Fleet Broadband Small Vessel Plans: Curiouser and Curiouser

As Fishing and Leisure plans sunset this month, Inmarsat’s new Small Vessel Plans (SVP) represent the satellite provider’s attempt to both appease its Fleet Broadband (FBB) owners and impede the deployment of Fleet Broadband as the poor stepchild in VSAT/FBB failover marriages.  At first blush, SVPs will far more quickly squash sales of FBB as VSAT backups than will they give reason for pleasure yachts, workboats and fishing class vessels to pen ballads exalting their virtues.  There follows a description of these new postpaid and prepaid SVPs and their potential role in the constellation of Fleet Broadband airtime plans.

In their purest sense, SVP postpaid bundles pack 5 MB of Fleet Broadband airtime into $99 per month. Megabytes used during that month which are beyond the first included 5 are billed at $22 each. There is a one-month minimum on the plan.

While the $99 monthly rate is now the lowest monthly access fee available to FBB users, the imbedded and overage rates are the highest such rates offered by Inmarsat for background IP on any platform.  So yes, it’s the cheapest way to keep your terminal active. But in doing so you pay a dear price if you happen to exceed your allotted 5 MB.

Now for the kicker. Remember that go-kart you had as a kid? How no matter how hard you pressed the gas pedal it would only go so fast because Dad had messed with the throttle? Well, Inmarsat is dear old Dad. They have throttled the SVP plans to a maximum speed of 32 kbaud (See update on the ‘throttling’ issue in comments associated with this blog entry).  With any other package, your FBB 150, 250 and 500 are capable of 150, 284 and 496 kbaud speeds, respectively. But if you’ve activated under an SVP plan, Dad has you maxed out at 32 kbaud. Too bad.

For some reason, Dad also doesn’t want you running on a bigger chassis. Inmarsat requires resellers to ask you the size of the vessel on which the FBB will be installed and wishes to use the SVP. If that vessel is larger than 300 gross tons (GT) the SVP is off-limits. We can speculate Inmarsat has identified these larger vessels as the prototypical ones carrying VSAT and which may be looking for a failover service, such as FBB or OpenPort/Pilot. Of course, if failover does occur on such a vessel we’re talking tens if not hundreds of megabytes of overage. Why a plus 300 GT vessel would then be willing to risk paying the highest data rate Inmarsat can conjure up for a savings of less than $100 per month in plan costs (the Standard plan is $190 per month with an overage rate of $16/MB) is hard to visualize. More likely they would choose a Standard plan with overage costs which are 30% lower than SVP. Or they’d choose a Pilot.

Up to this point in the blog, everything we’ve discussed has focused on the postpaid version of SVP. A prepaid version of the plan is also available. With the extension of prepaid Inmarsat airtime to the entire world after the inclusion of the US market on September 1 this prepaid plan warrants closer inspection. Similarities between the post and prepaid versions of the SVP plan start and end with the 32 kbaud and less than 300 GT limits already discussed. Three prepaid SVPs are available: 60 units, 100 units and 200 units for $66, $95, and $170 respectively (Inmarsat sells prepaid airtime in bundles of  ‘units’ which are then converted to minutes for voice calls and megabytes for data according to specified conversion ratios). At the conversion rate of 10 units per 1 MB proscribed by Inmarsat, these three bundles offer 6, 10, and 20 mb of data each. Consequently, the $/MB cost of these prepaid plans is substantially lower than that of the postpaid. Megabytes from the 200 unit bundle, at $8.5/MB, cost just less than 40% of the postpaid plan’s $22/MB rate. So what’s the catch? Shouldn’t everyone be purchasing prepaid unit bundles under the SVP plan?

The answer is, ‘It depends’. If you are certain you are going to use the units, and use them quickly, most certainly consider a prepaid option. However, purchased prepaid units have a 60 day validity. That is, just as Cinderella’s glass slipper, after 60 days, all those units turn into a pumpkin. They are worthless. To exacerbate this point, Inmarsat will deduct 14 units from your pin balance each week if you have not used at least 14 units of voice or data traffic that week. Use zero units and Inmarsat will deduct 14. Use 7, Inmarsat takes another 7. Use 14, Inmarsat takes zero.

