Thursday, May 15, 2008

Three and (not mobile) broadband?

I was interested to spot (via 3mobilebuzz) that Three is thinking about rolling out a line of home routers which, instead of connecting you to the Internet via a land line ADSL connection, instead provide your home broadband via their 3G network.

CREDIT: Electricpig

To be clear, we're not talking about a femtocell, which uses your existing landline broadband to provide a cell base station, and allows networks to extend their coverage indoors, or other places where their coverage is limited or just plain unavailable. In fact what we're talking about here is exactly the opposite of a femtocell. Such a device would have its own SIM card, and then share its 3G conneciton to the Internet over a local wired and wireless network.

This is interesting, and not an idea I've come across before. Of course, with only spotty coverage on any of the networks in the out of the way village I live in, such a device isn't going to be on my shopping list. I'd be much better off with a femtocell, and when they finally (if ever) come onto the market I'll be the first in line, no matter which of the UK networks are offering it. However as someone that does drop off grid in some weird and wonderful places from time to time, I can see the attraction of this anti-femtocell.

Of course if you have a 3G dongle, you can already share your internet connection with other devices fairly easily, at least you can if you have a Mac, I'll not speak for Windows. But it's really nice to see this wrapped in a box for ease of use...