ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Have Internet During A Power Outage And Where To Find Pay As You Go (Prepaid) Mobile Broadband Internet

Updated on August 6, 2015
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Ohio Derecho 2012Ohio Derecho 2012Ohio Derecho 2012Ohio Derecho 2012
Source
Ohio Derecho 2012
Ohio Derecho 2012 | Source
Ohio Derecho 2012
Ohio Derecho 2012 | Source
Ohio Derecho 2012
Ohio Derecho 2012 | Source
Ohio Derecho 2012
Ohio Derecho 2012 | Source

The Value Of Computers

It is a rare day when I go without a computer. Yesterday, on June 29, 2012 a massive storm ripped through Ohio with 82 mph winds. Random junk is everywhere, poles have blown down, trees have blown down, power lines have been ripped down by the wind or pulled down by falling objects. Close to 2 million people are without power. Having been through natural disasters before, I know what is coming, a week with no power.

It is amazing how helpless we are without power. Luckily we have a chainsaw, a grill, a small generator, cars, gas, a roof over our heads, a clothesline, a corded old fashioned landline, a manual can opener... the list can go on and on. We have our batteries and our lanterns. We are ready.

There is one thing missing, Internet.

Below I have listed the tools that you will need to get online without any traditional power. Gas inverters, generators, car battery inverters, and mobile wireless Internet routers are all mentioned. You can find ideas as to where to buy these items as well as links to the places to purchase them.

Where To Get Power For Your Computer

A laptop or netbook is your best bet. You can charge up the battery and then use it in the comfort of your house or you can tote it to a local establishment that is lucky enough to have power. If you don't have a generator, a laptop is the easiest computer type to charge off of your car. You can buy small power inverters for car lighters. One that will run a laptop will generally be less that $40.00. Let your car run, plug in the inverter, and then plug in the laptop. You can computer from the car with the added bonus of heat or air conditioning, or just let it charge for later use. Inverters can be used to charge your cell phone, iPod, iPad, toothbrush, razor, or other small appliances. A gas inverter can also be purchased. They run around $1,000-$2,000 but will run more appliances and have more power. Check out the small inverter/generators that Yamaha and Honda make. The Yamaha one can be purchased through Amazon and Amazon has next day delivery available on this item.

How To Get Some Internet

The Internet is the next challenge. Many internet providers are not available when the power is out. If you use your cell phone as a hot spot you are in luck. The rest of us have to get creative. Cellular providers often have generators on their towers for back up power. Service will be slower during an outage as they have to run on reduced capacity, but it is often available. The challenge is that most wireless Internet service providers require contracts rather than pay as you go or prepaid service.

This is where Virgin Wireless is very useful. They are one of the least expensive prepaid options. The neat thing with these plans is that if you have a 4G router and live in a 4G service area, you can have unlimited monthly prepaid Internet for only $35.00! (It will be limited in the 3G areas). People on the old plans will be allowed to keep their old rates. A Router will run $50.00-$160.00. It is a good chunk of change but very handy in an emergency.

The stand alone routers will work as a hotspot that can connect multiple users over standard wifi. The USB version will work with just your computer but you may be able to set up an ad hoc network and have your computer rebroadcast the Internet.

Amazon's Virgin Mobile Wireless Internet Routers

Where To Buy Wireless Routers In An Emergency

The big question: HELP! How can I get Internet now???

If you are here, I bet the power is off at your place or you are worried that it will be off in the near future. If you have time, check out the providers listed below. The providers often sell routers. If not here are some ideas for local shopping (check the website if possible before going, Target and Walmart list local inventories online, look for mobile hotspot, mobile Internet, or Virgin Wireless):

Buying in a store:

  1. Walmart
  2. Target
  3. Best Buy

Mail order with next day delivery:

Amazon is great for this. If you are in a bad area and can't get out, Amazon may be able to get in. I ordered a generator and batteries from them during our outage earlier this year. If you have Amazon Prime, 2-day shipping is free and next-day shipping is $1.99/item. If you don't have Amazon Prime, you can still get those options, they will just cost more. Amazon really will get it to you in 1-2 days. You will see the expected delivery day clearly throughout the ordering process so that you can decide if it is worth the shipping. If you are having transportation issues in your area due to damage, give Amazon a call and see if they can help you out with answers about your area.

