It is estimated that there are 300,000 people who live or work in areas that are so remote that the only way to get broadband services is to access them via satellite. This is something that more providers are considering now and is even being offered by Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder, to areas of Africa as part of his project to bring internet access to some of the poorest parts of the world.
Famous names using satellite broadband services include Bear Grylls, who lives on a remote North Wales island. Providers are taking advantage of a grant from the government worth £10 million to offer services to homes that cannot be reached by standard cable infrastructure. The government has a target of reaching 95% of the population by the end of next year with superfast broadband.
The digital minister, Ed Vaizey, has suggested that the funding for very remote properties should be limited because it would cost so much to provide services, even though the government has promised a universal right to superfast broadband.
BDUK is now trialling alternatives to traditional cable services. A new satellite scheme will see the government pay £350 towards the installation of a satellite dish that will offer residential and business broadband speeds of up to 30Mbps. The average monthly cost for services will be £40. The scheme is being rolled out gradually to different areas and will be administered by local councils.