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Old 19-01-2009, 09:22   #1
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Is Skype Really Blocked in Belize ?

We have heard from several cruisers who have been to Belize that Skype is blocked in many locations in that country. This presents a serious problem for us as my wife needs to be able to talk on the telephone for up to 6 hours a day for her job and we were hoping to do that in Belize.

Can anyone provide specifics on the areas where Skype is blocked?

Anyone have any alternatives or workarounds? What are the rates to call U.S. phones from local Belize cell phones?

We would like to have this issue resolved this week so we can leave Roatan where we are at the moment.
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Old 19-01-2009, 10:26   #2
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Not any more, apparently.
Belize Telemedia (BTL, with an internet monopoly) was blocking Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services like Skype, Yahoo, and Microsoft Messenger, up until September 2008. Until then, Virtual Private Networks worked around the block.
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Old 19-01-2009, 15:03   #3
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GordMay,

Thanks for the info. I hope we find Skype viable when we get there. If not, I'll be asking for help with setting up a VPN.
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Old 19-01-2009, 19:38   #4
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Your'e still making her work 6 hrs a day!!

Let me know how to do that please.

The wife just told me about an opening with BCBS as a telephonic case manager.

She is leaning but I am careful to not push too hard.

Maybe one day I can just be the "boat boy".

PS

Can't find your blog on Google (no expert here).

Link??
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Old 20-01-2009, 15:53   #5
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Originally Posted by Dreaming Yachtsman View Post
This presents a serious problem for us as my wife needs to be able to talk on the telephone for up to 6 hours a day for her job and we were hoping to do that in Belize.

Can anyone provide specifics on the areas where Skype is blocked?

Anyone have any alternatives or workarounds? What are the rates to call U.S. phones from local Belize cell phones?
I have extensive experience with Skype as I use it on a satellite connection all the time. If your connection is marginal or perhaps is shared, the quality of the connection drops dramatically. Expect lots of dropped calls, missed moments filled in with white noise and long pauses where you can hear your caller but up to about 2 minutes go by before they can hear you (that is an extreme case -- 30 sec is not so unusual though).

Workaround. A fellow I know uses one of the online chatting programs (I think MSM or maybe Yahoo) that has a function where you can leave a voicemail. He records the part he wants to say and sends it as a voice mail. He receives the same way. It's faster but the communication is not duplex -- then again, Skype is but you can't hear and speak effectively. Expect lots and lots of "Go ahead.'" "No, you go ahead." So I think of the voicemail as the VHF of the internet. Ham is probably more likely a better comparison considering the distances though.

A second issue with his way: I am not sure it's secure; Skype is SSH.

Overall, the telecommuting is not ready for prime time outside major areas with outstanding connectivity.
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Old 21-01-2009, 15:35   #6
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Therapy,
I actually have tried to get the wife to stop working so we can actually enjoy cruising like it should be. She doesn't want to stop and the extra $$ are handy to have so why mess up a good thing?

What is "BCBS"? My wife works as a medical case manager so she has to talk to her clients and their providers to ensure they get the care they need in the most cost effective manner.

My log is at: Log of Yachtsman's Dream. It is a little behind because our computer with ready to post updates was stolen from our boat in Shelter Bay Marina, Panama, in December. I have not taken the time to recreate all that work.
+++++++++++
Maren,
The problems with Skype that you listed are all too familiar to us. ThatchCaye informed me via PM that they use Hughes Net satellite so maybe our Skyping from his resort will not work out either. In that case, I guess we'll have to come back to the Bay Islands or go to Mexico and use a cell phone.

A german couple building a resort here on Roatan told us they use voipcheap.com but I have not had time to research that option yet.
+++++++++++++
Thanks to both of you for responding to my query.
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Old 21-01-2009, 15:50   #7
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Quote:
I hope we find Skype viable when we get there.
Friends were there for 7 years. It works and has worked a long time but the clarity isn't so great. It's not like there is a cheap alternative.
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Old 22-01-2009, 13:27   #8
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Therapy,
I actually have tried to get the wife to stop working so we can actually enjoy cruising like it should be. She doesn't want to stop and the extra $$ are handy to have so why mess up a good thing?

What is "BCBS"? My wife works as a medical case manager so she has to talk to her clients and their providers to ensure they get the care they need in the most cost effective manner.

LOL, great for you both!

BCBS = Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Sorry to hear about your computer. That stuff seems to happen a lot when one is "out there" huh?
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