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Verizon’s Broadband Answer for Rural America: Wireless Internet $60/Month, Up to 10GB of Usage

Phillip Dampier March 6, 2012 Broadband Speed, Competition, Data Caps, Rural Broadband, Verizon, Wireless Broadband 1 Comment

Verizon Wireless today introduced HomeFusion Broadband: a new service that provides high-speed in-home Internet access using the company’s 4G LTE wireless network.

Designed primarily to reach households with limited broadband options, HomeFusion will deliver download speeds of 5-12Mbps and upload speeds of 2-5Mbps. While installation will come free of charge, a one-time equipment charge of $199.99 applies.  Pricing is nearly identical to Verizon’s mobile broadband service:

  • Up to 10GB — $60/month
  • Up to 20GB — $90/ month
  • Up to 30GB — $120/month
  • Overlimit fee: $10/GB

Verizon's 4G LTE antenna must be mounted on an outside wall of your home to assure good reception. (Picture: The Verge)

Verizon says HomeFusion is their broadband answer for rural America.

“HomeFusion Broadband is just one of the new products and services that is made possible with our 4G LTE network,” said Tami Erwin, vice president and chief marketing officer, Verizon Wireless. “Customers want to connect more and more devices in their homes to the Internet, and HomeFusion Broadband gives them a simple, fast and effective way to bring the most advanced wireless connection from Verizon into their homes.”

A third party company, Asurion, will handle installation of Verizon’s cylinder-shaped antenna, installed on the side of a customer’s home.  The antenna is designed to pick up the best possible signal from Verizon’s growing 4G network.  The antenna transmits the signal to a company supplied router capable of connecting up to four wired and 20 wireless devices.

HomeFusion Broadband will be available beginning later this month in Birmingham, Ala., Dallas and Nashville, Tenn., with additional markets to follow.

Verizon’s product is unlikely to attract substantial interest in more populated areas where a 10GB monthly usage cap would prove unacceptable in many homes where multimedia content is a growing part of the Internet experience.  But is could compete with satellite broadband, which also has low monthly usage caps.  Verizon may also win back customers in service areas it sold to independent providers like FairPoint and Frontier Communications, which have since saddled most of their rural customers with 1-3Mbps DSL service.  But Verizon’s pricing puts rural America at a usage disadvantage because of the low monthly limits and higher price tag.

The development of HomeFusion could reduce Verizon’s investment and interest in further expanding its traditional rural broadband product — DSL.  But Verizon will have to expand its still-urban focused LTE 4G network further into the countryside for HomeFusion to serve its intended market.

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