Satellite internet connections pro and cons.

ron swanson

Active Member
I'm just looking for some advice regarding satellite internet.

We were supposed to be getting fiber in March but for whatever reason openreach decided to only do half of the road and we are one of the properties that are not going to be getting it anytime soon. I spoke to them and we are no longer on the agenda for a connection.

I currently on average get 3.5meg sometimes I can get 5 but the slow downloads for patches etc on the playstation is not something I can live with anymore now I know we are no longer currently being considered for any sort of fiber connection.

I've looked into satellite internet connections and I was wondering if anyone has any experience of using them? I have a few reservations over latency and wondered if it would cause any issues when streaming on netflix or amazon? I don't play games online so it's not a concern in that regard. I was just wondering overall what the connections are like. My BT contract is up in the new year and I'm tempted to dump them and try one.
 

ron swanson

Active Member
Can't help with satellite ...



Are you on an Exchange Only line?

I'm not sure what sort of line we are on. We were told we were getting it, renewed the current contract going off the information we were given. Then following a conversation with BT regarding the upgrade status told we are no longer getting it. There are a number of properties in the same boat as ourselves. We were all given indication we were getting it but no longer are.

I can't contact openreach directly so I can't see whats going on their end either.

This is why I am looking at alternate options for a faster connection.
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
What's your 4G signal like? A SIM in a compatible router may well be a viable option.
 

psychopomp1

Member
A satellite connection is fine for pretty much everything except gaming. I've found even voip works ok on a 10 Mbps VSAT connection many years ago in the Sahara desert when I was working on a Seismic crew. However I would only recommend satellite as a last resort based on the costs and piddly data allowances.

What does the BT USO checker show for your property here?


If the fibre aggregation node serving other FTTP enabled properties isn't too far away from you, then you *should* get FTTP for free under the USO scheme, as the first £3.4k is covered.

If you're being asked to cough up silly amounts of money for FTTP under USO, then your best option might be to club together with your neighbours and take out the Openreach Communty Fibre Partnership scheme:

 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Satellite internet is currently quite slow, laggy and very expensive! This will probably change when Starlink gets up and running, but the current Eutelsat and similar geo-stationary offerings are really only suitable where there's no other option.

+1 to the suggestion for 4/5G, but it's not a true alternative to a fixed line. Speeds can vary enormously and the re-connection to different IPs all the time can mess up banking and some security services.
 

ron swanson

Active Member
What's your 4G signal like? A SIM in a compatible router may well be a viable option.

I tried one from Three and it was appaling, the signal was bad and the speed was slower than my current broadband to be honest. Not something I'd consider again.
 

ron swanson

Active Member
A satellite connection is fine for pretty much everything except gaming. I've found even voip works ok on a 10 Mbps VSAT connection many years ago in the Sahara desert when I was working on a Seismic crew. However I would only recommend satellite as a last resort based on the costs and piddly data allowances.

What does the BT USO checker show for your property here?


If the fibre aggregation node serving other FTTP enabled properties isn't too far away from you, then you *should* get FTTP for free under the USO scheme, as the first £3.4k is covered.

If you're being asked to cough up silly amounts of money for FTTP under USO, then your best option might be to club together with your neighbours and take out the Openreach Communty Fibre Partnership scheme:


Thanks for the link, I've just taken a look and it's something to look into for sure. Having taken a look our exchange isn't fiber activated and currently there are no plans for it to be activated.
 

ron swanson

Active Member
Satellite internet is currently quite slow, laggy and very expensive! This will probably change when Starlink gets up and running, but the current Eutelsat and similar geo-stationary offerings are really only suitable where there's no other option.

+1 to the suggestion for 4/5G, but it's not a true alternative to a fixed line. Speeds can vary enormously and the re-connection to different IPs all the time can mess up banking and some security services.

