Suffolk: NASA say internet speeds are faster on the moon than they are at the Moon and Mushroom pub in Swilland
07:00 31 May 2014
Sarah Lucy brown
For years there’s been concern about broadband in rural areas, but now technology experts have managed to run faster speeds to the moon than you get in parts of rural Suffolk.
Experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) working with NASA have managed to get broadband speeds of 19.4 Megabips per second (mbps) on to the moon.
However at the Moon and Mushroom pub at Swilland, just six miles outside Ipswich, can get broadband speeds of just 7mbps.
The area is due to get an upgrade over the next few months thanks to the Better Broadband for Suffolk campaign – although it is not clear whether it will be able to rival the speeds of its namesake.
The owner of the Moon and Mushroom, Elizabeth Gavin, said she had never found the slow broadband speed was a problem for her – but she knew it was much slower than people can get in Ipswich.
“I know my staff are aware of the slow speed and are looking forward to an improvement – but it seems extraordinary it is faster on the moon itself,” she added.
Good broadband speed is seen as a major plus for many diners who like to be able to keep in touch with the outside world by using their smart phones’ wi-fi capabilities.
The technology used to send broadband to the moon could potentially also be used to send broadband to Mars and is due to feature in a technology conference in California next month.
A spokesman for the Better Broadband for Suffolk Campaign insisted things were looking up for the pub – and the rest of Swilland.
He said: “By spring next year there should be much better speeds in the area. You won’t have to travel to the moon to watch the BBC iPlayer, the Moon and Mushroom pub should be perfectly adequate.”
The technology behind sending broadband signals to the moon is even more complex than that used to bring the technology to rural parts of the region.
According to an article in the technology website www.wired.co.uk the transmission requires four radio telescopes in New Mexico being used to send laser signals to the moon which is nearly 400,000 kilometres from the earth.
However as no one has set foot on the moon since December 1972, there was no one at the other end to take advantage of the high-speed connection.
Wireless broadband is becoming increasingly popular – and parts of Suffolk will be getting a wireless service under the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme.
However the technology needed to bring it to rural Suffolk is not as complex of that needed to send it across space.