Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Those who want broadband Internet but aren´t power users can now get it for free. On Wednesday FreedomPop launched its very low cost home broadband plan for those who are low-intensity users.
Founded in 2011 and just launched last month in the United States, FreedomPop has stated that its goal is to provide disruptive Internet services, and to ensure that no one is left off the so-called “connected grid.” In a way it could be seen as digital socialism with a twist — those who use more in essence subsidize those who use far less.
This includes a plan with 1GB of monthly traffic for free, and a 10GB plan for just $10.
According to MarketWatch, FreedomPop claims its new home broadband device provides speeds faster than typical DSL and is comparable with most major cable providers.
Users do have to purchase the Burst wireless modem router for $89, but it apparently requires no additional installation requirements, contracts or cancellation fees and can connect up to 10 devices wirelessly.
“Major broadband providers are charging in excess of $500 per year for home Internet, and continuing to raise their prices – leaving consumers desperate for ways to cut down on their monthly bills for home Internet.” said Stephen Stokols, FreedomPop´s CEO in a statement. “FreedomPop´s early success in the wireless market has put us in position to offer home broadband users significantly discounted alternatives.”
Thus this isn´t meant for heavy Internet surfers, such as those who use Skype to video chat with friends, play games online and certainly not for those who stream videos and music. Instead, it seems that FreedomPop is looking to attract those who don´t use a ton of data on the Internet and are looking to save money.
This business model works by leveraging WiMAX, which could provide speeds that are 30 to 40 percent faster than DSL.
The model essentially gives away broadband speed Internet to those light users who do basic things such as check and receive email — typically without lots of attachments – and do some light Web surfing while charging the so-called whales for their respective usage. The concept here is that those heavy data users pay a bit more, which in turn is meant to subsidize those who use less.
Home users will thus receive 1GB of free data each month, but can actually earn unlimited data by adding friends to their network via email and social media, while also engaging in partner promotions. For those looking to use a bit more data, FreedomPop is also offering a variety of plans, which begin at $10 per month. This is 80 percent less than DSL or cable offerings, the company claims.
FreedomPop is also taking advantage of a technology that came and went, but never really caught on. This was the aforementioned WiMAX from Clearwire.
According to PCMag, this network has been losing rather than gaining customers since Sprint — along with Boost Mobile and Virgin — switched away to Sprint´s LTE network. This left Clearwire with a wide-covering network and few customers.
The downside to this is that the promise of everywhere WiMAX never really came about, and at present only about a third of the country has actual coverage. Thus FreedomPop might be available at present to those in dense urban centers, but not so much in the suburbs and rural markets.
However, FreedomPop is already looking ahead to 2015 when it could allow customers to switch over to the LTE instead of WiMAX.