Satellite broadband hits 10Mbits/sec across Europe

A newly launched satellite is offering 10Mbit/sec broadband across Europe.

Satellite broadband hits 10Mbits/sec across Europe

After launching in December, Eutelsat’s high-capacity KA-SAT satellite will offer 10Mbit/sec broadband for consumers, and up to 50Mbit/sec for businesses, regardless of location. Eutelsat’s previous service offered speeds up to 3.6Mbits/sec.

It has a total capacity of 70Gbits/sec, which the company said would offer coverage to up to 1.5 million users, across Europe and North Africa.

Satellite broadband does have latency issues compared to fixed-line broadband, but Steve Petrie, head of UK for Eutelsat subsidiary Skylogic, said VoIP works over the service, while video on demand and IPTV support would be “coming soon.”

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He admitted that gaming remained problematic because of delays, noting that with shooting games “you might get killed more often”.

The service is wholesaled by Eutelsat and sold on by distributors Tooway, with an expected price of £24.99 a month for a package offering 6Mbits/sec and limited to only 4GB of downloads. A package offering 10Mbits/sec will cost at least £49.99 a month.

There’s also a one-off hardware charge of £199 or a monthly rental fee of £9.99.

The service can be set up by users, as all it requires is installing a 77cm receiver disk and running a line to a modem, the company said.

Digital divide

Satellite broadband has been touted as a possible solution to rural broadband woes.

Petrie told PC Pro that 30 million people across Europe can’t get ADSL, and 17 million can’t get broadband above 2Mbits/sec. In the UK, the Government has set a goal to get everyone on connections above that speed within the next three years.

“We can go to rural regions, hard to reach regions, immediately, without waiting for fibre rollouts,” he noted, saying UK takeup of Eutelsat’s last satellite broadband deployment was among the largest across Europe.

He added that the service isn’t just for those in rural areas with no connection, but could help users in more built up areas that don’t yet have fibre. “If you can’t get 2Mbits/sec or four or six… you can always get 10Mbits/sec with us.”

The arrival of Eutelsat’s service follows Avanti’s last year, which also offers 10Mbits/sec, but has a much smaller footprint covering about 350,000 people.

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