According to their service map, Verizon now offers wireless broadband service in Westport, NY. So I took the plunge. I handed the guy in a Verizon store in Thornwood, NY in Westchester County my Amex card and he sent me off with a Verizon Wireless UM150 device that plugs into the side of my laptop. It's about the size of an iPod nano, and has a cute little antenna for the top. After spending half an hour making the Verizon guy swear that he would give me back my money if there was no broadband signal to be found in Westport, I signed the service contract.
So I took it back and Westport and tried it. In my house at 10 Champlain (next door to Ernie's), in testing it worked at about the same speed as my Chazy-Westport DSL service. Two doors down, in Bruce Ware's office, I couldn't get a workable signal. Sitting at the picnic table outside the Chazy-Westport offices, I got an error message -- I forget the exact text -- suggesting that some piece of equipment inside the building was interfering with the signal.
I have a suspicion that it will work well at higher altitudes. The implications of this for people with houses in the hills off the grid is there are some people who will be able to get DSL-equivalent broadband Internet service BEFORE they get electricity to their house or indoor plumbing: to paraphrase William Gibson, the future is not evenly distributed.
In the next week or so, I'd like to climb Coon Mountain with my laptop and check out the signal from the summit.