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Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites to beam internet down to Snowdonia as part of UK Government trial

30 Nov 2022 3 minute read
Elon Musk picture by JD Lasica (CC BY 2.0). Wylfa Power Station. Picture: Andrew Woodvine (CC BY-SA 2.0). Yr Wyddfa. The image is released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0.

Elon Musk’s Starlink, which uses satellites to beam a broadband signal down to Earth, is to be used as part of a UK Government trial to get better internet connectivity to remote areas.

Two sites within the Snowdonia National Park have been selected for the trial along with Rievaulx Abbey in North Yorkshire Moors National Park and Wasdale Head in the Lake District

The test sites will use equipment supplied by Starlink, a part of Mr Musk’s SpaceX firm, which uses a network of low Earth orbit satellites to provide internet signal in places where there is limited ground infrastructure, or it would be expensive and difficult to put it in place.

The UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said recent tests have shown that in many locations, Starlink satellites can deliver internet speeds of up to 200 megabits per second – four times faster than the current UK average broadband speed of just over 50Mbps.

They said they were continuing to look at the capability of the system, as well as looking at other solutions and services with different suppliers.

Polarising

Elon Musk has become a polarising figure in recent months following a turbulent takeover of Twitter that has divided opinion because of his push for less content moderation and allowing previously banned accounts, including former US President Donald Trump, back on the platform.

Of the satellite scheme, Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan said: “High-speed broadband beamed to earth from space could be the answer to the connectivity issues suffered by people in premises stuck in the digital slow lane.

“Ensuring everyone can get a quality internet connection is crucial to our levelling up plans and these trials aim to find a solution to the prohibitively high cost of rolling out cables to far-flung locations.”

In addition to the satellite trial, it was also confirmed that the value of vouchers available under Westminster’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme will be tripled next year, so eligible homes and businesses in rural areas will be able to apply for up to £4,500 to cover the costs of installing a gigabit-capable connection.

The scheme is open to homes and businesses in rural areas where existing broadband speeds are less than 100Mbps, a commercial network is unlikely to be built in the area in the near future or if there is no government-funded contract planned or in place to improve connectivity already.

Last year, a survey conducted by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes in Wales, the CLA, Farmers’ Union of Wales, NFU Cymru and Wales Young Farmers’ Club found that more than 50 % of respondents from rural areas felt that the internet they had access to was not fast and reliable, with Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire particularly poor.

66% in rural areas said that they had been impacted by poor broadband, and only 36% had superfast broadband. In comparison, 67% of respondents in urban areas had superfast broadband.


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Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
2 months ago

Sometimes they do things so stupid and affronting to public decency that one is almost forced to admire their wrongheadedness… One of the most unpopular governments in recent memory teaming up with a company fronted by one of the most unpopular d***heads currently sliming across the planet…..

Elon Musk is trash, the Tories are trash. It’s time to deal with all of the trash.

CJPh
CJPh
2 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Jones

Thank goodness your virtue has been signalled here. I’ll check my bandwidth to see if it’s improved…

More actual innovation, more solutions for rural Wales, a more active and solution oriented Welsh business sector, a more efficient Welsh gov and way less mid-wittery and prefab takes from urbanites and netizens cutting off their fellow Cymry’s noses to follow an ever-dwindling coastal American herd would be nice. Oh, and some starlink for us poor unfortunate hambons mas yn y wleeed ‘fyd, thenciw fowr.

Dic Sion Dafydd
Dic Sion Dafydd
2 months ago

Elon Musk is a genius. I also believe that all elements of society should be allowed the freedom of speech. Even bigotted, xenophobic, nationalists and the right wing. As the extreme left wing currently are too.
On another note I used to live within a village within Snowdonia. We could not get above one megabyte per second through the landline. Then when we finally did get broadband. A friendly local cut the landline as he assumed we were English.

Riki
Riki
2 months ago

Is he? He’s a fraud who’s “innovations” haven’t once payed off! He’s potentially nothing but a front man held up by Intelligence agencies. Self Driving cars:fail, Mission to Mars:Fail, Hyperloop:Fail. The list really is hilariously endless.

Di Enw
Di Enw
2 months ago

Where is this Snowdonia in your title? Do you mean Eryri? I think at the very least that the Welsh media should use Eryri and Yr Wyddfa in their reports.

CJPh
CJPh
2 months ago
Reply to  Di Enw

Agreed. I hear fewer and fewer people, even tourists from across the border, saying ‘Conway’ and ‘Betsy Co-ed’; people will make the effort if we take your culture and sovereignty seriously. If you still say Snowdonia, fine. Media, government etc? Gwellwch.

