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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.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

23 replies on “Bentley Walker satellite broadband internet: Any good?”

Hmm, note the stars on the various limits!
From May we will cut your monthly limit in half. 
Go over your usage in a particular time window and you will be better off with your Nokia 7110.
No mention of the contention ratios (probably 50 to 1).

Don’t forget – the satellite is only used for downloads. The uploads are still done over ADSL. So sending files to YouTube, or FaceTime conversations will be limited to whatever the *upload* speed of your broadband is.

Main problem with satellite broadband is latency – all your traffic gets to travel an extra 44,000 miles – so it’ll never be anything but a last resort option.

C’mon guys, don’t be so negative.  We live in the Scottish outback and Avanti have been providing a brilliant service to us since 2008.  Sure it’s slowish, but I could pay more and get more.  The thing about Tooway is the speed – 6 mbps for £25 a month – absolutely brilliant for starters. Can’t think of a reason not to change to Tooway.  Unless you know different . . .

I have been using Tooway now for 6 months and I wish I had stayed with my 1.5mb ADSL connection. Firstly as Rory pointed out your monthly limit gets cut in half so the fair price you pay at the start of your contract becomes ridiculously over priced. Also due to the position of ourselves to the position of the satellite (we are in mid Wales) means the Sat is very close to the horizon, this means that on a cloudy day the signal can’t seem to find its way through leaving us with no connection at all and finally not only are the data caps low but the way your data is spoon fed to you is rediculous, instead of giving you 25gb of download allowance at the begining of your month they have broken it down to daily amounts (around 800mb a day supposedly) so once you hit your limit you must stop using the internet until it it creeps back down again, which it never seems too do… all in all I have been left feeling as though I have been ripped off and feel that for the prices we end up paying a better service should be provided.

Rick, sorry you are simply wrong on how tooway works, if your assumption that your monthly allowance has been broken into ‘daily’ lumps, how do you assume one could download a 4gb file?

VERY POOR SERVICE. i just had a horrible experience with bentley walker and tooway. the first installer came round, tried to upsell my wife to a more expensive install, and then walked away. that cost be £100. then we finally got the thing installed. had to buy a new router at £100. plus a base station (£120). first day online… outage. no service all day. luckily had not disconnected BT yet. that gets solved 24 hours later. next day. another outage. gets fixed. next day, another outage. the head of business development says ”

Adverse weather effects all high frequencies Ka band to some degree. This has to be excepted , service issues that may occur are minimal but important for continual performance.” which is NOT what they say about weather on their website. i asked him if he would stand by his service and extend the 14 day return warranty so I could experience a full month of service – assuming the weather issues were unusual. and he said no. so they clearly dont beleive in their own hype. AVOID.

My experience with Bentley Walker Tooway has been appalling. Speeds throttled down to a trickle without warning if you exceed your data limit; expensive and inadequate ‘boosters’ as the remedy for that; hopelessly uninformative usage information, so you don’t know in a useful way how close you are getting to your data limit; frequent outages (with no discount); fiddly and annoying monthly billing (probably to coerce direct debit); and and trigger-happy disconnection any time you’re late with a monthly payment.

I just last month installed Tooway at my rural house in the Italian countryside, and have had a purely positive experience. It is absolutely the fastest consumer-level internet I have ever seen in Italy, with data rates actually spiking at 30 MB/SEC. Tooway has literally changed and enhanced our quality of life, since we use the Internet for all communications, home-based work, and digital entertainment. It works fast even in bad weather, at our latitude. One thing: we went for the “absolute” package, which I strongly suggest. I had a nightmarish experience with another satellite internet provider a few years ago over usage limits and throttling. The “absolute” plan is actually a bargain if you use the Internet a great deal. Oh, and a bit of technical info: the “44,000 miles” this data has to travel to reach you from way up there in space. It is traveling at 186,000 miles a second (speed of light), so I doubt you’ll notice it 🙂

5 months ago I purchased the Bentley Walker Tooway system, I had done a lot of research before hand and did read a lot of reviews…was not entirely sure what to expect at first, but after biting the bullet and having the service installed I am very happy with my decision.

I wanted to post my experience as I had read a lot of reviews that didn’t do Bentley Walker justice. The sales and installation process was fast and simple, unlike BT I didn’t have to wait a week to start browsing…it was up and running before the installer left.

I work from home so my usage is quite high, but the download limit in place, with unlimited evening access is more than enough. Latency is something you get used to, and in reality…the 600ms delay is nothing to worry about. The speed is fine, and much better than my 0.3 meg link with Talk Talk

I’ve had no technical problems except a storm which resulted in about an hours downtime. The technical support team are available every day for any support.

Overall, very happy, and surprised at some of the negative comments. If you need to use the connection beyond normal surfing, speak to the sales team to see if it will work.

Richard

unfortuantely I have had the exact same experience and could have posted the exact same complaints.

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