A Side Note On Mobile Broadband

There are a few mobile broadband companies that now offer pay as you go services. Pay as you go or prepaid is the best choice for those who only need mobile Internet every now and then. As you can tell from above, my favorite is Virgin Wireless due to the pricing plans. If Virgin is not in your area or does not appeal to you, there are other options. In no particular order:

  1. Verizon Wireless
  2. DataJack
  3. NetZero - Amazing plan rates from what I see. You can even get a very low amount of data each month for what appears to be $0.00 each month!
  4. Cricket
  5. Clear
  6. *** FreedomPop *** This is a new service. Get a router by ordering one and paying the deposit fee. On the lowest plan you can get 500 mb FREE a month!!!!! The down side is that FreedomPop's 4G has limited coverage so check the map before you order. The upside is obvious.... FREE 4G!

Possible Public Locations

  • Check around to see what libraries still have power. They often have available Internet as well as heat or air conditioning.
  • Many fast food restaurants now have free wifi
  • Try a coffee shop
  • Drive around until your computer shows a wifi signal

This Article Written Using:

  • MacBook Pro 15"
  • Gas powered generator
  • Virgin Walmart MiFi 2200

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • TTGReviews profile image

      TTGReviews 

      3 years ago

      One of my coworkers has a Verizon Jetpack and uses it whenever he's on the go during work trips.

    • Lwelch profile imageAUTHOR

      Lena Welch 

      5 years ago from USA

      Well, I guess tornado alley isn't broken line alley. Maybe your lines and poles are maintained, knowing the winds may tear them down.

    • wheelinallover profile image

      Dennis Thorgesen 

      5 years ago from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S.

      When I was using the local telephone company for internet I often spent days without internet. It would have been nice to have a way to be online. What to me is amazing is I live in tornado ally. Since 2006 when I returned to my home there has never been an electric outage. I moved to cable internet in 2011 there has never been an outage with it either. My time is coming. (laughing here)

    • Lwelch profile imageAUTHOR

      Lena Welch 

      6 years ago from USA

      Virgin was a lifesaver for me more than once. I have my little modem just hanging out waiting for trouble.

    • HoneyBB profile image

      H Lax 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this useful information. I will be checking into Virgin's prepaid plan. It sounds like a great deal to me.

    • Lwelch profile imageAUTHOR

      Lena Welch 

      6 years ago from USA

      To all losing power due to the hurricane - UGH! I am sooooo sorry. I am sitting here hoping the wind in Ohio from the edge of the storm doesn't take us down.

      If you need a router virgin is a good place to start. Walmart and others carry these routers. If you can't get one that way do to the storm, try amazon. Their next day shipping is fairly low and if you have amazon prime 2 day is free with 1 day only being 1.99. If you are a student you can get amazon prime for free for a while.

    • Lwelch profile imageAUTHOR

      Lena Welch 

      6 years ago from USA

      That is awesome! I hope you have a good stumbler app when you do that (or some local war chalkers). If you are in Virgin's 4G area, I just noticed that the 4G routers are 50% off. I love my 3G one. It was close to $200 when I bought it.... the 4G are at $60 right now. No clue if that will last.

      I keep thinking about getting one and then stopping my data on my iPad and just using the router.

      I hope that you aren't stuck down South in the US where the power is out as I type this!

      Thanks for the comment and the read!

    • Mark Hunt profile image

      Mark Hunt 

      6 years ago

      "Drive around until your computer shows a wifi signal" This is definitely me. LOL... I don’t know why I never thought of a different option. Thank you so much for the tips.

    • profile image

      devjeet 

      6 years ago

      In India, where power cut is normal thing...we use to access internet through my cell phone and it works fine for me.

    • Lwelch profile imageAUTHOR

      Lena Welch 

      6 years ago from USA

      I hope that you never need them - but it was a blessing when we had our outage a while back

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      6 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks for this info--it's good to be aware of options.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)