Happily, the days of painfully slow dial-up internet speeds are now but a distant memory to many city and town dwelling broadband users throughout Europe. But for the estimated 13 million households living beyond the reach of ADSL or the even greater number who suffer from slow broadband connection speeds, waiting a good while for web pages and media to load into a browser is still the source of daily angst. One solution for surfers eager to grab more bandwidth is to install a satellite service and Eutelsat has just announced that its new KA-SAT high throughput broadband satellite launched in December of last year has just gone into service.

Eutelsat says that its KA-SAT multi-spotbeam satellite - which was built for the company by Astrium - is the world's most powerful spotbeam satellite. Ten ground stations using ViaSat's SurfBeam 2 technology have 82 narrow spotbeams aimed at them in a configuration that's claimed to be capable of handling a total throughput of 70Gbps. The broadband internet by satellite service is being offered to consumers and business users via Tooway, operated by Skylogic.

By no means the only satellite broadband provider in Europe, the new-generation Tooway broadband service does look to be quite the performer. Over a million homes throughout Europe and across the Mediterranean Basin can choose from four packages offering speeds up to 10Mbps down and 4Mbps up. Customers will also need to purchase a small (77cm) satellite dish and a modem, with the dish, which can be correctly aligned by the customer using a sound beeper, pointing 9 degrees East.

Businesses wanting to use the service for such things as private networks or remote monitoring, as well as for internet access, can currently sign up for a 40Mbps down/10Mbps up package, with an advanced system shortly becoming available that will add another 10Mbps onto both down and up speeds.