Most important RELIABLE utility
Between batteries, UPS', generators, etc... I can easily weather a power outage--in fact anything under an hour and I don't even need to do a thing. Longer than a day or two and I'll need to refresh my supply of gasoline.
As I learned this past storm, relying on just cable is a mistake. It went out immediately with power in my area (and it was not due to a pole/cabling failure).
I'm looking into the least expensive way to get intermittent tethering access to a smart phone... though right now I'm w/ AT&T goPhone plan on an iPhone, so I don't have it...