Hawai‘i Technology

Wireless-less-ness

Russ, Bernie and others have written eloquent pieces that address the concerns, whines and gripes of non-mobilites, long-time netizens, and mobile newbies. I’ve fit into several of these categories at various times, and had hoped to join the hardcore mobile generation during our now-aborted stay in Cork.

Upon return to east Hawai‘i island, I began to investigate our wireless options, and found them limited. Our area has neither DSL nor cable. My son’s Verizon mobile phone is only marginally usable on our lanai (porch) but nowhere in the house. He bought a 3G card that works near the eastern edge of our property, but not at the house, a mere 75 feet away. While the card is 3G, I don’t believe there is operating at anything near 3G speed, something confirmed by their coverage map.

AT&T/Cingular has not even rolled out 3G in the state of Hawai‘i, though it seems Honolulu is scheduled to receive it later in the year, with other more populous areas of the state getting coverage in 2008. An iPhone-equipped friend visited our home a few days ago, and we found his EDGE connection speed slower than my 56k dialup, which in reality only gets me around 32k. Finally, you can’t even see land that is in Sprint’s coverage area from our home, only about 8 miles south of Hilo. Coconut Wireless offers wireless broadband in our area, though the cost of installation is a bit high. At this point they appear to be our only option.

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