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A French firm plans to launch a satellite next year that it says will offer the entire UK up to 10Mbit/s broadband, including rural areas that are poorly served by ADSL and cable.

This week, Eutelsat is launching "Tooway" broadband in the UK at up to 2Mbit/s, via an existing satellite.

Its new craft, launching in the third quarter of 2010, will use the Ka band of the microwave spectrum to deliver speeds close to those typically offered by the ADSL2+ equipment currently being installed in local exchanges by BT. Eutelsat's current service uses the lower frequency Ku band.

The new satellite will cover the whole continent, from Turkey in the east to Ireland in the west.

As now, consumers will require a dish and transmitter to receive and send data. According to Eutelsat's business development manager, Jean-Francois Fremaux, the equipment will cost about £400. The monthly subscription for the new service will be similar to the £29.99 tariff for the existing package.

Eutelsat said that it will offer latency-sensitive services such as IPTV and VoIP via satellite. Fremaux conceded that the updated technology will not overcome latency problems for online gamers, however.

The firm is currently pitching its broadband packages at rural consumers, amid negotiations between government and mobile operators to deliver universal 2Mbit/s broadband. "Tooway™ is able to offer true broadband access with total independence from existing infrastructures. It has the technology and capacity to become the definitive, low-cost solution for geographical areas that are affected by the digital divide," it said.

Tooway packages are being sold by a network of local distributors certified to carry out the dish installation. There's more details here. ®

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