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Old 28-12-2008, 20:18   #1
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Internet Connectivity in the Bahamas

Hi Cruisers! I'm trying to convince my skeptical husband that we should do an extended cruise in the Bahamas. We are currently landlocked in Texas and I can't stand it for much longer. He is worried that he will not be able to work because he won't be able to find an internet connection. Can anyone tell me where he might be able to pick up the internet? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Stuck in Texas but not permanently!
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Old 28-12-2008, 20:46   #2
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Wifi

There is good wifi connectivity at Grand Bahama Yacht Club in Lucaya GB. Good slips, amenities, and price, esp. compared to US rates
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Old 28-12-2008, 21:17   #3
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Found cheap internet cafes in Nassau a few years ago. Haven't been down island for some time so no idea what might be available further away from "civilization".
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Old 28-12-2008, 21:26   #4
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Land based internet is getting easy almost any place on the planet. The serious issue is the "working" part. That becomes a problem since working is not the same as having fun. Working is after all still working. If he works all the time it means you have to do all the sailing. That could be fun I suppose.
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Old 28-12-2008, 22:08   #5
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Out Island Internet (Out Island Inter.Net Home) has a number of wifi hot spots in the Abacos. Decent service for a reasonable price, considering the Bahamas. You could do a pretty decent cruise through the Abacos and keep a connection through much of it.

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Old 29-12-2008, 08:56   #6
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Ditto what ID says. You can sit at anchor in ALL the major Abaco harbors and enjoy a hi speed wifi connection.
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Old 29-12-2008, 09:00   #7
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Old 29-12-2008, 09:36   #8
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Old 29-12-2008, 17:43   #9
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Depends on where you anchor and your attitude to "stealing" a wifi signal.

I write this at anchor in Manjack Cay, Abacos, Bahamas emailing courtesy of the strong wifi signal of a cruiser friendly house on the island

There are many free wifi hotspots in cafes and bars if you don't like the idea of using someone elses bandwidth.

You no longer have to worry about internet connections when cruising pretty much anywhere in the world. I first used a wifi link on board 5 years ago in a Guatemalan marina, some years before my village in the UK had broadband. I sent articles and photos to UK magazines at anchor in Curacao a couple of years ago.

My business is also internet based and I need to get emails daily. So I also have a Blackberry phone with an international plan. So far I have got a signal every day, where ever I am, even at sea and so can easily download all my emails.

Get out here and enjoy it!!

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Old 05-01-2009, 15:58   #10
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I've been wondering about this very same question.

We'd like to do a 2-month cruise in the Berries and the Exumas next spring, but I run a small business that I can't completely abandon. If I can check e-mail and make some phone calls at least two or three times per workweek, I think I could get by.

We like to cruise away from civilization as much as possible, until supplies run out. We like to find remote beaches, lonely points, empty coves, etc. -- so I can't count on marina Wifi. So for those times when I'm out of free WiFi range, I've been thinking either:

1) A cell phone booster and a really good masthead antenna to pick up cell phone signals up to 40 miles away (so says the booster sales lit -- not sure how true this is). Then I could use a smartphone or Blackberry to both call and check email.

2) Rent a satellite phone with a data plan. Expensive, but maybe on a par with installing the cell phone antenna + booster + paying BaTelCo add-on cell phone fees.

Anyone have experience with either of these two options? Or know how likely it would be that even with a good antenna and booster that I could get cell reception in some of the lonelier stretches of the Exumas?
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Old 07-01-2009, 15:46   #11
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There's more on this question a lot of places on this forum. Here's one of the best threads I've come across so far:
Cell Phones in the Bahamas

My current thinking is to go with a two-pronged approach:

1) A good directional WiFi antenna (Yagi) to pick up signals from a couple of miles away if possible. That will allow us to make calls via Skype and send e-mails when anywhere near hotspots.

2) A cellphone booster and antenna to be able to make calls when within 20+ miles of a cell tower. I have a cruising guide that lists all BaTelCo towers by lat and long, so I just need to map them out and try to stay within 20 miles of one or the other when I need to do business . . . Ideally I'd rent a local SIM and pay local rates ($0.16 to 0.40) for cell minutes. (Instead of the $2.99/minute roaming charges.)

One part that still puzzles me is if we can access e-mail via cellphone or Blackberry. I know Blackberries work in the Bahamas, but the few sites I've checked for renting a local Bahamas SIM for my cell phone state that cell-based "internet access is not available." (?)
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Old 07-01-2009, 16:13   #12
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there are various spots with wifi in the Exumas. From the different anchorages, there are two or three providers in, Georgetown, not counting the hot spots in town, Stanial Cay has wifi free at the marina, Wardwick Wells has wifi for a fee, Pipe Creek, you have to steal a signal , so as you can see if you want wifi you can find it with a decent antenna/extender. And willing to pay a bit for it. In Georgeown I believe it is $20.00 per week, Wardwick Wells is approx. 10.00 per day
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Old 07-01-2009, 18:59   #13
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Quote:
1) A good directional WiFi antenna (Yagi) to pick up signals from a couple of miles away if possible. That will allow us to make calls via Skype and send e-mails when anywhere near hot spots.
You can do about 5 miles over water maybe a bit more but it is a line of sight problem. It also assumes it is an open network. That works fine in Charleston, SC. Friends did it for years there others do it in Norfolk, VA just fine as well. It still requires an open network and a spot to aim for. That will be the serious problem.
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Old 08-01-2009, 08:34   #14
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The more I think about this, the more I'm drawn back to an Iridium phone with data hook-up. That would be more consistently reliable than a cellphone with booster, especially given (what seems) the spotty nature of data services on the BaTelCo cell network. I could rent an Iridium phone for $319 for two months, or buy a used one outright for around $900, which might make sense if we can do this trip every year (once my kids go off to college). Then buy prepaid minutes at 500 min / $595, or $1.19 / min. Cheaper than BaTelCo cell phone roaming (~$3/min). Even if you factor in the rental fee, Iridium minutes come to about $1.83, if you manage to use them all. . . . Iridium Satellite Phone Rentals rent iridium phones sat phone- SatellitePhoneStore.com Maybe also pay $139 for 3 months of X-Gate compression service so I can handle more e-mails on less air time. Now we're up to $2.11 per minute. Still, it's worth it if I can do business a few minutes a day, which makes the whole trip possible. GMN-COMPRESSED SATELLITE EMAIL FOR IRIDIUM,GLOBALSTAR,R-BGAN, BGAN AND OTHER SATELLITE PHONES; ALSO WIRELESS E-MAIL FOR HF SSB PACTOR MODEMS All that, plus a good Yagi antenna (around $120) for WiFi when we can poach it, and a Skype account . . . I had originally liked the cellphone booster idea because it would be a permanent addition to the boat -- useful in the summer for our normal U.S. coastal cruising (Cape Cod, Maine, etc.), where it's not uncommon for us to get out of cell range. So if it worked for the Bahamas, too, it would have been a good investment. But if Bahamas cell phone internet access isn't reliable, that pushes the cell booster down to 3rd on my wish list. That's my current thinking . . . but I'm always open to new info and opinions!
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Old 10-01-2009, 10:31   #15
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Just to add to a few previous posts.

A few free wifi locations. Many locations with coffee etc. My AT&T phone picks up Internet and email from over ten miles.

Sent from my iPhone, Elbow Cay, Bahamas.
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