Flat Rate or Metered

Satellite Internet comes in two flavours: Metered and Flat Fee. The first one charges you for what you use (time or volume wise) and the second one charges one fixed amount for a certain period of time whether you use at 100% or not at all.

It is important to decide before any commitments are made what you (and your crew, guests, owners, …) are expecting from the internet connection. This will allow you to have realistic expectations and stay within your budget.

Metered Maritime VSAT

Metered plans are very attractive if you either have rigourous control over who will be using the internet connection and for which purpose, or if you are going to use it only occasionally to perform practical tasks (sending mail, look up weather, make an occasional phone call, …). Even though the initial cost of the service might be lower than regular VSAT solutions it can become very expensive very quickly.

Metered plans are usually charged by the MByte and costs may vary from USD .5 to USD 10 per MB. If you occasionally use the system to send a few emails tehn you will most likely not have to break teh bank. However, an 800MB movie downloaded by one of your guests or crew at e.g. USD 2.5 will make it an expensive movie.

A ship with 6 people on board (on a rainy day when there is nothing else to do) can easily consume a few Gigabytes of data per day. On a metered system this can be a high price to pay for a cozy afternoon.

The Sky is the limit

If you decide a metered service is best for you think about asking your provider to set a maximum spend on the subscription. That way you will avoid bad suprises.

Flat Rate Maritime VSAT

Flat Rate VSAT will allow you to use your internet connection 24/7 and you will be connected at all time not having to worry about any surprise costs at the end of the month.

You will however have a to pay a fixed monthly fee which will be depending on the network speed you have and the region(s) covered by your satellite plan. A shared regional low speed connection can be as low as USD 150-200 per month.

How Much is Enough ?

Maritime Satellite Internet will never be as fast as land based cabled internet connections due to the finite resources available on a satellite. Each satellite is equipped with a number of transmitters and they have a maximum amount of data they can transmit. Technically very high speeds can be achieved but they are extremely expensive.

Fair Use Policy

Sometimes Flat Rate Services aren’t completely flat. Some services, especially shared flat fee services, will allow you to use your maximum speed only up to a certain amount of data has been transferred (e.g. a few Gigabytes) and will then gradually lower the transmission speed depending on the additional volume you use.

You might never get disconnected but it will become very slow if you have transferred a lot of data. These services are usually advantagous because in comparison to regular flat rate services their prices tend to be lower for a higher maximum speed. But then the higher speeds will let you achieve the thresholds faster …

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