back to article Satellite to offer 10Mbit broadband to entire UK

A French firm plans to launch a satellite next year that it says will offer the entire UK up to 10Mbit/s broadband, including rural areas that are poorly served by ADSL and cable. This week, Eutelsat is launching "Tooway" broadband in the UK at up to 2Mbit/s, via an existing satellite. Its new craft, launching in the third …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Excellent

    On the net from an undefined location.

    How long will they allow this I wonder ?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Mmmmm. Or maybe not.

    Satellite for downstream is one thing, but this seems to use satellite for downstream and upstream. Nice ping times there then, gaming should be real fun. And even for surfing, with round trip latencies in the hundreds of milliseconds (is that right for geostationary?) the surfing experience will leave something to be desired. It might suit outlying areas which are out of the reach of both DSL and 3G, and where the main interest is non-interactive stuff (classic non-web-based email, downloading files via classic ftp, uploading website updates ditto, etc) but I can't see it catching on as a consumer technology for consumer applications. But the UK has government subsidies going begging for the nice Lord Carter's broadband universal service obligation (yes, Lord Carter of NTL and Ofcon) so I guess these folks want their share of the trough.

  3. Pete

    what's the cap?

    When I was investigating satellite broadband a couple of years ago the three things that killed the prospect were the cost of entry, the pitifully slow connection speeds and the miserly monthly cap on data volumes. A recent re-visit to the market showed me that nothing much had changed - except there are much more viable alternatives, such as 3G broadband.

    Now these guys have a new product, and el Reg's article shows they have come some way to addressing the first two show-stoppers. However, as the third leg of this particular bar-stool hasn't been mentioned, I must presume that the amount of stuff you can download is still too low (albeit, you can reach your monthly limit much, much faster) to be of any real use.

    From a strategic point of view, it's hard to see where these guys are going to get any long-term business from. Any terrestrial solution (3G, WiMax - sorry, I couldn't help myself) will beat a space-bound one hands down. Not just in terms of latency: having to wait hundreds of milliseconds for the signal to bounce off a geostationary sat. but in infrastructure costs, too. Just like satellite phones didn't take off, except in a literal way on the pointy end of a rocket, I think that more modern solutions means that progress will eat these guys' lunch. I'm out.

  4. Ken Hagan Gold badge
    Black Helicopters

    Re: Excellent

    "On the net from an undefined location."

    Ah, yes, I'd missed that. Good point. But I think in practice it is more likely to be on the net "from a location that isn't white-listed for the service you wanted and which our terrorist filter has flagged up as requiring further investigation with some rubber hose". Still, one can dream.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    They still know where you are...

    The "satellite" side of satellite broadband is download only, the upload is still via phone line (and presumably still slow).

    Unless you have a ground station in your backyard, of course.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Bit costly though.....

    30 squid just for 10meg bb is a bit much in comparison to other broadband package costs already out there. I get 8meg & phone for half that cost.

    That said, I wonder if this will dent Jackboots Smith's IMP idea? Will the Home Office be prepared to pay the French for data storage and retrieval and how much will that cost the French to isolate the UK data from the rest of Europe?

    Bring on 2010 and the broadband wars.

  7. K
    Thumb Up

    Nice..

    The hardware may be a little pricey, but in all thats not a bad price considering over satellite services.

  8. Mage Silver badge

    Alternatives

    It's more likely to get launched and in position than Avanti's Hylass1 launched on Falcon9.

    You won't be from an undefined location. You either get an IP related to country your terminal is supposed to be in or get an IP of country the hub/earth station is in.

  9. Edward Miles
    Stop

    Useful, but...

    ...how badly capped/throttled will this be? With is serving the whole of Europe I suspect the answer is "Significantly"

  10. Ian Stephenson
    Paris Hilton

    Latency

    The latency will be horrendous- say about 500ms. So not much good for the gamers.

    Ordinary surfing, email and torrenting will be fine though....

  11. jon
    Linux

    All weather

    or pointless in Scotland? :D

  12. Mark.L.P
    Thumb Down

    Usage Restrictions

    According to ispreview.co.uk the £30 package is also limited to just over 1GB of monthly usage before restrictions kick in.

  13. Ian Michael Gumby
    Black Helicopters

    What makes you think your position is "undefined" ?

    What makes you think that your transmission point isn't trackable?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nope

    Every one of our customers using our 2-way satellite services HAS to give us the latitude and longitude of the terminal. Otherwise the correct delay of the return carrier can't be calculated accurately and this leads to problems. It's amazing the trouble that one site with the wrong location can cause in a network!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    LATENCY?

