Satellite brings broadband to rural Ireland

Homes in rural Ireland will be supplied with broadband through satellite connections after a deal was announced between Avanti Communications, the UK satellite company, and Hutchison 3G Ireland, according to the Financial Times.

Last year the Irish government awarded a contract to Hutchison 3G Ireland to supply broadband to the 10% of the population to whom it is not viable to provide broadband via the fixed line network. Most of the 220,000 concerned are in rural areas, and the majority will internet access via mobile connections, starting later this month.

Hutchison 3G Ireland could supply internet access to up to 6,000 Irish homes through satellite connections. The deal with Hutchison 3G Ireland is worth £4.6m to Avanti over three years.

Satellite connections have been seen as too expensive an option that is slow and prone to atmospheric changes. However, Avanti is using Ka band spectrum, which allows powerful spot beams to be focused on small areas. In the US, Wildblue Communications already offers internet connections to rural areas using this kind of technology, the FT notes.

David Williams, Avanti\'s chief executive, told the newspaper broadband services over satellite should cost around £20 per month, bringing them into line with prices for fixed-line and mobile connections.