Wireless Broadband – Maybe We’ve Found the Answer

You’d think London would be bristling with wifi options. There was good service in marinas from Falmouth to Southampton. But we’ve been bandwidth challenged in St. Katherine’s Docks.

We see two pay to play wifi options with our high gain antenna and access point. Both – BT Open Zone and Something Wireless – are slow and of intermittent availability. We subscribed to both – roughly US$22. per month for each – so we had a choice.

But wait. It gets better.

Then we learned about the O3 system. This is a 3G (phone) network with a stable connection and reasonable download speeds. You are required to purchase a USB dongle and SIM card for US$30. You then buy data capacity. 3 gigs of data for a month is US$22. This set up is significantly less than we were paying Verizon in the US and we are told there is good coverage throughout the UK. So far, with a week of Skype calls, web surfing, sending photos to magazines, and lots of e-mails we have used about 700Mb of data.

Now that we have the USB dongle we can purchase SIM cards for it wherever we are cruising with the 3G system (most of Europe and Scandinavia).

Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 20, 2009)

4 Responses to “Wireless Broadband – Maybe We’ve Found the Answer”

  1. Hubert K Says:

    Hi Steve,

    be aware that a number of European 3G operators are blocking or are planning to block VoIP calls as Skype. There is actually an ongoing debate about this issue in several countries.
    On the other hand 3G coverage is quite good in the areas you are mentioning, although you will have to fight a little bit to get those tariffs you observed in London:
    These days the European Community has issued a future top for data-roaming within CE-land which will be 1EUR per MEGAbyte….
    And you can bet that the operators will use this margin.


  2. Steve Dashew Says:

    Thanks for the heads up, Hubert:

    We love Skype – using it now – but even just the data sans Skype is wonderful, and we have a cell program on Vodaphone through Carphone Wharehouse which allows call to the US and New Zealand for about six cents US per minute.


  3. Paul Purcell Says:


    A MiFi unit (uses 3G data sim) may serve you even better. Whilst the device connects to the 3G network it presents itself to your computers as a wireless hub. No USB ports are required as they are standalone devices (just need to be charged). A little research on frequencies used will allow you to purchase a MiFi unit that will work in many places in the world that have 3G (you will just need to purchase a sim card – prepaid- at these locations.) Look for brands that still present as a wireless unit whilst being charged. Some do not.

    Will also work well with the WiFi capabilities of your MAC’s


  4. Kelly Says:

    Does anyone know if these 3G devices will work in the British Virgin Islands? Anyone have a recommendation for a purchase site/vendor?