Satellite is not really “broadband”

IrelandOffline has performed a technical capacity analysis on total satellite broadband throughput metrics in recent weeks. This analysis was conducted once Hylas-1 and Ka-Sat went live. Hylas-1 and Ka-Sat between them more than quadrupled satellite “broadband” capacity in Ireland.

IrelandOffline has come to the inescapable conclusion that the total capacity of all satellite broadband providers operating in Ireland is less than the backhaul available to the rather small Roscahill exchange in County Galway and indeed that of many small rural exchanges.

Satellite is an ideal broadcast mechanism for television but owing to natural constraints it is not suitable for large scale broadband deployment owing to the speed with which it gets naturally saturated by over-subscription and overselling. The country is littered with victims of this chicanery, many of whom paid enormous sums to get their satellite broadband installed.

Current Irish public policy towards satellite is misguided and wrong, akin to incentivising 4 wheel drive purchases and sending them all down a narrow country boreen….and then wondering why everybody is complaining about the service. ALL Irish satellite capacity together, Ka-Sat, Hylas-1 and older “birds” is much less than 1 Gbps. Probably less than 300Mbps total download speed. Likely less 150Mbps total in moderate rain.  Astra2connect drops to 10kbps in upstream in ordinary rain! This bandwidth is shared amongst all users.

IrelandOffline calls on Minister Rabbitte to recognise this reality, that there is and will continue to be insufficient satellite capacity to adequately service more than a few 100 users nationally in geographically extreme locations where wireless connections are difficult and expensive. ”

Even then in most cases Fixed wireless would be cheaper in long term and in short term deliver real broadband compared with Satellite. Even apart from Capacity issues, the latency (delay due to 152,000 km which even at speed of light is more than 500ms, half a second, more than 10 to 50 times worse than broadband) is never going to be reduced to broadband speeds.
Also due to capacity issues the satellite providers enforce severe Fair Use Policies with rolling caps of maybe 2Gb per month, most now enforce minuscule caps by the hour with download data rates reduced for the remainder of the month if the limit is exceeded. This makes satellite unsuitable for all but the most trivial tasks, so no general Youtube or movie watching.

There is no case for any Satellite so called “broadband” at all in an Advanced country like Ireland. It should be used only for emergency communications. The Majority subsidize, to an extent, phone lines and for all the ESB connections. Anywhere that gets ESB can get Fibre or Fixed Wireless more economically than Satellite and with real net benefit to the economy. All Satellite Service providers are outside of Ireland. The people here are no more than shop keepers and installers reducing the value to the economy. Fibre and Fixed wireless roll outs save money, provide real broadband and create real secure local jobs.

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4 Responses

  1. wim bosheck says:

    we have ambulant office in Portugal?belgium?Holland
    How can we have FAST internet

  2. These are the sorts of limits you can expect with satellite:
    Hardly what I would call generous allowances…

    More typical satellite provider “fair use” which basically outline the data caps that apply, this is posted because the Twoway link is blocked. Satellite providers would prefer if you didn’t know about the caps.

  4. Clifford says:

    Hi Eamonn,
    My name is Clifford Flynn, i am the manager with Europasat Ireland. Would you be available for a call to discuss a proposal.

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