"Free" Public Access to Internet Services via satellite for rural UK

A. I. C. Mohideen* (Corresponding Author), G. Fairhurst, K. G. D. Tharangie, S. T. Nandasara

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Internet Access is regarded by many as a key publicservice in modern societies. The UK Government is pursuing aDigital by Default agenda as part of its digital communicationsinfrastructure strategy to make Internet connectivity availableto all. While it has seen success in enabling connectivity to themajority of the population, the geographical location of the final5% of hard-to-reach premises pose technical challenges,preventing traditional broadband services from being costeffective. In most remote and hard-to-reach areas, satellitebroadband can provide connectivity, however, the presentdesign of service offerings is unable to provide affordable or“Free” Internet service models combined with acceptableperformance. One alternative is to offer lower-effort (LE) accessto Internet services to provide "Free Internet". In contrast toterrestrial networks, providing LE services over a satellitenetwork requires optimal cross-layer traffic engineering (TE) tooffer acceptable performance. This paper presents anexperimental service platform called Rural-PAWS (Rural-Public Access Wi-Fi Services). This was designed to support freehigh-speed access to government services, with basic access totraditional Internet services over satellite. The Rural-PAWSmodel uses a prototype multilevel service model thatdistinguishes Government Digital Services from LE traffic. Theplatform was deployed in a 12 months study over satellite across8 pilot sites. This study sought to understand actual servicerequirements, user perceived performance of web access oversatellite-based LE service, while investigating technicalchallenges to enable deeper understanding of whether it istechnically viable to offer such services to hard-to-reachcommunities in the UK. The experimental results show that anLE service over satellite network can be provisioned, providedthat (i) the web browser parameters are optimised for satellitenetworks and (ii) suitable application layer protocols are enabled over satellite networks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal on Advances in ICT for Emerging Regions (ICTer)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2018


  • Free Internet
  • Satellite
  • Lower Effort
  • Diffserv
  • Active Queue Management
  • HTTP/2.0


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