Karl
Karl
2 months ago

I would stay away from the right wing grifter Musk. Surely investing more n tech such as used in a TV show to boost Staylittles speed would be better. Musk has a rep of profiting off failure or false promises

Vengeful revenant of y Tywysog Lloegr
Vengeful revenant of y Tywysog Lloegr
2 months ago
Reply to  Karl

Agreed. Given his threats to Ukraine to remove Starlink when he found his “generous philanthropic act” of “giving” them access to Starlink was not as profitable as he had hoped, can Cymru rely on any agreement made.
The US had the leverage to threaten him back into line over his chaotic childish behaviour on Ukraine. I don’t think MD would have that option. Satellites? Yes. Musk? Do we really want to be beholden to that capricious pillock?

Last edited 2 months ago by Vengeful revenant of y Tywysog Lloegr
CJPh
CJPh
2 months ago

Plenty of criticisms to levy at Musk – his business dealings in China, his AI proposals, wanting to centralise all online actions via one central node (of his creation – the so-called ‘everything app’) to name but a few. The Ukraine Starlink stuff, however, is one of the single stupidest Lefty talking points I’ve ever heard. He provided this expensive new tech for free to the war effort of a non-NATO nation, an act that many military experts have suggested as being the primary reason that Ukraine has parity in the conflict (dominance, even). He then suggested that there should… Read more »

Vengeful revenant of Tywysog Lloegr
Vengeful revenant of Tywysog Lloegr
2 months ago
Reply to  CJPh

“stupidest Lefty talking points” To think I was coming around to you again recently and you start mewling and bloviating your indignation about something you clearly struggle with. Everything I have said is factually correct. I would never have taken you as a Muskrat fanboy, echoing his pro-Russian appeasement. But you live and learn. “Gifting” Starlink to Ukraine was publicity, not altruism. It is currently funded by US govt. in the same way his useless “cave rocket” rejected by the dive team who ACTUALLY saved those kids was publicity. Remember how Elongated called one of the dive heroes a paedophile… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Vengeful revenant of Tywysog Lloegr
CJPh
CJPh
2 months ago

Ah come on now, let’s see if I can win you over on this. Comms go down, that’s the end of this conflict. Numbers are greater (and an indifference to life and well-being of their citizens), so if regular comms between units are disrupted for a month or two, the Russian wave crashes and we are left with capitulation or escalation. Starlink is the guard against this – Engineering and Robotics prof at UofT Todd Humphreys,a director at the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit Brigadeer General Steve Butow, Dave Tremper, director of electronic warfare at the Pentagon (comments regarding SpaceX faster… Read more »

defaid
defaid
2 months ago
Reply to  CJPh

I’ve been away from N.C for some time because every time I commented, it was in a thread that got deleted. That sort of thing can make a chap paranoid… I don’t think anyone is suggesting that Starlink is a bad thing and in the UK there would always be an (slower) alternative. Musk threatened to take it away from Ukraine because Ukrainians objected to his suggestion that peace could be achieved by giving the ‘Russian’ parts of Ukraine to Russia. His threat was just petty and very immature. See N.C’s article ‘Wales has more areas than England where English-only… Read more »

Cynan again
Cynan again
2 months ago
Reply to  defaid

THIS. Defaid understands. (For ref I changed my screen name. I was Tywysog Lloegr. Although I’m not sure Musk commands respect within the engineering community. He has his masters, but his skills are as an entrepreneur who was born into wealth. He recognises the value of tech, so he buys tech companies. He knows what a good idea looks like, but I struggle to think of anything he has actually invented. His 120M Twitter followers (minus those which are bots) respect him. The engineering community respect the creativity of those who work for him. But not him. He is a… Read more »

Vengeful revenant of y Tywysog Lloegr
Vengeful revenant of y Tywysog Lloegr
2 months ago

Sorry. Where is this “Snowdonia” National Park?
I mean I know Musk is a boastful lying buffoon, but I don’t think Starlink can “beam” into the past.
Now in Eryri they might stand a chance

Dean Thomas
Dean Thomas
2 months ago

Please stop using the touristy term “Snowdonia”.

NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
2 months ago
Reply to  Dean Thomas

WHY? just because 5000 people wanted it? You can call it what ever you want however the majority will still call it Snowdon and Snowdonia

Vengeful revenant of Tywysog Lloegr
Vengeful revenant of Tywysog Lloegr
2 months ago

Because the national park call it by its real name. Interesting that you claim to speak for “the majority”, since from what I have seen Cymru is embracing it. Maybe you mean the English majority. Perhaps. But it’s not their mountain range is it? So that doesn’t matter

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