Ubiquitous broadband may not be as out of reach as I’d once thought. Spurred by the death of my mother’s ancient Qualcomm phone, I found myself at a Sprint store yesterday working on getting my parents a new family service plan to try (their current service, as well as mine, is from Verizon, but choices in mobile telecom providers is a whole separate off-topic entry). Somehow, the sales guy talked me into a Novatel U720 USB and a broadband account—attached to a family account and loaded with special discounts, it added a net of something like $30/month to the bill (it’s really more like $50-$60, but there are combination discounts with the other wireless accounts and some percentage discounts for employees of certain companies, etc.). Even at $30/month, I’m not sure it’s something I can justify, but I’ve got thirty days to try it and see if I feel like I can’t live without it. At the moment, though, I’ve got it running in my bedroom, providing me with internet at a slightly slower rate than if I’d just turn on the WiFi in my tablet. The demo machine in the store registered about 1.8 Mbps download and about 200 kbps upload (both about 1/3 of the speed of my home DSL). I’ll have to write more as I actually use it.