Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/09/19/ouranous_down/

Satellite broadband users left high and dry again?

Ouranous follows Aramiska into silence

By Bill Ray

Posted in Broadband, 19th September 2006 14:16 GMT

Users of the Ouranous satellite broadband service found themselves cut off last Wednesday without explanation or warning. Ouranous took on many of Aramiska’s customers when that company unplugged itself in January.

Though the details of Aramiska's withdrawal of service remain unclear, at least they were able to give subscribers a few hours warning while Ouranous appears to have simply cut everyone off.

The official line from Belgium-based Ouranous is "technical difficulties", and they have stated that they are hoping to re-enable the system later today, but after five days of zero connectivity there is speculation that a change of ownership is on the cards, or an attempt to raise capital. Certainly Bridge Broadband Services has been quick to step in and offer an alternative service to those willing to replace their equipment.

The problem facing Ouranous, and any other satellite provider, is that ADSL coverage in the UK is so good that it is almost impossible to sustain a sufficient customer base to make it economic. The fact that many of the latest internet applications such as VoIP and video conferencing don’t work over satellite, because of the latency in getting signal to and from orbit, also discourages usage.

The success of ADSL is equally a problem for WiMAX deployments, which have failed to find any success in rural areas and are now focusing on providing a backup channel and flexible bandwidth for urban companies.

Ouranous were unavailable for comment.®