    Fine for browsing not so good for gaming...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    What's the latency going to be like?

    .. it's going to be naff compared to land-based stuff because of the distances involved, no?

    Pretty poor for gamer types, I'd recon.

    C

  17. Matt Vernon
    Thumb Up

    Hmm

    Would be quite good out in the sticks where the BT equipment is being held together by chewing-gum and celotape... probably be fairly conspicuous carrying that dish round with you though anon ;)

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Is that a few seconds of lag in your connection ?

    ... or are you just happy to not use any services dependent on low latency ?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    One Word

    Latency

  20. DT

    cheese eating defends of liberty

    The French government will allow it, they're far more libertarian than the UK at present, so Labour will have to lump it. Even if it's officially banned and only offered in France, setting up a foreign billing account and importing a LNB transceiver (or whatever it's called) would be trivial.

    Murdock is going to have kittens! The tabloids may well go nuts over the "security risk" imposed by the French, but as Brussels won't buy the argument, it's demonstrable hot air. Heck, his papers can't demand the UK "go Chinese" and start shooting down satellites as they're needed to bring us The Simpsons, and Fox "News"!

    With this and TOR networks, the government's plan of internet monitoring is only going to catch stupid, bumbling, comedy terrorists, the "Bean-Ladins" who poses more of a danger to themselves, oh and members of the general public who have broken local council bylaws or joined a club on Jackie "McCarthy" Smith's blacklist.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    BT

    Don't forget, it also gives consumers freedom from the BT infrastructure and their hideously unprotected cable ducts which get destroyed by a mere large thrust borer, throwing the whole country into chaos.... and happily avoided by the froggy splattellite consumers.

  22. Nick

    My credit card number is....

    Wow, sounds impressive, but I think i'll wait until 2010 to see how well it performs. I notice that no mention of 'upstream' speeds are mentioned in the article - I'd be interested to know what it is.

    I wonder which will be first, my exchange being upgraded to 21CN/WDS (Q1 2009 apparently) or the satellite being launched and a commercial service offered. I also want to see if anyone offers a 'travellers' kit for this - how nice would it be to take your Broadband with you, wherever in Europe you go?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Un-excellent

    These services are not new - the business plan is quite simple:

    1) Don't understand the issues.

    2) Sell to a hundred or so subscribers.

    3) Go bust, leaving the subscribers out of pocket for the set up charges.

    I worked for a company (a subsidiary of a very large global organisation) who tried this during the .com boom. They had the same selling point (high speed net access in areas without ADSL coverage), the same technical problem - which basically boils down to massive latency (geo-stationary orbits haven't got any closer). The only thing which appears to have changed is that their potential market (people who can't get ADSL) is much smaller.

  24. Ian Ferguson
    Paris Hilton

    Up speed?

    I presume the 10mbit/s is downstream only and your speed upwards will be limited by whatever other technology you have at hand - ADSL, phone, whatever - and you'll end up paying for both. Unless they plan to give every customer a satellite uplink dish?

  25. Ali
    Thumb Up

    At Last!

    Satellite Broadband has been available for years, but hasn't been aimed at the ordinary man in the street. Internet connectivity outside major cities and towns is a joke in the UK. This is long overdue. It's just a pity that it's a foreign company has seen the light. I'm sure though that Big Brother will tell them to keep logs . . . Static IPv6 addresses for all their customers?

  26. Hammeroid

    Here we go again...

    Anyone remember the problems Aramiska had ?

    Still, that was during the rapid takeup of ADSL; I guess there should be a more stable customer base now.

    Good luck to 'em I say.

  27. Will
    Unhappy

    Cap

    I bet the data cap is fairly brutal. I was with Eutelsat (on eBird) for some time and the download limits where about 300MB a month before speed restrictions cut in.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    total satellite downlink/uplink speed?

    Does anybody know the total up- and downlink capacity of this next generation satellite?

    Will they switch to a laser link between the groundstation and the satellite as demonstrated by ESA some years ago?

    Or is the current radio technology good enough for xxx Gbit/s?

    Just wondering, because 10 Mbit/s per user will mean lot's of Gbit/s or even worse in total. Even when lot's of users are not using all of the 10 Mbit/s all the time...

    Or do they just not subscribe more than

    total_bandwith/(average_bandwith*number_of_users)

    Mine's the coat with the question marks in the pocket...

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Either its 2Mbit or 10Mbit?

