NEW ORLEANS--Need a fast broadband connection but live where cable or other wired data solutions are scarce? Not to worry says Verizon, that is if you by chance dwell within its 4G LTE footprint. The newservice latches onto nearby LTE wireless signals and funnels them down into the home.
Here at CTIA 2012, at the same press event where big red also demoed the, Verizon also explained to me how the HomeFusion is designed to operate. First, an imposing cylindrical antenna, what Verizon jokingly refered to as a "cantenna," needs to be mounted on your roof. This is the actual gadget that grabs hold of a 4G signal.
The weather resistant antenna then attaches to a standard coax cable, which plugs into a broadband modem/gateway unit that sits indoors preferably in an office, den, or living room setting. The modem also acts as both a wired and wireless router sharing its Internet link among four Ethernet ports and up to 20 devices via Wi-Fi.
There are big caveats here though. The HomeFusion costs at least $60 per month for a 10GB bucket of data. That's a lot of dough for not a lot of broadband bread if you catch my drift. This would barely cut it for me since I regularly stream at minimum one HD movie through my Roku box a week. Consider that a two-hour HD movie eats through about 2GB of data in one sitting. When a big series like "Mad Men" or "Breaking Bad" lands on the service, however, all bets are off. Heck I've even been known to view marathons of "Downton Abbey"--yes I have no shame.
A Verizon representative told me after I explained my plight that, "You, like me, represent the 7 percent of extreme users out there and would be better served by a higher price plan." Well I'm not sure about this since casual video streaming, HD or not, became mainstream years go.
Still it would be interesting to see just how much strain the HomeFusion can bear. For many who rely on their smartphone as their sole gateway to the Internet and not cable, this solution could have appeal. Those same people though would likely balk at paying close to $100 per month extra for service approaching a full digital TV and fast broadband package.