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UPD UK Satellite ISP Tooway Direct Launches 18Mbps Broadband Package

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012 (7:48 am) - Score 2,326

Satellite ISP Tooway Direct (SSW), which uses Eutelsat’s KA-SAT spacecraft at 9° East to deliver broadband to almost anywhere in the UK, has revamped its services and launched a new Tooway 18 MAX package that pushes the top download rate up to 18Mbps (6Mbps uploads) alongside FREE hardware and connection.

Previously the fastest package that any KA-SAT based ISP could offer was 10Mbps (4Mbps uploads), although the top speed isn’t ToowayDirect’s only change. A new entry-level service called the Tooway 2 has also been introduced with 2Mbps download speeds and 1Mbps uploads. This package, which is “intended for very light or occasional broadband users“, is priced at £17.99 inc. VAT per month.

Meanwhile the ISPs old entry-level Tooway 6 product is to be replaced by Tooway 8, which offers download speeds of up to 8Mbps (2Mbps upload) alongside a usage allowance of 8GB (GigaBytes) for £24.99 per month. On top of all that the provider has also decided to replace its old Fair Access Policy (FAP/FUP) with a “simplerFlat Rate network management scheme.

The original FAP imposed a complicated scheme of levelled throttling, which at an extreme would push some service speeds down to sub-broadband levels (64Kbps) when the user hit a specific limit. By contrast the new Flat Rate policy aims give all customers a better performance through the duration of their monthly data allowance. Existing customers on the old tariffs can migrate to the equivalent new tariff at no cost.

Andrew Walwyn, ToowayDirect’s Managing Director, said:

Whilst satellite broadband is unquestionably the answer for many people stuck in not spots and now boasts many tens of thousands of satisfied users, we haven’t been resting on our laurels. Customer’s expectations are naturally increasing over time; with video and streaming TV programs becoming increasingly popular, and with more and more homes having several broadband enabled devices, our customers want more performance.

The new Tooway services raise the bar to a level where traditional wired services look embarrassingly slow, even in many major towns and cities. These new service levels mean even larger families with several PC’s and smart-phone users can share the services with total confidence in getting a good user experience.

We feel that this will redraw the broadband map of Europe, as the new services mean tens of thousands of properties (that wouldn’t have been able to otherwise) can now access the next wave of broadband functionality.”

The new packages certainly remove most of the advantages that Avanti’s competing HYLAS1 spacecraft, which is offered by a number of competing providers, initially had over KA-SAT. Similarly the offer of free hardware and connection, which is only valid for orders made during July 2012, represents a potential saving of almost £200 and is not to be sniffed at. This removes one of Satellite’s most costly barriers.

It should be said that other Eutesat based satellite ISPs will no doubt launch similar services over the coming weeks or months; major package changes like this typically stem from the supplier (resellers usually don’t have a lot of local flexibility in setting the service itself). Unfortunately ToowayDirect has yet to completely update their website as we couldn’t find the new packages listed, though that should change within the next few days. In any case we’d expect Tooway 18 MAX to be very expensive.

UPDATE 2:32pm

Tooway Direct have now updated their website comparison, which shows the Tooway 18 MAX package as costing £99.99 per month with a 50GB usage allowance. That’s far too expensive for most consumers but it might come in handy for some rural businesses.

Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. Avatar Mark says:

    Pricing =
    £54.99 for 18MB down/6MB up with 26GB
    £99.99 for 18MB down/6MB up with 50GB

  2. Avatar Mark says:

    Interestingly, you can also pay using Euro’s on the toowaydirect website (€99.99) which currently works out at £80.32!

    Avonline offer the exact same package for £89.99 but only over the phone. Gotta have some deep pockets though!

  3. Avatar DTMark says:

    This could be a real option here. Sensible data allowances (we need about 7GB/mo) and usable speeds.

    We could stay here and have a satellite service rather than moving home.

    Looks dirt cheap to me, only £54.99 a month. Compared with say £16/mo to rent a phone line and then another £20-odd a month for narrowband ADSL on it, it looks like a bit of a steal for people who can’t get cable or anything better.

    Just three problems:

    1. Satellite dishes – not permitted here (common in some rural areas, this is called a “settled estate” and has some specific rules).
    2. The probability of actually achieving anywhere near the advertised speeds.
    3. The latency. 40 to 75ms is bad enough on 3G/HSPA. I’m suspecting latency is more like 100 – 300ms.

    If I genuinely thought that (2) was good to go then I might be persuaded to be creative with (1) – you should see the places people hide dishes 😉

    I’d really like to see some objective testing of satellite services to see how they perform in the real-world. While it surely can’t be as bad as ADSL here (1.7Meg) and would probably manage more than a couple of meg most of the time, would it really outperform HSPA in practice (here: 4 to 6Meg down, 1.5Meg up most of the time)?

    In case the vendor/ISP is reading, what would persuade me and perhaps others: publishing actual speeds achieved.

    Not knocking it, though – for anyone literally in the middle of nowhere, the sort of places that will never, ever be reached by any fixed line services, even a few meg down and 1 meg up could be a “life changer”.

  4. Avatar CraigW says:

    Odd, there seems or be nothing published about the new FAP/FUP as to exactly what speeds you will see if you go over half your monthly quota, I was looking for something in writing so to speak before I signed up for a contract but the only reply I could get from speaking to one reseller was that “you shouldn’t see any real difference” which just doesn’t make sense!

  5. Avatar Dave Milthorpe says:

    I’ve had ToowayDirect8 for about a month now. After 10 days the 8G volume just disappeared. I’ve had three lots of additional voolume at £9.99 a go. The last one yesterday which lasted a day. When I check what sites I’ve visited there are thousands of them. Even when it’s not switched on. I’ve contacted their tech guys to no avail. I’m very disappointed.

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