Friday, February 01, 2013

Broadband Satellite Comes of Age

In these parts, we need all the help we can get with our broadband connection. The pitiful speeds offered via the big players may be OK for the occasional download and checking of emails, but if you want to do big-boy stuff like watch iPlayer, download movies and maybe even upload data to websites, you’ll need something with more oooomph!

Luckily, there is a solution to this problem and it means that we don’t have to hang around for 4G to see if that delivers the speeds it promises.

Last year, after some really appalling customer service from my ISP, I finally dumped them AND the traditional copper-wire (where I was only able to get a snail-like 0.5-1.5 Mbits/s download speed) and headed off to Tooway Direct who provide Broadband by satellite. In the quest for a speedier connection, they offered a workable solution, even if it did mean having another Satellite dish on the house. I did my research and carefully considered the pros and cons of the satellite-route. In truth, there were some downsides. The one that everyone quotes is Latency (the time taken for the connection to make the trip from the PC to the satellite and back again). It’s much longer than either copper-wire or fibre-optic but that’s really only a problem if you play first person shoot-‘em ups, where the delay might cost you a life or ten. I’m not into the gaming scene, so it doesn’t bother me.

At the time, the only other downside was the price. Compared to BT, Sky, Virgin and the like, you would have been paying more – especially as you got into the higher speeds of 18 Mbit/s.

The OLD pricing strategy
Old Pricing Strategy

OK, that’s the downsides! and for me, the pros easily outweighed them. Here are the ones that attracted me:

Winking smile If you have a question, you get through to a human being based in the UK every time you call, there’s no hanging on for ages, and both the sales & support team are very knowledgeable. Compare that with the big players and you’re onto a winner already!

Winking smile The speed quoted is the speed you actually get, more or less ALL the time

Winking smile You can fit the kit yourself or get someone in to install it

..and if that’s not enough, Tooway just announced a major revamp of its packages – and it’s even better news for existing and new customers.

Speeds are UP – Now it’s possible to get 20Mbits/s (up from 18) – and that’s 20Mbits/s 99.9% of the time in my experience. Since the install, the speed’s rarely dropped more than a 1Mb from the advertised speed – whatever the time of day - so you  get what you’re paying for with none of this ‘theoretical maximum’ nonsense!

Data allowances are UP too.  As you’ll see above, on the OLD packages, usage was capped, and although that wasn’t an issue for most people, it was always a concern about using up your quota (actually, not quite the end-of-the-world as Tooway offers ‘bolt-ons’ that allow you to buy extra chunks of data to get you through). The revamped packages shown below now offer an unlimited option, (although you’ll need deep pockets if you want that facility 24/7). However, more realistically, they have now introduced unlimited downloads during off-peak (11pm-7am), which means that you can queue your stuff overnight and it won’t impact on your monthly allowance – sweet!

For me personally, it’s all good news. The  package  I was on (called ‘Tooway 18’ - 18Mbit/s) now gets a boost to  20Mbits/s, and, I get an increase in my monthly allowance from 26Gb to 30Gb, for a few extra ££s per month. If you don’t want to go crazy and spend quite as much as I have, there are cheaper packages – see below - but the real plus point is that they all (except the ‘S’) offer FAST connections of 20Mbit/s!!!

The NEW pricing strategy

 New Pricing Strategy

Speed results today

So, a very happy bunny this end – thanks Tooway!

Vital Statisitcs as at 1 February 2013