Large towers for a VHF-based communications system will soon be constructed around the U.S. coast. An estimated 300 towers, which will provide automated, encrypted, voice, fax, and data communications up to 100 miles offshore, will serve a subscription service called MariNET, operated by the New York-based communications company Maritel.
The service allows mariners to use existing equipment and is expected to be operational by early 2000, according to company spokesman Christina Córdoba. The company is promising 100 percent coverage of U.S. coastal and inland waters. Mariners will be able to use VHF radios aboard their vessels to contact any telephone in the world, similar to existing services that provide limited local coverage. The towers are being erected by American Tower Corp., a company that already operates 3,200 communications towers around the U.S. Contact Maritel for more information: 212-532-9300.