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Satellite Internet sees interest surge in 20Mbps rural broadband lifeline

Cryptically-named satellite Internet service provider Satellite Internet has noted a spike in interest following the launch of the government’s auxiliary broadband scheme. 

Satellite Internet was approved as a supplier under the Supplementary Scheme last December, which sees British residents not due to get a significant fixed-line upgrade under the BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) project, get money off the installation fees for satellite services. 

Although Satellite Internet declined to share numbers with Recombu, the surge in interest is likely driven by the discount on offer as well as the lack of any other option. 

Satellite Internet’s managing director Mike Locke said: “For remote locations, it is far too frequently either technically, topologically or most likely commercially unfeasible for them to be served by any other means.

Related: Is satellite broadband the best option for the rural UK?“Satellite-delivered internet of course has its differences and limitations compared to more traditional broadband delivery technologies, but there will always be premises that quite literally have no other choice if they want to receive a broadband service at anywhere near acceptable speeds.”

Installation costs for satellite broadband services are typically expensive and Satellite Internet is no exception; standard install costs start at £245. Customers living in a postcode area covered by the government’s postcode checker can however get set up for £60, less than a fourth of Satellite Internet’s standard price. 

The basic package from Satellite Internet is an up to 20Mbps 10GB capped service that costs £19.95/month. If you want more data – which you will if you want to make use of things like Netflix – then there’s pricier options which give you bigger data caps of up to 20GB, 30GB and 50GB. There’s currently no option to add an unlimited service, so you’ll need to be mindful of data limits. 

Another thing you should be aware of is latency, which will be higher than on most fixed-line services. 

Locke added that while latency is higher than that which you’d see on most fixed-line connections, it’s improved in recent years and is still better than a lowly sub megabit per second connection. 

“Overall, the satellite experience is what counts and, for those in rural and remote locations, most people are happy with the faster speeds on offer, even though it may feel different to a low latency terrestrial connection.” Locke said. 

“Latency has improved dramatically over the years as routers, modems and hubs get faster and more powerful. Back in 2002, a round trip latency of one to two seconds was quite normal. Now – with all the advances – we’re down to 5-600ms. This remaining level is mostly an inevitable consequence of the nigh on 150,000 kilometre round trip that satellite internet communications need to make as opposed to any technological limitations.”

While on paper, 5-600ms is too high for VoIP calls, Satellite Internet says that it’s service is good enough for things like Skype, but not multiplayer gaming. 

You can check to see if you’re eligible for the BDUK discount here and apply for Satellite Internet’s Basic Broadband packages here. 

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