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Old 17-05-2013, 08:21   #1
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Wifi in the Bahamas

Does anybody know if you can pick up WIfi when anchored off the beach at Chub Cay? We're going to be in the Berries in a few weeks and need to pick up Internet on the 30th for a business meeting.

Thanks in advance!,
Jon
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Old 17-05-2013, 08:39   #2
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Re: Wifi in the Bahamas

An alternate option...contact nearby hotels that will allow you internet access for a small fee; hard-wired (non phone modem) connection would be ideal. Hotels like to accommodate business travelers, even if you're not staying with them. Have fun! Mauritz
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Old 20-05-2013, 07:10   #3
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Re: Wifi in the Bahamas

Our experience in the Bahamas in general was that internet was poor and low speed. I presume it was coming in from a satellite server. Never had any luck getting a signal while aboard. Used to go ashore to get passable reception in some places - terrible reception in others. usually no hope of connecting with Skype because of low band width. Some places let you use internet if you buy a beer!! Others like George Town grocery let you have it for free but you need to sit real close to the store front.
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Old 20-05-2013, 12:50   #4
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Re: Wifi in the Bahamas

WE finally gave in a bought a phone from Batelco ( Bahamas telephone company) and use it as a hotspot. The phone runs around $79 and it runs about $20 a month and $20 a gigabyte. It works great as long as we are near a Batelco tower which are in many of the islands.

SF
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Old 21-05-2013, 10:30   #5
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Thanks for everyone's advice! We'll have AT&T phones on board. Can they be used as hotspots through Batelco?
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Old 28-05-2013, 04:33   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkangas
Thanks for everyone's advice! We'll have AT&T phones on board. Can they be used as hotspots through Batelco?
Maybe if they support the band frequency, if quad band then yes also sign up for the international data plan as well as international roaming on your phone. Also when you return it may take hours for the phone to be reestablish on the network
Tom
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Old 28-05-2013, 08:12   #7
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The wifi at chub is available(locked), but the internet is not always connected.

Cellular is pretty good. You should be able to get 3g or worst case 2g(edge). You need to purchase a batelco simcard and data to do this. $15 for sim, many options for data - $30 for 1 gig for 30 days.
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Old 28-05-2013, 08:14   #8
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Re: Wifi in the Bahamas

Your AT&T phone will cost you a fortune to use, if it works at all. You need a GSM wifi device and buy a sim card from BTC. There is a BTC tower on Chub, BUT. We have sat right under a tower and the internet service was horrible. Some of the marinas have slightly better internet connections, but you have to be in the marina and you have to pay for it. Trying to participate in a meeting may be problematic since you will find that often pages won't load, or connections are often dropped an re-connecting may not always work. Here is some info that I posted on our blogs, The Trawler Beach House: What Cruisers Want To Know About The Bahamas . Chuck
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Old 28-05-2013, 13:04   #9
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We were anchored at Chub Cay a few weeks ago after spending five months in The Exumas and Eleuthera. While in The Bahamas we used a smartphone, an iPad, and an aircard, all with Batelco SIM cards at $30 a month for 1 GB. We found that the iPad worked great in almost all locations, even when not near a Batelco tower. For example I was online with the iPad while crossing from Georgetown to Long Island. At Chub we had a very good connection on the iPad while anchored. There was no other wifi available either free or for sale. Data on a smartphone also works well, but we preferred to use the iPad. Incidentally, Chris Parker just started making his webcast available on the iPad for subscribers.

If you have an iPad 3 you can use it as a hotspot for all your devices, although speeds tend to slow down when going through the hotspot. You can't use the wifi-only iPad models as you must put a Batelco SIM card in it. Unlike cell phones, the iPad is not locked, so no problem going back to your US provider when you return to the States. You just take out the Batelco card and put your US provider's card back in. An unlocked aircard works OK in most locations, but a smartphone and iPad have faster connections. In many places you can buy wifi, but it's usually expensive and you need a good wifi extender to get the signal on your boat. Many restaurants have free wifi if you eat or drink there. Occasionally you'll see a wifi called Clear Channel, which is free and seems to be a public wifi for Bahamians and tourists. There are very few non-encrypted wifi's and of course not safe to use. Our unlocked smartphone ($79 at Batelco) worked as a hotspot and tethered, but oddly it worked as a hotspot with our Dell computer, the iPad, and an iPhone, but not with our Mac computer. So, if you have a Mac, check that it picks up the hotspot signal before you buy a Batelco smartphone if you want to use it for a hotspot. The smartphone model we have is a Dash Blu, very popular at the Batelco stores.

