The Genius Blog

Would Someone Please Invent This?

Posted by: Dan Rutledge on 04/18/2010 08:38 AM EDT

As you might guess from a guy that runs a website that lets you organize your entire life for free... I'm somewhat of a cheapskate.  And one thing that has been really bugging me lately is the telecommunications industry.  Over the last couple years, they've been expanding the fees that are required to keep you "connected" to the modern world.  Pull out your calculators for a quick breakdown of what you could easily lay out per month:

$25 landline phone
$80 family shared wireless plan for two people
$10 additional "texting" feature for two people
$60 data fee for internet on two phones
$50 high speed cable internet for your home
$50 basic cable TV package
$275 per month

It's out of control.  And I'm not even taking into account the fact that I run a small business and therefore pay for a whole second set of internet and phone services for my office.  I am only one person - there is no reason why there should be so much redundancy in what I'm paying!!

So... this is where I want to see things go:

I want to buy 2 mobile-broadband USB sticks... that give me and my wife internet access everywhere for a single charge of about $50-60 bucks a month.  Something like a wimax 4G network.  These do exist.

But then I want routers setup at my home and office with a plug on the top of them for the stick.  I walk into work and plug in my stick to the router and presto... I have work internet.  I drive home, plug it in at home and have home internet.  

Next... the television networks would make sure all their shows are on the internet and I would then just start watching all TV through the web... eliminating any cable TV bill whatsoever.

Finally, the icing on the cake would be the invention of a mobile-phone-sized device that you can plug this internet USB stick into... and then you could make VOIP calls through Skype (for free or very low long distance cost) just like a cell phone.  Of course, you could also use the same device with the USB stick in the back of it... to browse the web or text through the internet.  And since Skype is so reasonable in cost, you could then drop your landline.

Final cost would be:

$60 two wireless everywhere USB sticks
$15-25 Skype fee for all phonecalls made through the internet
About $80 per month

It's getting closer... has recently released a program that is the beginnings of this kind of system.  I'd like to see them go all the way.  After all, I'm not picky.  I just want internet, phone, text, and television everywhere I go for one single low cost monthly fee.  Is that so wrong?


Posted by Chris Spencer on Tuesday, May 11, 2010 9:08 AM EDT
The cradlepoint router lets you plug in the usb modem and go wireless to all computers in the house or business. Then you can skype through that connection. Thats how we ran our house this last year.
Also, we have not had cable tv or an antenae for over a year. All tv comes through the computer via Hulu, Fancast, or Netflix. There are no shows that we miss and thousands more we get than cable subscribers do.
Posted by Dan Rutledge on Tuesday, May 11, 2010 3:51 PM EDT
Hey Chris - thanks for that. Love getting tech hints! I wasn't aware of Cradlepoint and I like the wi-fi portal that they have, which is different than You could theoretically use something like an iPod touch as a mobile phone using Skype through wi-fi. Very cool! I really hope companies like this win out over the big cable and wireless companies. I want to make a jump sometime to a scenario like yours, so appreciate the tips. Right now I do keep the very basic home cable ($12 a month) - mostly because of NFL games. But I could easily grab an antennae for that and be good to go. Thanks again for the comment.
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