Something like over 1,000 homes and businesses in the remote parts of Devon and Somerset are to see their broadband speeds improved in a £1 million investment program. The money is to be used to subsidise a satellite service from the sole partner Tooway Direct.
Tooway Direct utilises a KA band service, which means a maximum download of 10 Mbps and 4 Mbps upload. The subsidy covers the installation and hardware, and TooWay estimate that around 1050 grants will be available.
The grant does not cover the ongoing subscription costs, where a 6 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up connection costs £24.99 per month, rising in steps to £99.99 for the 10 Mbps and 4 Mbps package. Usage allowances (download and upload combined) vary from 4 GB to 25 GB, though a special offer offering triple allowances until February 2012 is available currently.
Tooway Direct are keen to point out that services like Skype and other video conferencing is possible across the satellite link, but the latency does rule out first person shooter gaming. For those who are stuck on a dial-up connection it is a distinct step up, but for businesses paying perhaps £20 a month for a 1 Mbps ADSL service the decision will be harder to make. Remember also that while satellite services offer a fixed speed connection, the throughput is still affected by peak time usage and contention.
The areas covered by the grants are South Molton, Tiverton, Honiton, Cullompton and Axminster, Wheddon Cross on Exmoor. For those who embarking on the broadband journey for the first time ICT training and support is also available.