What Is Satellite Broadband?

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Satellite broadband is available to all in the UK, however, you have to decide if it is the right option for you.  You should do research to find out what satellite broadband really is.  Check the connection speeds that are on offer and if there are extra charges that apply to satellite that do not normally apply to traditional broadband deals.  There are also distinct advantages and disadvantages linked to broadband by satellite.

What is it?
This option is available for those in the UK who are unable to access other broadband internet connections.  This generally applies to those who live in the rural areas where ADSL and fibre optic services are not available.  The method of connection with this method is extremely involved.  The broadband for this method is picked up off a satellite dish.  The consumer will be provided with a satellite dish that connects to a satellite that is orbiting the earth, and this relayed satellite signal is relayed to the service provider’s hub which, in turn, is relayed back to the customer via the same path.

Is it worth obtaining?
The data transmission process involved with this method of broadband sets it up for problems and may not be a viable option for most people.  The speeds offered have increased dramatically over the past few years and you can now obtain speeds of 2Mbps up to 20Mbps.  The download speeds makes it comparable to ADSL broadband speed, however the upload speed is still much slower with an average speed of around 6Mbps.  This would definitely make it non-viable for commercial enterprises.

The data allowance limits for this type of broadband varies from around 10GB to unlimited.  The cost of the packages related to higher data allowance limits is a problem due to the cost.  You may have to pay around £16 for 2GB of data allowance.

The connection is very unstable and unreliable compared to other broadband options.  The main reason for this problem is that it feeds off satellite transmissions that can be affected by the weather and other external factors.  This will be a problem for consumers who wish to use the service for online gaming, online television transmission and video streaming.

The very nature of this broadband leaves it open to latency.  Latency can be termed as the delay or lag in transmission.  The signal is required to travel to a satellite and then travel to the internet service provider’s hub and it is this distance between all the points of transmission that causes the problem.  You will always experience a delay in the conversation if you are speaking to a person in another country via your satellite connection.  In this case you will find a delay between speaking and the person on the other end hearing what you have just said.  Although this may only be a one second delay it can become extremely frustrating because at some point you tend to speak over each other all the time.  This latency will cause you to stop using certain services that are available to you such as video conferencing, online gaming and VOIP services.

Weather Interference
When satellite broadband was first made available to consumers, the weather was a huge factor in the effectiveness of the service.  Nowadays, this is not as big a problem, but it still is a problem.  For this type of service to be effective, you need to have a line of sight between the transmission satellite dish and the satellite.  If there is anything blocking this path such as moisture, clouds or any man-made objects, the signal will be disrupted.  Normal rain showers no longer affect the connection because the transmission frequency has been increased over the last few years, but if there is a more severe storm, you will more than likely lose connection completely.

Additional Costs
You may be liable for additional costs if you choose this form of broadband.  The first cost you will have to face is the installation.  You will require a special satellite dish as well as a transmitter.  The cost for the installation of this equipment could be up to a few hundred pounds.  Additionally, there may be a set up fee payable for the account set up.  The set up fee is normally lower if your hardware cost is high, although this is not applicable to all providers as some of them may charge you high costs for both services.  Most of the service providers seem to work on a theory of ‘high monthly fee, low hardware and setup fee.’

Telephone Line
The one cost benefit to this method of internet connection is that you do not need a landline connection.  This will definitely be a cost saving for you.  The one problem that you may be facing however is that if your residence is in an area where there is no traditional broadband connection, you may not have mobile phone coverage either, so you will have to have a landline telephone.

Who are the Service Providers?
There are five service providers for this type of service in the UK.  These are:
  • Avonline
  • Broadband Wherever
  • Rural Broadband
  • Satellite Internet
  • Tooway
The packages that these providers offer vary in stability and price.  Prior to signing a contract with a service provider you should ensure that you know exactly what they are offering you.  Your best bet is to speak to your neighbours and friends about the service that the providers offer.  Find out the cost, the stability of the connection and the possible costs that you may be liable for.  Compare the services offered from all the providers who operate in your area before you make a decision.

Satellite broadband should be your last choice as the problematic method of connection and high costs are not worth it.  If you are able to get another form of broadband connection, you will do better to choose that.  Satellite is unable to offer the same stability and connection speeds of traditional broadband services.

The use of satellite broadband could make life much easier for Phil Turner.  uSwitch helped him to located deals that were great value for money and that would meet his requirements.


Thanks for sharing this information! I think that satellite broadband is something that a lot of companies should consider mainly because you can always count on having the best speeds possible. Our company has actually been looking into satellite providers so thtat is why I have been reading some information on it.


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