So where a company is offering 30meg connections take it with a pinch of salt?
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
I tried one from Three and it was appaling, the signal was bad and the speed was slower than my current broadband to be honest. Not something I'd consider again.
All providers are not equal & you can't believe their coverage checkers. Only way to be sure is to pick up free SIMS from each & try them all. I recently set up a system for a camera on an empty property. All but Three claimed great coverage indoors. EE was unusable whereas O2 is fine.
 

psychopomp1

Member
To get an idea of satellite internet costs have a look here;


What does the BT USO checker show for your property? Because BT are obliged - by law - to provide you with a minimum 10 Mbps connection but they might ask you to pay extra (excess) if the costs are more than £3.4k.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
So where a company is offering 30meg connections take it with a pinch of salt?
My experience with satellite is that the quoted speeds are only ever reached in very short bursts. High contention ratios and the high ping times lead to a pronounced pause and then everything arriving at once! The dish alignment is critical and heavy cloud cover is enough to totally kill the connection altogether.

In places where there's no other option, satellite is fine for browsing and the occasional skype call, but the cost, latency and variable speed makes it quite frustrating to use after a while.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
Satellite internet is currently quite slow, laggy and very expensive! This will probably change when Starlink gets up and running

Don't hold your breath for that for home use. Initial packages are expected to be ~£90/month for 50Mbps+. A massive improvement over current LEO satellite broadband pricing, but still a lot of money.

I tried one from Three and it was appaling, the signal was bad and the speed was slower than my current broadband to be honest. Not something I'd consider again.

All four mobile networks (Three, EE, Vodafone, O2) have their own infrastructure so even if the three mast is a long way away and the signal is tenuous (which also causes low speeds) doesn't mean all of the other networks will perform similarly.


The other alternative is Altnet ISPs, especially if you're in a rural area. There are increasing numbers of ISPs building their own networks serving between a few thousand and a few hundred thousand properties. The most popular technologies are either full fibre or dedicated wireless links (aka FWA).

I'm not aware of any searchable database unfortunately. The best resource I know of to find them, other than local advertising, is ISPReview's lists of Fixed Wireless Access and Ultrafast ISPs:

You can ignore anything on the Ultrafast list that only has Openreach listed, that's the normal infrastructure.
 

ron swanson

Active Member
Thanks for all the replies and the advice. I've USO about an upgrade and they've told me that we are eligible so now I'm just waiting to hear back from open reach regarding the costs etc. I used to have FTTC at my old place that was about 20-25meg which was great. I think I could live with 10mg quite easy if I can get it. Fingers crossed the costs aren't going to be astronomical.

The satellite broadband company I had looked at was quantum air, I don't know if anyone is familiar with them or not.
 

psychopomp1

Member
In that case, wait for the USO proposal - you may find you get FTTP at no extra cost if existing FTTP infrastructure is close by eg fibre aggregation node.
 

ron swanson

Active Member
In that case, wait for the USO proposal - you may find you get FTTP at no extra cost if existing FTTP infrastructure is close by eg fibre aggregation node.

The chap I spoke to said there are other options if the cost of upgrading the network is too high. Hopefully get good news in 30 days but ever the pessimist I won't be holding my breath.

I don't think our cabinet is fiber enabled at all which is surprising as there are quite a lot of properties on it, I think the houses that got upgraded to FTTP are on a different cabinet to us or something.

I will mention the USO thing to the neighbors too it might benefit them too.

Thanks again to everyone for their help.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
I believe openreach typically locate the FTTP aggregation/splitter nodes separately from the FTTC cabinets.
 

psychopomp1

Member
The chap I spoke to said there are other options if the cost of upgrading the network is too high. Hopefully get good news in 30 days but ever the pessimist I won't be holding my breath.

I don't think our cabinet is fiber enabled at all which is surprising as there are quite a lot of properties on it, I think the houses that got upgraded to FTTP are on a different cabinet to us or something.

I will mention the USO thing to the neighbors too it might benefit them too.

Thanks again to everyone for their help.
Don't worry about PCP or FTTC cabinets. If houses near you have FTTP, that means there are fibre aggregation node(s) in your area. If one isn't too far from you property ( say <1km) that means a very good chance of getting FTTP under the USO without having to pay a penny. Sit tight and pray to God/Allah/Buddha that this is the case :)
 

ron swanson

Active Member
Don't worry about PCP or FTTC cabinets. If houses near you have FTTP, that means there are fibre aggregation node(s) in your area. If one isn't too far from you property ( say <1km) that means a very good chance of getting FTTP under the USO without having to pay a penny. Sit tight and pray to God/Allah/Buddha that this is the case :)

