Bentley Walker satellite broadband internet: Any good?

I was rushing through Waterloo Station the other evening when my attention was caught by this giant poster from Bentley Walker, providers of satellite broadband internet services. Given the amount of folk arriving and departing into Waterloo from the Western ‘home counties’, I think this is good placement. I know quite a few folk in Hampshire, for example, who simply cannot get decent fixed-line internet services.

The advertised price is “from” £24.99 per month which sounds highly reasonable. Plus 10Mbps via Satellite should be rather decent. However, there’s no mention of data limits on the advert apart from a rather telling “free extra data” point down at the bottom left next to “free activation” and “free UK delivery”.

I’m very curious about the potential of satellite broadband services to help bridge the gap for those who live in the middle of nowhere — and for whom 3G data is simply not an option.

Satellite is traditionally rather expensive so I wasn’t surprised to see that Bentley Walker’s basic home package (the £24.99 one advertised) comes with 8GB of inclusive data per month. Here are the rest of the options:

These prices sound pretty reasonable to me given we’re talking satellite. By way of comparison, British Telecom’s lowest broadband tariff offers 10GB inclusive data per month and that costs £16 per month. However you do need to take a £10 phone line. So, theoretically — and I know we’re comparing apples with pears — the Tooway 6 package is actually cheaper than BT!

There’s a business grade offering too — which basically means everything is a lot faster and more expensive.

I haven’t yet plucked up the courage to suggest to my father-in-law that he invests in a system like this. They’ve got really, really crazy slow BT Broadband because they live miles from the exchange — and they’re keen to get a fix. I just don’t quite know if this will be workable. Will it be any better? You have to factor in the ‘up-n-down’ latency for the data journey (even after the routing equipment has done it’s best to mitigate things). How realistic will it be to use FaceTime via this connection?

Anyway, this could well be an option to consider if you’re languishing away on a 2MB BT connection that actually delivers 6k/sec throughput.

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