back to article Satellite broadband rollout for all in US: But Europe just doesn't get it

Dish, the US satellite provider, has switched on its home domestic broadband service, but while Americans embrace satellite Europeans don't seem interested in talking to their birds. dishNET is offering 5Mb/s down, 1Mb/s up, for $40 to anywhere in the USA, via the Jupiter-1 bird. That will compete with HughesNet, which has …


This topic is closed for new posts.


  1. BRYN

    the sub headline?

    When your only dish provider in the UK is Sky. Is it any wonder that we don't trust them. Especially in light of recent news. Before some wise guy/girl pipes up and says Freesat they use Sky's satellite network. Thus if Freesat provided a service you'd still be using sky. A turd by any other name is still a turd. #jft96 #dontbuythesun #dontgivemurdochapenny #mediacancer

    1. dogged

      Re: the sub headline?

      Also because latency matters. Satellite internet tends to work in burst mode with very, very long periods of latency. Try playing Call of Duty or Counterstrike when everything freezes solid for two second in every five.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: the sub headline?

        Freezing 2 seconds in every 5 sounds like a bonus when you want your kids to concentrate on homework and not gaming. :-). Perhaps a new marketing tactic to try?

      2. Thing

        Re: the sub headline?

        Yup... took one look at this back in the day when I moved to a street that did not have cable.

        'The latency is what!?'

        Did not look any further :-)

    2. Colin Miller

      Other satellite internet is available

      Whilst BSkyB might be the only satellite TV supplier in the UK, it isn't the only satellite internet company. Infact I'm fairly sure that Sky's internet are FTTP or ADSL only.

      1. BRYN

        Re: Other satellite internet is available

        Yup there broadband service is ADSL at the moment. However the point is that they alone are the only viable satellite broadband provider. If another company lauinched the service they would use Sky's satellites rather than fund there own. Thus my point stands. Satellite broadband in th UK would be a Sky driven service. Murdoch is a cancer, News International are a cancer. Slowly everyday we get fed a little bit more of the poison he spouts. Seriously your all intelligent, who in ther right mind would actually pay Sky/News international for anything?

        1. Androgynous Cowherd

          Re: Other satellite internet is available

          You are all

    3. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: the sub headline?

      This has nothing to do with Sky or Freesat. Neither of them provide a broadband service over satellite.


        Re: the sub headline?

        I think the previous posters would do themselves (and us) a favour and (re-)read the article.

      2. BRYN

        Re: the sub headline?

        Yup your correct neither of them do. I never said they did. Just if satellite broadband launched in the UK only viable provider would be Sky/News International.

        Wish smart people would actually read, rather than jump to conclusions.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Re: the sub headline?

          There are already several providers selling broadband by satellite in the UK and have been for many years so you're wrong there as well.

          Sky/News International have nothing to do with satellite broadband and probably never will. In fact over the next decade they might get out of satellite broadcasting completely as IPTV drops in price and increases in availability. There is just no reason to mention them in respect of an article about satellite broadband.

    4. Fibbles

      This is not Twitter.

      #stop #using #hash #tags

    5. Mage Silver badge

      Re: the sub headline?

      There are two main Ka Satellite Internet services in UK, one from Avanti on Hylas 1 and one from Tooway on Ka-Sat.

      Neither (nor the resellers) are anything to do with DTH TV such as Sky. Nor actually is it Broadband.

      Sky don't actually own ANY satellites nor do they own the Set boxes or Dish on your house. They are a Pay TV Service that also has some channels they sell to Cable Operators.

    6. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: the sub headline?


      I don't know if you are a cretin or deliberately bring obtuse. There is so much wrong with your post it beggars belief.

      Firstly sky don't own any satellites they rent transponder space on them.

      Sky don't own either the dishes or the installers.

      So taking those away and the moronic hash tags it leaves your post pretty redundant.

    7. Not That Andrew


      The post is required, and must contain letters.

    8. Stuart Castle

      Re: the sub headline?

      Sky don't own their satellite network. It's owned by SES ( and Sky lease facilities.

  2. Robert E A Harvey

    Not Needed

    Satellite internet makes sense when the US population is so sparsely scattered. In Europe population densities are higher and terrestrial solutions more practical as well as actually faster.