Evidently the 14 unit auto-deduction gymnastic is necessary for Inmarsat’s accounting and tax purposes. But it should also be a huge calculation in your decision to go the prepaid route or not. At 14 units per week, in 4 weeks a 60 unit card is gone (4 x 14 =  56) and a 100 unit card is more than half gone. Obviously, the fact that units are valid for 60 days on a 60 unit card is meaningless.  Moreover, wait 3 to 4 weeks to use any of the units you purchased with your 100 unit pin and that really attractive $9.5/MB rate you thought you were buying has now risen to an effective rate of $16 to $22/MB. So be careful. If buying into a prepaid SVP plan, do so knowing that you are going to be using units for your benefit from week one!

On the plus side, units can be bought in sets and combined together to increase available volume and extend the validity of the units. For example, a 100 unit and a 200 unit card could be activated together giving you 30 MB of data valid for 120 days. But the 14 unit per week ‘fee’ is still in play.  Users also may switch their SVP sim between prepaid and postpaid status as needed. However, Inmarsat charges a $50 activation fee each time you move in the prepaid direction.

So with all this said and done, for who is the SVP the right plan? The SVP customer is potentially someone who:

  • is not using their FBB but wants to keep their terminal active at the lowest possible monthly fee; or
  • is someone who is using their terminal for email and weather with accelerated email and weather services such as OCENS Mail and WeatherNet where the 32 kbaud filter is largely unnoticeable; or
  • is someone who typically uses less than 8 or 9 MB of data per month; or
  • is taking discrete, short trips or seasons during which they have clear plans for using their FBB and can put to immediate use the prepaid units they have just purchased.

Not the broadest cross-section of the broadband market is it? Which returns us to our original point. The characteristics and complexities of the SVP plans seem less geared toward promoting the use of Fleet Broadband in the small vessel market than the do to preventing its use elsewhere. Curious. Nevertheless, OCENS stands ready to help you make the airtime decision which is best for your individual needs. Don’t hesitate to contact us at 206.878.8270, sales@ocens.com or visit our website at www.ocens.com.

BGAN Prepaid Airtime is Now Available for Use in the U.S.

Inmarsat BGAN prepaid airtime is now available for use in the U.S. beginning Sept. 1st! The new coverage includes currently active plans as well as new activations. With BGAN prepaid, there are no monthly or maintenance fees, any size airtime bundle has a validity of 2 years, and any unused airtime rolls over with a refill before the expiration date.

BGAN prepaid continues to offer preferred rates for use in South America, China, Russia, and the Southern African countries (includes Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe).

Contact OCENS with questions or see the new BGAN Service Agreement and Airtime Plans here.

Portal Mode the best feature in the new WeatherNet 3 software

With the new release of WeatherNet 3 back in June, OCENS software developers created some new features with the aspiration of making WeatherNet 3 with an intuitive interface that is convenient and powerful. One of these new features is the Portal Mode: a new means of using WeatherNet that integrates a handful of functions to create a seamless experience.

The thoughts behind the Portal Mode feature are to make the requests of WeatherNet product files more accessible with the click of a button, along with being able to update WeatherNet product files based on the user’s Wizard selections and current geographic location whether or not WeatherNet 3 is linked to a GPS. (GPS integration is another new feature of WeatherNet 3)

Of the three main modes  of  WeatherNet 3 (Basic, Library, and Portal), Portal mode is the most robust due to its ability to identify, acquire, and update new products relative to the user’s wizard selection and current location. Portal mode provides quick access to just the data you want without losing access to the immense storehouse of weather and ocean products which is the WeatherNet library.

The Portal mode building blocks are:

1)- The Launch Wizard button (in the upper left corner) which links  the user to the new Content Wizard in order to select  the type of weather files they are interested . The Content Wizard provides pages of content based on the different types of weather data: like GRIB data, weather charts, text weather forecasts, etc. that make up the WeatherNet 3 weather product list.

2)- Buttons (across the top of the screen) that link to specific pages of content in the Content Wizard to allow the user to revise their weather product selection or focus on just one or two types of products of particular interest to them

3)- The Content List (also called the Content Tree; on the left edge of the Portal mode screen) is a list of all the weather products selected by the wizard based on the user’s weather interests and geographic location.  Because it is the Wizard’s function to identify all weather products relevant to the user’s interests and location, we recommend that you check the Content List after finishing the Content Wizard to fine tune your selection and make sure that only the files you need are selected before hitting the download button.

4)- The Refresh List button (under the Content List)  will update the Content List based on movements in the Map area.

5)- The Re-Center & Reload Map button (at the base of the screen) is useful if the WeatherNet software is linked to a GPS. Clicking the Re-Center & Reload Map button will re-center the map to the user’s present geographic location and refresh the Content List relative to this updated location and the user’s wizard selections.

