Elon Musk’s Starlink internet broadcasting satellites will be used in the government process

Elon Musk’s Starlink, which uses satellites to broadcast a broadband signal to Earth, is to be used as part of a government process to get better internet connectivity in remote parts of the UK.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said the technology will initially be tested in three remote locations: Rievaulx Abbey in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, Wasdale Head in the Lake District and two sites within the Snowdonia National Park.

The test sites will use equipment supplied by Starlink, a part of Musk’s SpaceX company, which uses a network of low-Earth-orbit satellites to deliver Internet signal to locations where ground infrastructure is limited or would be costly and difficult to insert. place.

DCMS 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 average UK broadband speed of just over 50Mbps.

The government said it was continuing to look into the capacity of the system, as well as looking into other solutions and services with different providers.

Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Mr. Musk has become a polarizing figure in recent months following a turbulent takeover of Twitter that has divided opinion due to his push for less content moderation and more free speech on the social media platform.

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

“Ensuring that everyone can get a quality internet connection is central to our improvement plans and these trials aim to find a solution to the prohibitive cost of running cables in remote locations.”

In addition to satellite trials, the Government has announced a more than £100 million contract to build gigabit-capable broadband connections for up to 60,000 rural homes and businesses in Cumbria.

Northern Ireland-based provider Fibrus will carry out the work, which is the largest contract to date under the government’s £5bn Project Gigabit program to roll out faster internet to all parts of the UK.

It has also been confirmed that the value of vouchers available under the Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme will triple next year, meaning eligible homes and businesses in rural areas will be able to apply for up to £4,500 to cover the cost of installing a gigabit-capable connection.

The program is open to homes and businesses in rural areas where existing broadband speeds are below 100Mbps, a commercial network is unlikely to be built in the area in the foreseeable future, or where no contract is planned or in place funded by the government to improve connectivity already.

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