I recently wrote about a start-up company poised to alter the landscape of how broadband internet comes into our homes. Most of us have had issues with an internet service provider in the past. Some of you have probably had issues with BOTH your local cable and phone companies – and technology is finally coming to a point where competition is able to come into an otherwise static system and shake things up. BUT, are we there yet? And is Freedom Pop the service to do it?
First, the good:
I’ve been using Freedom Pop for over a month now. I can honestly say that it provides internet speeds comparable to my DSL. The technology, if you are fortunate enough to have good service, is ready to give the cable and phone companies a run for their money. My wife and I have watched video, surfed the web, sent e-mails, and enjoyed our online experience just as much as we had before, but with a cheaper bill and better customer service.
Here’s the rub though.
First. You’ll have to check to see whether or not the service in your area is robust enough for you to jump on the Freedom Pop bandwagon. At some point they’ll be switching over to Sprint’s LTE network from Clear’s WiMax network. In layman’s terms that means that their service will eventually be even faster with wider availability. But for now, make sure to check out this coverage map to see whether or not you’ll be eligible for this service.
Second. If you are a heavy internet user this isn’t a service for you. That means that if you are on Netflix or Hulu almost every night you will likely burn through your bytes too quickly. I am personally willing to consume less internet in order to have a lower bill with a better service but I think I’m in the minority there.
After trying it out and weighing my options I’ve decided that Freedom Pop just isn’t going to work for us. I’m bummed because I was SO READY to ditch my DSL plan through the local phone company.
Here’s why we are staying put for now – my wife works from home and I have to use the internet at home for work as well. We just aren’t at the point where we can be capped at 10gb a month. Freedom Pop could work for us if they offered an option with more data.
So who is Freedom Pop perfect for? People like my mother in law. She isn’t a data hog. She likes to be able to send e-mails and make the occasional online purchase but doesn’t use her internet connection for nonstop video streaming. If you are in that sweet spot, if you too love a fast internet connection but aren’t big into the video watching and torrent downloading, Freedom Pop might just be your new best friend. And the price for those of you who consume less than 1gb a month? Free. Now that is music to my ears.
The pricing for the rest of you that are interested in trying it out but need 10gb a month are as follows: $9.99 (1.5 Mbps) for the slow speed, $14.99 (3Mbps) for a faster speed, and $18.99 a month for their fastest speeds (8Mbps).
What is the future for Freedom Pop? I’m not sure. It is always hard to tell with these technology start-ups Will it be a highly successful venture like Ooma or will it self destruct like the Segway? Only time will tell. It has the makings of a viable third option for many of us. Most of all, I’m just glad to see another player in the game. The more competition we introduce to the industry the more that we as consumers will benefit in the long run.