Most isolated customers in Britain are to receive up to ten times faster broadband speeds thanks to Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites
- Musk’s satellites will bring high-speed wifi to a dozen sites in extreme locations
- The trial will include Rievaulx Abbey, founded in 1132, in North York Moors
- Government will then consider using the technology for rural homes in the UK
Elon Musk is set to help connect the most isolated parts of the British countryside by using broadband beamed from space, ministers have announced.
A dozen sites in extreme locations – where it is too difficult to upgrade using expensive physical cables – will benefit from broadband speeds up to ten times faster.
Satellites provided by the billionaire’s service Starlink will bring high-speed wifi to a 12th century abbey in the North York Moors, a scout camp in Snowdonia and mountain rescue teams in the Lake District.
Following the trial the Government will consider using the technology to connect rural homes and businesses in the UK.
Elon Musk’s satellite internet service Starlink will bring high-speed wifi to isolated parts of the British countryside
Digital Secretary Michelle Donelan said: ‘High-speed broadband beamed to earth from space could be the answer to the connectivity issues suffered by people in premises stuck in the digital slow lane.
‘Ensuring everyone can get a quality internet connection is crucial to our levelling up plans and these trials aim to find a solution to the prohibitively high cost of rolling out cables to far-flung locations.’
Billionaire Musk will be providing the equipment for the sites through his satellite internet service Starlink, though other providers are being considered for a future rollout.
The satellites, which are positioned around 340 to 620 miles above the earth’s surface, are often used to provide wi-fi in hostile locations that have limited infrastructure.
Tests show they can deliver speeds of up to 200 megabits per second – well above what copper cables, which are commonly used to reach such areas, can achieve.
The trial will look at how bringing high-speed broadband will improve services in the one per cent of UK locations where it is too difficult to upgrade with expensive physical cables.
Among them is Rievaulx Abbey, founded in 1132, in North Yorkshire Moors National Park, where its visitors will have improved connectivity to access educational content.
Another is Wasdale Head in the Lake District, a ‘blackspot’ zone where mountain rescuers will test how the new service will help them find people and communicate in difficult areas.
Snowdonia National Park will also have two sites connected, including the Crafnant Valley scout camp where it is hoped to improve safety for wardens traversing the 25-acre site.
Other locations have been identified around the UK, and discussions for further trial sites are ongoing, including small islands across England, Scotland and Wales.
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