Eutelsat is preparing to launch Unlimited 20Mbps Satellite Broadband for the UK and will announce a series of new packages for their KA-SAT spacecraft at 9° East. Faster speeds of up to 20Mbps and unlimited data allowances are two of several enhancements.
The KA-SAT spacecraft was first launched into orbit at the end of December 2010. It has a total capacity of 90Gbps (Gigabits/sec) and initially aimed to serve more than a million people. Customers require a 77cm satellite dish and modem, which is connected to a computer via an Ethernet connection, to access the service and this usually attracts a cost of several hundred pounds (around £300-£400 for the hardware, activation and installation).
At launch KA-SAT based ISPs, such as AVOnline, Tooway Direct and Bentley Walker (view a full list of UK satellite ISPs here), offered top download speeds of up to 10Mbps and 4Mbps uploads. Since then the maximum download rate has been lifted to 18Mbps (6Mbps uploads) and usage allowances now go up to 50GB (GigaBytes) but the best allowances do not come cheap.
A standard KA-SAT based broadband package (Tooway 8) will currently set you back around £25 per month and offer download speeds of up to 8Mbps (2Mbps uploads) alongside a usage allowance of 8GB (note: a slower 2Mbps option also exists but isn’t always offered). It might not seem like much, especially given the high setup and monthly rental, but it can be a lifesaver for those in remote rural areas.
Now, under threat from similar advancements being made by rivals SES (example) and Avanti, Eutelsat will today boost their top download speeds up to 20Mbps (the max upload speed of 6Mbps will remain unchanged) and launch a new type of “true unlimited data service” for the top package.