Satellite broadband provider Eutelsat Communications has announced a new range of packages designed to satisfy the most demanding Internet users and further close the digital divide between towns and rural areas of the UK.
Eutelsat first launched its Tooway satellite broadband service in 2011, offering download speeds of up to 10Mbps for consumers across Europe. Tooway uses Eutelsat’s KA-SAT satellite to deliver broadband to people in areas that are beyond the reach of terrestrial networks.
The new consumer packages aim to offer customers speeds that are on a par with wired services available in towns and cities. All but the entry-level package offer download speeds of up to 20Mbps and upload speeds of up to 6Mbps, ensuring that customers can download films, upload heavy files and conduct video chats.
For £30 a month, consumers can get get a monthly data allowance of 10GB. This goes up to 20GB for £40 a month, 30GB for £50, and unlimited data consumption for a whopping £75 a month. The top three packages all include unlimited data use overnight.
There is also an entry-level package for low-level users, offering 2Mbps download speeds and 1Mbps upload with a monthly data allowance of 2GB, for £20 a month.
The new packages make Tooway the fastest satellite broadband service in Europe, according to Eutelsat.
Satellite broadband has long been touted as an important tool for bridging the digital divide in Europe. Eutelsat already has a solid presence in the Shetland Islands, as well as projects in Devon and Somerset to address their 'not-spot' regions.
“We're trying to get comparable, if not better than mainstream broadband, not just on speeds but also on features and pricing, so consumers aren't disadvantaged based on where they live,” said Steve Petrie, UK commercial director for Tooway.
Petrie added that SMBs also stand to benefit from the new packages, enabling them to get online and grow their businesses. Research by Ofcom last year revealed that were still 3.3 million UK premises that received a service of less than 2Mbps.
Last year the Welsh Affairs Committee published a report claiming that inadequate broadband services were damaging the local economy, and urging Ofcom to undertake a study to evaluate whether satellite broadband should be supported more vigorously in Wales.
“To enable a region with broadband allows it to grow economically,” said Petrie, adding that satellite is often the fastest option for companies in these areas.
The new packages are available for new and existing customers from February 2013. Using the Tooway service requires the installation of small satellite dish and a modem, at a monthly rental price of £6.