Published: 3rd May 2017

On the off chance that you didn't read all of Ofcom’s 266-page communications market report, we have been through it and picked out some interesting broadband facts:

  • As we reported in our last blog, UK adults now spend almost 11 hours in total every day consuming digital media (see more detailed report here) and in March 2016, we spent an average of 82 hours online.
  • Smartphones are now more important than laptops for accessing the internet - but men spend more time on a computer than women, who spend more time on smartphones than men.
  • The average household now consumes around 100GB of data each month.
  • 98% of ALL UK premises have outdoor 4G coverage (99% in England) – No, honestly!
  • Thanks to 2 in every 3 households taking bundled services, the average fixed internet spend is just £15/month;

Amazingly - or should it be embarrassingly -  despite all that enormous appetite for digital media, only 1 in 3 fixed broadband connections is currently Superfast.  That is despite huge investment in getting Next Generation Access penetration above 90% across the whole of the UK in recent years.

So how do rural isolated homes and businesses access their fair share of data and speed when the fixed broadband infrastructure can’t get to them?

Many of those left hanging are turning to alternative technologies, such as satellite broadband. And when they do they are discovering that things have moved on a pace in the past few years, in terms of speed, download volumes, and the help available to get on board.

Satellite broadband – filling in the blanks

By sitting 22,000 miles above the earth (in geostationery orbit, don’t you know) a satellite can see every home equally well. It doesn’t care if you are in a city centre or up a mountain, you are all the same 22,000 miles away.  And while satellite TV satellites only beam down, satellite broadband satellites transmit both ways – with today’s speeds reaching levels that just 10 years ago would have seemed science fiction even to the satellite producers themselves.

Because satellite broadband has moved on so much in recent times we have produced this two-part blog explaining just where satellite broadband is today, and why it might just be the way to bridge that digital divide.

1.  Faster than ever

The two state-of-the-art satellites we use at Avonline Broadband now far outstrip the performance of just a few years ago. Download speeds have currently reached up to 30 Mb – easily of Superfast speed, and comparable with many fixed-line offerings.

Interestingly, upload speeds on these Superfast packages are up to 6Mb.  That is much faster than most alternatives – and is valuable for backups, uploading photos to the cloud, and many business requirements.

2. Superfast with uncapped data

Each of the 30mb packages come with a range of monthly data packages up to 200GB per month.

They also have access to ‘uncapped overnight data’, meaning all data uploaded or downloaded at night does not count to your monthly data usage. This feature is free of charge in many of our packages and can be purchased as an add-on to our Tooway Business package.

Getting into the habit of doing data-intensive downloads or uploads at the end of the day is straightforward, and uncapped overnight data can be used really effectively for:

  • Downloading HD or UHD films, box-sets or TV programmes;
  • Running data intensive updates for computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones;
  • Sending very large files or running cloud-based services

3. Cloud back up and overnight data transmission

Those upload speeds of up to 6Mb, coupled with uncapped overnight data allowances, can be used in a very valuable way to send data off-site for safety and security.

Home computers can be backed up to one of the many cloud-based storage services so that personal data and valuable digital media like home videos, photos or music can be secured easily, frequently and inexpensively.

For businesses, this can be used as a primary or back-up service, but for many businesses, a 6Mb peak upload speed on satellite will be much better than the upload they can get on their fixed broadband.

So a smart business could purchase a low data Business package, add overnight data and bingo – a powerful safety and security feature added to their business, and disaster recovery sorted as well.