Broadband To Go

In January, Verizon Wireless and Palm announced the release of the Palm Treo 700w Smartphone, the first Palm Microsoft device to take advantage of Verizon Wireless’ broadband access service on its Evolution Digital Optimize network (Ev-DO). While this might sound like geek-speak, here’s what it means in practical terms: if you own a Palm Treo or other wireless device, including the 7130E BlackBerry, HP and Dell laptops, and handsets from vendors such as LG, Samsung, and Motorola, you can now take your wireless on the road, connecting at broadband speeds. The Ev-DO network lets users gain access to corporate data via the Internet at or near DSL speeds (downloads at roughly 400-700Kbps).

According to Claude Mitchell, director of business marketing for Verizon Wireless, the Ev-DO network technology should continue to evolve, allowing the company to build out its network over time. The company spent more than $5 billion on its network in 2004 and 2005. Of that, $500 million was spent on the Ev-DO network, says Brenda Boyd Raney, spokesperson for Verizon Wireless.

The investment has allowed the company to introduce consumer-based services to supplement the ability to access corporate data via the Internet. Last year Verizon Wireless introduced V Cast, a service that lets consumers download high quality video clips and games to a handset or PDA. In January, the company launched V Cast Music Services, which lets customers download songs or full albums to their handsets and desktops.

Several major wireless carriers offer services similar to Verizon’s Ev-DO. For example, T-Mobile’s HotSpot has long been a staple of mobile connectivity both in the U.S. and overseas, allowing customers to connect at roughly T1 speeds. And Sprint’s Business Connection Enterprise offers a variety of options for companies nationwide. According to CTIA, more than 196 million Americans are wireless subscribers.

What does all this mean for you? Well, besides more options, you also get, “true office mobility and increased productivity,” says Raney. “You are no longer tethered to a desk or a PC. You can now take e-mail and personal information along with you wherever you go.”