I have a Verizon Wireless Smartphone, a Motorola "Q" – one of those Blackberry wannabes with a tiny little thumb keyboard that can send and receive email and, at least theoretically, surf the web (on a screen about the size of a matchbook cover.) The email and internet capabilities work over Verizon’s wireless data network, which operates in tandem with their voice network (meaning that wherever you get voice service you can get data service.) Verizon has 3 different speeds of wireless data. The most widely available is "1X", roughly equivalent to dial-up. "1X" is a legacy data format, and the only type that’s been available in most of Sullivan County. Their broadband-speed wireless is called "EV-DO", with the turbo-charged version (available in very limited areas) called "EV-DO Rev. A."
On any Verizon phone that’s capable of receiving data as well as voice, there’s a little icon that shows whether you’re in a "1X" area or an "EV" (EV-DO) area. Coverage in Sullivan has been totally "1X" until recently. I’d always get excited when I dropped over the Wurtsboro Hill heading into Middletown and the little icon would shift from "1X" to "EV". Ah, civilization.
A couple of months ago when I was driving west from Monticello to Callicoon, I noticed that my Moto Q briefly switched to "EV". I got all excited. Hey, I live in the country. We get excited by stuff like this. But a week later, all I picked up around Monticello was "1X" again. Oh well, maybe my phone was glitchy the day I saw the "EV" icon on the screen.
Months went by. "1X’ "1X" More "1X".
Then last week I was again driving west from Monticello. The "EV" icon popped up. And stayed up. All the way through Bethel and up into the Beechwoods between Jeffersonville and Callicoon. Yesterday, the same thing. "EV" all the way, and up towards Livingston Manor, too, And today, I still got "EV" on my trip to Monticello,
It looks like Verizon has upgraded their wireless network in Sullivan County to "EV-DO". I don’t know if its the faster "Rev. A" flavor, because my phone’s hardware doesn’t pick that up. But even plain vanilla EV-DO is a huge upgrade for wireless data speed.
For us regular Smartphone and Blackberry users, its not really that big a deal, because those text emails aren’t big data hogs. But for folks in a rural location with good wireless phone service, but no cable or DSL for high speed wireless internet access, it is. You can get a laptop card and connect at EV-DO speeds, which are much faster than dial-up. Its not cheap, but it could be a good option, particularly for weekenders who need broadband speeds in the country but find that satellite internet doesn’t work for them. (Satellite internet, for example, doesn’t work well for folks who need to connect with work via a VPN, or virtual private network.)
The Verizon wireless coverage map on their website hasn’t been updated yet to show "EV-DO" coverage in Sullivan. And I haven’t yet been all around the county to see if EV-DO is everywhere there’s Verizon service. Please post any information you have on whether you’re seeing EV-DO in your neck of the woods. And if you have a wireless card or Smartphone that’s "Rev. A" capable (you know who you are), please post any info on whether you’re picking up "Rev. A" anywhere in Sullivan. Many thanks to anyone who can add their insights into this development.