Remote ‘Unconnected’ Carmarthenshire Family Gets Superfast Broadband from Space

·         Billingham family moves from terrestrial connection “akin to dial up in 1998” to superfast satellite broadband

·         Fast and reliable satellite broadband of up to 30Mbps available now to tens of thousands presently unconnected rural UK homes and businesses, including those in Carmarthenshire

CARMARTHEN, UK – 28th July 2016 – Frustrated by slow or non-existent broadband in his area and negative feedback from local people, Simon Hart - Member of Parliament for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire - has taken action to show how a new satellite broadband service solves the problem for a family in his constituency. Simon worked with Avonline Broadband to install an Avanti satellite broadband service for the Billingham family from Meidrim near Carmarthen in Wales.

It will provide them, for the first time, with access to a fast, reliable Internet connection. The benefits that the Billingham’s now experience on a daily basis demonstrate what is possible using the latest superfast, reliable satellite broadband services that are available today to thousands of similarly unconnected UK homes.

The Billingham’s, who live in a rural part of South West Wales, have been hampered by a very slow, unreliable Internet connection. They were, like many other consumers, unaware that they could get superfast broadband using satellite technology until their service was recently installed. Previously, they experienced terrestrial broadband that Mr Billingham describes as, “akin to dial up in 1998.”

As one of the last 5% of unconnected UK homes, there was little likelihood of fibre-based broadband being available to the Billingham’s, even in the long term. The family now experience a range of benefits and emotions as satellite broadband has brought them online. For example, their son is now able to do homework at home, instead of doing it during his lunch break or staying after school. The family is also able to access online services, such as Amazon, Tesco, eBay and Internet banking. These benefits all improve the Billingham’s quality of life.

The Internet service is based on readily available Avanti Communications satellite broadband technology that has been installed by Avonline Broadband. As part of the British Government’s satellite broadband subsidy scheme, led by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), other local constituents in their rural community can benefit from a £400 installation voucher for satellite broadband. Any consumer can apply for a voucher by visiting their county council website or talking to Avonline, and get up to 30Mbps Superfast broadband.

Mr Billingham said: We need data to live our lives. Access to fast, reliable Internet services provides the instant gratification that we only forget when it is not present. Satellite broadband has changed the way my family have been able to carry out basic tasks, such as banking, shopping and homework, as well as the fun things. I would recommend it to our neighbours.”

Simon Hart, Member of Parliament for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, said: “Access to the Internet is not a luxury, but a necessary part of people’s personal and professional lives. There is no reason why constituents in rural areas should not have such services, as it is available right now. The Government has identified satellite broadband as the technology of choice to connect the last 300,000 homes in the UK. My constituents can take advantage of this, and the free £350 installation voucher, to get satellite broadband services. I sincerely hope that the Billinghams are just one of many households who are able to benefit from this deal and the service it will enable.”

Craig Penfold, Chief Commercial Officer of Avanti, said: “Affordable, reliable satellite broadband with speeds of up to 30Mbps is available to 100% of UK households now. Our work with MPs, such as Simon, shows how easy it now is for families and businesses to benefit from superfast broadband, and to access financial support from their county council.”

Mark Wynn, Managing Director of Avonline, said: “Changing perceptions with consumers and businesses on the reliability and affordability of satellite broadband is important if the UK is to connect every household to high speed broadband by 2020. Families, such as the Billingham’s, are discovering the immediate benefits that satellite technology can provide, having given up on a reliable Internet connection from other sources. We guarantee 100% UK coverage and typically get people installed in about a week from order.”

For further information please contact:

The Office of Simon Hart, MP


Parliament Office: 0207 219 3000

Constituency Office: 01994 242002

Twitter: twitter.com/Simonhartmp

Facebook: www.facebook.com/simon.hart.737

simon.hart.mp@parliament.uk

Notes to Editors:
Families across the UK in a similar predicament to the Billinghams, and with broadband speeds of <2Mbps, can register with their county council for a £350 voucher that will give them a free installation. Households will then only pay for monthly service charges, which Avonline offers from just £19.95 per month. Customers can check if they are eligible by going to now.avantiplc.com.

Images available:

About Simon Hart, MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire

Simon was re-elected the Conservative Member of Parliament for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire in May 2015 with a majority of just over 6,000. He is a member of the DEFRA Select Committee and several All Party Parliamentary Groups.

Prior to being elected Simon was Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, Europe's largest rural affairs lobby group, for seven years. He took over as its Chairman in September 2015. His long-standing interest in learning outside the classroom has been reflected in his chairmanship of a charitable group that works with Government on this subject and his appointment as an educational consultant to the Countryside Alliance.

www.simon-hart.com

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