Is Satellite Broadband My Only Option if I live in the Country?

Jul 25




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This article guides you through the options available to you if you struggle get broadband or internet in the country or area that you live.


Many of us find that we struggle to get internet connectivity in our homes.  The majority of the UK can get a decent level of service on ADSL,Is Satellite Broadband My Only Option if I live in the Country?    Articles fibre optic broadband, or even mobile broadband.  However, about 160,000 to 170,000 homes in the UK are in broadband black spots where they can’t get these services and really do struggle to get internet.  Unfortunately, if you are in one of these areas, your options are limited.

Satellite Broadband

Satellite broadband is a type of broadband without a phone line that is available in 100% of the British Isles.  Because it works by satellite it isn’t tied to the land lines through telephone exchanges or telephone masts as in the case of ADSL and mobile broadband and therefore it will be usable anywhere in the UK.  The challenge is that it is expensive.  The installation costs are around £300 to £700 when we factor in the hardware of the satellite dish to installation fees and so on.

When it comes to getting satellite broadband, many of us are put off by the price.  So the question is if satellite broadband is your only option?  Well, the truth is if you’ve exhausted the options of fibre optic broadband, ADSL, and mobile broadband, it most probably is.

Fibre Optic Broadband

Fibre optic broadband is available in some pretty remote parts of the UK.  It is a type of broadband without a phone line for many consumers on a fibre-to-the-home basis.  However, fibre-to-the-cabinet tends to require a phone line and so is not a true broadband without a phone line solution.

The reality is that fibre-to-the-home connections are the rarity in today’s world and are becoming popular as more cables are laid.  The majority of connections are actually on fibre-to-the-cabinet when it comes to fibre optic broadband.

Virgin Broadband is the main fibre-to-the-home service provider offering their cables and their cable TV package to around 50% of the UK.  BT and Virgin are fighting to drive their cables further into the UK market and therefore we will see more and more regions getting them.  The problem is that the more remote regions that struggle to get broadband tend to be less lucrative.  Therefore they are less likely to invest their capital in these regions preferring to concentrate on the more lucrative regions.

There is however certain projects that as we have already intermitted develop broadband in rural areas.  For example, there is a North Wales broadband project that will be delivering broadband to the valleys.

Over time fibre optic broadband will reach further and further into the rural areas and the government has plans to increase the scope of broadband to the masses.

Government Plans

The government has plans to get 98% of the population on 24Mbps connections or more and the remainder of the population access to at least 2Mbps connections.  This will mean that everyone will have enough to stream standard definition movies and do pretty data-intensive activities.  The plans are being backed by investments and there are millions of pounds going out into the rolling out of infrastructure but it will take time.


ADSL is not a broadband without a phone line technology.  It passes the signals over the copper cables of the BT infrastructure and therefore requires an active telephone line.  In many parts of the UK, it’s not possible to get a decent enough telephone line connection to get ADSL broadband.  Having said that, ADSL is available in around 99% of the UK homes and so it is just about the most widely available technology and it is in fact the most popular.  It’s cheaper than fibre optic broadband with the most expensive ADSL connection with the top speeds and top download allowances being the same price as the cheapest BT fibre optic broadband package.  It therefore is a good option for many.

As you travel further from the telephone exchange though the speed of connections drop, the copper cables aren’t very good at transferring the data from the exchange to your devices and therefore there is loss of integrity or speed.  It’s important to go with a provider that has good packet loss ratios and is able to maintain a good service during high peak times.

Mobile Broadband

Much like fibre optic broadband, mobile broadband is a developing technology.  ADSL is on the way out, fibre optic broadband and mobile broadband are on the upsurge.  Mobile broadband is available to around 99% of the population on 3G and offer speeds up to 1.4Mbps.  This isn’t very fast but it’s enough to do basic activities.  The reality is that people that can’t get 3G are probably the people that can’t get fibre optic and can’t get ADSL either.

Therefore, to these people the answer to the title of this piece is yes, satellite broadband is your only option with one caveat which we will see later.

Mobile broadband is moving into the 4th generation with speeds up to 14.4Mbps and Everything Everywhere averaging 8 to 12Mbps on their strong connections.  With 4G rolling around to 99% of the population and later perhaps hitting rural areas, mobile broadband could be the solution to bridge the gap where there is no internet.

The Caveat: Broadband without a Phone Line

Without a phone line there are fairly limited choices for decent broadband in rural areas.  However, some rural areas are considering wireless connections to pass internet around their villages and hamlets.  With these connections it’s possible to service a large area much as we do with Wi-Fi hotspots but with stronger signals.

This is not a particularly expensive way to get online but it does take infrastructure roll out without having to lay cables to every residence.  It’s kind of like a mobile broadband service but it is wired to a point.  

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