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Old 17-06-2015, 15:18   #1
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How common is wifi service while at anchor

I have heard that some places have wifi service while at anchor. Has anyone used this service
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Old 17-06-2015, 15:37   #2
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Re: How common is wifi service while at anchor

Never heard of any, never encountered one. Even wifi in marinas doesn't work very well.

Why would any business or individual broadcast a wifi signal out to an anchorage for strangers to use?
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Old 17-06-2015, 15:50   #3
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Re: How common is wifi service while at anchor

A few years back there were a lot of non password private WIFI sites out there. We were one of them. That no longer seems to be the case. Everybody is hip to the possibility of someone with bad intentions monitoring their site. Can't remember when the last time I saw a WIFI that didn't require a password at other than public sites sponsored by businesses or municipalities. Not to say they don't exist but you better anchor real close to a Starbucks if you want WIFI on the boat.
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Old 17-06-2015, 15:59   #4
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Re: How common is wifi service while at anchor

Would you pay for that service if it was available?
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Old 17-06-2015, 16:35   #5
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Re: How common is wifi service while at anchor

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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
A few years back there were a lot of non password private WIFI sites out there. .........................
I see this same change as roverhi observes. I'm still using free wifi when I can pick it up, ...libraries, city docks, community centers, hospitals, schools, some marinas, restaurants & pubs, etc.,however, they are increasingly hard to find. I'm here on my laptop with my flip phone nearby. Tomorrow we'll be cruising north and I probably won't be able to return to the Cruisers Forum for a few days.

Soon I'll give up holding back and give up my $25/month communication bill for something that allows me access.
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Old 17-06-2015, 16:37   #6
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Re: How common is wifi service while at anchor

Google hothothotspot and you will see a good service for sailors in the Caribbean. Maybe you can contact them about becoming a provider.
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Old 17-06-2015, 16:46   #7
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Re: How common is wifi service while at anchor

Miami Beach has free wifi and you can get it while anchored.
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Old 17-06-2015, 17:00   #8
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Re: How common is wifi service while at anchor

I am trying to figure out a business model to serve boaters at anchor. 16 years of driving trains has about done it for me. I am not looking for a million dollar business. Just something to keep my head above water . And to be close to the ocean to learn how to sail. And get into a boat down the road. If I provided internet service. That could also be a platform to advertise other services. Deliveries, laundry service, menu's from local restaurants that we would deliver for. You guys are the ones with the answers. I have got a lot of good input on here so far. I have seen hothothotspot getting bad reviews. I don't know? Me and the wife are ready to make a move. And I could think of nothing better than serving you guys . And getting to hear of your travels all at the same time. Any input with this dream of mine would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 17-06-2015, 17:18   #9
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Re: How common is wifi service while at anchor

If your looking to make money from it, there are no lack of pay WiFi services all around that provide services targeted towards boaters. Even here in French Polynesia (there are at least 3 different services).

There are some that offer service in only one location, and some that offer their service is different places so you can use the same purchased time in different places.

The technology used is called a Captive Portal.

And with Google, you will likely find some of the bigger WiFi providers (Beacon WiFi comes to mind).
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Old 17-06-2015, 17:27   #10
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Re: How common is wifi service while at anchor

To have any chance of turning a livable profit you would need to have a variety of hotspot locations available at anchorages that are popular enough to be crowded regularly. You might think the overhead and setup cost would be low, but I'm not so sure that's the case.

My experience has been that sailors are cheap folks (especially the ones at anchorages). Getting them to pay the amount of money it'd take to make this business model work probably is not viable.

Those who are tech savvy (or tech comfortable) will use their smart phone as a wifi hotspot. Those who are non-tech savvy probably won't open their laptop to look for an internet connection, either because: they won't expect to find one, have other things to do or simply don't have a strong enough attachment to the internet to desire paying $15+ per day for it.

With that said, wifi hotspots at popular mooring/guest slip areas would be much more lucrative (I'm thinking locations like Avalon, Catalina Island). Usually if you moor at Avalon you intend to spend some time in the city (not necessarily the case if you're at an anchorage). For this reason, local establishment advertisement services would be a much easier sell. Plus people at anchorages often have the "sailing is free!" mentality. People at moorings are generally willing to spend money to make their experience more comfortable/enjoyable.

