Since I began reading science-fiction, my dream was that we would enter the era of complete connectivity, where web access would be plentiful and robust. Being able to be online anywhere would lead us to a greater sense of community and understanding. When mobile broadband became widely available in the early part of this decade, I thought we were entering the future. However, spotty service from carriers, limited speeds, and sub-par hardware have stopped it from becoming ubiquitous. It is also not cost efficient for most users to pay for internet service through both their wireless and local providers. A proposed product from Novatel may help us take the next step towards the future.

According to CEO Brad Weinert, Novatel is developing an EV-DO USB modem which will double as a wireless router. This would make it easier for EV-DO users to setup a WLAN and possibly forego the cost of keeping a landline. The newer line of USB devices will also be smaller than its predecessors and will be supported by most major US data service providers. Weinert also claims that this technology will push the providers for less restrictive data plans, allowing users to run their home networks through a EV-DO.

If Weinert is correct, this indicates that the wireless providers are beginning to understand that mobile broadband is often the only internet service their customers want to use. Verizon’s “unlimited” data plan was a slap in the face to customers who want the freedom to pursue legitimate, but high-bandwidth, activities without being dropped. EV-DO is becoming fast enough for users to rely on it as their only access to the web. Rev. A, which has recently increased speeds, and the development of newer 3G standards are allowing mobile users to download at DSL speeds and faster. The internet is becoming a very big place and surfing the web has become almost impossible at dial-up speed, so limiting customers to dial-up activities is simply ridiculous. With YouTube on its way to replacing cable and VoIP supplanting phone lines, we may see the death of landlines by the end of the decade.

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It will never become worldwide. Here in europe wifi coverage is still very minimal indeed.

Maybe not worldwide, but certainly, it will improve. There's a lot of unused bandwidth out there, and as the FCC (slowly) moves all-digital, more frequencies will open up, allowing more options in the future.

As far as the end of landlines, Verizon will only let that happen over their Chapter 11'd death...which, with the Vonage case, isn't going to happen anytime soon.

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