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Satellite internet access rollout ramps up

Germany takes another broadband leap ahead of UK

While UK ISP BTopenworld recently announced its first satellite broadband offerings, starting at £59.99 per month and carrying a whopping £899 one-off installation fee, Deutsche Telekom and Hot Telecommunications have launched an array of more affordable satellite broadband services in Germany.

DT is aiming specifically at private and small business users the operator can't reach with its wireline ADSL service. About 10 percent of the population will not be covered by its land-based offering, according to spokesman Walter Genz.

"We said from the start that we won't be able to extend DSL to all parts of Germany for cost reasons, so this is a solution aimed to fill the gaps," he said. "The satellite service is not aimed at potential DSL customers because they're clearly better off with a fixed-line service. It's cheaper."

Subscribers to DT's satellite broadband service will require an Astra dish and either a DVB (digital video broadcasting) PC card or DVB USB (universal serial bus) set-top box.

There are two satellite broadband tariffs — either £12.40 per month for 500MB with each additional megabyte costing 3p, or £24.85 per month with no limit on volume. To that, users must add on the price of an internet account and the £20 per month for an ISDN connection.

It's pricey, but still more affordable than the UK satellite deals available from BTopenworld.

Earlier this year, German ISP Strato launched one of the country's first broadband satellite services. For £27 per month, customers can download 500MB at speeds up to 1.6Mbps (megabits per second) and upload at 64Kbps (kilobits per second) or 124Kbps tunnelled. Heavy data users can select a higher-speed package: £34 per month for a 4Mbps downstream link and 64K or 124Kbps upstream, including 1GB.

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