Keep in mind your soldiers should always find out before deployment what is available at the deployment location.
Internet access in Afghanistan and Iraq is delivered via satellite broadband. The Internet signal is received through a special satellite VSAT modem which is usually set up in a building or tent.
Internet access for soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq is usually available via the following methods.
- Internet cafes - Available at some bases. Soldiers can expect to pay $5 to $10 per hour for use and spend time waiting their turn.
- MWR (moral welfare and recreation) - Most deployment locations have an MWR. There are usually a few computers for free Internet access and sometime wireless is available. Troops are allowed 20 – 30 minutes pers session and there is usually a wait. If they bring your own computer and use the wireless, they may experience the slowest Internet ever because so many people are trying to share the bandwidth.
- Personal Internet access – Soldiers can have Internet access in their living quarters. It is very expensive. The Internet access and expense is shared with other soldiers. I know of one example in Afghanistan where many soldiers share the Internet bandwidth and expense of $60 per month per person. Another situation in Iraq, each person pays $100 per month. It just depends on how many people are sharing and what the cost is per month.
With personal Internet access, each soldier has their own laptop computer and all access is wireless.The soldiers are typically responsible for getting the equipment up and running.
If your son or daughter is getting ready for deployment, they should find out ahead of time what will be available at their deployment location. Soldiers in remote outposts do not have access to Internet.
Internet access is a morale booster for deployed soldiers! We are fortunate to have Internet access available at all. In previous wars, letter writing was the only form of communication and letters were received every few weeks. I am thankful for Internet for deployed soldiers! HOOAH!