    "A French firm plans to launch a satellite next year that it says will offer the entire UK up to 10Mbit/s broadband, including rural areas that are poorly served by ADSL and cable.

    This week, Eutelsat is launching "Tooway" broadband in the UK at up to 2Mbit/s, via an existing satellite."

    So which speed is it? The article states 2Mbit throughout. That is not 10Mbit.

    On a good point - at least satelitte broadband is getting cheaper.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hope it's improved

    Last time I saw this technology, the upload speed was less than a tenth of the download speed.

    Web 2.0 friendly, it was not.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Vive la France!

    As the title suggests.

    They do water better than the Brits, they do electricity better than the Brits, they appear to grab a concept of "public" and universality better than the Brits.

    Move over BT?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    VoIP??

    Huh? What kind of VoIP do you get with geostationary satellites in the link both ways? Remember the delays in the days when transatlantic phone calls went via satellite not fibre? Now add some delays for digitisation and IP packetisation and IP routing, and you might as well just use postcards, or, if available, an actual telephone line.

  33. Steven Jones

    Latency sensitive?

    "Eutelsat said that it will offer latency-sensitive services such as IPTV and VoIP via satellite. Fremaux conceded that the updated technology will not overcome latency problems for online gamers, however."

    There some mixup of terminology here. IPTV is not latency sensitive - provided that there is sufficient bandwidth to keep the video buffers fed with data, then it doesn't much matter if the latency is 10ms or 1000ms (subject only to the buffer having to be larger with long latencies to allow for retry times and, of course, that real-time feeds will be further behind with longer latencies). VOIP is latency sensitive in the sense that you get that annoying gap between question and reply, but really what matters is "jitter" - that is the variation in the arriveal time of packets, and packet loss. Jitter is not latency (although higher latency routes can get higher levels of jitter). As you don't want to wait several seconds for a reply, using large buffers to deal with "jitter" and allowing retries to handle packet losses is not viable.

    Realtime games are a different matter - that really is a pure latency issue.

  34. Lionel Baden

    i kinda like the idea

    but I expect alot of tutorials on the web how to hack the system

    And i think i will let somebody else try before i buy

    Not sure about pings tbh. im a gamer at heart anything above 80 is gonna piss me off and i think they would be hard stretched to get below 120

    Although i can see this being bloody usefull for rural companies.

    I can think of three we could sell this too already

    And also usefull as backup connection

  35. Neil

    Good

    Any competition is good competition. Maybe it will prompt BT to climb out of the dark ages without spitting their dummies out.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    latency

    They say the latency is about 600 ms. The time to a geosynchronous satellite and back is about 250 ms. So that makes sense: the "ping time" is a round trip, so the signal makes the 36000 km journey four times. However, if two subscribers to the same service are communicating peer-to-peer, does their communication go directly via the satellite (600 ms ping time, four times 36000 km), or does their communication go via a third ground station (1200 ms ping time, eight times 36000 km)?

  37. Juan Inamillion
    Thumb Up

    Terrific news

    Especially for my client in a small village near Henley-on-Thames where, believe it or not, she can only get dial-up. 3G? Nope. 2G? Poor....

    Funny thing is apparently one of the top execs from BT has moved in down the road, so I figure broadband won't be too far off...

    I reckon her and her neighbours could share the costs ;-)

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Mobile broadband

    If someone makes a self-tracking dish you could go anywhere, press a button (or have it automated), the dish tracks to the satellite and you have mobile broadband without the extortionate prices of going through mobile phone networks.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Wow I have super vision...

    I seem to be the only one to be able to read the whole article.....otherwise people wouldn't be posting comments like.

    The latency will be no good for gaming....

    "Fremaux conceded that the updated technology will not overcome latency problems for online gamers, however."

    *********************************

    "So which speed is it? The article states 2Mbit throughout. That is not 10Mbit."

    "at up to 2Mbit/s, via an existing satellite.........Its new craft, launching in the third quarter of 2010....."

    Sigh....

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Re: vive la France

    Try living here, you'll see that ISPs are, on average, every bit a crap as they are in the UK, and don't get me started on 3G. Grass is always greener, etc...

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not everyone can get 3G

    There are many places in the UK where there is NO mobile coverage at all, and people live 10s of miles from the nearest exchange, if they are connected to the phone lines at all. What option do they have? This is a godsend to those people, and at a reasonable price too.

    And not everyone uses the internet to play silly games. Personally I couldn't care less about latency times, and neither could many people.

