So I'm giving this little fellow a go: it's a USB modem which purports to give broadband access over 3G (or if you're within coverage, over 3's "Turbo" HSDPA network).

The thought of paying a tenner a month for connectivity at home without all the attached and unused furniture of a BT line etc is attractive - and the idea that my connection goes with me wherever I am *just makes sense*; I suspect the idea of pumping bandwidth into homes over cables might seem a tad quaint one day soon. But the proof of the pudding etc etc.: in Ireland folks had problems with this service when 3 launched it, so I'm going to give it a go for a while before I tell Virgin where to go.

So far, the experience is decent: the device installs OK, suffers being disconnected and reconnected just fine, takes a few seconds to login to the 3 network (and manages to do so on first attempt about 80% of the time, 100% the second time). Connectivity is OK so far; I don't get blisteringly fast broadband (Brighton being outside Turbo coverage for now), but it seems unmediated - I haven't discovered anything I can't do yet - if a little slow compared to my old wired broadband. I get the impression that at some level I'm travelling through an HTTP proxy somewhere which makes me nervous, but SSH and mail being collected on weird ports seems to be tolerated.

How long before we have laptops with embedded 3G connectivity and SIMs, just as we have Bluetooth and Wifi today? For me this is certainly a wi-fi killer: I'll not be paying T-Mobile, Starbucks, BT Openzone or the Cloud a penny from now on, which given that I do this once or twice a month as it stands makes the device pay for itself.

Update: if you're using something like this on capped bandwidth, I thoroughly recommend SurplusMeter for the Mac.