A £10 million fund from the government to help get superfast broadband to the predicted 5% of the country that will not be covered by the existing Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funded programme has had more details revealed about it today.
The fund was originally announced in December by The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and today they have released a few more details as to who they want to bid for the funds. They are after companies who can offer alternative technology to help reach those in the final 5% of premises that will still need connecting. The potential technologies that will be looked at may include 4G, fibre direct to premises, improved fibre to the cabinet and extending it further down the network and also satellite.
Maria Miller, Secretary for State and Culture, Media and Sport, said:
“If we want to ensure that that all communities can benefit then we need to think imaginatively about alternative technology, and the pilots enabled by the £10m fund will be instrumental in helping us overcome the challenges of reaching the final 5% of premises.”
Currently the UK has a target of 95% coverage of premises with superfast broadband by the end of 2017, much of this has been done by BT & Virgin Media with their own fibre optic networks, however for the areas that BT & Virgin didn’t deem financially viable to roll out their networks to there has been a £1.1bn fund from the government to help extend the superfast broadband network to cover 95% of the UK. On the whole it is BT who has won the contracts for the government funds along with local councils having to match some funding too.
Chris Townsend has become the new Broadband Chief Executive, he was one of the people beind the London 2012 Olympic Games and will take on being in charge of the Broadband Delivery UK programme which also includes the extra £10 million for the remaining 5%.
Mr Townsend, said:
“Ensuring that broadband can reach businesses and consumers across the country is one of the most important policies in Government. Faster connections will improve the way people live, work and spend their leisure time. I look forward to starting my new role as chief executive of BDUK and building on the good work being done to get superfast broadband to people all over the UK.”
Eutelsat Communications have “launched” commercial broadband services from their KA-SAT High Throughput Satellite that will offer up to 10Mb Satellite broadband to people in Europe and the Mediterranean Basin.
The new Tooway Satellite broadband services that run through KA-SAT are ideally targeted to those people who live in “not-spot” areas which in Europe alone stands at around 13 million households and a further 17 million are only able to access the internet at speed below 2Mb. This new broadband service will offer broadband speeds up to 10Mb download with up to 4Mb upload.
Anyone wanting to sign up to the new service will need to have a small satellite dish installed, this can either be done professionally or by the customer themselves.
In future the service will be able to deliver even faster broadband speeds with 50Mb download and 20Mb upload speeds being made available shortly with an advanced system.
Professional installation is £99.99 or a Home Installation Kit is £49.99. Customers can also decide if they want to rent or buy their dish and modem, the cost to buy is £199.99 or for monthly rental at a cost of £9.99 per month. As standard contracts come as 24 months or a 12 month contract can be taken for an £650 upfront charge.
The Satellite Broadband packages are listed below.
The £1.2m deal which is for 5 years is designed to help roll out broadband to remote and rural areas of the UK and is part of a recently announced £132 million next generation access project in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
BT recognise that using different technologies is the best way to get as much coverage of the UK with next generation broadband. In some places it is not financially feasible for BT to install their own fibre network to offer next generation internet access, so by using the satellite broadband option means that some “blackspot” areas will now be opened up to the availability of a fast reliable broadband connection. The Hylas-1 satellite will offers broadband speeds up to 10Mb.
The Hylas 1 broadband Satellite was successfully launched last Friday and will aim to bring satellite broadband to people living in rural areas.
The satellite is owned by Avanti Communications who are a UK company. The Hylas 1 Satellite they is to target the UK, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Eastern Europe with satellite broadband. It has eight regional spot beams which target the satellite to specific areas as apposed to just a blanket coverage.
The video of the launch of the Avanti Hylas 1 Satellite cane be viewed below.
The Avanti broadband satellite is due to be launched tomorrow which should be able to offer satellite broadband with up to 10Mb broadband speeds.
The satellite called “Hylas 1″ will be launched on Friday and then due to be operational in the first quarter of 2011.
Once operational Hylas 1 is expected to to provide satellite broadband internet access for 350,000 broadband users across Europe at any one time with broadband speeds between 2Mb-10Mb. Broadband packages will cost around £25 per month.
The satellite could deliver broadband speeds up to 200Mb but initially the speed limit will be limited to just 10Mb. Currently around a quarter of the capacity of the Hylas 1 has been pre-booked showing that it is popular and is likely to expand further in the future.
Satellite broadband could be the ideal way for many people living in remote and rural areas that struggle to get any sort of decent broadband connection to have access to a fast and reliable broadband connection, it will certainly help with the governments target of getting the whole of the UK covered with a universal 2Mb broadband connection.
Next year the Hylas 2 satellite is due to be launched, this will be even bigger than the Hylas 1 satellite and provide 8,280MHz of bandwidth compared to the 3,000MHz that is offered by the Hylas 1 satellite.
