Without Internet access, online workers are, to put it bluntly, screwed. You could use a typewriter to write with and snail mail, but obviously that’s not going to cut it for long. Let’s face it, Internet access is an absolute necessity for some people. And without broadband speeds, your work productivity goes down.

If you live in area that does not offer broadband Internet over cable or high-speed dialup, take note that you might still have a few options:

  1. Wi-fi to go.
    This type of access uses a router that plugs in to an electrical outlet and connects to your computer with either an Ethernet cable or an USB cable. Signals come from a cellular tower and are handled by the router. I’ve recently purchased a router for Wi-Fi to go as a back up connection, but haven’t activated it yet so I can’t comment on it’s quality.

  2. Cellular wi-fi.
    Cellular data plans can be incredibly expensive, depending on where you live. In the UK and parts of the U.S., you can get unlimited bandwidth for reasonable monthly rates. For me, unfortunately, it’s stupidly expensive and bandwidth is capped at 250 Mb/month. My alternative is a pay-as-you-go rate billed at $30/Mb. That’s not a typo. And access isn’t exactly at a blazing speed. It’s fine for checking email, doing a bit of browsing or banking, but not ideal for extended use.

    You can get this access from your laptop or desktop by configuring a Bluetooth connection or using a phone-specific modem.

  3. Satellite.
    When I worked in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2000, I had satellite-based Internet access through DirectTV (if memory serves). But access went wonky if there was a storm – a common daily occurrence in the afternoon during late summer in Atlanta. If you live in an area prone to storms, you might think twice about getting this type of access.

  4. Powerline.
    Powerline-based Internet access is served over the power grid. It’s not a new idea, but what is new is that DirectTV, a satellite TV provider, is planning to offer to broadband over powerline later this year. Gizmodo has a diagram of how powerline Internet access works.

There are a few other variations that I’ve left out in the list above. For me, since no Internet access means no work, I now have three types of access, and will probably have four once I move to Toronto. You dont have to be so extreme, but if you do plan to earn a living online, having backup access – besides stealing Wi-Fi from your neighbor – is something to consider.

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