Over the Fields and into the Sky

Astra Connect ISP Satellite Internet Completes First Step in Bringing Devon village into the Digital Era

With more of the world moving online there is growing pressure on Governments to provide the means to connect even the most rural of locations. In the UK, the Government and local authorities are investing £1.7 billion in improving broadband and mobile infrastructure, with an aim of providing superfast broadband to 95 percent of the UK by 2017.

But for villages outside of that 95 percent, the ‘final five percent’, superfast Internet access can appear a long way from being achieved. This is in part due to the difficulty in making fiber deployments financially viable for these locations. With that in mind, in early 2014, the Government acknowledged that other technologies had to be considered if it was to achieve 100 percent connectivity. It announced its £10million Innovation fund to explore ways to reach those premises in the final five percent. In June 2014 Satellite Internet was selected as one of the eight successful bidders – bringing satellite into the mix of potential technologies to connect the final five percent for the first time.

Based on the Astra Connect For Communities model, Satellite Internet proposed a Satellite Distribution Node (SDN) and a Wi-Fi head-end technology which will provide homes with Internet speeds of up to 25Mbps.

Following the successful bid for funding, Satellite Internet has worked closely with Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) to progress the project over the latter half of 2014. A feasibility study and community engagement was carried out towards the end of 2014 and the first villages to benefit from the pilot were announced.

Moving into the early part of 2015, the first headend has now been installed on Luxborough’s Village Hall. Overseen by engineers from SBBS and Satellite Internet, the headend was fitted and successfully configured on Friday, January 23.

Satellite Internet will now complete a survey of individual properties and sign up customers in the area. Two more installations will take place in Simonsbath and Priddy in the early part of this year.


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