Additionally, it will be much cheaper to get a wifi hotspot going and maintained for a mooring field located within an internet connected town/city since the infrastructure is already there. Off in the boonies at an anchorage? Not so much. If you are thinking of putting it in places that are so far from civilization they might require satellite driven internet, I'd forget about any chances of profitability.

Honestly, this is not a business I'd be interested in getting into anywhere except the most densely moored/slipped areas (and even then, I'm skeptical the money coming in would cover the money going out, let alone living expenses).
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Old 17-06-2015, 17:33   #11
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Too cheap to pay

It has been my experience that the pricier the marina / hotel, the less likely they are to have free Wi-Fi and even after you agree to pay the exorbitant hourly fee, the less likely that their server is actually working. However - and this is an empirically determined fact (perhaps even a fundamental law of nature) - cruiser hangout bars and cafés near marinas nearly always have free Wi-Fi and it ALWAYS works. Don't ask me why or how - it's just true. You simply order a beer (probably not free) and enjoy the free connection. If you anchor close enough to the bar you might even be able to connect from on-board - 'cos now you know the password!!
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Old 17-06-2015, 17:53   #12
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Re: How common is wifi service while at anchor

I can speak to that. I subcontract installation and maintenance for a large hospitality WiFi provider. Think big college campuses, oceanfront resorts, ski resorts, marinas. The financial outlay for the hardware, installation labor and the required high bandwidth internet circuit is not inconsiderable. A typical deal involves installation of the full infrastructure at no cost to the property and all hardware is maintained without question for five years. They make their money back with $15/month subscriptions.

Throw in the required hardware and software to manage the captive portal layer, customer billing and subscription tracking, help desk support folks and maintenance techs for when **** breaks down, that one computer challenged sailor down the way can't figure out how to connect their new wireless printer to the WiFi, or just forgets their password, etc, etc, etc. The costs adds up quick.

I'm not certain how they remain viable but they've been doing it a long time and they always pay their invoices.
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Old 17-06-2015, 18:09   #13
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Re: How common is wifi service while at anchor

I was thinking of the moorings around Saint John Water Island Saint Thomas. What is an average stay in moorings like that. A couple days? A week? When you are on your boats . Anywhere in the USVI or BVI . Do you get online? If so . How do you do it ? Cell got to be slow and expensive. My thinking was more on the lines of 3 to 5 dollars a day. At 4 dollars a day for a boat that stays 5 days. That's 20 dollars. Now if you could get 20 boats in that mooring field a week staying 4 to 7 days. That's roughly 400 a week in one mooring field. Now USVI has several mooring fields. If I could get 3 to pull those numbers. that's 1200 a week. No labor. Repeater location costs would be an issue. But I am sure businesses would be happy to oblige for free add placements . I set up the sight and you pay by charge card as long as you use it. That is kind of my train of thought for this. Also the add space I could sell for boat repair ,services,ect. I just do not know the length of stay and the other forms of internet access boaters get and use. But I know almost everyone I know is on the computer at least once a day here. This is just rough idea . I am open to any suggestions of services you guys would desire
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Old 17-06-2015, 18:14   #14
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Re: How common is wifi service while at anchor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Never heard of any, never encountered one. Even wifi in marinas doesn't work very well.

Why would any business or individual broadcast a wifi signal out to an anchorage for strangers to use?
Kenomac, allow me to restore your faith in the human race. At least until a few years ago, and maybe still now, a computer store in Cocoa Florida has been broadcasting a free wifi signal out into the anchorage for anyone to use. No password needed.

There also was, and still may be, a free signal in the Peck Lake anchorage just south of Stuart. We would sometimes sit there for days waiting for the weather to break for a Gulf Stream crossing.
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Old 17-06-2015, 18:46   #15
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Re: How common is wifi service while at anchor

Professional beer fetcher Wiling to work for sailing lessons.lol
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