Satellite Internet speed doubles
Yesterday KVH announced that ISDN (by-the-minute data) service for its big Fleet 77 Inmarsat communications systems is going from 64 to 128 kilobits per second. And hence “with KVH’s exclusive Velocity™ Acceleration software, broadband data connections as fast as 500 Kbps – roughly the speed of residential DSL or cable Internet service – can be achieved, depending on network traffic and the data being transmitted.” The release says that existing F77 systems are compatible with the upgrade, and seems to imply that 128 Kbps will be charged differently than 64, though the new rates aren’t yet on KVH’s Inmarsat Airtime sheet (a PDF file here). It’s amazing how connected a deep sea vessel can be these days, but the difference between the hardware and costs involved and what’s happening on land, or near to land, remains profound. Some coastal cruisers complain about high power marina WiFi services that cost about $10 per day while Inmarsat ISDN is $7 per minute. And boats using satellite Internet have to be careful about leaving computers online or letting programs like Windows automatically download updates. A few years ago I attended (and wrote about) a communications seminar where several mega yacht captains spoke of accidental $50,000/month Inmarsat bills!