    Not to mention the weather. I used to work on ships and our C-band internet feeds were often interrupted by rain at one end or the other. (My domestic Sky TV sometimes goes off in heavy rain).

    And Europe has more aesthetic control over building use: the planning laws would go do-lally over so many dishes, whereas in the US people have large back yards to lose them in.

    </sweeping generalisations>

    Oh, and it is expensive.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Not Needed

      but in a lot of the US you cant even hang your washing in the back yard

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not Needed

      If reading the Reg article it's because we are a bung of European commies?


      Oh, do I think the excuses given in the article are a load of rubbish? Me? Oh, I dropped the sarcasm tag, sorry I do!

    3. Steve Evans

      Re: Not Needed

      Exactly what I was going to say.

      If there was no other choice then I might think about it, but given the their 5Mb/s down, 1Mb/s up, for $40 has to compete with ADSL2 and now FTTC which are both faster and cheaper, their only real market are those who live in the middle of nowhere, which isn't that many.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not Needed

      "... used to work on ships and our C-band internet feeds were often interrupted by rain..."

      Ka band is even more prone to rain-fade. In fact I own a couple of operators who are preparing to sell satellite services that nominally use Ka-band, but which fall back to C-band in a rain-fade situation.

      1. Robert E A Harvey


        I'm sure you are right, but I had far less experience of Ka on ships - the sputniks we used were equipped for C, and if the rain was heavy enough we would lose either signal or symbol lock.

        Like I say, my Sky (?Ku?) box doesn't like wet weather

  3. hitmouse

    In a lot of rural France there is no landline broadband* and many are forced to take the satellite option. However since they pay through the nose for 4GB/month and terribly slow speeds I can't see any real interest in "talking to their birds" for its own sake.

    (*often the landline broadband is so awful that you can't stream YouTube or do video skyping)

    1. N2 Silver badge

      Rural France?

      i get around 8Mb/s down & 1Mb/s up in rural France, Im in very rural France this week & getting similar speeds & have always been able to achieve reasonable speed elsewhere.

      1. hitmouse

        Re: Rural France?

        Lucky you. In our rural France we have 1.5 down and 0.25 up on a good day. Latency is completely shit. But we're lucky: our neighbours 1km away can't get a land connection at all

        No mobile signal either unless we find a hill. Which is sooo great when you have to call telco support when the land connection goes down, and they ask you to check your router.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      my folks use satellite broadband, they're on Skye on a croft, BT keep saying that it's possible to get ADSL broadband out there (ergo the call centre) but they can't. The only real issue they have with the satellite is when certain sites (iplayer) decide the IP range they're in isn't in the UK anymore.

    3. FatGerman

      Third world backwaters

      "(*often the landline broadband is so awful that you can't stream YouTube or do video skyping)"

      Oh one shudders at the hardships you poor, poor foreigners have to suffer. I'm in rural Wales. I struggle to post this. A mobile phone signal would be nice too. But you know what? I manage. Go outside.

  4. Arctic fox

    I think that this matter is not simply driven by ignorance on this occasion.

    Satellite-dish sellers (regardless of the primary purpose of the dish) have a reputation amongst the general public that is on a par with double-glazing and used car salesmen.

    1. Richard Jones 1

      Re: I think that this matter is not simply driven by ignorance on this occasion.

      There are thought of that good? They must have improved and I missed it!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A few points for you all.....

    Ok hands up... I used to work in satellite comms - and no i dont work for any comms companies anymore so no vested interests here. To clear a few matters up, Sky dont own the satellites, they simply rent space of SES ASTRA - who also sell space segment to a whole host of other companies. TV is braodcast on KU band and works because its a single broadcast to many via satellites large scale footprint - so a scaleable sales proposition of one production to many users. Satellite broadband requires one set of transponders for the "broadband" uplink, (KA band), and one set of transponders for dowload, (KU Band). The Ka band transponders have a finite bandwidth onboard (as any satellites does) and you can only switch on a certain amount of simultaneous use connections, so without detailing very particular industry data, its clear to see that contention ratios will apply to bandwidth usage. Any latency times incurred are because the signals get uplinked and downloaded 2 times totalling about 78,000 km in comms distance so even at the speed of light you can see there will be latency issues in the system which are unavoidable. Mind you if your terrestrial broadband connnection had to travel 78,000 km you'd have a latency issue too.

