expedient of paying for it outright, which comes with a number of plans reportedly starting at around $10 a month.
Since according to FreedomPop CEO Stephen Stokols, the median household in the United States uses less than 5.5 gigabytes per month in data at home, a smaller plan is more beneficial than paying for a full-sized package that most will never come close to reaching.
It provides an option for those who don't want or need a large amount of data, and just need something simple for easy access to e-mail and the like.
FreedomPop's plan makes sense on a certain level: Indeed, this would make an absolutely terrific backup plan, since it's both free and easily available, making it terrific for extended Internet outages. But by the same token, the company’s plan is so limited that things like streaming video of any sort, even the most basic of cat videos on YouTube (News - Alert), would be largely out of reach.
Additionally, using the Clearwire WiMax network ensures that very few places will even have this as an option in the first place. Looking at a map of FreedomPop's coverage expanded all the way out to the United States almost looks like a white shower wall with a couple very small splotches of mildew.
Some places have much more than others, of course, but for those not near a major metropolitan area, they're simply out of luck.
Still, if FreedomPop can continue its expansion – getting the WiMax online in more areas is the biggest hurdle they face right now – they may well be able to gain some ground here, especially from those who don't use much data but still need a way to stay somewhat connected. Price sensitive customers are a big market right now, and that may give FreedomPop even more help.
But first, FreedomPop has to become available in more places to really pose a threat to current DSL and cable providers.
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Edited by Braden Becker