More Wi-Fi and mobile broadband access have me considering my network usage trends more closely. At the moment, I am a regular user of public Wi-Fi hotspots, 3G on my smartphone, WiMAX with my USB stick, and, of course, fixed broadband through my cable connection at home. But with all this broadband, I find I’m now starting to fret over which network to use when. With my Squeezebox and my Roku, am I coming close to reaching my monthly bandwidth cap with Comcast? (Probably not, but more on that later) If I continue to stream Slacker over 3G on my smartphone in the car, will I hit my Verizon wireless data cap? My $22.50/month WiMAX service is probably the least used of any of my network connections, and that’s the one that’s got no limit! Free Wi-Fi is good, but I’ve got to park myself in a public location, and that’s not always possible.
As Stacey at GigaOM points out today, mobile broadband is a difficult revenue model for carriers to sustain profitably, which means users have to be willing to pay for the convenience. I am willing, but up to what point? And how willing am I to consider what network I should be using every time I log on?