Will the internet be capable of live video-streaming, downloading (such as Peleton spin classes) and uploading (such as a passenger giving live classes from the ship)?
It is not an option not to have this. We have investigated the O3B SES Network which supplies data to Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines. It specializes in providing low-latency broadband connectivity to remote locations via satellite. It’s the fastest ship-based data supply currently available with wireless data service for email, internet surfing, and communication applications such as Skype or WhatsApp. It is expensive to get the kind of speed that we need although we have allowed for that. We are prepared for this as a large expense.
We are also investigating new technologies coming out now, for example ‘Starlink’. This would bring data speed up and data cost down. There will likely be other technologies becoming available by the time we set sail.
We will be in port more often than at sea. Perhaps only a couple of days at sea over a three month time period. On the sea days, we need data from satellite. The rest of the time we can use land towers along the coastline and in port. As long as we are within 60-70 miles of land we can generally pick up land base services, which means we can have high speed data at very reasonable rates. It is not an option to not be able to have video capabilities.
In addition, data access points will be available in each residence for wired connections.
When we’re at sea, things like Alexa, Netflix, Amazon Prime: will there be connection issues?
The local area network on board is going to be state of the art fiber optic cabling. That is going to use very high bandwidths. The ship’s shore internet connection will be 5G or higher, depending what is available at that time. We will be upgrading our technology as it develops. We’ll have that data connection 80% of the time when we are in port or near land. When we go to sea and lose that data connection, we’re going to have low latency and low orbit satellites like the Starlink system, so that we get high speed internet whilst at sea. Also on board, we can have a data center for streaming things like Netflix, so that you’ll have very low latency streaming for television shows and films. But when we’re near port or when we’re using 5G or a higher data connection, then everyone can use their own Netflix, etc.