Satellite alternative to DSL

Broadband enthusiasts will now be able to access the Eurosky service via their existing ISP

Satellite-based ISP Eurosky launched a country-wide high-speed Internet access service last week as the battle for broadband in the UK heats up.

As BT drags its heels over ADSL and the cable companies fail to jump on the broadband bandwagon, EuroSky is expanding its satellite service, making it available through users' existing ISP for a monthly cost of £9.99. The service first launched in October and was accessible only through EuroSky's ISP at a cost of £20 per month.

EuroSky's director Phil Sabin admits the service was not as widely adopted as predicted, with only 7,000 of the expected 130,000 taking up the offer. "Take-up was not as fast as we had hoped. People don't want to move their ISP," he says. "Now broadband enthusiasts will be able to access the service via their existing ISP."

The service is aimed at serious users who want to download video clips, music and games in seconds. According to EuroSky, Netscape Navigator can be downloaded in eight minutes, compared to 45 using ISDN. Users will need a satellite dish (£100) and a PC card at £199.

Despite the initial outlay, Sabin is convinced it will be cheaper for consumers than DSL -- which is expected to enter the market at around £50 per month. "It is by far the cheapest gateway to a broadband Internet service. You would have to do a lot of surfing to get up to ADSL levels," he says.

Sabin is hopeful satellite will become a mass market alternative to ADSL and cable. "For people who do not live in an area served by DSL or cable, satellite is the only alternative," he says. "I should imagine satellite will account for about a quarter of the mass market."

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