Mobile Broadband Available for RVs

November 2, 2001
Filed under Trailer News

KVH Industries has claimed an industry first by announcing availability of mobile broadband
Internet access throughout the United States, but you’ll need a large vehicle like an RV to
get it. KVH said its DirecPC service delivers Internet content to laptops and PCs via
satellite at speeds of up to 400 kilobits per second (kbps), seven times faster than common
56 kbps dial-up connections and nearly 30 times faster than average mobile data
connections. Broadband signals are transmitted via a Digital Video Broadcast (DVB)
satellite. Transmissions then are sent to a server and made accessible using any of KVH’s
18- and 24-inch DVB-compatible TracVision antennas mounted on vehicles anywhere within the
continental United States. The company’s TracNet mobile Internet server includes cellular
and satellite modems, wireless connections to laptops or other computers, and a hard drive
for data storage. “This is the first mobile high-speed Internet service in the United State
that allows complete Web access, and we eventually hope to be the conduit for all digital
data sent to vehicles,” said KVH spokesperson Chris Watson. While the service is targeted
toward large vehicles, the company is developing a three-inch antenna for cars and
sport-utility vehicles. To request data or send e-mail, mobile DirecPC customers have two
return link options: a landline connection for use while parked, and a satellite/cellular
system for mobile use. In each case, the return link will run at moderate speeds compared
with the satellite download delivering data. The company has not yet set a cost for its
service, although there likely will be a monthly fee and a charge of about 79 cents per
minute. Getting started isn’t cheap, either; antennas range from $2,995 to $8,995, while
the server goes for roughly $6,000. DirecPC service is available through the company’s
distribution network of some 3,000 dealers nationwide.

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