Verizon Wireless today announced the immediate availability of new wireless services, dubbed BroadbandAccess and V CAST. Both services utilize Verizon’s EV-DO (Evolution Data-Optimized) wireless broadband network, available in 60 major metropolitan markets and 64 airports within the United States. ED-VO is backward-compatible with CDMA, enabling graceful transitions when users leave EV-DO coverage areas.
Broadbandaccess is available to Verizon customers in the San Francisco and Sacramento areas, and claims to be faster than any other wide-area wireless broadband service—offerings speeds of 400 to 700 kbps—and is the first wide-area wireless broadband service in the Bay area. Verizon has expanded the service to Sacramento and plans to encompass the entire Bay area by the end of the year, as well as bring service to additional markets. Currently, BroadbandAccess customers who travel outside the service area can also access Verizon’s existing Nationwide wireless service. Broadband access is intended to let mobile professionals and enterprise customers access business resources as if they were connected to a high-speed wired network: using VPN technology, mobile users can interact with company network resources as if they were a member of the company’s LAN, even while roaming. Through the end of 2005, Unlimited BroadbandAccess is available to customers with certain voice plans (starting at $40 /month) for $60 month and a two-year customer agreement; otherwise, BroadbandAccess is $80/month with a one- or two-year agreement.
Verizon offers PC Cards compatible with BroadbandAccess, including the UTStarcom Personal Communications PC 5740, the Kyocera KPC-650, and Novatel V620. Verizon is currently offering the PC 5740 card for $100 with a two-year agreement, or $150 with a one-year agreement.
V CAST also operates via Verizon’s ED-VO network, but as a consumer service offering short video-on-demand content for cell phones. Available material ranges from news, sports, and weather to entertainment programming and "mobisodes," short programs designed specifically for mobile phones, such as those produced for the recent season of Fox’s action drama 24. Verizon says a selection of more than 300 clips is available, with items updated daily from leading news, information, and entertainment providers. The V CAST service costs $15 per month (for a limited time, one month is free) and offers unlimited short content with no airtime charges to download, stream, or view V CAST content. In addition, V CAST will carry premium short content (including music videos, selected sports clips and the aforementioned "mobisodes") as well as 3D games and other applications. V CAST customers also get monthly access and unlimited browsing via Verizon’s Mobile Web service.
V CAST operates with the new LG VX8100 phone (offered from Verizon for $100 after a $50 rebate with a two-year agreement) and some V CAST services operate on the Motorola E815 and the UTstarcom Personal Communications CDM8940.