Satellite Broadband Experience and Recommendations

Hi Everyone,

I wonder if I can tap into the experiences on here again. We’ve just returned from France and have found two properties we really love. However, since they are rural properties in Charente/Charante Maritime, their internet connections are very very slow. I need internet for work and understand that the solution is to go with a Satellite Internet provider. There seem to be a number of these providers now. So my questions are:

Has anyone any experience of Satellite Internet?
What sort of download speeds can you get?
What providers would you recommend?

Thanks everyone! :slight_smile:

Ultimately, broadband speed will be dependent on exactly where those properties are. This site will give you a good indication.
We live in rural C Maritime and get around 9 mg

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Hi, Is broadband provided by satellite also dependant on location? I’d assumed not. We know what they currently get with ADSL, and it’s not enough. :slight_smile:

For satellite broadband, storms and snow may cause you temporary loss of signal but other than that you should be ok. The same is true of a line based system but you don’t have to get up on the roof to repair it!

The big problem with satellite internet is that it can get expensive if you go over your monthly limit. It can also be annoying when using Skype and the like as the delay can make video conversations difficult. Don’t discard ADSL just because the numbers are lower than you like, mine is about as low as you can get but I use it for everything including Skype, watching the occasional UK TV programme and Netflix with few problems. For everyday use it is great, and cheap, and has unlimited VOIP.

There are a variety of suppliers. The main players are NordNet, Alsatis, Vivéole, Connection Verte, Ozone,Sat2Way,
Universat and Tooway. You should be able to find these using google. The plans vary from fixed speeds to reducing speeds. Many years ago I used Nordnet quite successfully apart from using skype which at the time was very hit and miss but no doubt things have moved on since then.
As long as you have the correct sized dish and it is aligned correctly the weather is not normally an issue.Snow storms are very rare in Charente area! Be warned if you are thinking of putting your own dish up you will need to be very accurate with your alignment. (found that out the hard way). Normally usage is capped depending on the package you select but can be topped up for a price. 4G may be an option.You can check the coverage here. Another alternative is Wimax but I have no experience of that system.

Satellite is expensive, bandwidth (speed) can be OK but the killer is latency (the amount of time it takes to transfer information to or from your computer to somewhere in the internet). This is why things like Skype tend not to work well on a satellite connection.

Is there a good phone signal? If so I’d look into connection via 3/4G first.

Alternatively, have you considered coming one Departement north into Vendee for your property search ?
Here in Vendee we have high speed internet everywhere, and all for the same standard price regardless of the means necessary to obtain it. It’s a policy of the Conseil Generale of this Departement.
I’m in a village out in the sticks and we have 39Mbps download and 16Mbps upload.

Rod, certain areas of Charente are now closed to new members for the Satellite internet services best to check the Tooway/big dish web site for more information.

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Do look at a 4G connection. I used an Orange 4G box for a couple of weeks and it’s performance and flexibility was amazing.

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Thanks for all the help and information folks. Although we’ve fallen in love with Charente, and we’ve found properties that are ideal for us and our horses, the internet is the real challenge. Just to clarify, our favoured properties do not have 4g, or even 3g as far as I can make out. Even the local village 2km away doesn’t have broadband or 4g. Whilst the properties doe have ADSL internet, when tested, download speeds were below 1mb, so about the same as an old ISDN line in England. At the moment I have 30mb download speeds, but I’d settle for 5mb. Whilst I know that slower speeds are fine for most things, the fact is my work will require something better. Cost isn’t the key issue here - my company would be paying. The lag (and availability) are my two key issues. Does anyone actually use Satellite Broadband on a regular basis - and if so, how do you find it? Thanks for the information about the Vendee Robert - do any other areas have a similar approach. (I know our third option - a house in Normandy - will have fibre optic within the next two years.)

Just done a check on our Satellite speeds, just had a drop of rain and it dropped to 1.5mb gone back to 5.4mb with cloud cover and on a clear day it goes up to about 10mb, it is at it’s highest in the winter because of extra users in the summer months.
It is the best we can get because of our location but like David wrote it is not cheap, we do not have any choice but to pay it.

{I need internet for work and understand that the solution is to go with a Satellite Internet provider.}

That’s an expensive option, and in the north of France, when it gets cloudy, your download-rate diminishes.

You might want to look at 4G options. (Especially if you live within 2 kilometers of a major thoroughfare -Route Nationale or highway.) There will be a very large part of France covered by 4G-transmitters and the antennas are going up presently. Already the map is looking much thicker than before.

