Satellite broadband included in new government rural internet scheme header image

Satellite broadband is to be involved in a new government scheme to improve internet connections in the UK's most remote areas.

The coalition has provided £10 million for the project, which will be made available to alternative broadband providers such as Avonline. It is hoped this will help to improve connectivity in the hardest-to-reach five per cent of premises in the country. 

A government statement said: "Super-fast broadband is vital for businesses, homes and families, whether it be for online shopping, doing homework or working from home, this money will help ensure that people are not left living in the digital slow lane simply because of their postcode."

Maria Miller, secretary for state for culture, media and sport, added: "If we want to ensure that that all communities can benefit then we need to think imaginatively about alternative technology."

The project will be overseen by Chris Townsend, who has recently been appointed the coalition's broadband chief executive.

Satellite broadband was highlighted as one of the technologies that can bring reliable internet access to the remotest parts of the UK and is well suited to this task.

The Tooway service provided by Avonline can provide speeds of up to 20 Mbps, well above the rural average of seven Mbps reported by Ofcom.

All it requires to function is the installation of a small satellite dish connected to a modem via a single wire. This means it can easily be added to any property regardless of location - something that simply is not possible with other broadband technologies. 

It is unsurprising satellite broadband has been highlighted by the government as a means of bringing the internet to the furthest reaches of the UK. 

The technology was praised by vice-president of the European Commission Neelie Kroes last year, who said it has helped the European Union reach its target of delivering 100 per cent broadband coverage across the continent.