What makes the Portal Mode the best feature in the new WeatherNet 3 ?                 Portal mode heightens WeatherNet 3 functionality by using its ability to dig and inquire into the WeatherNet file database. It does that by using as a reference the user’s interest selection and current location to provide a set of suggested products that matches user criteria.

For a visual instruction about the Portal Mode on WeatherNet 3 click on this link http://www.youtube.com/user/OCENSSupport

New OCENS shows and events have been added

See all of the OCENS shows and events here. http://www.ocens.com/ShowsEventsNews.aspx

The Curtain Lifts: Inmarsat Opens Up Prepaid Service to US Customers

Perhaps Noah felt this way when the rains stopped and dry land began to appear. A mixture of ‘Thank goodness’ with ‘It’s about darn time!’  Who knows what or how much it took to break the long-standing impasse with Freedom Wireless over access to the prepaid platform. Regardless, Monday’s announcement from Inmarsat that effective September 1 prepaid airtime plans can be used in the US, its territories and coastal waters came as welcome news.

With the announcement, ISatPhone, BGAN, FleetPhone and Fleet Broadband customers can now benefit from the prepaid plans that have heretofore been off-limits in the US. For IsatPhone customers, prepaid plans can offer lower airtime rates without the overhead of a monthly service fee. Instead, money spent on airtime is used just for that.

Prepaid BGAN plans enjoy not only a low airtime cost but also 2 year validities on most such plans.  This means that customers have two years to use the airtime associated with their prepaid plan.

For the Fleet Broadband customer, the news is noteworthy because it makes accessible to US customers the 60, 100 and 200 unit prepaid Small Vessel Plans (SVP). Although the units linked to these plans only carry 60 day validities and a bandwidth cap of 32 kbaud, the cost per MB to the end-user is half of that associated with most other low volume Fleet Broadband plans, including the SVP’s postpaid sibling.

Disaster management, trip-oriented IsatPhone users and fishing operations working in short-term seasons are just some of the user groups which stand to benefit the most from these newly available prepaid options.  Not to be neglected, however, are those global customers who can now extend the use of their prepaid Inmarsat airtime to their business and pleasure trips to the US. Effective September 1, the units owned by thesee users will automatically begin to work in the US and its territories. One phone, immediately available worldwide at the lowest possible airtime rates.

For further information on the newly available prepaid plans, Inmarsat, or other satellite solutions addressing your communication needs, contact OCENS at sales@ocens.com or 206.878.8270.

Basic Computer Networking Terminology

This blog post will go over some basics of networking terminology. To learn more, please visit the references listed at the end of this post or give us a call here at OCENS.

 

Network Designations – the following designations presented here explain networks in context with the Sidekick appliances, though these designations are used throughout Network Engineering.

LAN – stands for Local Area Network. This is the network of device(s) relying on the Sidekick network management appliance for connection, both to each other as well as access to your satellite service. A LAN can be as small as a single computer, or as vast as an entire building and accounts for all the computers, networking equipment, servers, printers, Internet phones, smartphones, tablets, PDAs and more.

WAN –Stands for Wide Area Network. This is the network the Sidekick uses to provide service to the Internet for its LAN. WANs typically refer to the Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) network.

Some other network designations to note:

GAN – Stands for Global Area Network. In short, this is the Internet.

BGAN – Stands for Broadband Global Area Network. Inmarsat primarily uses this designation to refer to their broadband satellite service (FleetBroadband and BGAN terminals)

 

IP Address – Stands for Internet Protocol Address. Every device, when connected to a network, is assigned an IP Address. This allows your device to communicate with other devices and available network resources. Think of this as your cell’s phone number, allowing you to receive and make calls, send text messages, and access other services.

 

DNS – Stands for Domain Name Service. DNS provides a means to attach a name to an IP Address making it easier for us to request resources. An example of DNS being used is when we try to access the Internet: Without DNS, to get to www.google.com we would have to remember the website’s IP Address (173.194.33.46 is google.com). The concept of DNS is similar to that of your Contacts List on your cellphone; it’s MUCH easier to remember your contact’s name then it is to remember their phone number. DNS functions in a similar way, storing network address information associated with the network’s name.

 

Server – a computer or application that is hosting a service. A Mail Server, for example, is generally a computer that is hosting, or providing, email services. If you use OCENS.Mail, the application you install to use our service (called the OCENS.Mail Gateway) is in fact a server application.

