The government is to use broadband from Elon Musk’s Starlink to boost internet connections in rural areas.
It comes as work begins on the £100m Project Gigabit contract to connect 60k rural homes and businesses in Cumbria.
The Starlink technology will be trailed in 3 locations including Rievaulx Abbey in North Yorkshire Moors National Park; Wasdale Head in the Lake District; Snowdonia National Park; and Ty Cornel, an outdoor activity centre in Crafnant Valley managed by Scouts Cymru.
“We are so pleased to be part of this trial and want to thank the DCMS for their support,” said Andrea Selley, Territory Director for the North at English Heritage.
“Rievaulx Abbey nestles within a beautiful but remote setting so this new satellite service will ensure better connectivity for our visitors and staff.”
The Department for Digital Culture Media & Sport stated that the initial wave of sites were being supported by equipment supplied by Starlink, given “the readiness and availability of its technology.”
Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites are positioned around 550 – 1,000km above the earth’s surface and tests have shown that they can deliver speeds of up to 200 megabits per second.
In Cumbria, the Project Gigabit trial is being delivered by Fibrus and will connect up to 60k rural homes and businesses:
The first connections anticipated by the spring.
“Fibrus considers it a privilege to deliver a transformative project for Cumbria which will change the lives of people living in rural and regional areas. Fibrus is committed to supporting local communities, ensuring any work undertaken in our name supports apprenticeships and allows more people to reap the benefits of full fibre,” added Dominic Kearns, CEO of Fibrus.
“This win helps us further our mission and commitment to bring fast, reliable and affordable broadband to all.”