Overall, wifi coverage has improved greatly over the past few years in The Bahamas. My recommendation for the fastest most reliable service would be an iPad. Often you can get the data cards on sale for $20 or less for 1 GB. If you go over a GB before the month is up they slow you down but rarely cut you off. I was online every day for extended periods of time and only went over the 1 GB one month. Of course I didn't stream anything or use Skype. The only problem we had with Internet speed was at Staniel Cay, even in the Batelco office. There we bought time on Exuma Wifi, which worked great. In the Exuma Land and Sea Park there is no phone or Internet signal. Everywhere else the iPad connection was fast. Once you get the SIM card it is easy to put another GB on either online or through a phone connection. You don't need to go back to a Batelco. Just buy a few data cards and use them as needed or to add time online you can use a credit card.

I made a phone call back to the US every night for five months (had to call an autistic daughter) and the only time I didn't have a phone signal was in Warderick Wells. I did have a weak one in Cambridge Cay which allowed me to make the call. Wherever I had a voice signal I had a data signal and that was everywhere between Bimini and Long Island as we'll as Eleuthera.

When you return to the States if you have a Batelco phone, you can add $5 to the voice or data every three months to keep the same number and SIM card. If you go back in six months, you will need to buy a new SIM card with a new number because they will give your old number to someone else if it's not kept active.

Jan
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Old 02-06-2013, 19:36   #10
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Re: Wifi in the Bahamas

I was using free wifi ffrom my boat in chubcay in 2005!!! before the remodeling.
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Old 02-06-2013, 20:15   #11
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Great Harbour Cay marina has wifi.
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:41   #12
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Re: Wifi in the Bahamas

Most major marinas have wifi, but very few of them are free. If you must count on wifi for specific meetings or conferences, just know that you can't always count on wifi in the Bahamas, and you can't count on getting a strong connection for most meeting programs. Video conferencing will probably be very poor. Count on dropped connections and slow service. It works OK for checking email or browsing most, but not all web pages. There are some paid services that can be purchased at a high cost that are better than BTC connections. Since the original poster needed to connect on the 30th of last month, maybe they can let us know how it worked out. Chuck
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:55   #13
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Re: Wifi in the Bahamas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waterwayguy View Post
Most major marinas have wifi, but very few of them are free. If you must count on wifi for specific meetings or conferences, just know that you can't always count on wifi in the Bahamas, and you can't count on getting a strong connection for most meeting programs. Video conferencing will probably be very poor. Count on dropped connections and slow service. It works OK for checking email or browsing most, but not all web pages. There are some paid services that can be purchased at a high cost that are better than BTC connections. Since the original poster needed to connect on the 30th of last month, maybe they can let us know how it worked out. Chuck
Just a note, right around the corner (well, island corner) is the Berry Island Club, where you can get a mooring for about $15 a day and have access to the "club" where the wifi is free. Also has a tiny bar and restaurant.
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Old 03-06-2013, 07:42   #14
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Re: Wifi in the Bahamas

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Just a note, right around the corner (well, island corner) is the Berry Island Club, where you can get a mooring for about $15 a day and have access to the "club" where the wifi is free. Also has a tiny bar and restaurant.
The moorings may or may not be available and the quality questionable at this time. We have had recent reports that they are in serious need of maintenance. It is a great place to stop in settled conditions. Strong currents and easterly winds can make it very uncomfortable at times. If moorings are available, current price is $25.00 per day but it changes. Chuck
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Old 10-06-2013, 04:48   #15
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Thanks for advice everyone. Due to weather we never went over. Ended up trying to run straight from Miami to Charleston...
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