Can’t find the wireless? Broadband offers alternatives

Tom Andrew

City Times reported last semester that while City College had wireless capabilities it was not campus wide and that it would not be happening anytime soon.

This doesn’t leave students many options. The Bee Hive Café offers free wireless access with purchase, and on campus there is the cafeteria (and possibly Gorton Quad) and the LRC (Learning Resource Center) with a pass code given once you prove you are a student at City College.

Aside from that, students and staff have only one other resource, one that is fast growing in San Diego. Broadband.

The number of companies offering Broadband contracts is growing rapidly. Broadband, for those of you who don’t know, is nothing more than a cell phone signal that your computer will pick up with the USB card that you plug in to your laptop. Cricket, Verizon and AT&T are some of the most popular, though come at a price. Some have package deals, or offer rebates on the cost of the USB card used to gain a signal. Some boast no credit checks, or contracts. In either case, you are paying for service that may, or may not get service, or may be slower than what you are used to.

“Cricket, is a company that may be new to the San Diego area, but it has been alive and well in Albuquerque for over 10 years” explained Manny, a sales representative in San Marcos. “At the moment, here in Southern California, we are the third largest provider and our numbers are growing due to the no contracts/no termination fees/no credit check, benefits.”

Jeff, Verizon Wireless employee, was able to shed some light on a few things but he himself seemed to question many of the decisions his company has made. “I don’t know why they don’t offer any package or bundle deals if you are a Verizon customer already”, he said, “It would seem the logical thing to do, but they don’t right now.” They also will give you a no contract deal, but you will have to pay $200 for the USB card with no rebates. The first month is free, but if you decide to cancel after 30 days, you will be charged $175. “Cricket may offer no contracts,” he continued, “but we offer a better coverage area. So, I guess it comes down to that.”

Sprint also offers broadband access; they also have contracts, cancellation fees and credit checks. And suggest you buy their service online. They will ship everything out to you overnight.

With the options Verizon/AT&T and Sprint have, $45 a month, and in some cases higher, and two-year contracts, most people might opt for less coverage and cheaper rates. Whatever your choice it is recommended that you make sure you know what you are getting yourself into and read the fine print.