The UK government’s Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willetts (Conservative MP for Havant), has said that Satellite based broadband ISP services will indeed become an “essential means” of deliver faster internet access into rural communities.
David Willetts was responding to a parliamentary question from Harriett Baldwin, the Conservative MP for West Worcestershire, whom wanted to know what role satellite broadband solutions could play in delivering internet access into rural areas within her constituency.
David Willetts responded:
“We see satellite broadband as an essential means to deliver faster internet access for rural communities, businesses and individuals. Everywhere in Britain can therefore access broadband via satellite. This is an issue we regularly discuss with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
We got an excellent outcome from the European Space Agency ministerial last month. Britain is now the leader of the ARTES 2 programme for the development of the next generation telecommunications platform. It is great to see British businesses taking a lead here, and this will increase broadband speeds and reduce costs for UK users in rural and remote areas, making satellite broadband even more accessible.”
The comments are interesting because previous government reviews and reports have been at best lukewarm on the topic of Satellite connectivity, although it certainly has plenty of viable applications in the most remote areas. But difficulties with high satellite latency, meagre usage allowances, heavily throttled speeds and affordability have often been seen as key stumbling blocks.
It’s still hard to see Satellite as a viable long term solutionto broadband woes, yet performance, affordability and usage flexibility have been steadily improving over the past two to three years. It is now much more palatable than it ever was before but some of the old concerns continue to remain relevant.