Our plans are flexible. I also have to state that they are still preliminary and nothing is certain.
From our previous extended Caribbean cruise we know that Wifi internet is relatively widely accessible in the Caribbean so we might stay there for a while. We have concerns regarding WiFi availability in the Pacific and although we'd like to go there eventually, we might postpone that till the schooling is done. I hoped a satellite option might give options, but it does seem the cost might be a serious deterrent. The problem is I simply don't know exactly what the data upload and download requirements will be. We are in the process of arranging appointments with the distance education authority to sort this out. We'll almost certainly not need to surf the net through the satellite link (that can wait for WiFi availability), but if one can upload and download scanned work projects (math, science, ELA essays), for reasonable cost, it might be worthwhile.
I'm sure I'm not the only one confused by all of this. Cam kinda made it easy: It's expensive; Iridium or nothing... Now some others (apparently with industry affiliation but as a result also a lot of up to date knowledge) have chimed in. I'm confused again.... Am I just stupid?
My impression so far is that my best option would be:
1) Use WiFi if available. This might cause us to "linger" in ports and places with better WiFi
2) Use the SSB HF radio with airmail (Ham or sailmail). Cheap (well free in case of HAM) but a bit of a pain.
3) Iridium for emergency voice really with a secondary possibility of sending data (not sure yet how much it will cost to say send a file containing say 50k)
4) Go with a fancy SAilor Fleet system: From what I've gathered so far I don't want to pay the amount this will cost.
So: It will likely be #1 and #2. Is #3 worth as a backup? Maybe when one considers the safety aspect, but then only when we venture further afield, like into the Pacific, not necessary in the Caribbean...