Inmarsat who are a UK satellite broadband provider have signed a contract with Boeing that will see them get three 702HP Ka-band satellites which will be able to deliver broadband speeds of up to 50Mb.
The main target use for these services are for people on cruise ships and airplanes and it will change the way that people are able to access the internet when on the move, especially when on flights.
The three new satellites will be used to make up the new Inmarsat-5 (I-5) constellation and will be used to support the next generation global service called Global Xpress.
The cost of the three new satellites and the development of the Golbal Xpress service will be about £750m ($1.2 bn) over 4 and a half years.
However, within 5 years of the Global Xpress being launched Inmarsat are aiming to be taking in around $500m per year in Ka-band revenues.
The aim is for the Global Xpress services being available using these satellites during 2014.
Andrew Sukawaty, the chairman and chief executive of Inmarsat said:
“This is a new investment for growth. With the Global Xpress network, we will be the first operator to offer global broadband coverage, offering unparalleled speeds and bandwidth to customers in remote locations around the world.
“Global Xpress will be faster and less expensive than current Ku-band market offerings, it will be delivered to smaller and cheaper terminals and be the first offered on a seamless, global, end-to-end basis with high-quality of service. Picture 50Mpbs services to a ship or aircraft, and 10Mpbs to an antenna the size of an iPad (20cm).
“The Inmarsat-5s will also complement our existing global L-band services, allowing us to offer unique hybrid packages using both networks, giving users unprecedented levels of resilience and reliability in remote and harsh environments.“
Avanti Communications, the Satellite broadband provider has raised £70 million through the sale of shares to help fund getting it’s first satellite launched into space.
The press release form the share sale read:
“The net proceeds from the Placing will help provide Avanti with funds in order to repay the fixed term facilities of a principal amount of £32 million (£53 million including accrued interest and an early repayment discount) borrowed in order to finance HYLAS 1, Avanti’s first satellite, and to enable Avanti to initiate the procurement of a third satellite. It will also provide additional resources for the Company to re-domicile the HYLAS 2 assets offshore.“
Avanti had hoped to have it’s first satellite HYLAS 1 launched by the end of September, but delays of around 6 weeks are expected due to the launch pad in French Guyana not being ready. However, to make sure there is as little delay as possible Avanti are looking at using an Ariane 5 launch vehicle although the Ariane 5 usually takes up 2 satellites for launch and so this factors into considerations.
Avanti also have HYLAS 2 satellite that they hope will be launched in the first half of 2012.
Satellite broadband will help bring broadband to rural and remote areas where it is not feasible to get a fixed line broadband connection to them.
Satellite broadband is becoming slightly more affordable as Avonline has reduced the installation fee of it’s Tooway satellite broadband system by £100.
Installation will now start at £599 which includes the satellite dish, modem, installation and activation of the satellite broadband service.
Avonline’s Tooway service is able to offer broadband speeds of 3.9Mb download and 384Kb upload with 2.4GB monthly usage for £29.99 per month. For those who need greater data transfer there is another deal that offers 12Gb of data transfer for £99 per month.
The Tooway service is able to cover the whole of the UK making broadband accessible for those who live out in remote and rural areas and those in not spots where standard wired and mobile broadband does not cover.
A new national tax is to be levied onto all fixed telephone lines in the country to help pay for the the universal roll out of next generation broadband across the UK it was announced in the Digital Britain Report yesterday.
A charge of £6 per year, or 50p per month, is to be charged to every fixed line telephone and will raise funds of up to £175 million per year that will then be used to subsidise the cost of extending next generation fibre broadband Internet access to the areas of the country where it is not currently planned to be rolled out to as it is not financially viable for the broadband providers to pay for this themselves. There is currently around 30% of the country that will benefit from this investment that live in rural areas that would be missed out from receiving fibre broadband initially.
This is going to be a yearly charge and it is expected that by 2017 all areas will have next generation fibre broadband installed and available to them.
The report also confirmed the government want a minimum 2Mb broadband across the country for everyone by 2012 which is what we have been under the impression would have been announced. This is to be funded in a number of different ways which includes using the £200 million surplus left over from the Digital Switch Over Help Scheme.
The BBC have filmed a short video about the construction of the HYLAS Satellite that is being built for Avanti Communications.
Their Satellite is going to be used to help deliver the minimum 2Mb broadband that is called for by the government for broadband in the UK by 2012.
The Satellite is set to launch later this year and will be a dedicated broadband satellite for Europe. The Avanti satellite will be able to provide satellite broadband to around 350,000 homes in the UK at the minimum 2Mb broadband speed.
The satellite will use the Ka-band of radio frequency which is able to send a more focused beam to Earth.
The Digital Britain Report is due out today where more details about the delivery of broadband in the UK will be talked about.