Satellite Broadband Geared Up to Close Rural Gap

The UK's largest satellite broadband provider has welcomed a report by MPs which condemns the "greatly unbalanced" allocation of broadband funding.

Mark Wynn, managing director of Avonline Broadband, said: "The report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee switches the spotlight to the 5% of the population who will not get superfast broadband in the next three to five years.

Mark Wynn

Mark Wynn

"At last, impetus is building to propose a real, timely and cost effective solution for those in the rural notspots who remain frozen out of the superfast programme. The satellite broadband industry has been ready with an immediate solution to close that final gap for several years but only now that the real commercial challenge is being addressed is proper attention being focussed on realistic solutions."

And he praised the MPs' assessment that the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) aim to get every home in the UK up to a minimum speed of 2Mbps by the end of 2015 was now wholly inadequate and should be raised to around 10Mbps.

Mark Wynn said: "Satellite broadband delivering up to 22Mbps can be installed in any rural home or business within a week at a cost of around £100 per connection. That compares with a cost estimated at over £2,000 per home for those that have connected to superfast broadband to date from the 2m homes enabled under the programme."

He added that, with no lengthy wait for an upgrade programme, no need for a phone line and a guarantee of speed availability, satellite broadband was now proving itself as a smart solution for notspot areas. Avonline has also introduced a fibre guarantee under which, if and when fibre does become available at a customer's home, Avonline will end the satellite contract and switch the customer to the new fibre service

"Thousands of people are already using satellite broadband in these hard-to-reach areas but its greater immediate use has been limited by an unwillingness to acknowledge that superfast fibre simply won't reach hundreds of thousands of homes in the foreseeable future," he said.

"However, some local authorities that recognise the scale of the problem are making great strides in getting broadband through to remote communities."

Avonline is partnering with Northumberland County Council as part of its innovative approach to delivering fast broadband to the county's residents. The Council is helping to support specialist satellite broadband and wireless service providers who are able to quickly reach the harder-to-reach communities.

Within weeks of being appointed, Avonline Broadband has been able to offer Northumberland residents the chance to get fast satellite broadband installed in their homes for just £49 upfront.

One family of five from rural north Northumberland, who had a satellite broadband system installed in November, say their new connectivity has ‘made a real difference'.

The Turner family, from East Ditchburn, near North Charlton, had been relying on a dial-up connection with a typical speed of 31kbps and explained that they "felt increasingly removed from the outside world."

Mother Linda Turner said: "The new satellite system is fantastic really. It's so much better than what we had before, it's amazing. The kids can do their homework, no problem. I have done quite a bit of online shopping, which I have never been able to do before. It's such a difference. It's nice to be able to keep in touch with everybody and not feel cut off."

In Cornwall, Avonline Broadband and local ISP CorNetworks, are collaborating to support over 10,000 Cornish residents currently not served as part of the Superfast Cornwall programme with a range of new satellite broadband packages.

Avonline Broadband

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