    Anyone who can get a terrestrial broadband connection, even slow one, will get a cheaper/better service than anything they can get via satellite. Satellite works where you cant get terrestrial comms, hence why the numbers are greater in the US etc. Highlands and isalnd communities will always benefit from satellite comms but will require Govt subsidisng in some fashion to make it affordable for its consumers.

    Im not knocking satellite here - I loved its applications as it has as very specfic market which cannot be met by any other means.... but its simply not a scaleable cost effective method of delivering broadband comms.... unless as I said its remote areas/highlands and islands etc. Oh and the satellite dish set up for satellite "broadband" comms is a completely different type of dish/LNB than a sat TV style "mini dish". Its installation accuracy needs to be very exact otherwise your uplink data misses the KA band transponder beam spots which are not as wide an area as std KU band trasnmission coverage footprints - so dont judge sky dish installers with proper KA band dish installations - they are completely different. Ahhhhh it al comes flooding back!!!

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: A few points for you all.....

      I don't normally upvote ACs but on this occasion you deserve it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A few points for you all.....

        "I don't normally upvote ACs"

        Why not? Surely voters are supposed to be rating the message in question, not the messenger's track record, which is exactly why I usually post as AC here.

        Focus on the message, not the messenger.

        1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Why not?

          Most ACs are AC to hide their identity when giving abusive comments.

          Some hide their identity to avoid complication while giving great info on actual reality on satellites (unlike El Reg?).

          1. Fibbles

            Re: Why not?

            Some of us use AC because at some point in the past one of our posts has enraged a 14 year old (or somebody with a similar level of emotional maturity). I don't care about my upvote / downvote ratio, there are more important things in life. The voting system is a handy way of quickly finding out what fellow commentards think of your opinion though. It's certainly easier than scrolling through dozens of comments which essentially say nothing more than "Me too, great post" or "Please don't go near a keyboard again, your opinions are moronic". That system becomes completely useless though if some kid sees red and downvotes every comment made by a certain alias, regardless of its content.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Why not?

            "Most ACs are AC to hide their identity when giving abusive comments."

            Actually, I have been posting more and more as AC lately as i have found that if I post anything that doesn’t agree with certain factions of the el-reg comentard community that most of my more recent posts suddenly get a flurry of down votes.

            I know votes don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world, but they are an indication that I may need to re-evaluate.....

            1. Fatman Silver badge

              Re: a flurry of down votes.

              From my profile: In total, your posts have been upvoted 325 times and downvoted 207 times.

              I could give a shit less about how many down votes I get.

              Sometimes it is a case of "fuck you, if you can not take a joke".

              Now, to expect a shit load of down votes.

      2. Beau
        Thumb Up

        Re: A few points for you all.....

        Exactly the same from here.

    2. Stephen 11

      Re: A few points for you all.....

      "I loved its applications as it has as very specfic market which cannot be met by any other means...."

      While this has been the case up till now, I think that 4g mobile Internet could provide a fairly cost-effective solution for many rural areas where land line coverage is poor or non-existent.

      1. FatGerman

        Re: A few points for you all.....

        "While this has been the case up till now, I think that 4g mobile Internet could provide a fairly cost-effective solution for many rural areas where land line coverage is poor or non-existent."

        There are plenty of us living in rural areas who are still waiting for decent 2G coverage on the 1800MHz band that 4G will run on. I agree that 4G mobile would be better than the "broadband" provided by BT out here, but the chances of them building an antenna to cover the 14 people on this side of the hill are nil.

    3. Tom Reg

      Re: A few points for you all.....

      The pings are huge. Its about 40,000km from earth to satellite. So to ping a webserver you need 40,000 up to the sat, then 40,000k down to the ground, over to the server, then 40,000 km back up to the sat, and 40,000 down to the client. I think that the sat providers can cut this down by running an edge server on the satellite, but that only speeds up downloading pictures from the latest hollywood divorce.

