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People using satellite broadband

The vast potential of satellite broadband to bring high-speed services to rural homes and businesses is being largely ignored, it has been claimed.

Chris O'Dell, a Vice-President at satellite equipment provider Hughes Network Systems, said officials are failing to give sufficient consideration to the technology, preferring to focus on fibre, 4G and Wi-Fi developments.

Speaking to PC Pro, he explained that satellite broadband offers virtually universal service provision, meaning it could be the ideal technology for remote communities far away from the nearest telephone exchange.

"Ofcom said in August that 14 per cent of UK homes couldn't get access at 2Mb and I find that frustrating when we can offer 100 per cent coverage," Mr O'Dell stated.

He claimed that 10Mb downloads and 2Mb uploads are easily achievable with modern satellite technology.

"The packages depend on the service providers and virtual network operators, but they are around £20 for the lower ones, and you can get a 10Mb download for just over £40," Mr O'Dell explained.

"Is it in the same price point as fixed-line services? No. But the reality is that those people will never be able to get access to those speeds with a fixed-line service provider."

He said that in Europe, people recognise that satellite is a complimentary technology for rural areas and notspots.

"Things are happening, but obviously we'd like to see that opened up more in the UK," Mr O'Dell told the news provider.

Speaking in October 2011, Oliver Johnson, Chief Executive Officer at analyst firm Point Topic, suggested that Europe needs a variety of broadband technologies if it is to meet its coverage goals.

Mr Johnson claimed that a combination of fibre, satellite and wireless broadband will be required to meet "even the most basic objectives".

And as technology advances, satellite broadband can play an important role in ensuring homes and businesses have access to digital services, Mr Johnson stated.

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