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Assessing Satellite Broadband

Satellite broadband is quite a specialised piece of technology and can allow you access to broadband in remote areas where all other types of broadband wouldn’t be able to reach. In this guide we talk you through satellite broadband, explain some of its drawbacks and offer advice on what to look out for when considering a satellite broadband package.

How it works

Satellite broadband works by having a satellite dish installed on your house that then sends and receives signals to a satellite in space. This allows satellite broadband to be provided pretty much anywhere as it isn’t reliant on the UK’s fixed line network. This makes it particularly appealing to those who live in rural areas and in some cases it may be your only means of getting online.


While satellite broadband could be some people’s only mean of getting online when compared to fixed line broadband or even mobile broadband it doesn’t stack up particularly well. Some of the drawbacks of satellite broadband include:

Cost: Satellite broadband requires a satellite to be installed, as well as a transmitter in order to receive data, which can be an expensive undertaking; and you’ll also have to pay a connection fee with most suppliers. Additionally when compared to fixed line packages you’ll be paying much more per month to receive similar levels of performance.

Speed and data limits: Depending on which provider you go for will depend on how much data allowance and connection speed you get, but generally speaking you won’t find a satellite broadband package offering much more than 20Mbps. And when it comes to a data limit you’ll typically find you’ll be limited to around 25GB a month (some packages do come with up to 100GB but can cost more than £75 a month).

Lag: Given that to work satellite broadband requires the dish on your house to transmit data to a satellite in space, it’s common for satellite broadband users to experience lag as the signal has a huge distance to travel. People who’ve made long distance phone calls or tried to play online games with a less then stable connection will be familiar with delays and lags of a few seconds here and there; and this is a problem that can occur with satellite broadband.

Weather: If you sign up to a satellite broadband package be prepared for it to be affected by the weather, as there needs to be a line of sight between the dish on your house and the satellite in space. Anything that blocks the line of sight will cause disruption to your connection.

What to look for

If you’re looking for a satellite broadband package you should be making all the same considerations as you would for a fixed line package (obviously excluding line rental). Think about how much data you’ll need each month, what connection speed you think you’ll need and most importantly what it will cost to have a satellite dish installed and how much the package will cost each month thereafter. To see which provider is offering the best combination of these factors visit a comparison website and contrast their deals like for like.

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