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Old 13-03-2016, 09:28   #1
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Internet in the Pacific North West?

Does anyone know any good options for getting internet in the pacific north west on the water?
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Old 13-03-2016, 14:44   #2
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re: Internet in the Pacific North West?

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Originally Posted by BigNickMontana View Post
Does anyone know any good options for getting internet in the pacific north west on the water?
It's a big place with two countries involved...some specifics might help

AFAIK your only real options are cell phones in a lot of places and in a lot of other places (north of Desolation Sound) you are likely relying on marina's crappy wifi. Either way you really chew through batteries and aren constantly recharging the damn things. Unless you are going to go for a full offshore system at which point where you are is irrelevant.
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Old 13-03-2016, 14:47   #3
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re: Internet in the Pacific North West?

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It's a big place with two countries involved...some specifics might help

AFAIK your only real options are cell phones in a lot of places and in a lot of other places (north of Desolation Sound) you are likely relying on marina's crappy wifi. Either way you really chew through batteries and aren constantly recharging the damn things. Unless you are going to go for a full offshore system at which point where you are is irrelevant.
I am going to be in the Seattle area, not sure exactly where as I have not bought the boat yet.

I live in Montana so it isn't exactly and option to keep it at home.

I have looked at off shore systems but they are $$$$$$$$$$$$$

I was just looking for options that wasn't using my cell or crappy marina WiFi as you put it.
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Old 13-03-2016, 14:52   #4
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re: Internet in the Pacific North West?

Not so much available then. We signed up for Shaw high speed when we pulled into Victoria for the winter. Wired right into the boat :-) It gives us access to their Shaw Go program which is a network of free access points. We will probably keep paying the Shaw bill after we cast off as Shaw has blanketed most of the urban areas with wifi.

Take a look around, maybe one of the U.S. providers offers something similar; it would be odd if a Canadian telecom was more innovative than an American one.

Good luck
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Old 13-03-2016, 15:08   #5
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re: Internet in the Pacific North West?

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Originally Posted by Macblaze View Post
Not so much available then. We signed up for Shaw high speed when we pulled into Victoria for the winter. Wired right into the boat :-) It gives us access to their Shaw Go program which is a network of free access points. We will probably keep paying the Shaw bill after we cast off as Shaw has blanketed most of the urban areas with wifi.

Take a look around, maybe one of the U.S. providers offers something similar; it would be odd if a Canadian telecom was more innovative than an American one.

Good luck
Just about every cell company has some plan for internet access here . Who are you currently with for cell? Consider getting a data only plan with a mifi u it from them .
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Old 13-03-2016, 15:10   #6
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re: Internet in the Pacific North West?

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Just about every cell company has some plan for internet access here . Who are you currently with for cell? Consider getting a data only plan with a mifi u it from them .
I have Verizon, and they get way too expensive way too fast.
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Old 13-03-2016, 16:03   #7
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re: Internet in the Pacific North West?

Nick look into t mobile they have unlimited plans starting at $20 a month for 2gigs at 4g speed and the rest at 2g speed up to $90 a month for 225 gigs 4g with remainder at the slower 2g speed. That is for a mifi hotspot unit. (Most smart phones have a hotspot feature.)
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Old 13-03-2016, 19:15   #8
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re: Internet in the Pacific North West?

We have used Verizon and ATT on the US side in the PNW, and Telus in BC. Be very careful of roaming charges from either, particularly near the boarder where the devices can roam when not expected. We found coverage pretty much everywhere.

If you go north of Seymour narrows, coverage really starts to thin out. And once past Port McNeil and Port Hardy, there is essentially no coverage at all until you get to Prince Rupert, with only one or two isolated exceptions. SHearwater/Bella Bella has coverage, and I think Ocean Falls too, but I'm pretty sure that's it.
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Old 13-03-2016, 20:31   #9
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re: Internet in the Pacific North West?

Hartley Bay. Maybe Klemtu if their tower is working. But yep, long gaps between towers.

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Old 13-03-2016, 20:47   #10
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re: Internet in the Pacific North West?

Verizon 4G hotspot worked well for us as we anchored in various places from Port Townsend over to Eagle Harbor. No other experiences there though. Sprint hotspot worked out in Neah Bay though. Surprise on that one.
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Old 13-03-2016, 21:22   #11
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re: Internet in the Pacific North West?

