Satellite broadband to connect UK travellers header image

Boats, planes and other vehicles will soon be able to offer commuters and other travellers the opportunity to access satellite broadband while on the go, following a new decision from industry regulator Ofcom.

Some airlines and other transport providers currently provide broadband; however, the new regulations will ensure that consumers can use the internet up to ten times faster.

This will be achieved through the use of earth stations - devices which can be mounted on moving vehicles and connect with a 'geostationary' satellite to improve internet speeds.

Philip Marnick, group director of spectrum at Ofcom, hailed the development as a major step forward for the UK's internet infrastructure.

"We want travellers to benefit from superfast broadband on the move at the kind of speeds they expect from their connection at home.

"Today's decision means that operators of trains, boats and planes will soon be able to begin the process of making these valuable services available to their passengers," he said.

Recent technological advances have made earth stations considerably more effective, with Ofcom making a large amount of high-frequency spectrum available for their use and land-based vehicles such as trains now exempt from applying for a specific licence.

However, stations placed on ships and planes will need to apply specially to the regulator, because of their ability to pass into other national jurisdictions.

The UK government has committed to improving broadband access across the country, with this move marking a major turning point when it comes to generating the kind of 'always-on' internet offering that is likely to develop in the coming years.

Earlier in the month, the coalition provided £10 million to a project aimed at offering faster broadband speeds in remote, rural areas, with alternative providers such as Avonline taking part in a bid to better the situation in hard-to-reach parts of the UK.

Maria Miller, secretary for state for culture, media and sport, emphasised the need to think "imaginatively" about the possibilities offered by new technology.