FreedomPop said on Wednesday that it has finally launched its free broadband internet service. Of course, nothing is entirely free: potential customers will be required to purchase the $89 Burst wireless (WiMAX) modem/router. But after that, customers can receive 1 GB of free data at speeds under 1.5 Mbps each month. Every additional 1 MB beyond that cap is one cent.
"Major broadband providers are charging in excess of $500 per year for home Internet, and continuing to raise their prices – leaving consumers desperate for ways to cut down on their monthly bills for home Internet," said Stephen Stokols , FreedomPop's CEO. "FreedomPop's early success in the wireless market has put us in position to offer home broadband users significantly discounted alternatives."
To get even more free unlimited data, customers can add friends to their network via email and social media networks, and engage in partner promotions. They can also shell out cash for actual data plans including 10 GB at 1.5 Mbps for $10 per month, 10 GB at 3 Mbps for $15 per month, and 10 GB at 8 Mbps for $18 per month.
"FreedomPop's free wireless Internet model brings a new level of competition not seen in the U.S. broadband market to date," the company said. "Unlike most European markets, capped data plans for lighter consumption are not available in the U.S., leaving consumers to sign up for unlimited plans that can range from $45 to $60 per month."
Unfortunately, FreedomPop currently doesn't offer actual nationwide coverage – at least, not yet. Potential customers are asked to enter their zip code to determine if FreedomPop is currently available in their area. If not, customers are directed to a map showing the network's progress, or to sign up and purchase the modem anyway.
Based on the map, coverage is spotty at best, residing in highly populated cities. In Nevada, FreedomPop is only offered in Las Vegas whereas Denver is the only available city in Colorado. California has seven cities listed and Texas has twelve. Many states like Montana, Alabama, Arizona and Iowa don't even offer coverage. Around 70 cities comprise of FreedomPop's broadband service thanks to Clearwire’s WiMAX network.
Based on that, the launch of FreedomPop's free broadband is a start, but there's a long way to go. For more information about the new service, head here.