Satellite broadband provider Eutelsat has announced an increase in its Tooway service with top download speeds pushed to 20Mbit/s as it seeks to meet the needs of those living in rural and remote areas of the UK.
The firm uses satellite connections to hook up those in hard to reach areas with its services, delivered via a satellite orbiting above the continent.
To date the top speed available had been 10Mbit/s but the firm has no doubled that for all but its most basic package, while upload speeds have increased to 6Mbit/s.
The base package is a 2Mbit/s download and 1Mbit/s upload with a 2GB monthly consumption allowance. However, the new packages all offer 20Mbit/s speed and 6Mbit/s upload.
Thereafter the services offer different data allowances based on pricing. They range from 10GB, 20GB, 30GB and unlimited, with pricing between £30, £40, £50 and £75 per month respectively.
The new services will be available from February. Customers on existing packages will not be upgraded automatically but can be asked to be upgraded.
Steve Petrie, UK commercial director for Tooway, told V3 the firm was pushing the speed boost to meet growing customer demand and improvement in the KA-Sat, managed by Eutelsat.
"The KA-Sat has been upgraded to boost its capacity from 70Gbit/s to 90Gbit/s and it's been a learning curve for us, about what it can offer so we've learned from that and what customers want and aim to give them what they want," he said.
While 4G auctions currently taking place could pose a threat to satellite broadband firms by offering an alternative mobile broadband service in remote areas, Petrie said the firm wasn't concerned by this because of the time it would take for any services to actually be available.
"We've seen in Germany, which is far ahead of us in 4G, that there's a still a huge gap and the return on investment for providers will mean they still only focus on ‘larger' locations, but with our service we can reach anyone, straight away," he said.
V3 saw the KA-Sat satellite during its construction phase in Toulouse and the industry has long claimed it's a key solution for closing the digital divide, although at present European policy makers have been cool on the technology.
The Tooway service is provided by Eutelsat resellers, which in the UK includes Avonline, Bentley Walker and Broadband Wherever.
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