 

Client – Usually refers to the recipient, be it computer or application, of a server’s hosted service. For example, a mail client is a software application receiving its mail service from a mail server. iScribe, the mail client we provide for use with the OCENS.Mail Gateway, is a client of the OCENS.Mail Gateway server.

 

Firewall – a specialized type of server. ALL data transmitted over a network is assigned a specific port number, based on the type of data it is. For example, standard website traffic (http) is usually assigned port 80. Secure website traffic, like when you login to your bank account, is usually assigned port 443.

A Firewall controls what ports are open or closed for inbound and outbound traffic flowing through it. Some firewalls are also capable of routing specific ports to specific outbound or inbound IP Addresses. This is called Port Forwarding for inbound traffic, and Port Triggering for outbound. Say you wanted to host your own website from a computer at home. That website would reside with a server application (called a webserver). In order for people to be able to see the website, you would need to set your firewall to forward all inbound web traffic (port 80 typically) to that webserver’s IP Address.

Typically data types flow on their universally assigned port numbers, but it is possible to change those port number assignments, either locally on a specific computer or as a whole on a network, by use of the next term:

 

Proxy – another specialized type of server. Whereas a firewall controls the opening/closing of ports and where specific ports are routed; a proxy controls how data is used within those ports and can assign (and keeps track of) port assignment changes.

Proxy servers stand as an intermediary between their clients, and the resources they are requesting. As such, they are capable of controlling when, how, and if those resources can be accessed. For example: say you want to control what kinds of websites you want available to specific individuals, like children. You would employ a proxy server (called a web proxy) to control who, when, how, and if specific sites can be accessed by specific clients. Typically, when this is done, the web proxy changes the specific port used for outbound web traffic, and the firewall then closes port 80 for outbound traffic, thus disabling someone from trying to get around the proxy.

Proxy servers and their configurations are very complex, and it would be hard for me to explain EVERYTHING they can do in this post, but I will touch on some of the basics as they are used with the Sidekick appliances:

Compression – Compression is a function by which the data is squeezed, or compressed, as small as possible before being sent. This is done to help reduce transmission size and duration.

Captive Portal – Captive portal is a means by which you can control who has access to specific services. For example, if you wanted to control who can access the Internet, you would enable captive portal on a web proxy that would require a login before the Internet can be accessed. Ever been to a Starbucks and used their free Internet service? If so, do you recall their initial page requiring you to agree to their service terms? That is a function of captive portal on a web proxy.

Traffic Shaping – Traffic Shaping, or Quality of Service (QoS for short), is a means of prioritizing specific types of traffic over other types of traffic. For example, suppose you have Internet Phone services on your network. Because of how Internet Phone services function, it’s extremely important that their data reaches its destination as quickly as possible. Utilizing QoS functions in a proxy, you are capable of making sure any Internet Phone traffic is handled and routed the moment it comes in, regardless of whatever else is happening on the network.

Caching – Caching stores commonly used resources at the proxy server for faster access. For example, how often do you access www.google.com? With caching enabled on a proxy, instead of your request to www.google.com going to the internet and waiting for the reply back, the proxy will store the www.google.com page and present it to you when requested. Over a satellite system this also means a cost savings since the proxy, which is local to your network, is providing the requested site instead of your satellite Internet connection.

Whitelists/Blacklists – White/black lists are a means of controlling what kinds of services individuals can access. For example, say you’re a Packer’s football fan and you despise the Vikings. You could set your proxy to allow the Packer’s website through, but block requests to the Vikings site or even re-route requests for the Vikings website to the Packer’s utilizing the functions of whitelists and blacklists. Because of the complexity and the vast amount of sites out there, generating your own blacklist can take quite a long time. Because of this, there are services available that provide a pre-configured blacklist for you. Some are free while others require a usage fee based on what proxy server software they support and the complexity of the list.

Usage Reporting – All proxy servers provide reporting of who did what and when. These reports are useful when evaluating what your satellite airtime is being spent on as well as troubleshooting connection issues when they arise.

 

Least Cost Routing/Failover/Load Balancing

I’m group these topics together because they function similarly and are related; they all are a means of managing and optimizing multiple WAN connections. Some functions can be utilized at the same time, while others are an either/or setup.

Least Cost Routing (LCR) – This is a means of utilizing the most cost affective WAN connection available at the time. For example, say you have a FleetBroadband terminal and Cell Data receiver. Because Internet service is less expensive over the Cell Data receiver you want to route all your Internet traffic over it when the service is available, and switch to the FleetBroadband when it isn’t. This is called Least Cost Routing.

