Many people don’t actually realize that there is a type of connectivity for the internet that is based on a satellite dish. It’s not the same kind of satellite that you get on your satellite TV through your Sky subscription but nonetheless it is satellite based technology. This article will look at why satellite TV has a place in the UK market, how it works, and the kind of performance you’re likely to get.
The UK Market Place
All of us know that satellite TV is provided through Sky and many other providers. We’ve recently seen the emergence of other satellite providers offering Sky sports packages from other countries. Indeed, pubs have won the right to use satellite dishes to display matches from Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and other locations. This has meant that no longer has Sky TV got the monopoly over satellite TV in public places. Well done to the pub landlady from Portsmouth who fought the court case to change things.
Need for Satellite Broadband
But why would anyone need satellite broadband? After all, connections through mobile and fixed lines are fairly affordable and offer pretty good services.
Reason No. 1
The simple reason that around 165,000 homes in the UK need satellite broadband is that they can’t get ADSL broadband and fibre optic broadband hasn’t arrive yet.
ADSL technology is passed through the cables that our telephone lines run into. In some locations, the end user is simply too far from the telephone exchange for the internet data to get there with sufficient speed to offer any level of connectivity. Speed degrades over distance on telephone lines and that is part of the reason that fibre optic broadband has been bought in as a bespoke design solution for transferring internet data from one point to another.
So, there are homes in rural locations and isolated points in the UK that are unable to get fixed line broadband. In addition, 3G mobile broadband connectivity only reaches around 99% of the UK’s homes. The places where both ADSL and mobile broadband can’t reach are isolated from the technology world, not having access to broadband. So that’s one of the places that satellite broadband can come in. People in these locations can grab satellite TV and satellite broadband and have a full suite of services the same as you have anywhere else in the United Kingdom.
How does satellite broadband work?
Just like satellite TV, satellite broadband passes information between a receiver and the satellite and receives data as well. It tends to be the case that the newer satellites are much better and there are now certain satellites that provide decent connectivity levels, but more of that later.
Satellite broadband has 100% coverage of the UK, and so it’s possible to get online with satellite broadband anywhere you are.
Speed and Service with Satellite Broadband
If you’re looking to get satellite broadband, don’t expect the same offers and set-up costs as for satellite TV. It tends to be the case that you have to spend between £300 and £700 to get satellite broadband installed. For that, you will get a dish, and everything you need to get going. Normally you will have to pay upwards of £500 to have installation included, otherwise you will have to get that sorted yourself. Afterwards, you’ll have to spend between £25 and £100 per month on your contract.
In addition, the speeds are much slower than the faster broadband packages and speeds generally run up to around 10Mbps. The newer satellites do have more capacity with 20 Mbps speeds arriving at the start of 2013, and it’s important to understand which satellite you’re going to be working off if you are going to go for satellite broadband with a particular provider.
Make sure that you can get a level of connectivity that will suffice after you’ve spent so much on the set-up of your service.
Latency is a Problem Like with Satellite TV
With satellite broadband, much like with satellite TV, there is a delay in the time it takes for information to get from one place to another. It isn’t just down to the speed of connectivity but it’s down to latency which is the delay in the response. This can make video chat quite difficult on satellite broadband, as witnessed by coverage of news that we see broadcast from ships at sea, which normally use satellite broadband.
You’ll notice with your satellite TV that you also have a longer delay than you tend to have on digital TV when it comes to live sporting events. This may only be a second or so but when it comes to VoIP communication, it can be critical.
Is it good value?
The question of value comes down to requirement. If you absolutely have to have broadband, and you can’t get it where you are, then yes, satellite broadband is incredible value. It provides the opportunity to get a service that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to get and it’s only £300 to £700 set-up.
If you’re able to do without the service, or you can wait for fibre optic broadband or 4G to hit your area, then satellite broadband is incredibly bad value. The £300 to £700 is simply an expense that you don’t need.
Do a Bit of Math
If you feel that satellite broadband is the way forward, then first check when fibre optic broadband and mobile broadband are likely to come to your area; if they are coming soon, then it may not be worth the upfront expense of going for the installation of satellite broadband. If however, it’s several years until the likelihood of an improved standard service provision, it may well be worth your while. Work out how much the service will cost in the intervening period from now until you are likely to get a more mainstream broadband service. £40 per month may be acceptable but £70 may be just too much.
When Sam Jones was looking for an affordable satellite TV deal he knew some of the better offers could be found online. Price comparison sites like uSwitch helped him to find the best deal to suit his budget