Nick Summers is a technology journalist for The Next Web. He writes on all sorts of topics, although he has a passion for gadgets, apps and Nick Summers is a technology journalist for The Next Web. He writes on all sorts of topics, although he has a passion for gadgets, apps and video games in particular. You can reach him on Twitter, circle him on Google+ and connect with him on LinkedIn.
FreedomPop, an Internet service provider (ISP) based in the United States, has announced a new broadband package today powered by the Clearwire WiMax network and offering up to 1GB of free data.
As part of the announcement, the company is accepting pre-orders for its new FreedomPop Hub Burst modem, which is expected to start shipping as early as next month.
FreedomPop boasts that the new service will deliver high-speed Internet to either the home or a small office “at speeds faster than typical DSL and on par with most cable providers.”
While 1GB might not sound like a lot (many smartphones contracts offer this amount of data), it’s possible for users to get unlimited data each month, either by adding people they know to their network or taking part in FreedomPop’s various partner promotions.
Heavier users, meanwhile, can choose from a number of plans starting at around $10 per month, which offers up to 10 GB of data usage, or a pay-as-you-go option that costs $0.005 per megabyte (or $5 per GB). Either way, the service is vastly cheaper than anything offered by rival DSL or cable companies. However, because the service relies on Clearwire WiMax, it’s unclear just how stable or reliable the connection is.
Stephen Stokols, FreedomPop’s CEO, said major broadband providers such as Time Warner Cable, AT&T, Verizon and Comcast were “pillaging” consumers by charging them $500 or more every year.
“Consumers are looking for more convenient and affordable ways to consume data,” he said. “We’ve already given away more than 15 million megabytes of free data and are expanding our Beta to meet the increased demand this holiday season. The Hub Burst puts us in position to offer a compelling alternative for the massive home market much quicker than we initially planned.”
The FreedomPop Hub Burst modem, which costs $89, uses wireless antennas to boost its 4G speeds, as well as two Ethernet ports that can be used to physically connect up to ten devices, such as a desktop computer, television set or video game console. It joins the Wi-Fi hotspot and USB dongle that the company currently offers.
FreedomPop was founded last year and is backed by Mangrove Capital, DCM and Atomico, the investment group set up by Skype founder Niklas Zennstom.
While it’s probably not suitable for heavy Internet users, it should certainly appeal to parents who currently cannot afford Internet access, or simply want to clamp down on some of their monthly outgoings. An admirable approach, if you ask us.
Get the TNW newsletter
Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.