      That's 160,000 km, or about 0.55 seconds - 550 ms are added onto each ping. (speed of light is 300,000 km/sec) Here in the Canadian countryside, on a WiFi 4G I get 'terrible' pings - 100ms seems added, etc. But on satellite which I had for several years, I was getting real world pings of 900 ms.

      So don't use satellite unless you can't get any form of real internet.

  6. Robin Bradshaw

    Thats your problem right there!

    "5Mb/s down, 1Mb/s up, for $40"

    Thats why its not popular in europe those speeds at that price would make even talk talk look like an attractive proposition.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thats your problem right there!

      Plus latency of 1 second plus. Which isn't a problem for downloads but for instant messaging it can be annoying.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Thats your problem right there!

        IM is where you think it would be a pain?

        IM would be fine - it's VoIP (Voice or Video) calls that would be intolerable.

        But then there are often other solutions for Voice calls - even if BT aren't the best broadband supplier they are pretty good at getting voice lines to places. And you could always try phoneing skype ;)

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Thats your problem right there!

          IM would be fine - it's VoIP (Voice or Video) calls that would be intolerable.

          Clearly the application mix is important, and that will depend on the user.

          For example, I use VoIP for work; I could live without it, but that would be an added cost on top of the price of satellite ISP service. On the other hand, I also do a fair bit of remote access with SSH, Telnet, VNC, Remote Desktop, and occasionally X11 - and those are really unusable with satellite latencies. It's like going back to the days of 300bps async connections. That makes satellite Internet unusable for me.

          If I just used the Internet for batch operations like email, and for request-response stuff with long think-time like conventional (non-AJAX-heavy) web pages, satellite would be more competitive. And there are certainly users who fit that profile.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thats your problem right there!

      You obviously haven't lived in rural Spain........

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Thats your problem right there!

        What does Lester Haines say about this?

        My parents live in the middle of nowhere. They have Hughes, and while it's high latentcy, it's better than driving into town (1/2 hour drive) with a laptop to hit a 3G connection.

    3. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

      Re: Thats your problem right there!

      The Reg article did not make it clear whether $40 was:

      - one-off charge for ever

      - per year

      - per month

      - per week

      - per hour

      - per bit.

      Please would somebody clarify.

    4. zaax

      Re: Thats your problem right there!

      I agree the price plains are not competitive with other providers; DSL or cable. also 18Mbps is not that fast either.

  7. Roger Jenkins


    I am in Australia and am a satellite user. I have no mobile phone coverage and no DSL available on landline.

    I used to use ISDN, that is, until our monopoly phone company decided to stop domestic ISDN and only allow the commercial variety. So, why did I go satellite? Simply because it is governement subsidised and available.

    Under the old governement scheme I was attached to the Ipstar satellite, it was somewhat slow the latency was in the region of 1300ms and the download caps were poor (upload counted as well).

    Now I have the new governement scheme supplied by NBN, govt. owned and controled.

    NBN did the whole installation free of charge, they own the equipment therefore they also maintain it.

    The speed is higher than under the old scheme and the data cap is also higher and latency is now around 700ms.

    Under the above circumstances I'd be silly to not use satellite, however, if I had to pay for the whole shebang, there is no way I would have it, I'd be using dial-up.

    So, I agree with previous posters, with no govt. subsidy satellite broadband would be dead in the water.

    I dunno how the Yanks do it, unless they pay lots of money and only do email or a small amount of browsing.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Satellite

      In terms of population density, Australia is like America only more so. Europe is much smaller and much more densely populated than either and can provide DSL from exchanges to well over 90 % of the population. In less densely populated areas, and considering how well even very rural France is covered, this is a very small slice of the population, there are a range of technologies available from UMTS to WiMAX and the like, depending on country and rules. There just isn't sufficient residual demand for it to be viable and you get more value from the subsidy by building out low frequency UMTS than satellite.

      I've heard lots of complaints from Americans living not at all far from large metropolitan areas that they cannot get more than dialup because the deregulated operators are not obliged to install DSLASMs in the exchanges. This, and the existing base of Dish TV customers, makes broadband over satellite a nice additional service that Dish can offer and optimise use of its infrastructure.


This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019