This is a question in which many of us are very, very interested as it is the key to being able to "afford" a 'sailing life'. Obviously, that means different things to different people. To me, it is the ability to work from my boat no matter where it is anchored (but not while at sea). I have researched the topic and have found the same thing everyone else has found and reported. That is: predictable, reliable, affordable broadband Internet access is not available 'everywhere'. For me, "everywhere" is the east coast of the US and the entire Carribean. "Affordable" is less than $250 per month (unlimited data and at least 256k speed).
I think most of us find it hard to believe that reasonable quality satelite Internet (256k-ish) is not available at a reasonable price but it isn't. There are options but they all add up to thousands of dollars per month for what most of us would consider "typical" data volume. None of us want to believe that so we go off and do our own research (and eventually come to the same conclusion).
I've talked to quite a few cruisers that report Wifi is available in many anchorages but certainly not ALL (within the geographic area listed above) and it is not always reliable or 'fast'.
The options that that seem to exist right now and the approach that I am planning for is (in order of preference):
- Open Wifi.
- Purchase Wifi Access.
- Mobile Broadband here in the US (3G/4G).
- Obtain a local cellular data card/plan (outside the US).
- Internet cafe.
- Sailmail (text email via SSB).
I have the Wirie for longer range Wifi.
The plan is to use the local radio net for info on Wifi, hope for the best, and move to the next anchorage if necessary. I know, this is not a great plan for conducting business. I should note that I have no first hand experience with any of this (outside the US).
Obviously, the "needs" and resources of each person vary so it is hard to speak in absolutes on topics such as this.