I am sitting in a Chinese restaurant near my house, having just finished a very nice rendition of General Tso’s Chicken, and rocking along with email and web work at over 500 kbps. No, the restaurant doesn’t have WiFi, there’s not even a network showing up in the hotspot scan. I am connected via Verizon’s EVDO connection which quite simply, rocks. I have used Verizon’s 1xRTT service for 3 years now and while the service has been rock solid it is still very slow, creeping along at about 80 kbps most of the time. Not bad for wireless, but not a speed that makes you want to browse the web or download the latest techADDICTION podcast.
The old 1xRTT service is Verizon’s NationalAccess and I have been paying $80 per month since signing up for the service. This gets unlimited access and since it’s essential for my business I have paid it gladly. I lamented on the last techADDICTION podcast that Verizon’s new BroadbandAccess, the EVDO service, is also $80 per month which has been grating on my nerves since it became available in my area a few months back. I would only be able to use the new service if I purchased a new EVDO modem and I thought that would be too expensive so I have crept along with the slower service, until today.
I stopped in my local Verizon store and explained my situation to the sales rep who checked into my plan. Much to my surprise what the rep explained was that I was "out of contract", meaning I had fulfilled my original two year contract and was month to month. This meant that they could give me a big discount for renewing my contract and upgrade my old PC Card modem and service to EVDO. The monthly service fee is the same $80 so that is no change for me. The final cost of the AirCard EVDO PC Card was $99 with a $100 rebate. Zero sum and I’m cruising now. I really like the service I’ve always gotten from Verizon, which is why I’ve been with them for a long time. Here’s a bandwidth graph while sitting in the booth in the restaurant (way out in the suburbs of Houston) that does not have WiFi: