SES, a leading satellite operator, has announced that the suitability of satellite broadband for connecting the UK’s final five percent of people has been confirmed – after ISP Satellite Internet revealed new figures that showed a UK Government-funded pilot programme testing the technology has demonstrated positive results.
Superfast Satellite for Communities (SS4C) is based on SES Techcom Services’ Astra Connect for Communities solution, which uses a Satellite Distribution Node (SDN) feeding a fixed wireless access network to provide homes with superfast broadband. Any premises outside the wireless network range are fitted with a Direct-to-Home (DTH) dish on the wall and connected via individual modems.
The solution was initially installed in Luxborough – where 61.5 percent of people participating in a free one-month trial have chosen to sign up to a one-year contract. It was subsequently rolled out to Simonsbath, where free trials are ongoing, and Priddy, which is currently in the community engagement phase. Both Luxborough and Simonsbath have a population of about 100 households and are located in Exmoor National Park, Somerset, while Priddy with more than 200 homes is in the county’s Rodney Stoke Nature Reserve.
“With its mixed methodology of SDN and DTH, the SS4C superfast broadband delivery model is fully scalable and can cover any geography, thus offering a 100 percent premises coverage in all but the most unlikely and extreme of cases,” said Mike Locke, Managing Director at Satellite Internet. “The feasibility of broadband provision over satellite is not in the least constrained – technically or commercially – by sparse population density, community remoteness or challenging geography. It can therefore play a full part to meet the needs of users who cannot be reached by more traditional Internet delivery, making it an ideal solution for the final five percent challenge faced by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).”
Satellite Internet was selected for the project by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in June 2014 after applying for funding from BDUK’s £10 million Innovation Fund. The provider has worked closely with Connecting Devon and Somerset, a public-private partnership of six local authorities set up to deliver superfast broadband infrastructure to areas where commercial investment plans are absent.
SES Techcom Services has itself successfully rolled out more than 60 Astra Connect for Communities networks in Germany’s Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Baden-Wurttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate states, with additional communities awaiting deployment.
“Satellite is proven to be a reliable, cost-effective solution and this project represents a major step in providing broadband access for all in the region,” said Gerhard Bethscheider, Managing Director at SES Techcom Services. “It also demonstrates that satellite technology is vital in accelerating broadband roll-out.”
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