Whilst fibre broadband is the most common solution to bring high speed internet access, there are a number of alternative technologies that could improve connectivity for your home or business where fibre broadband is too difficult to deliver. These areas are predominantly rural and isolated properties, but there are also some gaps in towns and cities, which the programme may not be able to reach.
Mobile broadband coverage is always improving and is one of the most accessible alternative solutions to getting a better broadband when fibre isn’t available. Mobile broadband also has the added benefit of not being tied down to your property so you can take it out and about
3G mobile covers 97% of the UK population and the average speed is 6Mbps. The newer 4G network currently covers 81% of the UK population and the average speed is 15Mbps (but capable of much faster speeds).
If you use mobile broadband, check the coverage of your supplier. Maps can be found on supplier’s websites and overall mobile coverage can be found on the Ofcom website here.
To check what mobile broadband packages are available you can use a comparison website such as Broadband Genie.
Satellite broadband is the most widely available alternative solution for broadband and is now capable of speeds up 20Mbps – suitable for browsing the internet, reading your email, catch-up tv and video calls. However there are issues with latency due to the distance between the earth and the satellites, which affects fast paced online gaming.
Satellite broadband costs can vary and the installation of the equipment can be expensive, but some retailers will give you the installation for free if you sign up to a longer term contract or if you’re eligible you can apply for the Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme. Please note that the last date to request Better Broadband vouchers is Friday 29 November 2019.
Wireless Broadband (aka Fixed Wireless Access)
Wireless broadband offers high speeds without the need to lay infrastructure to your home. Fibred up to a local mast, the signal is then sent to a receiver at your home.
Wireless broadband is capable of high speeds with 40Mbps+ available from many providers. It doesn’t suffer from latency issues (as with Satellite) and is fine for gaming and video calling.
Although not as widely available as some other alternative technologies, it is more common in rural areas where demand is high.
Some providers local to Cambridgeshire are:
- Air Broadband
- County Broadband
There are also schemes for improving your current broadband connection that you may qualify for:
- Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme
If you currently experience broadband speeds of less than 2 Megabits per second (Mbps), the Better Broadband Voucher Scheme may be able to help you access a basic broadband service that will offer download speeds of at least 10 Mbps.The Better Broadband Voucher Scheme, developed by the UK government, provides a voucher worth up to £350 for basic broadband installation to homes and businesses that will not benefit from superfast broadband within the next twelve months.
If you’re struggling with really low broadband speeds, the Government’s Better Broadband Scheme could offer you a subsidy towards an interim basic broadband service. This is now supplier-led and only registered suppliers will be able to request vouchers on behalf of their customers. Please note that the last date to request Better Broadband vouchers is Friday 29 November 2019.
There are also a number of schemes available that you may wish to consider when looking to improve your current broadband connection. To find more about the various schemes click on the button below to visit our Funding Schemes page.