Sacramento, California (NAPSI) - If you’re out and about and need to connect to the Internet, you basically have two options: public Wi-Fi or mobile broadband.

Public Wi-Fi hotspots, usually provided by coffee shops, restaurants and airports, give people with Wi-Fi-enabled devices the ability to connect to that business’s Internet connection. Sometimes the business provides the hotspot for free and sometimes it charges customers to log on.

There are pluses and minuses to Wi-Fi. On the plus side, you can go online relatively cheaply from a number of places. And increasingly, businesses, especially hotels and restaurants, are providing free Internet access to attract customers. In some places, once you log on, you can stay online as long as you like and use as much data as you want.

On the minus side, you can only use Wi-Fi while you’re at the café, restaurant or airport that is providing it. And because it’s an unsecured public Internet connection, data transmitted over the network, like credit card numbers and other personal information, can be vulnerable to hackers and data thieves. Lastly, public Wi-Fi connections can be slow, especially when many users are logged on to the shared network.

The second option is mobile broadband, which continues to expand to additional cities nationwide. With a mobile broadband device and a monthly data plan, you can access the Internet with your laptop, netbook or tablet anywhere within that service’s coverage area. Whether you are waiting for the kids to finish practice, sitting in the park on a sunny afternoon or waiting for your next flight, mobile broadband puts the Internet at your fingertips. Plus, mobile broadband provides a private, encrypted connection, making user data much safer than it would be on a public Wi-Fi network.

Mobile broadband is still evolving. It can be expensive, sometimes up to $70 a month, and many plans require a long-term contract, but that’s changing. In fact, a new service from NetZero® offers superfast 4G mobile broadband data plans for as little as $9.95 per month with the purchase of an access device. Customers have a choice of two devices: the NetZero 4G HotSpot™, which can connect up to eight Wi-Fi-enabled devices simultaneously, or the NetZero 4G Stick™, which connects one user at a time via a USB port. With the purchase of either device, you can even try the service for up to a year for free. You can find out more about mobile broadband from NetZero at