For many people in the U.S., especially small businesses and gamers, broadband is still too slow and too expensive. I found a small Seattle-based company here at CES that is coming at the problem in a very interesting way.
The company, called Sharedband, gives you a way to buy multiple broadband lines for your home or office, and then combine them all into one large broadband pipe. Sharedband says it's making its national debut here at CES.
While broadband speeds are starting to get faster, upstream speeds needed by gamers and small businesses dealing with large files remain slow and unreliable. With Sharedband, you can combine the upstream speeds of each broadband line coming into your home.
And for some applications, like VOIP, dependability becomes a big issue. If you have only one broadband line, and that line slows down or fails, your call could be rudely interrupted. With multiple broadband services combined, if one fails the other picks up the burden, and that VOIP call (or whatever app) keeps running.
So at what device in the home do all these broadband lines converge and combine. Well that part is still a little messy. The company sends you a Linksys router-one for each broadband line you have-and you stack them then link them together. The software that Sharedband has already baked into those routers is the secret sauce that combines all the services into one fat broadband pipe. With any success, Sharedband will manufacture its own branded device, and stop reselling the Linksys routers.
For now, Sharedband will charge you $75 for every router it sends you, and $9.99 per month for every broadband line it's combining for you. And that's all on top of the monthly fees you pay your various cable, DSL or fiber ISP.
But think of the alternative: buying a $500 a month T1 line, which still usually only promise 1.5 mbps of upstream speed. For small businesses or gamers, Sharedband may be a far better deal when all is said and done. Unless, of course, broadband ISPs in this country start pumping out broadband speeds anywhere close to those of their cohorts in Japan, Korea and Sweden.