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Just to clarify for readers of this thread, the use of the term ''internet'' gets things real confused, real fast when the generic topic is ''communication''.
It sounds like Ironwind is un usually well-equipped boat re: comm gear, and he is talking about sailing within 20 miles of one of the fastest growing areas of the country. Cell phone access to the WWW portion of the internet is possible under such circumstances, but it''s v e r y slow and usually therefore expensive. Such access disappears once one heads further offshore, unless a large bankrool and a Mini-M satcomm system e.g. is aboard.
Email access to and across the internet, on the other hand, can be accomplised in many ways. Several of the methods Ironwind mentions illustrate this: One is the not-for-profit but commercial Sailmail system (intended for Marine SSB radios but available on any SSB that can work their freqs) allows any form of communication and charges a $200/year one-time fee; access is generally limited to 10-12 mins/day. Another is the ham email system (the Winlink system), which uses the same technology, is free, offers virtually unlimited access, and is far more than email (offering digital wxfax, text f''casts and much else) but NOT web access. There are other for-profit Pactor II providers (same technology as above, with both a monthly & per/msg fee structure), and then of course everyone these days knows about Pocketmail, yet another cruiser favorite.
My point is that email access to/from the internet is one thing, but not at all the Web system such as we''re using right now. Gaining Web access in the near term is difficult & expensive, at best, when offshore from a boat.