I use Verizon traveling between the Columbia River and Alaska. I pay for both US and Canada data coverage when cruising. I usually can connect as far as 25 miles offshore when cell towers are present. It's not cheap and not for streaming much video. Most ports you stop in have WIFI. A few have wired internet. Where I winter (Columbia River) I use satellite internet. Cable isn't available. If you're in one place satellite works ok. Goes off in snow or heavy rain. Look into Exede.
Most dockside WIFI is slow. A few better marinas have cable but are at the top end of dockage pricing.
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Old 14-03-2016, 09:22   #12
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re: Internet in the Pacific North West?

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Does anyone know any good options for getting internet in the pacific north west on the water?
Hi Nick. Just curious. Are you the guy that bought the 30' Benford dory?
I was very interested in that boat but there was a guy from Montana that had first grabs on it.
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Old 14-03-2016, 16:51   #13
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re: Internet in the Pacific North West?

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Originally Posted by BigNickMontana View Post
Does anyone know any good options for getting internet in the pacific north west on the water?
Hi Nick,

It depends upon what you want/need to use the internet for... At best, we can stream a movie; at worst, we can still do SMS and text-only email. These using a combination of cell and sat phones. [We have a WiFi booster, but open WiFi seems to be extinct, and I understand why...]

We traverse a good chunk of the PNW (Alaska-British Columbia-Washington; mostly anchoring out) and have always had great success using our US AT&T mobile phones as a hot spot when we can receive a cell signal...

One of our AT&T cell phones typically lives in a booster cradle with an external antenna and feeds the internet connection via our wireless router [WiriePro- which also brings in distant WiFi, but there is rarely open, available WiFi these days... The WiriePro also has its own cell modem with its own data only SIM card if you don't want to use your cell phone... ]

When we cannot pick-up a cell or WiFi signal, we rely on our sat phone using UUplus email service for Wx, email, SMS, and voice.

This is what we could afford vs., say, an Iridium Pilot or the like.

Quote:
Sidebar re: Cell data: We use a Canada Bell prepaid SIM in an older unlocked iPhone when in Canada- where data is too expensive for us for all but the barest of essentials... We don't let that influence our duration of stay, however, as it is such beautiful country...

AT&T is playing/teasing with some reasonable appearing Canada roaming options (i.e., I haven't read the fine print yet...) that cost about the same as the Bell Canada prepaid plan, so next time we visit we may just stay with AT&T...

Cell data is an area that is in continual flux- not always in favor of the consumer- at least in the US and Canada...

We were lucky enough to keep upping our AT&T cell data plan during what I call the 'data wars' a couple of years back. We currently get 40GB/month roll-over data for US$150/month on a family plan [in addition to the base family cell plan fees...]

Since cell data is all we have [i.e., can afford...] since we adopted this lifestyle, 40GB/month is about right for us- when combined with land WiFi as needed for keeping up with upgrading too many computing devices onboard...
I have detailed posts on these topics on my blog, and will be happy to provide those links if you are interested.

Best wishes with your new boat-to-be...

Cheers!

Bill
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Old 14-03-2016, 22:42   #14
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re: Internet in the Pacific North West?

Hi Lepke,

The inside passage from 48 deg. N. to about Cape Caution is well covered by Telus service. After that you get Telus service in the Bell Bella area, Klemtu and Hartley Bay. Then you have to go all the way to Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii to get to the next Telus service area. Other ISPs, such as Bell Canada and Rogers lease tower space from Telus, but they do not necessarily provide service in all those areas. Check the coverage maps, but keep in mind that they tend to think land users (i.e. higher then us boaters).

Pruth Bay has a publicly available WiFi - free, but it should not be used to download large amounts of data. A few other marinas may have WiFi, but I am not familiar with them since we normally anchor out.

Cheers, ....Erik.
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Old 15-03-2016, 10:02   #15
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re: Internet in the Pacific North West?

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Originally Posted by uncle stinkybob View Post
Hi Nick. Just curious. Are you the guy that bought the 30' Benford dory?
I was very interested in that boat but there was a guy from Montana that had first grabs on it.
Wasn't me, I haven't bought a boat yet, when I do more than likely it will be a Pearson 36, unless I win the lottery then I'll be getting a Leopard 47 Cat, but we know the odds of that right!
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