i in the sky

Sometimes when a government makes a promise, they have to shuffle things about a bit to make it come true. They have to cut other areas, for example, or restructure departmental responsibilities.

But we've never before heard of a government target that required them to bung a satellite up in space.

OK, so technically the new satellite that's been launched to improve European broadband isn't a government project. But as the BBC notes, 'The UK government may see the launch as an answer to its prayers as it races to provide all homes with a minimum 2Mbps broadband connection by 2015.'

Hylas 1, as it's called, was launched at the weekend by a company called Avanti. He says it'll start bringing broadband to people across Europe in the New Year. The idea is that rural communities who've been quoted vast sums to get regular broadband installed can get satellite more cheaply. 'Satellite is the only way to economically provide ubiquitous services to the most rural 10% or so of the population,' apparently.

Of course, he'll need a few more satellites to cover everybody. Still, if you live in the back-end of beyond and are struggling along with a dial-up connection, this particular satellite launch is good news.

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