Ubiquitous WiFi – Not Here

I’ve been thinking a lot about EV-DO recently. Not because I’m using it. Quite the opposite. I’m not using it. That’s the way I’ve been thinking about it — just like you dream about a thick steak when you’re hungry or a cute boy when you’re a love-sick teenage girl.

EV-DO has been on my mind because I’ve been traveling – moving among three northeastern towns ranging from happening Portland ME, to Binghamton, NY — heartland of upstate New York’s economic disaster — to Honesdale, PA — a tiny town just out-of-reach of the Pocono vacation crowd. In between I’ve been in several airports.

One thing all these places have in common is difficulty finding free WiFi — or any WiFi for that matter.

Where there’s WiFi, it’s usually not free and, if you’re on the move, involves signing up with multiple providers. In San Francisco I could pay $8.00 to AT&T for a day pass. Then, later in the afternoon, I could pay T-Mobile another $8.00 for another day pass to get online in Philadelphia. If you’re a road warrior, those $8.00 charges add up in a hurry.

When I got to Portland, I was able to use the U. of Southern Maine’s network, but only because my friend is on the faculty.

Surprisingly, Honesdale, PA has two caf├ęs offering free WiFi — but one of them doesn’t allow users to send outgoing mail and both of them close at 7:00 p.m.

And, Binghamton, well all I need to tell you about Binghamton is that the only place you can ship a package there is the Post Office. Forget advanced technology.

Now Philadelphia does have some free WiFi hotspots — I’m writing this in one — but the signal is weak and limited to a few (unmarked) locations. Performance feels like a dial-up connection.

Between all these locations and acces points, I could hardly manage to get my email. In the end I resorted to tried and true dial-up. Imagine trying to make a VoIP call.

But while I was doing all this shucking and jiving to stay Internet-connected, my Sprint mobile phone worked everywhere — even in the remote corners of rural PA.

Which brings me back to EV-DO. A while ago I wrote a piece on EV-DO after a conversation with Erik Lagerway, SIPthat blogger and CTO of Shift Networks, about VoIP over cellular data networks. A couple of people I spoke with for the story poo-poo’ed EV-DO as too expensive, too limited. Ubiquitous WiFi was going to make it a non-issue.

My report from the field is it’s far from a non-issue. And that if staying connected is important, right now EV-DO looks like a better bet.


  1. guitark says:

    hey from the industrial wasteland… if you’re in the area you can get access at these points

    Holiday Inn Vestal Binghamton University
    4105 Vestal Parkway
    Vestal NY 13850
    3.6 miles Map | Directions 1 provider

    All locations matching your search criteria
    McDonald’s 07671
    167 Main St
    Binghamton NY 13905
    1.3 miles Map | Directions 2 providers

    McDonald’s 28852
    3 West State Street
    Binghamton NY 13901
    1.8 miles Map | Directions 2 providers

    Starbucks Binghamton Front Street
    904 Upper Front Street
    Binghamton NY 13905
    1.8 miles Map | Directions 1 provider

    Holiday Inn Binghamton-Dwtn (Hawley St)
    2-8 Hawley St
    Binghamton NY 13901
    2 miles Map | Directions 1 provider

    Broadway Coffee Cafe
    400 Riverside Drive
    Davis College
    Johnson City NY 13790
    2.6 miles Map | Directions FREE

    Residence Inn By Marriott Binghamton University
    4610 Vestal Parkway E
    Vestal NY 13850
    2.6 miles Map | Directions 1 provider

    McDonald’s 05894
    560 Harry L Dr
    Johnson City NY 13790
    2.7 miles Map | Directions 2 providers

    Red Roof Inn Binghampton
    590 Fairview Street
    Johnson City NY 13790
    2.8 miles Map | Directions 3 providers

    Fedex Kinko’s Binghamton
    3951 Vestal Pkwy East
    Vestal NY 13850
    3.7 miles Map | Directions 3 providers

    SUNY Binghamton University Libraries
    Route 434 East
    Binghamton NY 13902
    5.1 miles Map | Directions FREE

    McDonald’s 17555
    3136 Vestal Parkway
    Vestal NY 13850
    5.1 miles Map | Directions 2 providers

    Starbucks Vestal Parkway
    2540 Vestal Parkway East
    Vestal NY 13850
    5.6 miles Map | Directions 3 providers

    Barnes & Noble
    2443 Vestal Parkway East
    Vestal NY 13850
    5.9 miles Map | Directions 6 providers
    1 FREE
    McDonald’s 08143
    3333 E Main St
    Endwell NY 13760
    6.2 miles Map | Directions 2 providers

    McDonald’s 04860
    603-605 E Main St
    Endicott NY 13760
    8.6 miles Map | Directions 2 providers

    as well as Montana Mills Bread Company next to the Starbuck’s in Vestal (free) and if your stuck at the airport (free) and if needed, while at Kinko’s you could mail that package… hope this helps