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Avanti and VFast awarded place on Kent Council broadband trials
Friday 16 September 2011 10:36:53 by Andrew Ferguson

While a great deal of coverage has gone to superfast broadband of late, there is still the issue of meeting the Universal Service Commitment (USC) of 2Mbps for all by 2015. Kent County Council has been running a competitive tender and today we have learnt that Avanti Communications and VFast along with two other firms have got a place on the initial pilots that will spend £1.5 million to meet this USC.

While the satellite service is only offering speeds up to 10Mbps, it has the advantage of being independent of any other infrastructure (beyond power) for a property/business to receive service. The VFast service is also independent of any telephone line infrastructure, providing a symmetric 10Mbps service, with trials of 25Mbps in some areas. So for those suffering either no broadband, or very slow/intermittent service it looks like things will be improving in Kent (VFast coverage).

In Wales satellite broadband has been in use for not-spot coverage for some time, with a grant to cover the set-up costs for the dish. So we presume something similar will happen again in Kent, and for the other services the pilots are likely to comprise of funding to expand existing coverage areas, along with local publicity to ensure people affected become aware of a new option in their area for broadband.

The Kent County Council website does not have any details on the other two providers, but for those in Kent, the section of their website to keep an eye on is the Community Broadband section.


Posted by YaZiN over 6 years ago
Been with Vfast for coming up to 2 years now. Started on the 10mb service and now on the 25mb service. On the whole the service has been very good with only a few blips in service. The customer support is very good and I hope that it can stay the same even though the company seems to be expanding pretty quickly.
Posted by SlimJ over 6 years ago
I'm with VFast too and was lucky enough to be involved with the trials for their new network, I was getting up to 50mbit down and 30mbit speeds up at the time. I'm now on 15mbit/2mbit, and the service has been good. (cont)
Posted by SlimJ over 6 years ago
Unfortunately though, there is a thing called trees and these get in the way of your connection especially in the summer (winter is fine, no leaves) and cause issues with speed and latency. Support have been great though and have redirected my dish to another repeater, speeds are better, but pings are erratic. I'm just in an unfortunate position, we could use another repeater here in Thanet I feel with better LOS. I'd prefer fibre or a solid ADSL connection if I had the option at the moment.
Posted by darren_mccoy over 6 years ago
Have any of you been playing games online with this service? Is satellite still to slow for gaming?
Posted by SlimJ over 6 years ago
Vfast is wireless not satellite so is ok for gaming providing you have a good Line of Sight with no trees blocking the signal. My pings are currently between 10ms and 300ms at the moment so very erratic and not suitable for gaming comfortably but I believe that's due to a combination of trees blocking signal and my dish not correctly alligned (which i'm discussing with support).
Posted by timmay over 6 years ago
Satellite is useless for gaming, video and large downloads due to the ping time being over 700ms and download limits are too restrictive for doing any video streaming/downloading. Without trees causing problems ping times over wireless can be very good. About 1-2ms per hop plus 5~8ms to London so 10~20ms can be achieved where as DSL is usually over 20ms.
Posted by SlimJ over 6 years ago
Just thought I'd update this as VFast support have been working to fix my issue of latency and I'm pleased to say the problems with my connection have been resolved! :)

My latency was not due to trees or the dish out of alignment but some technical issues that have been addressed. My pings are the lowest I've seen, around 5-20ms, perfect! :)
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