Satellite broadband delivers on its promise

12th December 2016

Reliable broadband speeds have been a much-debated topic in the UK over recent years. While many of us think nothing of logging onto the Internet with ease, thousands of people living in rural areas still struggle to get even the most basic connection.

Despite the government’s pledge to ensure that everyone in the country will get a minimum broadband speed of 10 Mbps by 2020, they have encountered many hurdles and, as a result, have now backed down on this promise. In April of this year, Minister Ed Vaizey admitted that there are some parts of the UK where basic 10 Mbps broadband speeds simply aren’t feasible because the cost of installation is simply too high.

Ed Vaizey’s successor, Matt Hancock has however re-committed to 100% provision of up to 10 Mbps, saying in a speed to the Broadband World Forum in October that:

  ..we want to see deeper connectivity in areas of deep need…Our task is to make this market as competitive as possible. This means for example forcing BT with its incumbent infrastructure to open up access to, and maps of, its ducts and poles. It means ensuring a fair market in which all providers can compete for business. It also includes clarity in advertising rules, and I hope the ASA will play its part in delivering fair rules that reflect reality on speeds and prices. In all things I will be on the side of the challenger: helping in every way I can to deliver fair competition and a level playing field.

Mr. Hancock also cites the progress made by Broadband delivery UK (‘BDUK’) in facilitating improvements to high speed broadband in recent years. A subsidy of up to £350 is still available for satellite broadband services in England and Scotland to those with speeds of less than 2 Mbps. A similar scheme applies in Wales through the Welsh assembly grant. More information on these schemes can be found in the Tariffs section of the Europasat website.

Even areas where broadband access supposedly isn’t a problem, consumers are frequently complaining that they’re not receiving the advertised speeds that they were not only promised, but that they’re paying for. Research carried out by consumer review magazine, Which? in 2015 found that 15 million households in the UK aren’t getting the broadband speeds they were promised.

While 90% of those polled by Which? said that speed was an important factor when choosing a provider, just 17% were getting what they were paying for. This number drops down further to 15% during the peak evening period. Unsurprisingly, those living in rural areas were found to be the worst affected with a whopping 98% struggling to get advertised speeds.

Speaking about the findings, the executive director of Which?, Richard Lloyd commented:

“It’s not good enough that millions of homes are so poorly served by their broadband provider with speeds that just don’t live up to what was advertised. Broadband is an essential part of life these days so people shouldn’t be persuaded to buy a package which is never going to live up to expectations.”

With regard to how this situation should be dealt with, Lloyd continued:

  We have raised our concerns with the advertising authorities, but we now want Ofcom to ensure customers get the speeds promised by providers.

Is satellite broadband the answer?

Satellite broadband has long been hailed as the solution to on-going broadband issues, regardless of location. Because it works in a similar way to satellite television, it can be used anywhere as long as the user can have a dish installed on their property.

Unlike many other methods that have been tried and tested in rural areas, satellite broadband has proven to provide a consistent, reliable and fast connection and importantly actually delivers on advertised download and upload speeds. Those who use it for business-related purposes have reported huge savings of both time and money and in some cases, have found that is has also helped them to grow their business.

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) sixth annual report on consumer broadband services in the US ranked a satellite Internet service provider, HughesNet first amongst all the major ISPs when it comes to delivering on advertised performance promises. 16 different ISPs including satellite, cable and fibre Internet providers were evaluated and for the second year in a row, the company has topped the leader board for delivering advertised download and upload speeds.

Managing Director of bigblu, Andrew Walwyn concludes:

  Those who are still heralding fibre as a ‘one size fits all solution’ need to face up to the fact that although 95 per cent of the UK may benefit, there is still five per cent that it won’t work for. These people wake-up daily to life in the digital dark ages and that’s not good enough. For areas where a fast and reliable network is still a long way off, Satellite Broadband is an ideal solution which is deployable immediately.