Satellite tech a solution for broadband 'not-spots', says MP header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

Satellite technology is one of the options that must be considered for so called internet 'not-spots' - areas that won't be covered by the rollout of superfast broadband.

The government has launched a project to extend high-speed broadband to 95 per cent of the UK, but Rishi Sunak, MP for Richmond in North Yorkshire, asked what plans are in place to serve the remaining five per cent.

He illustrated the problem by referring to his own constituency, raising concerns that families will leave rural villages in the Yorkshire Dales if they are unable to receive high-quality internet connections.

Fears over young families leaving the village of Moulton led to local people setting up their own community broadband scheme, despite the cost, to help children do their homework, the Yorkshire Post reported.

There have been positive steps in recent years, with the proportion of homes in Richmond able to access superfast broadband rising from 50 per cent five years ago to over 80 per cent today.

Mr Sunak said this is "terrific progress", but stressed that the government must do more to ensure Yorkshire is not left behind.

He said satellite broadband is one of the most feasible options for delivering a basic level of internet access to rural areas.

"Satellite is one solution, but there are many areas where fibre will not work - the last five per cent where it will be technically impossible or prohibitively expensive," Mr Sunak told the House of Commons.

"In my constituency, many of the alternative technology providers complain to me that they are unsure about BT's future rollout plan, and that uncertainty prohibits them from making the investments required to bring some kind of broadband to rural communities."

A recent report from identified Hull as the worst-served city in Britain for high-speed internet, with slower speeds than remote locations like the Orkney and Shetland islands.