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Tooway 10 satellite broadband review

Wednesday, November 4th 2015

Tooway is one of the few UK satellite broadband providers offering solace to rural residents for whom fibre optic broadband is but a distant dream. The Tooway 10 satellite broadband service offers download speeds up to 22Mbps, which will feel lightning-fast to those battling with snail-pace connections.

The high set-up costs mean it doesn’t come cheap, but it may be a price worth paying to get your broadband up to speed. We review all the details to help you decide if Tooway satellite broadband is the right service for you.

Cable.co.uk overall rating
2.8

As a middle sibling in Tooway’s satellite broadband line-up, this service offers a meagre 10GB monthly usage limit, which will be ample for some but far too limited for others. However, the speed is appealing and may be worth the high price tag for rural residents who are fed up with the sloth-like speeds of slow standard broadband.

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Speed & usage

Rating

3

If you’re interested in satellite broadband it’s probably because your current broadband connection is way too slow, and taking Tooway will certainly bring an improvement. The advertised speed is up to 22Mbps and, due to the delivery method via satellite rather than telephones lines or cables, the actual speed you receive is likely to be pretty close to this. In fact, the average Tooway speed recorded by visitors to Cable.co.uk who carried out our broadband speed test is 14.7Mbps. This is ample for lots of online activities and compares favourably to the average rural download speed of around 9.9Mbps to 11.3Mbps, according to Ofcom (although even this may seem unrealistically fast to many rural residents). However, satellite broadband has high latency, which is the time lag between carrying out an action and seeing it happen on the screen when carrying out real-time activities, such as first-person shooter games. A fast reaction is essential for success, so these games won’t operate as well due to the extra time involved in the trip to the satellite and back that your data has to make.

The usage cap on this service is very limiting and only suitable for fairly light internet users. At just 10GB per month, you could find yourself reaching the cap after a few hours watching catch-up TV or Netflix, while downloading an HD movie like Avatar will wipe out half your allowance in one fell swoop. If you exceed the 10GB limit your speed will be throttled to just 128kbps and you can buy a ‘Volume Boost’ of 10GB, 50GB or 100GB to get you through the month. This can get pricy so if you’re into data-intensive activities, you’ll be better off going for Tooway’s Extra package, which comes with a download limit of 100GB per month.

Advertised download speed Up to 22Mbps
Average downloads (off-peak) Not Available *
Average downloads (peak) Not Available *
Advertised upload speed Up to 6Mbps
Monthly usage 10GB
Traffic management No
Static IP No
Minimum contract One month
Router Cisco wireless N-type router (£59.99)
Public wi-fi No
Prices from from £24.95 per month
Info

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What you can do with it

Advertised

Actual

*Average speeds for Tooway M Satellite Broadband not available from Ofcom at this time.

Satellite broadband has come a long way in recent years and is much less prone to reliability issues and weather-related disturbance than it once was. However, technical support is important, particularly as it is such a different beast to traditional broadband. Avonline has two options for technical support. First of all, you can call their support services (on 0303 303 3131) to speak directly to an advisor. This is open 9am to 7pm weekdays, and 10am to 2pm Saturdays. It’s closed on Sundays. The other option is to download the Avonline Support software. This lets you communicate with Avonline support over your internet connection (but if your problem is the absence of an internet connection, this method isn’t much use).

Avonline recommend that you either use one of their qualified installers or an accredited installer rather than attempting to install everything yourself. A certified installer will help ensure that your dish is best positioned with a unobstructed view of the sky for optimum signal, whatever the weather.

Extras

Rating

2

Tooway is short on traditional broadband provider perks like public wi-fi and security software, but there are a few useful features that help to soften the blow of signing up to such a long contract or paying a massive upfront fee. First up is the Fibre Guarantee – which promises to free you from your contract if fibre optic broadband becomes available at your property. If you’re taking the satellite equipment on loan, you’ll be tied into a 24-month contract but if fibre later arrives in your area, you’ll just need to return the equipment at your own cost to be able to leave the contact without penalty.

Secondly, Tooway operates a ‘refer a neighbour’ scheme, which awards you with one month free broadband for any one of your neighbours who join Tooway from your recommendation. Finally, a non-extra to be aware of is that since Tooway delivers broadband via satellite instead of through telephone lines, it doesn’t offer any home phone call plans. So your options include paying extra to take a separate landline from a different provider or switching to a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service like Skype.

Tooway satellite broadband is expensive, there’s simply no denying it. However, the value attached to having a reliable broadband service with a consistent, reasonably fast speed will go some way to justifying the cost for many customers. If you’re fed up with a poor speed slowing down everything you do online and hate being cut off from handy features like BBC iPlayer and VoIP calling, it could well be a price worth paying. The nearest comparative service is a 3G or 4G mobile broadband plan, which while far cheaper to set up, can get expensive month-to-month for the same 10GB level of usage, and the speeds are more variable too.

Tooway offers three pricing options to help you manage the cost. A high upfront cost is offset with a lower monthly fee or you can get free set-up and pay more each month. In both these options, the satellite equipment is supplied on loan and you’ll need to commit to a 24-month contract. If you’d rather not commit long-term and have some cash to spare, you can buy the equipment upfront in return for the lowest monthly fee and a flexible one-month rolling contract. We’ve outlined the different options in the box below to help you compare and if you’re in a position to pay annually on any plan, you’ll get a 5% discount off the total subscription price.

Tooway offers a Cisco wireless N-type router with four Ethernet ports for an extra £59.95. You don’t have to take this router and Tooway says that any Ethernet-compliant router should work fine with its broadband service, but states that routers designed for cable or standard broadband will not work.

You can choose either to set-up your Tooway broadband yourself or to pay for professional installation. You’ll need to select one of three different mount options for your satellite dish – wall, roof or ground. A standard wall mount is included, whereas the other options come with an additional fee. Unfortunately, the upfront costs don’t stop there, as you could face further set-up and connection charges depending on which payment structure you choose. All equipment is covered by a two-year full manufacturer's warranty.

Tooway Router

Overall Rating

2.8

Tooway 10 Satellite Broadband is far from perfect, but it’s certainly a viable option for those of us cut off from fixed-line broadband. The 10GB cap is limiting, but the speed is pretty good, albeit not suitable for some real-time activities like gaming. While the cost is definitely a drawback, it will be worth it for many rural residents and the 24/7 technical support is a valuable perk. As a whole, satellite broadband is becoming more reliable and affordable all the time and is now much more accessible than the prohibitively expensive early services.

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