Verizon was the first top-tier wireless provider to offer a LTE network, and as of this year, the company is the first provider offering a home broadband LTE service.
Customers who sign up for HomeFusion get access to Verizon’s LTE network for four wired and up to 20 wireless devices. The HomeFusion router works as a wireless hotspot with password protection, using Wi-Fi technology to allow easy access to broadband Internet. It is similar to Verizon’s Jetpack LTE mobile hotspot and other similar technologies, but as its name implies, HomeFusion is designed specifically for in-home use.
LTE is a tempting alternative to DSL and other broadband technologies thanks to its high data speeds, but Verizon customers will pay relatively high costs for the service. In addition to a $200 one-time equipment fee, HomeFusion buyers will choose between a $60 plan for 10 gigabytes of data per month, a 20 gigabyte plan for $90 per month and a 30 gigabyte plan for $120 per month. Customers will pay $10 per gigabyte for going over the limit.
These prices are a major sticking point for the service, and Verizon currently markets HomeFusion to customers who have a limited number of broadband choices. Buyers in rural areas, for instance, will see more potential benefits than buyers in urban areas, where cable Internet and other broadband services offer a far less expensive choice with comparable data speeds.
Nevertheless, Verizon’s HomeFusion service represents a major step forward for wireless data plan providers. It is the first time that home computer users have had access to LTE Internet via a separate router rather than through mobile phone tethering. Verizon’s LTE network covers about 66 percent of the United States population, so the technology could conceivably have major implications for Internet users in out-of-the-way or rural environments.
LTE stands for Long Term Evolution and provides faster speeds than 3G. SpeedTest.net reports average download speeds of 14.38 to 15.2 megabits per second and upload speeds of 5.11 to 8 megabits per second on Verizon’s LTE network. However, it is important to note that these results are based on user tests and are not scientific. Factors like the number of mobile users in a given area can affect 4G LTE speeds substantially, as Verizon phone and mobile hotspot owners have noted since the LTE network launched in 2010.
According to Verizon’s website, the company will upgrade its entire 3G network to LTE by the end of 2013.