With a population topping around 250 the rural village of Broomfield in North Somerset has the become the third and final site connected to satellite broadband in a trial scheme between Connecting Devon and Somerset, Broadband Delivery UK and the specialist provider Satellite Internet. The scheme was developed as part of program by BDUK to explore alternative broadband delivery methods.
The project utilises a satellite dish as the main connection point which is then networked with a fixed connection WiFi hub located centrally in the village that broadcasts the broadband to individual residences. A small number of homes have separate ‘direct to home’ satellites due to their distance from the central point.
Broomfield is only located 5 miles from the county town of Taunton but prior to the new service its average broadband speed was only 2Mbps, a reflection of the average speed for a lot of rural areas in the UK. Following the satellite installation the village reached an average of 25mbps just touching the government threshold to be considered ‘super-fast’.
All parties praised the attitude and support of the local people including the parish council who arranged consultation meetings and Q & A sessions for residents to ask questions about the scheme. Approval for the Broomfield site came late in the project so with only 7 weeks to implement it every organisation involved had to move quickly to finish by the deadline.
Similar schemes had already been run in the nearby villages of Luxborough and Simonsbath where more than 60% of households had chosen to pay for the satellite connection once the trial had ended. The provider Satellite Internet have said ‘The effectiveness of the installation and supporting network was an excellent proof point to demonstrate the speed and flexibility with which satellite connectivity can be deployed’.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport cited the success of these trials as proof that small broadband suppliers, known as ‘Altnets’, can compete in the market against the bigger national providers in bidding for contracts to deliver super-fast broadband.