Satellite broadband is an option available for those who live in rural areas where traditional fixed-line based broadband services such as ADSL aren't available. It uses a satellite dish to provide two-way access to broadband services but speeds are generally lower than can be received over ADSL. The main advantage of satellite broadband is that it can be provided virtually anywhere in the world. It is often seen as an option to fill in broadband coverage in hard to reach areas (like the final third which are unlikely to receive next-generation fibre broadband) but for many, it doesn't provide a comparable service to fixed broadband products.
Services available vary but generally offer speeds from 2Mbps up to around 10Mbps. Upload speeds used to be lower (128 / 256 Kbps) but following the launch of new Ka-band satellites, these have increased with Eutelsat able to offer up to 4Mbps upstream speeds. Costs for satellite broadband vary between around £30 per month up to £100+ depending on the amount of data you want to use. Generally only a low data usage allowance is included at the lower product prices. This makes satellite broadband unsuitable for heavy use such as downloading large files or catching up on TV through BBC iPlayer. Installation will require special hardware including a satellite dish and modem to be installed. These can often be installed by the user but start at a few hundred pounds.
One problem often associated with satellite broadband is the high-latency that is encountered which is caused by the long distances (up to a satellite) that the broadband signal has to travel. People may be familiar with making phone calls to the other side of the world, and there being a delay of around a second. This high latency also seen on satellite broadband means that it limits the use of many real-time applications which are often seen as one of the benefits of a broadband connection. This includes Voice over IP (VoIP), video conferencing and online gaming.
Satellite broadband is affected by the weather. It requires line of sight between the dish and the satellite orbiting above earth, and anything that gets in the way of this, such as moisture in rain, can cause errors on the link. Although a general rain shower shouldn't affect things, a large storm could cause disruption to your broadband link.
There are various providers who offer satellite broadband services, but many resell those of a couple of existing satellite operators, Astra2Connect, Avanti or Tooway from Eutelsat. Details of some of the options available are listed below.
These speeds are based on information collected from ISPs over time - In light of the new advertising standards on broadband speeds, until ISPs publish updated packages we can update, we would strongly urge you to check the product offering from the ISPs directly prior to subscribing to any service.
|ISP||Package||Downstream Speed||Upstream Speed||Usage||Hardware / setup
|Price / month
|Basic||3.6 Mbps||384 Kbps||2.4 GB#||£199.99||£24.99|
|Bronze||3.6 Mbps||384 Kbps||4 GB#||£199.99||£39.99|
|Silver||3.6 Mbps||384 Kbps||6 GB#||£199.99||£49.99|
|Gold||3.6 Mbps||384 Kbps||12 GB#||£199.99||£99.99|
|MaxValue 4M||4 Mbps||256 Kbps||2.5 GB#||£349.99||£29.99|
|ValueZone 1M||1 Mbps||128 Kbps||2 GB* #||£349.99||£29.99|
|ValueZone 3M||3 Mbps||128 Kbps||3 GB* #||£349.99||£49.99|
|ValueZone 4M||4 Mbps||256 Kbps||4 GB* #||£349.99||£59.99|
|Tooway6||6 Mbps||1 Mbps||4 GB#||£199.00||£25.00|
|Tooway8||8 Mbps||2 Mbps||8 GB#||£199.00||£45.00|
|Tooway10||10 Mbps||2 Mbps||13 GB#||£199.00||£55.00|
|Tooway10+||10 Mbps||4 Mbps||25 GB#||£199.00||£99.00|
|Consumer 2000||2 Mbps||0.5 Mbps||6 GB#||£599.99||£33.60|
|Consumer 4000||4 Mbps||1Mbps||8 GB#||£624.99||£47.40|
|Consumer 8000||8 Mbps||2 Mbps||10 GB#||£624.99||£59.40|
|Pro 8000||8 Mbps||2.5 Mbps||25 GB#||£624.99||£238.80|
|Tooway 6||6 Mbps||1 Mbps||4 GB#||£199.99||£24.99|
|Tooway 8||8 Mbps||2 Mbps||8 GB#||£199.99||£39.99|
|Tooway 10||10 Mbps||2 Mbps||13 GB#||£199.99||£49.99|
|Tooway 10 plus||10 Mbps||4 Mbps||25 GB#||£199.99||£99.99|
* Usage quoted is peak-time data included only. Off-peak data is also included with this package.
# Fair usage policy applies and may be subject to traffic management.
^ Traffic management policy applies.