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Satellite broadband company scraps installation fee for rural customers

Tuesday, April 21st 2015 by Ellen Branagh

A satellite broadband provider is offering free installation and activation for customers in certain areas.

Avonline Broadband is waiving the connection charges for residents, farmers and businesses who cannot get a fast broadband service, and who sign up for its ‘up to 22Mbps’ service through selected local authorities and rural organisations.

So far, people in Northumberland, Northamptonshire and Cornwall Councils’ remits, as well as members of the National Farmers Union (NFU) and Country Land and Business Association (CLA), can take advantage of the offer, which will save them around £150.

Mark Wynn, managing director of Avonline Broadband, said: “There was speculation that the chancellor would announce a voucher scheme to subsidise the installation of satellite broadband but his Budget announcement didn’t contain any details.

“So, in the meantime, we are in effect giving a free £150 ‘voucher’ to help those who are eligible for our service.”

Mr Wynn said around 1.5m mostly-rural homes and businesses had “no realistic hope” of getting superfast broadband from the large infrastructure providers in the foreseeable future.

“Satellite broadband is their only realistic solution over the next two to five years,” he added.

“Our priority is to make our satellite broadband capacity easily available to those in areas and interest groups where we have a relationship.”

The company welcomes new partnerships with local authorities, and there is no cost to them for partnering with Avonline, Mr Wynn said.

The “available anywhere” satellite technology can deliver download speeds of up to 22Mbps to any home or business, regardless of location or remoteness, so can benefit those in more remote rural areas, including farmers.

'No lengthy wait'

Mr Wynn added: “Our satellite broadband service delivers download speeds of up to 22Mbps anywhere in the UK immediately, and with more than 1,000 systems now installed in farming-related properties we can prove how we are able to help farmers get fast broadband today, no matter where they live.

“There is no phone line needed and no lengthy wait for an upgrade programme.

“With the ability to get installed within a few days and no bundled phone line rental obligations, satellite broadband can open up immediate access to the many benefits of the modern internet, such as downloading movies, making Skype calls and catching up on TV programmes.”

Farmer Bruce Wilkinson described the benefits of satellite broadband in a blog for Superfast Northamptonshire, after winning a prize draw for a year’s free service with Avonline.

Mr Wilkinson, who farms almost 500 acres at Glapthorn, near Oundle, East Northamptonshire, previously had an unreliable copper connection and suffered from poor broadband speeds.

He said: “For the past five years we have had an unreliable and slow broadband service.

“Before the satellite was installed we certainly couldn’t consider watching catch-up TV and managing business requirements online was difficult.”

Cable.co.uk has previously reported that the government will subsidise the cost of installing satellite broadband for those in the country's hardest-to-reach areas not covered by the rollout of superfast fibre broadband.

The government has committed to delivering broadband speeds of 24Mbps or faster to 95% of the UK by December 2017.

As part of its rollout, it is looking into alternative ways of delivering superfast speeds to the final 5%, typically those in the hardest-to-reach areas, where fibre is not an option and is already running pilot projects looking at various solutions.

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