A service launched today puts Telstra's 3G broadband modems into the carry-on luggage of business travellers and holidaymakers and bridges the time without broadband experienced by those shifting house.
Laptop Connect, which hires out the modems for periods as short as three days, makes buying expensive hotel Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection a thing of the past, said director Jennifer Bridges.
"It's great to use the hotel internet connection but you can't take it with you," Bridges said.
"You end up using it in the morning and evening but the rest of the day is wasted time you're paying for."
Laptop Connect gives customers a Telstra NextG USB modem that has a weekly limit of 1GB or 143MB a day. It is compatible with all flavours of Windows after 2000 and Max OS X 10.5.
When a customer hires a modem, they are allocated a pro-rata data allowance for the period based on the 1GB weekly limit for uploads and downloads.
If the customer transfers more than 143MB on the first day but stays within their overall traffic allowance, they wouldn't be further charged.
A minimum hire is $53.25 and a $200 credit card pre-authorisation, or $56.10 and a $50 pre-authorisation with theft insurance.
Bridges said the plans "scale quickly" depending on the hire period.
"For 10 days it works out at $7 a day or for a couple of weeks it's $6.25 a day," she said.
Hotel Wi-Fi can be up to $25 a day and lacks Laptop Connect's mobility.
Although it's an online business and uses pre-paid envelopes to distribute the modems, there are plans to open kiosks in transit hubs.
Bridges could not reveal details of negotiations but "hoped to have something lined up shortly".
This would also open the possibility of a daily hire, she said.
Laptop Connect is testing Hutchison 3's Mega modems but there was no decision or partnership between the two yet.
Bridges said the service appealed to those moving house while they waited for ADSL, international travellers visiting Australia and businesspeople attending exhibitions.