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.