Satellite-delivered broadband is ridiculously expensive and is likely to stay that way for quite a while yet. That to Inmarsat, though, the price just got quite a bit less ridiculous. And it’s fast, too. The Inmarsat BGAN, or Broadband Global Area Network, will be available in the U.S. starting next month. It has been available since last year in other parts of the world. It provides speeds of 492 kilobits per second symmetrically wherever you are. That, by comparison, is much better than the 144 kbps of EV-DO.
It’s still not cheap. It’ll run you $6.25 per megabyte (though you can cut that down by half if you buy in bulk), and that’s just the start. You also need a satphone that will cost you between $1600 and $3800. It also has a latency of 800ms which will get in the way of some uses. Still, it’s progress and that’s something.