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Avanti Sign £1.2m Deal for 40Mbps Satellite Broadband in Rural Cornwall

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 (11:04 am) by Mark Jackson (Score 322)
avanti_satellite

UK Satellite operator Avanti has agreed a new contract worth £1,202,711 with the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which will make a 40Mbps (download speed) broadband service available to rural businesses across Cornwall and Isles of Scilly in England.

At present around 97% of Cornwall can already access a “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) service and most of that is due to the original Superfast Cornwall project, which was a joint £132m contract between BT and the ERDF. Cornwall also has more of Openreach’s native ultrafast FTTP technology deployed than any other county in the UK (around 85,000 premises at the last count).

The raw “fibre” footprint (above) is clearly strong but less than 90% of local premises can actually access “superfast broadband” speeds of 30Mbps+, although a second on-going Broadband Delivery UK contract with BT hopes to improve this (details). The longer-term goal for the project is to reach 99% coverage of 30Mbps+ broadband by 2020 and we hope to hear more details on that plan soon.

However, once the above deployments have completed, it’s likely that some remote rural business will still be left excluded from the coverage of fixed line superfast broadband and this is where the new deal with Avanti comes into play.

David Williams, CEO of Avanti, said:

“We welcome this broadband initiative, connecting rural businesses still not addressed by fibre. The capabilities of High Throughput Satellites (HTS) are well proven to meet the needs of rural businesses and the demand remains strong, so this initiative will help us to marry demand and supply in the region.”

Mark Duddridge, Chair of Cornwall’s LEP Board, said:

“We are now seeing the transformative effect of excellent digital connectivity to many businesses and communities in Cornwall. However, we are concerned that we have areas which haven’t yet been reached. We are therefore very excited by the potential of the new superfast satellite application now being launched. Digital connectivity is allowing Cornwall to compete on a Global stage and is facilitating the creation of tomorrow’s industries.”

Apparently Avanti will allocate capacity on their HYLAS 1 and HYLAS 2 spacecraft to serve local firms with download speeds of up to 40Mbps via several UK Satellite ISPs (Bentley Walker [Freedomsat], SSW and Avonline). It’s estimated that roughly 1,000 businesses in the region are expected to take-up this offer in its first year.

However Satellite isn’t perfect and remote businesses will need to grapple with high latency times (not much good for complex real-time Cloud and VPN systems), limited / expensive data allowances and high setup costs, although it’s possible that the Government’s Better Broadband rural subsidy scheme may be able to help with the latter.

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1 Response
  1. Dave

    If after waiting all this time for broadband > 1mbs all I am going to get is satellite you can stick were the sun don’t shine
    and I will chainsaw the BT poles down and fill in their ducts that run across my land!
    It was not what we were promised when this project started.

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