  42. Chloe Cresswell

    Re: Hammeroid

    Oh hell, I thought I had wiped all my memories of Aramiska . 1500ms+ ping times.. mind you, I can't blame them for everything that went wrong. I still have the photos from when a crow tried to eat our feedhorn...

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Some points for the hard of reading

    > Latency

    If you check out their website they do indeed specifically state that it is not suitable for gaming. If someone wants to moan about it then go invent a new way to change the laws of physics to reduce the latency of a satellite link.

    > Throttling

    Satellite bandwidth is an expensive commodity. If you think about the cost to put a satellite into orbit versus the cost of a mobile tower or ADSL kit in an exchange you can see there is a massive difference. Now this means that generally contention ratios are more prominent on Satellie links and you are far far more likely to be sharing a single upload path with another 50 active users than you are on an ADSL exchange. This is the main reason why the network bandwidth has to be effectively managed on a Satellite network. If they're just employing draconian bandwidth caps then I must go have a word with them about it when my current contract runs out.

    > Performance

    Satellite performance for web browsing and using the Internet is actually very good due to improvements in upload modulation techniques, connection acceleration and caching. Satellite is very suseptable to performance glitches due to people trying to use BitTorrent as the large number of connections opened will very quickly load up the connection accelerators and cause a performance hit across the network (related to throttling). Web browsing appears to be slower as it takes a second or two to start displaying the page, but in general the load times are comparable to an ADSL link (if the service is managed properly). I've done 1000's of side by side page loads between an ADSL link and a Satellite link. They give a different feel but the performance is roughtly the same.

    > Cost

    Satellites are expensive 'nuff said. £400 for the ground station and £30 a month is very very reasonable for what you get. This isn't aimed at toppling BT for number 1 spot in the internet users charts. It's there to fill a void that the other providers can't be bothered to spend money in. For some people this is going to be the only option of high speed internet access so don't diss something that doesn't (and never will) apply to you.

    > The equipment

    Yes it transmits and receives. It doesn't use a phone line for those that missed it.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not new, not cheap

    "the equipment will cost about £400. The monthly subscription for the new service will be similar to the £29.99 tariff for the existing package."

    As others have noted, the existing 30 quid option is limited to 1.2 gigabytes per month, which negates the speed advantage (i.e. use the speed, exceed the cap in a week). Also none of the existing package dealers make the equipment available for 400 quid. More like 599 plus 200 to install.

    If the new satellite comes with a better capacity limit at the same price, then OK, but nothing was said about this.

    Latency- yes, various games won't work at all (Second Life) or are almost unplayable. VOIP or Skype also useless.

    I have a different satellite service, with landline uplink instead of two-way by satellite. Still has latency problems, but a 3 Gigabyte per month capacity at about 30 quid. But I also have to have a dialup modem account, or (what I actually use) a mobile "broadband" account which is about as fast as dialup. That costs another 20 quid per month. This is a German service, but you can't deal with the Germans- they insist you deal with their UK subsidiary, who are also German and charge German VAT at 19%. The great thing about the UK subsidiary is that their website has been "under construction" for the last year and a half, so no new customers can sign up anyway. Nor can I access the account options I was promised at signup, which require logging in to the web pages.

    A little competition in the field would be welcome, but it still looks like the "pay through the nose" option at this point.

  45. Michael
    Happy

    Blackout ireland?

    At least you could give Eircom the finger.!!! :-)

  46. Matthew
    Thumb Down

    Completely Useless

    Having lived on the west coast, new zealand I had to put up with satellite broadband for a while. Latency was 1+ seconds....

    it was faster to use a 56k for most things.

    Do the morons who push this tech even know what its like to use it?

    Even 3G is faster

  47. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    Satellite or dialup?

    "The "satellite" side of satellite broadband is download only, the upload is still via phone line (and presumably still slow).", and @Ian Wilson with the similar comment -- yes, effectively you DO have a ground station at your house. The return path DOES go back to the satellite -- probably lower power (and lower speed) than the main uplink, but it doesn't go through some DSL, phone, etc. return path. They've had 2-way satellite available here in the US for years (although last I checked modem-return was also available, main advantage being cheaper equipment.)

    As for those who say other service is better -- yes it is. But, this is for people who have no DSL or cable available. 3G here in the states (Verizon's EVDO mainly, AT&T's absolutely glacial at building out HSDPA "in the sticks") is I'm sure digging hard into the satellite market. But still, there's areas with no 3G, and areas with no cellular coverage at all, as there certainly are in Europe. In these areas it's satellite or dialup (and, usually SLOW dialup since they're on a LOOOONG phone line.)

    As for the confusion over 2mbps and 10mbps -- this just isn't that confusing. They are selling 2mbps service with their existing satellite, and selling 10mbps service next year when they have a new satellite launched, simple as that. Is the one technology even related to the other? I don't know, that IS an open question. But for marketing purposes it isn't 8-)

  48. preppy

    VOIP???

    Isn't 150 milliseconds the target for latency. If these are geo-stationary satellites, then the latency just from the satellite round trip is around 250 milliseconds - and that's before any latency associated with the terrestrial network. Am I dreaming, or is the promise of a functional VOIP service just a pipe dream?

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    aww gawd!!!

    thats it, now i need a new place to live...

    living in the internet city (a dump called Norwich) is getting too much

    when you go to bed at night and suddenly start suffering tinitus/ flickering lights in your vision from the millions of wi-fi/DVB/3G/WiMax transmitters in the city, which for some reason get cranked up to maxamum power levels over night.

    ADVERT:

    Wanted: comfy, spacious DEEP CAVE required for conversion to domestic home, preferably in the UK. running fresh water not a requirement, though would probably be nice, no mould would would also be nice, preferably near the coast. exclusive sea view/access only properties would probably not be suitable as they would get regular rinsedowns by the sea...

    failing that i'm off to some part of poland or eastern europe where they are not going to throw up a mast for every person on just the offchance that someone might want to contact someone else.

    hmm..... chenobyl sounds like a good idea, definatly no masts of any kind, no (operational) power lines, very few people living nearbly, lots of wildlife, definatly no problems with suitable free accomodation....

    now where's my lead lined radiation suit and air scrubbers....

  50. Steve Evans

    Re: On the net from an undefined location.

    ...but with your credit card and billing address information...

    So the latency issue is still an issue...

    And the data limit is still an issue...

    The only person I can possibly think of that could use something like this would be a friend who works on oil rig supply ships, but then again you'd never keep the dish pointing in the right direction when you're bouncing about in the north sea!

    Nothing new here... Move along!

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Satellite Broadband...

    I had the BT two-way satellite broadband quite a few years ago and have to say the whole service was crap from the offing. High ping times, ridiculous throttling and unstable speeds, plus the modem and software didn't get on terribly well together. I seem to remember it cost around 1000 quid at the time and I binned it after 6 months. I thought it would be ideal where I live - how wrong could I be? Within 3 weeks of installation I was getting the 'stop using it' emails, I wouldn't say I was hammering it by any means! I went back to dial-up and waited until my 1 Meg ADSL came along 2 years later, yeah, I'm quite rural! The moral of this story? Hell will freeze over before I ever consider a satellite service again!

  52. BeachBoy
    Stop

    Been there, done that

    I was a beta tester for Tiscali's attempt at doing this about 6 years ago. It too was a bi-directional via satellite service (no phone line required), and yes it did work after a fashion.

    First issue was the 1.2m dish bolted to the side of my house - dont imagine for a minute you can get a sufficient strength uplink signal from a dinky sky sized dish.

    Secondly just like Sky TV it was prone to the weather. Microwaves don't like going through water very much (ie cloud and rain, something we get a lot of). Yes on a normal overcast day things worked. But heavy rain did knock it side ways.

    Finally (and I hope they don't make this mistake) at the groundstation they had a whopping great proxy/cache server inorder to minimise the backhaul requirements and to give an illusion of better performance (ie remove the additional cable based latency). Problem with this was two fold, sites that require constant refreshing ran like dogs because the cache had to be updated, and secondly sites that required a secure login got blocked by the proxy so were un-accessible.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Digital Region

    Stuff that. I'm writing from rural South Yorkshire. I'll wait for the 50MB fibre the EU are going to run to my kerbside.

    Paris, 'cos she's sounds european.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For those who cannot read...

    it says..

    1. Connect your computer to our sleek Tooway™ modem.

    2. Connect your internal system to the small exterior satellite dish with two cables, one for reception and the other for transmission.

    3. Your home system then sends and receives signals via satellite.

    again...

