MariTEL is nearing completion of its Gulf Coast
and lower Mississippi region’s marine wireless
VHF radiotelephone network
. Launched in June 2001, the network provides mariners affordable and reliable direct dial, automatically connected marine telephone calls
vessel location and touch tone services
. By the end of 2001, the region will have 29 sites providing coverage from Corpus Christi, Texas
, to Sarasota, Fla. Six more towers slated for completion in Spring 2002 will provide uninterrupted marine telecommunications coverage from
the Mexican border to Ft. Myers, Fla., and the lower Mississippi River
to Memphis, Tenn.
MariTEL will introduce its privacy service later this month and e-mail service in March 2002. Privacy service will completely scramble a MariTEL VHF radiotelephone call. E-mail service will allow mariners to connect a laptop or personal digital assistant to their MariTEL-ready VHF radiotelephone and send or receive text messages or PC faxes. All of these new communications tools will give workboat operators a competitive advantage by allowing complete command and control of vessel fleets and barge loads.