Failover – Failover is VERY similar to least cost routing. Basically, it means that if connection A isn’t available, switch to connection B. Since Least Cost Routing and Failover are pretty much the same function, most setups that utilize one will utilize both at the same time.

Load Balancing – While load balancing is similar to failover and LCR in that it utilizes multiple WANs, how it uses those connections is different. With Load Balancing, the Sidekick takes the inbound/outbound data traffic and spreads the load among the different WAN connections, thus effectively improving service. Load Balancing can function along with Failover since it would switch to the available WAN if another goes down.

 

VPN – Stands for Virtual Private Network. It’s a means of joining two networks together, when they aren’t physically together. For example, say you want to have access to your work network (giving you access to it’s supplied resources like printers, servers, ect) from your boat? You would need to setup a “VPN Tunnel” linking the two networks together to act as one. An individual can link to the VPN, or a LAN management appliance (like the Sidekick) can link the entire LAN.

 

VoIP – Stands for Voice over Internet Protocol (IP) this is an emerging service that has been growing and developing quite a bit as of late. The old traditional telephone systems haven’t changed in many many years; but with the increasing demand for additional features like video calls, teleconferences, multimedia presentations and more they just are not capable of keeping up with the newer demands. VoIP however, uses an Internet connection to supply those services and more. Some examples of VoIP technology are Skype, Google Voice, and Vonage. Also, most cellular smartphones provide the ability to utilize VoIP services.

 

References:

If you would like further information regarding the topics in this post these resources can explain more:

Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) – http://www.iana.org

The IANA is the governing authority for maintaining official assignments of port numbers and their uses. They are also the governing authority managing the IP Addressing assignments that make up the Internet. If you are ever interested in how the Internet as a whole functions, IANA and their documentation is a great place to start.

PF Sense – http://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/Main_Page

This is an Open-Source Firewall and Router suite, and their wiki has a lot of useful information regarding their functions.

Squid Proxy – http://www.squid-cache.org/

This is an Open-Source Web Proxy Server, with great documentation and support.

Wikipedia.org  – www.wikipedia.org

Wikipedia it is a great resource for learning and provides useful information and resources. RFC documentation regarding different topics from network designations, TCP/IP functions, DNS and more can be found here. RFC (Request for Comments) documents are the governing documentation for Computer Network Engineering and their underlining technologies.

HowStuffWorks – www.howstuffworks.com

This site is owned by the Discovery channel, and is a great learning resource for explaining how specific things work.

Inmarsat Adjusts FleetPhone Plans and Pricing

Inmarsat has announced changes to its FleetPhone airtime plans and pricing.  The two FleetPhone models (Oceana 400 and Oceana 800) provide a fixed phone service where voice communications is the primary requirement or on vessels where additional voice lines are needed for crew or guests.  The solution consists of below-decks equipment which is connected to a small external antenna.

Oceana 800 with antenna

Effective October 1st, 2012 Inmarsat will be closing new activations to the FleetPhone Standard, Allowance and SCAP plans. Users who have not already done so will be automatically moved to the Fleet Phone Small Vessel Plan (SVP) on January 1, 2013. The action collapses all FleetPhone users into either a SVP postpaid option of $120 per month with 200 minutes of included airtime or three SVP prepaid plans of 60 (79), 100 (131) and 200 (263) included units (minutes to PSTN). Prices for these prepaid bundles are $60, $100, and $200 and minutes purchased carry a 60 day validity. As with other Inmarsat systems, prepaid packages for the FleetPhones are not available for use in the United States or its territories.

In a new and puzzling wrinkle, Inmarsat automatically deducts 14 units from a subscriber’s prepaid balance each week if that amount or more is not used in the week. If a subscriber’s balance reaches zero, further usage is blocked until the account is ‘topped-up’. Inmarsat does allow a free phone call from the unit to request a top-up but as soon as the account is topped up, 14 units are again auto-deducted followed by the next applicable weekly charge of 14 units. Finally, if prepaid vouchers are purchased and activated as a batch, all vouchers in that batch must be redeemed within 365 days of batch activation or they will expire.

For further insights on the FleetPhone changes and other options available to address your needs for communication via satellite, please contact OCENS at sales@ocens.com or 206.878.8270.

OCENS Mail includes a powerful GPS repeater

OCENS Mail Feature – GPS

OCENS Mail includes a powerful GPS repeater

With the GPS repeater functionality of OCENS Mail, GPS informaton can be imbedded in your email headers, sent into tracking services such as OTrak, and be used to supply data to your other navigation software or connected devices.

