Technology Verizon launches wireless broadband for homes

By Peter Svensson

AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Verizon Wireless on Tuesday announced a version of its wireless broadband service that's designed for use in rural and remote homes that can't get DSL or cable.

The service, called HomeFusion, could also appeal to some households where DSL is the only fixed-line option, since it's faster than most DSL services.

HomeFusion could provide potent competition for satellite broadband providers, which are often "providers of last resort" for rural homes.

The service requires the installation of a cylindrical antenna, about the size of a 5-gallon bucket, on an outside wall. The hardware costs $200, but the work is free.

Service starts at $60 per month for 10 gigabytes of data. That's enough of a monthly data allotment to download the complete works of Shakespeare 2,000 times, or to watch about 10 hours of HD-quality video using an Internet streaming service such as Netflix.

Dallas, Nashville, Tenn., and Birmingham, Ala., will be the first areas to get the service, later this month. By the end of the year, Verizon hopes to provide it everywhere it has coverage with its new "LTE" wireless network.

Verizon will sell step-up plans with 20 gigabytes of data for $90 per month and 30 gigabytes for $120 per month. It charges $10 per gigabyte of overage on any of the plans.

The $60 and $90 plans provide one-third more data per month than corresponding plans sold by ViaSat Inc. for its Exede satellite broadband service.

Wireless broadband for home use is not a new idea. Clearwire Corp. sells a similar service, without an external antenna, but has limited rural coverage. A number of smaller companies limit their service to one community.

Published: Wed, Mar 7, 2012

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