Broadband News

Satellite provider says satellite backhaul may be viable way to backhaul 4G

We recently when talking about the USC Broadband Voucher scheme suggested that people double check for 4G coverage locally, but a founder of Europasat (Satellite Solutions Worldwide Group PLC) has been in touch to highlight a few issues with this.

"You are probably aware, 4G enabled cell sites currently tend to proliferate where there’s an abundance of fibre backhaul. Areas where there is no 3G or 4G cellular are often that way because there is no fast backhaul (that can be connected viably). So, in essence, 4G proliferates where there is already pretty good ADSL and FTTC services. Our experience is based on connecting 60,000+ customers to satellite is that if there’s no reliable ADSL, there will be poor or no 4G. Many rural areas of the UK don’t even support 2G cellular.

Europasat on 4G availability

Now while without a doubt areas with poor ADSL are less likely to have 4G coverage, we do see people surprised that 4G has come to their area, and one presumes EE is not wasting its time with its marketing of the 4G EE Home router product so they see a market that does exist.

What was more interesting about the contact was less the debate of who can get what or not, but that Avanti has a contract with EE to supply 72 cell sites with backhaul and there is a wider plan to use satellite backhaul at some other 1,000 sites across the UK. We suspect this is very likely to be part of the 4G 'emergency services plan', as consumers getting 4G with satellite backhaul are going to be less than pleased given 1GB of data will cost the same in these locations as a low latency mast with fibre or microwave backhaul (capacity is apparently usually 100 Mbps over the satellite link in these cases).

With 80,000 customers across 32 countries clearly satellite broadband has a place, but based on conversations with people trying to live and work with sub 1 Mbps type connections in the UK, the access to video streaming and the much faster downloads for software updates etc are welcome but usage allowances and peak time performance can be frustrating at times.

Comments

I've just been on EE coverage checker, the map shows no indoor coverage of any kind, almost correct I can stand the phone in kitchin window and get signal most of time, but then it shows 4g 3g and 2g for outside, not correct, only 2g available outside.

  • burble
  • 9 months ago

Just checked O2, reality is about same as EE, but they claim better coverage.

  • burble
  • 9 months ago

There are likely to be lots of people complaining they can't get 4G as they don't realise you have to take a 4G package (with compatible phone) to get 4G, especially as in areas with only 4G coverage voice will be over the data path (VoLTE), so no package no voice. I think many remote areas will get only 4G services as the 800MHz band is ideal for them.

  • jumpmum
  • 9 months ago

Or no 4G because there is no 4G coverage, as confirmed by all four coverage checkers, 3G from two of them, and no 2G from one of the others.

  • brianhe
  • 9 months ago

Satellite as a 4G backhaul? Wow. I guess it isn't going to be a modern centralised-RAN kind of design for those cells.

It equally wouldn't surprise me if it ran a limited data bandwidth rather than full-fat 4G.

  • WWWombat
  • 9 months ago

The estimates of 3/4g 'indoors/outdoors' do not appear to be representaive of the actual performance of the EE product (as marketed by a few companies). The use of multiple mobile frequency bands and an aerial on the roof-line has produced two satisfied customers here, both on poor ADSL below 1Mbps before and now getting nearly 20 - and both miles away from any fibre.

The software used by the companies to check likely coverage seems to be very reliable and they will NOT install where there is no decent performance.

  • mikejp
  • 9 months ago

...not forgetting the install is probably eligible for the BDUK/CC grant of up to £350.

  • mikejp
  • 9 months ago

@mikejp
The map coverage is almost certainly based on low-power hand-held mobile usage. Using a fixed system with an outdoor antenna above the roof-line changes your characteristics hugely! Multiple (MIMO) directional antenna would move you further from the "basics" too.

  • WWWombat
  • 9 months ago

If you are under 2 meg and can get 4G then you are certainly able to get the equipment from the BDUK/CC grant. The lower latency can be a benefit over satellite and speeds may be higher than satellite too. Pricewise I've seen one provider offering a simcard with 100Gb a month for £75. Generally 32Gb for £30 is quite standard.

  • ruralbroadband_
  • 8 months ago

Post a comment

Login Register