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Internet Access by Phone Data Plan

These days we find ourselves ever more dependant on the internet - and going into withdrawal when we can’t get connected. WiFi has been quite useful the last 6-7 years but is still limited in range; usually in marinas or popular anchorages. But for wider access the only real options have been satellite ($$$$) or mobile phone data plans.

We have been using mobile data plans for a few years now and it is definitely our preferred way to be on the net. Here is a quick summary of how we got on line the last couple of years.

USA - we used T-Mobile and had good data access all along our trip in 2007-2008-2009. It was $40 per month for 5GB I think. Excellent!!! Since the typical cruise in the USA is for at least a few months it makes sense to sign up for something like this.

Caribbean - difficult. Since we were in different islands for just a few days or a few weeks it wasn’t practical to do mobile data.

Bahamas - no data plan available when we were last there. Pity. I think Blackberry users are in luck though.

UK - 3-Three - very good data plan - 5GB data for a good price. We used this with a stick, and also tested it with a "mifi" unit to share the data between our 3 units (2 laptops plus iPod/iPad)

Netherlands - OK - We got a stick here too. (but see MiFi below - it would have meant just buying a data sim instead of a new stick) It was not very good value MB per Euro. But I think this is always improving and changing. We were in touch everywhere in Holland during both cruises there in 2010. So that was good - just pricier than we had become used too.

Denmark - NO - they wouldn’t let us have a data access without having a bank account in Denmark. Hopefully this will change.

Sweden - YES - Comviq - excellent data plan - 5GB data for reasonable rates. We were online in even remotest locations during our whole cruise.

Summary. We will continue to use data plans to get online whenever we can. No more worries about wifi access. Also no worries about wifi security (see discussions on firesheep at Panbo). More and more countries have this available and this is good news for sailors!

Mifi - We were introduced to this excellent gadget by a Dutch sailor. It allows you to share a data connection so you only need one data sim when you come to a new country and all your data devices can connect. Its about the size of a deck of cards. We sat it in the middle of the boat and got online from both laptops wherever they were in the saloon.

Cruising with the Internet has never been better and easier!!!! We were even online out here! It was good to be able to check the weather!
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