New device brings wireless Internet to boats

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We have Internet access in planes now (Virgin America offers it in the US, for example), so why not on boats? That’s what one of Japan’s biggest telecommunications companies, KDDI, thought and now gives us a device that will allow ship passengers to enjoy wireless broadband Internet while being out on the water.

The device was developed by KDDI’s R&D arm KDDI R&D Laboratories and is still in prototype mode. Passengers will be able to access the web when a vessel is close enough to land to connect to cell phones or to pick up signals from WiMAX networks. When it’s farther from the shore, the device will use satellite signals instead.

There is no picture of the prototype yet, but KDDI aims at commercializing the device by next year. The company hopes to attract interest from commercial vessel and cruise ship operators.

Via Nikkei [registration required, paid subscription]

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