Despite a price tag that keeps it beyond reach of many
My ardor for this form of connectivity has grown appreciably as close friends and even I have migrated out of dense population centers to rural America—where high speed cable or DSL Internet connectivity isn’t available or financially feasible for many households.
High speed connectivity is assumed by most PC manufacturers and virtually all entrepreneurs working to bring new products to market. But their product planning is often essentially flawed: they assume that every member of their target market has access to high speed, persistent, Internet connectivity.
I’ve seen little evidence to suggest that high speed internet broadband connectivity is inexpensive enough for the mass market
I was without consistent Internet connectivity here in CO my first three weeks on the cold earth of the Rocky’s
But all is not lost and I’ve found a reliable solution that works for me in rural
In case you didn’t know it, Cricket Communications is a Qualcomm wireless venture. They provide voice/ texting for a flat monthly rate and have very good coverage here in the west. But more importantly, they are also building out a substantial broadband network and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg per month.
Cricket’s broadband network isn’t the fastest in the world and as of now—although they advertise 3G speeds --and there are gaping holes in its geographic coverage.
But, they have taken their products to a nationwide outlet that has the depth to drive broadband networking. That outlet is WalMart. Imagine my surprise at 8:30 one Pre-Thanksgiving night as I was picking up towels for my spare bathroom as well as 12-foot length of USB 2.0 cable, and discovered a Cricket USB broadband modem in the electronics’ department display case. I was even more surprised when the clerk satisfactoriliy explained, pricing and usage.
The price-- $40 a month-- was appropriate for a consumer market device and Cricket’s network signup couldn’t be easier. Cricket’s decision to use WalMart as a retail partner is very smart. Whatever your feelings about WalMart, its success and product pull, plus consumer exposure are the stuff of business success case studies.
The Cricket/WalMart distribution strategy is bound to be closely followed in the coming months.
And less you instantly dismiss it’s potential, it‘s useful to remember that the personal computer revolution got its start in an Albuquerque, NM, strip mall.
I think a humble partnership between WalMart and Cricket could be a force that galvanizes broadband networking. All that’s needed now is a domestic success story for Intel’s WiMax long range wireless networking.
I remain hopeful—Jim Forbes on 12/02/2009.