Be nice to think I could get a better connection without having to cough up, fiber would be the dream lol!
 

outoftheknow

Moderator
Just to agree with what others said about satellite - exhaust all other options before taking it. Here in Australia we use all technologies in our National Broadband Network (was going to be 98% population on FTTP but that’s way off topic) so that is FTTP (FTTH), FTTC (we call that FTTN for Node), FTTC (Curb also known as FTTdp - distribution point when really close to the premises but nowadays seems to be the same thing), HFC (hybrid fibre coaxial - cable), FW (fixed wireless) and satellite. On FW and satellite you can keep the POTs landline - all others you lose that and use VOIP.

What you get is chosen for you - trust me when I say satellite is feared and those on it will try any and all alternatives that may be offered in their area. We have NBN dedicated satellites and it is still pretty hopeless.

Wait for the USO result - I’m jealous of that. Our “choice” option to change to FTTP is to pay about £400 for a quote (non-refundable if “no”) and it is at cost per metre. Easy to get quotes of £8,000 and more here.

I’m on FTTC and get full speed - 100/40 - I am on 100/20 though as I don’t need the upload.
It is totally potluck here but our experience says don’t opt for third party satellite before you try everything and anything else available.
 

ron swanson

Active Member
I've just had a text from BT to tell me there isn't a network in my area yhat m
Just to agree with what others said about satellite - exhaust all other options before taking it. Here in Australia we use all technologies in our National Broadband Network (was going to be 98% population on FTTP but that’s way off topic) so that is FTTP (FTTH), FTTC (we call that FTTN for Node), FTTC (Curb also known as FTTdp - distribution point when really close to the premises but nowadays seems to be the same thing), HFC (hybrid fibre coaxial - cable), FW (fixed wireless) and satellite. On FW and satellite you can keep the POTs landline - all others you lose that and use VOIP.

What you get is chosen for you - trust me when I say satellite is feared and those on it will try any and all alternatives that may be offered in their area. We have NBN dedicated satellites and it is still pretty hopeless.

Wait for the USO result - I’m jealous of that. Our “choice” option to change to FTTP is to pay about £400 for a quote (non-refundable if “no”) and it is at cost per metre. Easy to get quotes of £8,000 and more here.

I’m on FTTC and get full speed - 100/40 - I am on 100/20 though as I don’t need the upload.
It is totally potluck here but our experience says don’t opt for third party satellite before you try everything and anything else available.

Thats really interesting to know, I am dreading getting a hefty quote for the work though but at least it's not going to cost me to find out.

Having read about satellite broadband it was always going to be a last resort to be honest. My internet connection is slow don't get me wrong but it is consistently slow so I know where I stand with it. But I'm tied to my current provider for another 16 months or so anyway so I can't do much at the minute but pester them.
 

psychopomp1

Member
OP, have you been given a quote yet from BT for a USO connection? Your

"I've just had a text from BT to tell me there isn't a network in my area yhat m"

doesn't tell us much, because BT legally have you give you a option to get at least a 10 Mbps connection installed, even if it were to cost you thousands.
 

ron swanson

Active Member
OP, have you been given a quote yet from BT for a USO connection? Your

"I've just had a text from BT to tell me there isn't a network in my area yhat m"

doesn't tell us much, because BT legally have you give you a option to get at least a 10 Mbps connection installed, even if it were to cost you thousands.

I submitted the request yesterday, my area is eligible for the scheme. I was told it would take up to 30 days for the assessment.

I got the text you mention yesterday, I sort of expected it to be honest. The way I read it basically they are acknowledging that your area doesn't meet the speeds set by the government and they will look into what they can do.

There won't really be much else they can tell you until they have surveyed the area providing I've not misunderstood the message myself.
 

psychopomp1

Member
Thanks, in that case wait and hope for the best! (ie 'free' FTTP)
 

ron swanson

Active Member
Thanks, in that case wait and hope for the best! (ie 'free' FTTP)

When I was looking at information on USO scheme I came across lots of instances of outlandish quotes being dished out to people and I'm sure something mentioned offcom looking into it. So I wouldn't hold your breath.

BT/Openreach seem to have ignored vast areas outside cities as far as infrastructure is concerned for a number of years.
 

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