Europe gets new broadband satellite option

Eutelsat's newest satellite has begun operations, giving homes and businesses a new option for high-speed Net access. Prices aren't bad--if you can't get plain old DSL.

Eutelsat's KA-SAT for home and business broadband Net access has just begun operating.
Eutelsat's KA-SAT for home and business broadband Net access has just begun operating. Eutelsat

Eutelsat Communications' KA-SAT satellite went into service today, opening up a new broadband option for homes and businesses in Europe and the Mediterranean area.

The satellite enables broadband speeds that are competitive with some land-based connections such as ADSL--at least for those in areas too far away from the network equipment--though it won't break any high-speed records. Eutelsat's Skylogic subsidiary offers a Tooway service with download speeds up to 10Mbps for residences; businesses get up to 40Mbps, with a 50Mbps option coming later.

Using Eutelsat's new satellite broadband service requires this dish antenna.
Using Eutelsat's new satellite broadband service, called Tooway, requires this dish antenna. Eutelsat

The services come with usage caps, too. The lightweight plan costs 25 pounds or 30 euros ($43) per month, has download speeds of 6Mbps and upload speeds of 1Mbps, and has a 4GB limit. At the high end, costing 100 pounds or 100 euros ($144) per month, the download speed is 10Mbps, upload speed is 4Mbps, and the monthly allowance is 25GB.

Getting started brings some extra fees. A satellite dish costing 200 pounds or 230 euros ($331) must be installed on the outside of the house, too. Self-installation can be done with the help of an iPhone app to point the dish toward the satellite, or people can pay Skylogic 100 pounds to do the work.

Eutelsat launched the satellite in December. It connects to the Internet with 82 "spot beams" that link with 10 base stations. In total, the satellite can send and transmit a maximum of 70Gbps.

The Paris-based company operates 27 satellites commercially, used among other things to beam 3,800 TV stations to people in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and to provide Internet access to buildings, ships, and aircraft.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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