European Space Agency

PERISCOPE: True Perspective on the Role of Satellite Broadband in Bridging the Digital Divide


  • To assess Irish perceptions and attitudes on aspects of satellite broadband use and service provision, as identified as relevant to the research.

  • To gauge European perceptions and attitudes on aspects of satellite broadband use and service provision, to complement the main body of research and against which to benchmark the Irish situation.

  • To examine current levels of uptake, usage and reaction to satellite broadband services available in today's market and to gather valuable demographics on users.

  • To carry out an assessment on the applications of satellite broadband - actual and potential.

  • To examine likely short/medium term developments taking place in satellite broadband technologies and to evaluate how such developments will impact on the demand for satellite broadband by different sectors and users in the future.

  • To make recommendations on the future rollout of satellite broadband, the development of new applications, meeting real needs and representing the end user, and addressing 'first mile' issues.


  • Range of systems available and used.

  • Promise versus reality - what was 'sold' to end user versus actual performance.

  • Pricing and costs.

  • Quality of Service.

  • Installation, ongoing maintenance, technical support.

  • Operational issues.

  • Levels of usage and usage patterns.

  • Positioning of the systems (strengths, weaknesses and limitations)

  • Flexibility and scalability of service.

  • Predictions for the future of satellite broadband.

  • Recommendations.


  • The provision of answers, gathered from a novel bottom-up approach, as to whether the current rollout of satellite broadband services is succeeding in bridging the digital divide in Ireland.

  • The provision of balanced guidance for future development of the Space Industry, the ESA, the EC and other policy makers.

  • A move towards regulation of the satellite broadband industry.

  • First formal research data on satellite broadband users in this country.

  • The further development of the role of satellite broadband services, together with the development of new applications and meeting of real needs.

  • A reliable projection of future position of satellite broadband in overall broadband market, based on survey findings and more particular research.




The project plan is to carry out a nationwide study on the perceptions and attitudes of user groups on aspects of satellite broadband use and service provision and it is planned to achieve this through a carefully drawn up research methodology, which details survey tools to be used, etc. Survey data will be analysed and a full report will be prepared on findings and results. Coupled with this will be an analysis of likely future developments in satellite broadband technologies and an evaluation of how these could impact the demand for satellite broadband by different sectors and users.

Current status

South West Regional Authority completes Irish Nationwide Satellite Broadband Survey

The South West Regional Authority (SWRA) and the National Mircoelectronics Applications Centre Ltd. (MAC) have successfully completed the final review with ESTEC of a nationwide satellite broadband survey. The level of response to the survey was far greater than anticipated by both the SWRA and ESA, with over 200 respondents.

This response ratio (estimated to be 20% of current market users in Ireland), provides comprehensive feedback on the direct user experience of satellite broadband technology. Respondents include home users for leisure, home users for work, Small Office Home Office (SoHo), Teleworkers, SMEs, Schools, Public Sector and Communities.

A significant 28% of respondents consist of satellite & wireless users, which strongly demonstrates the role of satellite broadband as backhaul, mixed with a last mile wireless solution, to provide low-cost, high bandwidth connections to people living in rural and remote locations.

A varied cross-section of questions and issues were addressed in the survey, including:

  • Overall satisfaction with satellite broadband

  • Installation Process and ongoing technical support

  • Satisfaction ratings on Quality of Service, applications, technology

  • Cost - including initial capital costs, ongoing charges and hidden costs

  • Most frequently used applications

  • Good and poor performance of applications

  • Location and type of users, including town or area population

  • Technology types (two-way, one-way, off peak), stand alone or networked users
Analysis was completed using a mixture of Excel and SPSS. Descriptive, summary and between group analysis was undertaken to provide several layers of results and to illustrate the most pertinent trends emerging from the data.

In addition, 28 respondents to the survey subsequently participated in in-depth focus groups, providing more qualitative and emotive responses to their combined experience.

Following on from the outcomes of the Focus Groups, MAC designed and completed a series of one-on-one interviews with industry, service providers and key strategic actors in Ireland. Their reactions, feedback and vision for the future of satellite broadband are also included in detail in the final report.

The PERISCOPE Final Report will be available online shortly, either on this webpage  or the SWRA website The report contains quantitative data from the Survey Questionnaire, more qualitative feedback from a series of Focus Groups, illustrative examples from a number of Case Studies, and direct feedback from Industry (satellite broadband and broadband service providers) and strategic actors, including the Irish Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, the Communications Regulator and Broadband Lobbying Groups.

For further information contact PERISCOPE Project Manager, Ms. Sinead Crowley at

Status date

Monday, May 18, 2009 - 11:11