There are two publicly funded projects to improve the reach of superfast broadband in rural Scotland. There is the government’s Step Change 2015 programme (albeit recently renamed after they realised that the 2015 target just wasn’t going to happen). BT has been gifted more than £530M of public money (£100.8M in Scotland, plus a local top-up of about £670,000 from Stirling Council) for this contract. Then there’s Community Broadband Scotland (CBS), which exists to help remote communities get connected.
For weeks now, we’ve been seeing very poor subjective performance from Tooway’s satellite service. When measured, we’re seeing a large discrepancy between what Tooway’s own speed tester shows and what we get from decent speed checkers such as Speedof.me.
Here we go again: time for the semi-regular update on local broadband and the semi-inevitable rant about BT and its unholy relationship with local and national government agencies. It’s tempting to stop right there, but let’s try to get at least some crumb of information out of the situation, so… Continue reading Update: Plus Ça Change…
This week’s been a pretty poor one so far for the Tooway system: we started with a major and complete outage over much of the weekend, with of course no status information available from them or from Avonline. Continue reading Lies, Damned Lies and ISP Statistics
For the last few months, we’ve been running a trial of Avonline’s Tooway satellite-based broadband service, on behalf of the local Broadband Advisory Group. My report on the delivery and effectiveness of that solution to date is attached, here.
Satellite broadband services can locally provide stop-gap solutions pending the roll-out of the Community Broadband Scotland and Step Change 2015 projects. They can also provide in-fill coverage to properties that may remain beyond the cost-effective reach of current or forthcoming terrestrial solutions.
A pilot installation of Eutelsat’s Tooway Ka band satellite broadband service, provided by Avonline, a Tooway reseller, has been operating in Balquhidder since September 2013.
Note: this should be read in conjunction with this later article, describing, from experience, the basic failings with the commercial model of satellite internet provision.
Right since I started using Tooway, my monitoring device (a RIPE Atlas monitor) has been recording periods of packet loss on the Tooway network. I’ve raised this several times with Avonline’s technical support but never received a meaningful answer, or indeed one that demonstrates that they understand the issues. Periods of packet loss do not appear to correlate with heavy precipitation.
So, until proven otherwise, we have to assume that this is an inherent property of their service. So what does that mean?
The Avonline-supplied satellite modem continues to prove slightly flaky: an apparent near-complete lack of throughput this morning was traced to the modem’s proxy service reporting itself to be low on memory. A reboot of the modem cleared that, at least, but this does seem to be a recurring problem.
Avonline have supplied their “Absolute” package, which was the introductory Tooway package. It provides – in principle – unlimited usage, subject to their Fair Access Policy (FAP). What that effectively means is that, if you go over 60GB (that’s what I was told – the FAP now says 50GB) usage in a rolling 30 day period, you are subject to throttling of your download and upload speeds until the peaks of high usage ‘fall off’ the rolling calendar. That throttling applies between 0700 and 2300 every day, but even data usage outwith those times count towards the calculation. Continue reading Traffic Shaping