June 24, 2008

Lynchburg Area’s Internet Coverage Expanded With Link to Cell Signals

By Bryan Gentry, The News & Advance, Lynchburg, Va.

Jun. 24--The Lynchburg area is getting more exposure from a mobile Internet technology that allows users to surf the Web essentially anywhere they get a cell phone signal.

NTelos, a communications company headquartered in Waynesboro, has finished an $80 million upgrade of its cell towers in the Lynchburg area to support Evolution Data Optimized (EVDO), which provides mobile high-speed Internet access.

The nTelos service became available in Lynchburg on Monday.

EVDO allows users to access the Internet on a phone or a computer equipped with an access card. The speed averages around 400 to 700 kilobits per second, and can reach 1.5 megabits per second, according to an nTelos news release.

Sprint customers would also be able to use Sprint's mobile broadband service in Lynchburg through an agreement between Sprint and nTelos, said nTelos spokesman Mike Minnis.

Jonathan Whitt, executive director of Region 2000's Technology Council, is excited to see the growth of EVDO availability.

"It's another example of a service that's available here," he said. "It gives us more opportunity for citizens in the region to be connected to broadband."

Whitt recently learned that Alltel already offers an EVDO service in the Lynchburg area.

Last week Whitt sat down to test Alltel's mobile broadband service, running on a laptop with an EVDO card.

He measured the speed at 1.5 megabits per second.

"We think it's pretty darn impressive. We tested it here in our office ... and it was as fast as a landline DSL connection. We were thrilled."

The price of EVDO access varies. Alltel's services range from about $60 to $100 per month, according to the company's Web site. NTelos offers two plans: a limited-access plan for about $30 per month, and an unlimited plan for around $50.


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