A 70% price reduction for satellite broadband services may soon be available

A UK-based media company Wired Ocean, with the support of the European Space Agency, has developed a way of providing high-speed Internet access at sea for less than half the current price. After successful trials on board yachts, ships and commercial vessels around the coasts of Europe, in the Mediterranean and North Sea, the company says its specialised client server will improve Internet speed and cost-effectiveness.

By combining the benefits of both broad and narrow bandwidths utilizing different satellites, the downlink (forward) channel offers a speed of 512 kbps and the uplink (return) channel speed is 9.6 kbps for Globalstar, and up to 64 kbps for Inmarsat. And this, it is claimed, will slash the current tariffs, which have seen some yachtsmen paying as much as $25 (£14) per megabyte at downlink speeds of 10 kbps or less.

The server is especially designed to interface with a tracking TV Receive Only (TVRO) antenna for the downlink with various types of narrow band communications equipment for the uplink. TVRO would be used to receive Internet data while providing signals to an onboard television simultaneously.