Eutelsat’s Tooway™satellite broadband selected for use in Devon and Somerset rural fast broadband scheme “The Rural Connection”
1st December 2011
Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL) today announced that the Tooway™ satellite broadband service provided by its Skylogic affiliate will be used in “The Rural Connection” project, run by Devon and Somerset County Councils, to bring high-speed Internet services to over 1,000 of the regions’ most rural homes and businesses. The service, delivered by specialist reseller partner, ToowayDirect, will connect residents and businesses to the Internet via a small satellite dish installed on the outside of the property.
The £1m investment will enable free installation of the Tooway™ satellite broadband service for users who live in the qualifying area. Customers will have access to download speeds of up to 10 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 4 Mbps and a range of tariffs, together with a programme of free ICT training and support. Devon and Somerset County Councils won EU funding for the project from the European Rural Development Programme for England, which is being matched by the private sector.
“The Rural Connection” project will significantly improve internet services to selected areas around the Devon and Somerset border that currently receive very slow or no broadband. Parts of the rural hinterlands of South Molton, Tiverton, Honiton, Cullompton and Axminster, together with Wheddon Cross on Exmoor, are covered.
The project will run alongside the wider Connecting Devon and Somerset Programme, which aims to deliver superfast connectivity to at least 85% of homes and businesses and improved connectivity to all where the private sector has no plans to invest in the infrastructure.
Devon’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Enterprise and Employment, Will Mumford, said: “Businesses across the county tell us that the number one requirement for them to develop and expand is faster and more reliable broadband. That’s why we are working with colleagues in Somerset to deliver this exciting rural broadband project ahead of the wider Connecting Devon and Somerset multi-million pound programme of investment.
This is about ensuring that our businesses can compete on a level playing field, reducing the isolation of residents in remote areas and improving their access to services.”
Somerset’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Economic Development, David Hall, said: “The project has been welcomed by the business community in the area and will include a range of business support activities to help enterprises fully benefit from improved connectivity.
“We know being able to reach new markets, undertake research and do basic regulatory tasks online are essential to the survival and growth of rural businesses.”
Andrew Walwyn, Managing Director of ToowayDirect, said: “Access to high speed broadband improves the way people live, learn and work. So, we are delighted to be working with the Devon and Somerset local authorities to bring this service via satellite to some of the region’s most rural homes and businesses.“
“Devon and Somerset County Councils have recognised the unique role that satellite can play in extending broadband availability to the most rural communities in the UK,” added Dr Achille de Tommaso, CEO of Skylogic. “Tooway™ will help to transform the broadband map and we look forward to working closely with ToowayDirect and the local authorities on this exciting programme.”
The new-generation Tooway™ service is delivered via Eutelsat’s innovative KA-SAT satellite, which entered commercial service in May 2011. With its total capacity of more than 70 Gbps, KA-SAT ushers in a new era of competitively-priced, satellite-delivered services for homes and small businesses across Europe and the Mediterranean Basin. The satellite forms the cornerstone of a new satellite infrastructure, which includes eight main satellite gateways across Europe connected to the Internet by a fibre backbone ring.