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Broadband future is in the stars

Broadband users in rural areas stand to benefit significantly from Elon Musk’s satellite broadband service, according to a leading comparison site.Compare Fibre (www.comparefibre.co.uk) has welcomed the billionaire entrepreneur’s Starlink programme, which has seen more than 1,000 satellites launched into Earth’s orbit to provide high-speed internet.

“This will transform rural wi-fi,” says Compare Fibre’s co-founder Nathan Hill-Haimes. “We are really keen to stress the impact this can have on connecting rural locations with high-speed internet.”

The satellites have been launched by Musk’s SpaceX company, with the eventual aim of having tens of thousands of them in orbit.

And Elon Musk isn’t the only entrepreneur looking to improve internet speeds. Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame is developing a massive satellite internet project known as Project Kuiper. The pair locked horns earlier this year when Amazon objected to SpaceX’s request to move some of its satellites to lower altitudes than originally planned.

What do customers think?

Starlink is already available to some UK households. One customer from Bredgar, a small village in Kent, told the Press Association (PA) news agency that it was virtually impossible to stream Netflix or download video games before moving to Starlink.

Now, however, he receives an average speed of 175Mbps, meaning games can be downloaded in just over an hour, he said.

The cost of the high-speed connection isn’t cheap though, with the hardware costing £439 with a monthly fee of £89. Plus, there are some outages planned due to the current limited number of satellites and the fact that Starlink is still being tested.

Another Starlink user based in Devon told PA: “If you need connectivity to run a business and if you need connectivity for communication, particularly in Covid times, £90 a month is quite justifiable.”

Broadband champions

Compare Fibre is the champion of full-fibre broadband, committed to helping people access full-fibre and understand all of their options.

“Our goal is to create a fair and impartial environment for broadband providers, users and other interested parties to discuss full-fibre broadband. We remain completely impartial and independent of any broadband providers,” adds Mr Hill-Haimes.

The website, www.comparefibre.co.uk, offers users the opportunity to discover all fibre providers and the best deals in their area, get alerts when faster speeds go live and check speeds by postcode locations.

It also features information about what constitutes a good fibre broadband deal and how to choose the best fibre broadband in the UK. There are also reviews and comparisons of broadband providers.

2018