An article in the Daily Telegraph has confirmed that a total of 850,000 people across the UK cannot access broadband at even basic speeds, equivalent to 2 megabytes per second. The article also quotes MPs who state that Britain risks becoming a “two-tier society” because many homes are not able to connect to the internet at all.
Ed Vaizey, Government Minister in charge of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) which oversees broadband services across Britain states that the problem exists because:-
“it doesn’t make commercial sense for the big telecoms companies to install the [wired broadband] hardware” in rural areas.
So, now the Government is turning to satellite broadband in a bid to fulfill its commitment under the so-called ‘Universal Service Commitment’, a promise to everyone in Britain that at least 2 Mb will be available to every home and business by the end of 2015.
The Government has announced a new voucher scheme which means around 340,000 people can now connect to satellite broadband with no up-front costs.
Mr Vaizey went on to say that the new satellite internet service would be:-
“The first time this has ever been done for residential customers in the UK at affordable price.
“The science behind all this is pretty baffling, but the benefits are – and will continue to be – very real indeed, and transforming for the way we all live our lives.
“Superfast broadband must be available for everyone – public investment is making it happen.”
Satellite Solutions Worldwide Group PLC (SSW), which listed on the London Stock Exchange in May 2015 (AIM:SAT), will be at the forefront of the delivery of the new scheme though its Europe wide Europasat brand, offering up to 30 Mb satellite broadband across the whole of the UK, irrespective of what local broadband infrastructure exists.
SSW is already hard at work delivering similar services in France where it has around 10,000 customers and where a similar “intervention scheme” exists.
The UK scheme means consumers can claim up to £350 (up to £800 in Wales) to cover the cost of the hardware and installation of the set-top box and mini-dish needed to access super-fast broadband via satellite. Once connected to Europasat, customers then only have to pay the monthly ongoing satellite airtime charge which depending on their chosen tariff, compares favourably with the true cost of wired broadband.
If you want to understand more about the scheme and to know if you qualify for the grant, Europasat will tell you more.
You can read the full text of the Daily Telegraph article here