Fleet Broadband 150, the Miami intro

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

5 Responses

  1. Russ says:

    FB150 or Open Port, the cost of the equipment is virtually irrelevant. It’s the cost of the service that defines the product and nobody seems to want to discuss the $/MB yet. I will be very surprised if the pricing will allow internet browsing for even 100x the price of what we’re used to spending on land.
    For example, a $5,000/yr BGAN contract buys you 1,200MB (1.2GB). Sounds like a lot, but keep track of your traffic sometime and I think you’ll be shocked at how little that represents. I’m connected through a fairly slow WiFi connection anchored off a small Caribbean island and I’ve had 1.6GB of traffic since this morning. Oops, that would have been more than my annual allotment of BGAN for $5,000!
    I’d be curious to hear if there is any Panbo reader who is spending, or just waiting to spend, their own money on data at that price.

  2. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Good point, Russ. Plus I just learned that the “sub $5000” figure Inmarsat is quoted above is a wholesale price. It looks like FB150 terminals are going to retail somewhere between 6 and 7,000 dollars.
    Me, I’m very pleased to find that I can get a good commercial WiFi connection at my Camden float with just the radio built into my laptop. But I do plan to try higher power WiFi, and also cellular data gear, for coastal cruising.

  3. Gram Schweikert says:

    On Visions of Johanna we have installed an iridium openport system supplied by Globe Wireless. Voice is quite good and reasonably priced at about $0.75/min (with 100 min included in our $73 montly fee) and data charged at $13.20/MB This is certainly expensive, but when I did the math, normal iridium ends up costing almost $100/MB because you pay by the minute and it is so darn slow.
    We should be getting a KVH FB150 to test once they are released (still no word on the exact enclosure) so right now we have a spreader mount with nothing on it, but the wires are run and ready. I will be testing this with Ben and will certainly have more to tell about all this in 2 weeks when we arrive in Cartegena Colombia after our sail from Newport (starting tomorrow or Saturday).

  4. Russ says:

    I found the Open Port pricing at OCENS:
    http://www.ocens.com/iridium/openport.htm
    Gram is correct, that $13.20/MB is cheaper than standard Iridium. But there is a sort of “valley of death” here between acceptable rates for email and for web browsing.
    If the intent is, as it appears to be for Gram, to get better pricing on voice time and email, then assuming you don’t mind the up front $5 – $7K for the equipment, the cost / MB is better. But it’s nonsense to think you can afford to watch real time stock prices flutter by or view your web cam with your Open Port internet connection.

  5. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    And as I learned aboard Visions of Johanna, you can do a lot of regular email in a few minutes with an Iridium phone if you use xGate or OCENS Mail (which are twins, I think).
    But I for one will be very interested to see how OpenPort and FB150 perform on VOJ, and I’m sure Gram and Bill will give them a fair test.
    I believe VOJ is headed straight through to Columbia, except for a pit stop in San Salvador, Bahamas. I wish them excellent sailing, and a minimum of system failures 😉

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