GPS Enable
“Enable GPS input” must be checked before any options in this dialog can be configured. Once enabled Wireless Email Gateway must be configured to read GPS data from either a physical COM port or from a network TCP/IP socket or port.

To read GPS data from a physical port select the “GPS on physical port” box, this will enable the Port and Baud pull down lists. The Port pull down list contains a list of all the physical COM ports on the system, select the COM port which corresponds to your GPS. Next, from the Baud pull down list, select the baud rate at which the GPS has been configured. By default most NMEA 183 devices (i.e. your GPS) use 4800 baud for this setting.

The Wireless Email Gateway should now be configured to read GPS data, to confirm that GPS data is streaming into your system hit OK to return to the main screen. Then observe the state of the GPS icon on the Toolbar, if all is well you should see a green status icon. See the GPS section under toolbars for a description of the different states of the GPS icon.

Alternately, to read GPS data over the local area network, select “GPS on TCP port”. This selection enables the entry of a host by either name or IP address and a TCP port number. The host and port number must be entered as hostname:port where hostname is the name or the IP address of the computer hosting the GPS and port number is the TCP port used to repeat the data.

Using at TCP port for GPS data allows one to configure a GPS on a remote computer interconnected to the Wireless Email Gateway machine via a LAN. The remote computer could, for example, be running the Wireless Email Gateway configured to read GPS data from a local COM port and repeat it to a TCP port (see below). As long as the remote Wireless Email Gateway is repeating data to the same TCP port that is being used by the local Wireless Email Gateway, the local Wireless Email Gateway will read the data and optionally repeat it to local COM ports.

Repeat GPS output
The GPS repeater is a very powerful tool which allows multiple applications running on a local computer to access one GPS. This allows you to repeat the GPS data stream out to two additional virtual com ports as well as another network port. For example, the repeater can be used to configure Wireless Email Gateway not only to read the GPS from a physical serial port for vessel tracking but to also configure an electronic plotting program such as MaxSea, Nobeltec, or others.

Both “Repeat GPS output…” check boxes are used to enable the repeating of physical GPS data to virtual COM ports or to a network TCP port.

When enabled, Repeat GPS output to COM port, will create a new COM port on the local machine and repeat GPS data to it. To enable this feature place a check mark next to the option and then assign a COM port to the new (to be created) device.

Repeat GPS to network port creates a socket or TCP port on the local machine which can be used by network aware applications (such as the Wireless Email Gateway) to read GPS data over a network.

Enable Logging 
The enable logging functions are used to debug your GPS connection. Enable logging will create debugging information in the main status window. The Wireless Email Gateway will inform you of failed COM port creation as well as other errors which might help isolate a GPS problem.

The “Dump NMEA data…” option configures the Wireless Email Gateway to dump raw NMEA sentences to the status window. Enabling this feature results in a large amount of text being displayed in the primary status window. You should only use this function if you want to see the raw data being generated by the GPS.

More on OCENS Mail: CLICK HERE

New Iridium Australia and New Zealand Postpaid Regional Plan

OCENS now offers a new Australia and New Zealand postpaid regional airtime plan. The plan is only $25 per month and in-region calls made while within Australia and New Zealand are only $0.80 per minute. Roaming, out-of-region calls are $1.59 per minute. See all of the details on this plan here.

FleetBroadband Fishing and Leisure (FL) Plans to be Discontinued

After August 31, 2012 Fleet Broadband users will no longer be able to activate their terminals under Inmarsat’s Fishing and Leisure (FL) plans. The FL plans, of which there are three options (5, 25 and 50 MB), have unique rules that cap usage beyond the included bundle. While the cap can curtail runaway usage, the fact that the service could be suspended mid-voyage created a risk for vessel operators and thus has been a less than popular plan.

The Fleet Broadband Standard plan with 10 MB of bundled data will remain available after August 31. Users who have not migrated from the FL plan before January 1, 2013 will be automatically migrated to the Standard plan.

Meanwhile, OCENS has introduced three variations of the Standard plan which provide additional savings for bundles of 25, 50 and 75 MB per month.

On August 1st, Inmarsat also introduced its Small Vessel Plan. Details regarding this plan will be covered in a separate blog post.

See the current FBB airtime plans and service agreement here: http://www.ocens.com/FleetBroadband-Airtime-W12C31.aspx