Up until recently, cable broadband was the standard for people who wanted a home Internet connection without connecting via a telephone line. It is also still the most widely available option. All major cable companies offer broadband Internet services in most areas. Cable broadband transmits data through cable television (CATV) lines, offering a faster connection than a telephone-based service like DSL. Verizon FiOS was launched in 2005 and works through fiber-optic lines instead of cable lines. Verizon claims to offer higher speeds than their biggest competitor, Comcast, does. This has never been successfully proven and continues to change as both companies constantly improve their services. Installation of the fiber-optic infrastructure necessary for FiOS service is constantly being expanded to new areas, but it is not yet as widely available as cable. Customers interested in FiOS service should contact Verizon to see if it is available. Both services provide Internet connection without the use of a land line. The competition between cable providers and Verizon is ongoing, and both usually offer “bundle” packages that include television, Internet and phone service. However, with both companies, the packages start with an attractively low introductory rate that increases after a certain period. If you have no need, or desire, for a land line then the bundles will ultimately end up costing more money in the long run.
Recent advances in cellular technology, often referred to as a 3G network connection, make it possible for you to not only connect to the Internet without a land line, but connect to a cellular network anywhere you can get cell phone service. The devices are either a PC card, or more commonly a USB modem, that you plug into your computer and “dial” into the 3G network. There are a variety of contract and prepaid options available from service providers such as Verizon, Cricket, AT&T, T-Mobile and many others. Depending on your Internet usage, these plans can be expensive and are really only necessary for those that need Internet access while away from home.
For the increasing number of people who have given up a traditional land line in favor of cell phone service, there are a large number of cell phones that offer Internet access directly through their phone for additional fees. Two of the most popular and versatile devices for Internet usage, as of this writing, are the Apple iPhone and the Blackberry line. Both offer email access, access to social networking sites such as Facebook, full Web browsing and the ability to connect to the Internet anywhere service is available. However, a large number of other cell phones offer limited to full Internet connectivity for an additional charge. The easiest way to find a phone and plan that offers the features you are looking for is to browse your service provider’s website. As with the 3G modems mentioned earlier, this type of Internet connection is really best-suited for people who require mobile Internet access or don’t own a computer.