London- Slow rural broadband has prompted one man to get his internet from a satellite 22,000 miles above Africa. Prof. Christopher Spry, 79, who lives in Heol Senni in the Brecon Beacons, had download speeds of about 500Kbps.
He runs a community website and uploads weather data and nature videos, so paid £620 for satellite broadband, which comes from over the Democratic Republic of the Congo, via Luxembourg.
Spry said getting internet from the Congo is an astonishing technological achievement. He noted that where he lives has sporadic 3G coverage so he researched his options and decided to invest in satellite technology.
A British Telecommunication spokesman told B.B.C.: “Heol Senni is in scope to benefit from the scheme and work to provide access to superfast broadband to this rural community is anticipated to be completed in the early autumn.”
The retired professor of immunology pays £420 a year for his satellite internet, which gives him download speeds of up to 28Mbps.
Spry said: “I’m interested in what’s going on in the world, I’m a very inquisitive person, I’m asking questions all the time and I need to know, so the web is a wonderful resource for all of us who need to know what’s happening,”
He also pays £250 a year for BT broadband, which he uses as a backup as heavy rain or snow can block the satellite signal and leave him cut off.
“It really makes all the difference in the world, without it I think my life would be quite difficult up here, but it does need a satellite 24,000 miles above the surface of the earth over the Congo – it does seem ridiculous doesn’t it,” the British professor said.
“Without internet we’re living in a dark age, so let’s hope everybody can have high speed broadband soon and they’ll be able to use it for whatever they want, entertainment, education, and research, it’s a wonderful tool for everybody,” He added.
The Welsh Government also runs a scheme, which helps provide funds for satellite connectivity for properties not covered by the BT-run Superfast Cymru scheme.