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Universal Service Commitment / Satellite

"By the end of 2015 in Gloucestershire every home and business in the eligible area will have access to the government’s Universal Service Commitment of a minimum of 2Mbps"

In oral evidence before the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Chris Townsend the CEO of BDUK stated that BDUK were pursuing a Satellite scheme to meet the USC. The full transcript is available here and more information from the committee here.


"Chair: Is it fair that they are asked to pay that when it is not as reliable a system as the fixed broadband that you are paying for?
Chris Townsend: There is an option for us in 2015 to subsidise that. We are putting a plan together where we can offer a satellite solution, for example, that provides a 2 Mbps universal service commitment. We are developing the detailed plans in the new year, and we are able to roll that out, if required, through the local bodies at a national scale.
Chair: For our information, how would our constituents apply for that?
Chris Townsend: That is exactly what we are working out. We haven’t decided yet whether we will manage that centrally or devolve it down to the local bodies, but it will most likely be delivered through BT, who have this commitment from BDUK to deliver the universal service commitment. The best solution for 2 Mbps, particularly in the rural areas, is using satellite equipment. We are testing a number of options at the moment; the price of satellite equipment and the installation comes down significantly, so we are hoping by 2015 that there won’t be a significant capital equipment cost and installation cost. Those could potentially be covered by BDUK.
There is just the ongoing monthly charge, which will be in the region of £20 to £25. That will be comparable to super-fast broadband." - Dec 2014
the prices referred to are atypical, most common package is £60 without extras or rental.


The interim BDUK report is here it provides a precis of the Alternative technologies.

Latency - is the amount of delay, measured in milliseconds, that occurs in a round-trip data transmission. For a satellite network the large distances involved mean that >560ms must be added to the basic network design latency, a delay of over a second can occur.
Jitter - is the variability in packet delivery forcing the decoder to collect and re-order the packets of data before decoding. Jitter can have an exponential effect on latency.