Hotspot on fire

By J. Carlton Collins, CPA

Q. My tablet PC works great when I am in range of a Wi-Fi router, but it’s almost worthless when no internet connection is available. My mobile phone provider says I can solve this problem by subscribing to its mobile hotspot for $50 a month, but this option is just too expensive. Is there a less expensive alternative for solving this problem?

A. FreedomPop (freedompop.com) is a relatively new company that offers free high-speed mobile broadband internet; you just need to purchase one of its hotspot devices (prices starting at $19.99). Thereafter, the free broadband internet service (which is available in 4G cellular areas) includes 500 megabytes of free data each month with a 2-cent charge for each additional MB. Additional service plans are available ranging from $3.99 to $19.99; these plans include 3G access, up to 2 gigabytes of free data, and 1.5 cents per MB thereafter.

Other organizations claiming to provide free wireless internet access include internet.org (initially offering free internet access in Africa and India); Juno (juno.com) (first 10 hours each month are free); and NetZero (netzero.net) (first 200 MBs of data are free; hotspot devices from NetZero are priced starting at $49.95).

J. Carlton Collins (carlton@asaresearch.com) is a technology consultant, CPE instructor, and a JofA contributing editor.

Note: Instructions for Microsoft Office in “Technology Q&A” refer to the 2013, 2010, and 2007 versions, unless otherwise specified.

Submit a question

Do you have technology questions for this column? Or, after reading an answer, do you have a better solution? Send them to jofatech@aicpa.org. We regret being unable to individually answer all submitted questions.

SPONSORED REPORT

How to make the most of a negotiation

Negotiators are made, not born. In this sponsored report, we cover strategies and tactics to help you head into 2017 ready to take on business deals, salary discussions and more.

VIDEO

Will the Affordable Care Act be repealed?

The results of the 2016 presidential election are likely to have a big impact on federal tax policy in the coming years. Eddie Adkins, CPA, a partner in the Washington National Tax Office at Grant Thornton, discusses what parts of the ACA might survive the repeal of most of the law.

QUIZ

News quiz: Scam email plagues tax professionals—again

Even as the IRS reported on success in reducing tax return identity theft in the 2016 season, the Service also warned tax professionals about yet another email phishing scam. See how much you know about recent news with this short quiz.