(If you, however, have a house way out in nowhere-land, then forget it. The “trick” is to see if your 4G-smartphone displays a 4G-signal reception.)

To check out your location and its 4G-receptivity (for Orange) go here. At the very bottom, give your exact address in the slot provided. (For Bouygues 4G, test your receptivity by entering your address here.)

Bougues and Orange have outlets in major cities. SFR and the others are all by internet, without the possibility to complain to a physical person. Free has some outlets but you’d best look them up at the “boutique”-map on their site.

And see what the map says. If it is completely orange (wow!, what a silly colour for the company called … uh, “Orange”! ;^) then you are more than likely in the “capture zone”, so you might want to try it out. That is, before you invest a lot of money in a satellite connexion.

(OTOH, if you cannot live in France without UK TV, then … well, you need the satellite!)

And for others who live in town or close to a 4G-antenna Bouygues has an offer called the 4G-Box. I have one, and (just by a stroke of good luck) I happen to have a line-of-site between my house and a water-tower about 2-kilometers away upon which there is a 4G-antenna.

4G works much-much-much-much better than does ADSL (or even VDSL) in any countryside village in France, if you can find a 4G-antenna serving it. And in the French countryside, that will be problem for some time to come. The deeper you get away from civilization, the less you will have high-speed Internet-connexion.

The problem can be reduced to this: 4G (and 5G in a year or two) is the way to go for decent Internet-connexion. All smartphones will soon have 4G-capabilities. So, the smartphone network will be transmitting 4G, along with the slower variant for those phones needing it.

Just tested my line on this web-site:

I am on 4G from Bouygues with a line-of-sight water-tower antenna 2 kms away and my download speed (tested at 9PM this evening) was 62 Mbps (peak) and 44 Mbps (average). It is much slower during the afternoons, because the antenna is also handling ordinary smartphone traffic.

Also, if you cannot connect to a 4G transmitter close enough, you might ask if any of the 3/4 provider companies offers VDSL in your town. Which is somewhat faster than ADSL.

As for 4G, look for the antenna map at either Bouygues, Free, SFR or Orange - and see where they are in respect to your house. If more than 5 Kms think of installing a 4G-antenna on your TV-mast (which will require you to bring the lead into your house along with the TV cable). It should not interfere with the TV-antenna, since both are simply passive receivers.

For 4G coverage use this

But the site only gives signal-strength outside of a building, which means 4G smartphones. I think that someone in the countryside should think of installing an external 4G-antenna and hooking it into the box.

Having said that, I note that on my Bouygues Box, that is not possible. The plug is there, but the instructions state that you cannot add an external antenna to it. (Which is silly - but the major 4G-carriers can guaranty good reception only in towns, where there is no need for an external antenna.

When you get into the countryside, you must still be sure you are close to a 4G-antenna. The map of the site given above will indicate, if you can identify where your house is on the map, whether your are in the 4G reception zone.

Still, you must be very close to a 4G-emitting antenna, and (I think) have a 4G external antenna to be sure of sufficiently good reception.

And if you are really keen to get the best signal, then there is always a “4G signal detector device” one can buy, but they are expensive. I haven’t found one for less than 250€ (and you’ll likely use it only once to install your antenna). So, try to rent one - but who knows where … ?

I had an Orange 4G box for a week. The signal with the box downstairs within the stone building was rarely 4G but when it was upstairs under the roof it was consistently good. The WiFi then gave a great signal throughout the house. No need for an external aerial.

Good input and thanx …

I have a sat2way setup which I can sell you so that you can try it out if you like.

We recently fell into the Orange home zone, and despite not having 4G on our smartphones, we now have a super internet connection.

My advice, firstly call orange to ask if you are in the zone (you may be suprised, as I was). If not, send me an email if you are interested in my dish, decoder, etc.

This has been really interesting - thank you everyone. Much to my surprise, says we would have 4g coverage at our, hopefully, to be home near Champagne Mouton through Orange. Which is weird, since, even though they said they were connecting to the Orange network, our Three smartphones, didn’t pick it up once in the whole area. Meanwhile, says no coverage, but then it also says we have no 4g where we live in England, when we do. :slight_smile: I think we’ll have to do a little more investigating when we go back to look at the house… 4g would certainly be the perfect, cheaper solution, if it works. Again, thanks everyone. :slight_smile: