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Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Satellite broadband in the final third

Ended up "helping out" (also known as passing on a message!) a far flung neighbour who has a satellite connection from BeyonDSL today. We have some pretty inclement weather up here in Cumbria, and recently we have had some seriously heavy rainfall and winds....

This blog post can be read at

The satellite connection stopped working yesterday, which is rare, even with our weather. I'm not a satellite tech support service and would never claim to be so, and sent a text message to Mike Locke, the MD of BeyonDSL to report the problem on their behalf. The BeyonDSL service was used to supply backhaul to Rheged for Rory's Broadband Conference so I finally met Mike there at the colloquium. (Aside: how come one of Cumbria's major conference centres and visitor attractions, within spitting distance of the fibre up the M6, didn't have a decent connection until BeyonDSL stepped in?)

Anyway, the MD rang the farmer, who belayed the mesage to his own techie, Terry, up the road (who shares the connection through a wireless link which had to be set up to go under the Settle-Carlisle railway bridge between them!), and using the diagnostics tools, they found a break in the cable where it comes out of the farmhouse. I hesitate to add that I know this satellite cable runs into a high turret on this 15th century farmhouse, so I dread to think where Terry was, but you can imagine the cable has taken some gyp high up on that exposed wall.

Before the break showing a really marginal signal of 8.5dB

satellite connection before repair

satellite connectivity after repair

and then Terry fixed the cable and the second photo shows after the break - an excellent signal of between 11 and 12dB

The points being that:

1) This hamlet doesn't have sufficient phone lines into it for the number of houses and BT seem reluctant to provide more without someone parting with the odd arm and leg and three, and no mobile coverage to speak of for most networks. So, satellite is a TODAY solution, wherever you are.

Yes, there may be some issues like latency, caused by the fact that the satellite is roaming around the earth at a height of about 20,000km, but for many users a satellite connection means you can do the internet basics such as email, watch iplayer, surf, make a VoIP call etc. You can't game if it's about split second timing, but some of us would lose the battle whatever connection we were on!

2) You can't beat a problem being sorted out this quickly and at no cost, apart from a phone call and the Big Society approach to getting, and keeping, everyone connected.

If you haven't considered satellite, then take a look at the packages for BeyonDsl - they do work out at the same as a mid-range ADSL connection (cheaper than mine but I wouldn't swap my provider for the world - SWBB - especially not for some dreadful customer service which many other ISP users report, regularly). And for all those organising conferences espousing satellite as part of the solution for the USC, don't forget that BeyonDSL provide conference backhaul at very short notice as well as being good speakers!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mike and the BeyonDSL team really did come up trumps at #RBC10 - within just 2 days notice from the event manager that broadband was needed NextGenUs had twin 4Mbps satellite feeds to wireless out to the delegates.

Instant broadband!