What is Satellite Broadband?
Satellite broadband does what it says on the tin. Instead of other methods of connecting broadband, like fibre, satellite broadband connects via a satellite that is in geostationary orbits. Pretty cool, right? An ISP will transmit the broadband from their satellite dish, to this satellite, which then sends it back down to a satellite dish connected to a property.
How can this benefit me?
This method isn’t as widely used and championed as its other counterparts, but it can be a desirable respite from slow internet speeds in areas that have no other suitable alternatives. Rural areas, forests and islands all benefit from this technology, which operates through a satellite dish with a clear line to the south sky. Chances are, if you’ve connected to Wi-Fi on a plane or boat, you’ve probably experienced satellite broadband! Although, as a young technology, speeds aren’t as fast as fibre yet, speeds comparable to ADSL broadband are easily achievable and comes with the added bonus of being landline-free, meaning you don’t need a home phone to operate it!
Okay, but what are the flaws?
All of this is not to say that this service isn’t without its issues. One of the main issues faced with satellite broadband users is that of latency. Latency is the delay before a transfer of data begins following an instruction for its transfer. As satellite has to travel huge distances between requests, latency can be high for users, rendering applications like online first-person shooters to be frustrating and sometimes inoperable. These connection woes can be exacerbated through other issues, namely weather and interference. As mentioned previously, satellite requires a clear line between a dish and the satellite in space, which can be interfered with by weather conditions, such as rainstorms as well as other wireless signals. Although possibly not enough to knock the broadband out completely, it can prove to be frustrating for users.
Satellite broadband can also prove to be quite expensive. Installation costs can surprise people looking in to the service and monthly packages tend to be more expensive than other broadband options, with unlimited satellite broadband packages being unheard of. Customers are usually presented with a range of options that have increasing monthly data usage caps.
All of that sounds great, but I’m worried about the cost!
Completely understandable. The good news is that there are provisions in place to h elp those who can’t secure a fast enough broadband speed through standard broadband or fibre. We here at Digital Durham work alongside with Broadband Delivery UK (or BDUK for short) to help those who need a satellite connection. BDUK are part of the Department for Culture, Media & Sport and provide customers with a £350 voucher code to help them cover the hardware installation costs. To read more about the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme and to apply, head on over here! Once you’ve applied, there’s a few checks we need to do to make sure you’re suitable for the scheme before we process it, so please, hold tight with us whilst we work our way through it!
(How happy you’ll be once you’re connected ?)
Got some more questions about satellite broadband that we didn’t cover here? Below are some great resources to broaden your knowledge.
The first phase of the multi million pound Digital Durham partnership has been completed successfully with more than 107,000 households and businesses now able to access faster fibre-based broadband as a direct result of the programme.
Work is already well underway on the second phase of the rollout which started in July 2016. The additional £9 million investment will bring superfast speeds within reach of a further 29,000 homes and businesses across the Digital Durham programme area by December 2018. Digital Durham is delivered in partnership by Durham County Council and BT.
Across the programme area, people living and working in locations such as Middleton-in-Teesdale, Low Fell, Stanley, North Shields, South Shields, Wideopen, Lanchester, Benton, Stillington, Wellfield and Boldon will soon be enjoying the benefits of faster broadband.
Cllr Jane Brown, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for corporate services, said: “The completion of phase one, providing faster broadband to more than 107,000 homes and businesses is a major milestone in our partnership with BT.
“It’s a real source of pride that so many people can now use this technology for work, study and pleasure.
“But we’re not resting on our laurels. This further investment through phase two will ensure faster broadband is available to even more people and we’ll consider whether we can further improve coverage beyond this.”
The second phase of the roll-out will see engineers from Openreach, BT’s local network business, reaching some of the more challenging and rural locations in County Durham, Gateshead and the Tees Valley and, for the first time, the programme will move into South and North Tyneside.
Check if you can upgrade to fibre-based broadband on the Openreach site.