    3. Your home system then sends and receives signals via satellite

    ok, so no phorm, no uberdatabase, and its eutelsat, the company thats been providing satellite services at 13E, 28E and other places, for years, and they are not a fly by night company

    in case Wikipedia is a bit of a novel concept, I will help you

    Eutelsat S.A. is a French-based satellite provider. Providing coverage over the entire European continent, as well as the Middle East, Africa, India and significant parts of Asia and the Americas, it is one of the world's three leading satellite operators in terms of revenues.[citation needed]

    Eutelsat’s satellites are used for broadcasting 3,200 television and 1000 radio stations to more than 187 million cable and satellite homes. They also serve requirements for TV contribution services, corporate networks, mobile positioning and communications, Internet backbone connectivity and broadband access for terrestrial, maritime and in-flight applications. Eutelsat is headquartered in Paris. Eutelsat Communications Chairman of the Board and (CEO) is Italian Giuliano Berretta.

    Its main craft have traditionally operated from 4 positions, each separated by three degrees of the Clarke belt - 7, 10, 13 and 16°E; although more positions are now operated.

    now, sensible comments please enfants.

  55. Dave
    Pirate

    Too many cowards......

    OK - its hard to tell who is making valid comments around here, but from the point of view of someone who does literally live in the middle of nowhere and is TOTALLY dependent on satellite comms (and also operates networks) the following should be noted:-

    - Latency - yup min 550ms (round trip) but more likely up to a second - depends on the contention ratios they are planning per spot beam

    - VOIP - works fine - ask the customers who bypass our PSTN network (its funny how you ignore latency when a call is free plus its not the same as sat networks of old) - but if you have a bandwidth cap don't use Skype - its a shocking bandwidth hog

    - Gaming - sure - it works - I have customers who do nothing but that.....

    - Technology - been around for several years with Thaicom in SE Asia

    - If the remotes are using Ku Band then ok - if they are running Ka band, then if it rains go get a brew, watch TV until it stops and make sure you have a download manager

    - if you want basic broadband (as opposed to dialup) - then say thanks and proffer up your 30 quid - if you already have broadband shut the f*** up and go whine somewhere else.. this is not for you. For basic service the caps should not come in to effect unless you get the taste (torrents., movies, etc.)...... in that case wait until the telco expands its service or go watch TV..

    - Eutelsat are no fly by nighters - they have studied the model - not sure what their break even is but they won't just get up and walk away without offering an alternative...

    Just my two cents...

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Latency

    Arrgh!!!!

    I've been stuck on satellite for years. All you pikeys think the latency is "ok" need to get a life. I'll take DSL at 768Kb/s over satellite 10Mb/s down, 200Kb/s up any day of the week....

    This depends on your workload. What the sat provs haze out on are details like VPN isn't very well accelerated so expect lower bandwidths if you use VPN. Some applications (like x-windows or that atrocious excuse for bloatware Lotus) send bajillions of packets back and forth and you can imagine the (lack of) performance when each packet has 300-600mS added to its round trip time (I've seen pings up to 3000mS to VPN proxies although more typical is 900-1300mS). Watching utoob is OK, but doing work... nah.

    Lest you think that only workers using VPN are affected, just take an https: link for a spin...

    So why put up with the pain? because the local excuse for a phone company has copper that only runs 21k on a GOOD day, on a bad day it's down to 4800! In a major city metro area! The caps on wireless are too low (I need 7-15GB/month, far below anything currently available even if connections could be made where I am).

  57. Apocalypse Later
    Linux

    @Henry Wertz and others

    No, the satellite system in the article is NOT download only, it is satellite both ways. That's why the gubbins costs 400+ quid. It transmits back up to the satellite as well as receiving, and that makes the hardware more expensive. It also doubles the latency time as you get hit on both legs of the journey.

    There are of course downlink only satellite systems as you describe, but this one is satellite in both directions. Hence the "Tooway" trademark.

    Penguins have no landline.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Vive la France Part deux

    I think that the thing that caught my attention was that a non-UK organisation seemed to have grabbed a concept of egality, fraternity, ... or something along those lines that makes UK based service providers from government down look like money grabbing fascists.

  59. John Smith Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    At least 0.28 seconds latency guaranteed

    With Geosynch orbit being about 42000Km from the centre of the Earth for an Earth station directly below it(on the equator) your looking at least 0.14secs 1 way. And of course we are rather farther above the equator. So a ping to the through to the Net will never be less than 280ms.

    Note A sky digital channel needs about that level of bandwidth anyway. The operating frequency is a bit of a challenge. Not sure how many Sky channels go out one transponder

    So how many transponders on the sat? How many simultaneous users?

    This could end up being quite a small, expensive ISP.

    But it doesn't have Phorm as standard. And it does make BT awkward.

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