Slow rural broadband has prompted one man to get his internet from a satellite 22,000 miles above Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa.
Prof Christopher Spry, 79, who lives in Heol Senni in the Brecon Beacons, had download speeds of about 500Kbps.
He runs a community website and uploads weather data and nature videos, so paid £620 for satellite broadband, which comes from over the Democratic Republic of the Congo, via Luxembourg.
“It’s an astonishing technological achievement,” he said.
Where Prof Spry lives also has sporadic 3G coverage so he researched his options and decided to invest in satellite technology.
The retired professor of immunology pays £420 a year for his satellite internet, which gives him download speeds of up to 28Mbps.
His broadband signal travels about 50,000 miles from a dish in his back garden to the ASTRA 2F satellite over the Earth’s equator and back, via a company in Luxembourg.
Companies such as Sky also use satellites similar to this to broadcast their TV signal.
“I’m interested in what’s going on in the world, I’m a very inquisitive person, I’m asking questions all the time and I need to know so the web is a wonderful resource for all of us who need to know what’s happening,” he said.
He also pays £250 a year for BT (British Telecommunication) broadband, which he uses as a backup as heavy rain or snow can block the satellite signal and leave him cut off.
But the nearest exchange is in Sennybridge – about five miles by road – so his broadband slows down when making the switch.
“It really makes all the difference in the world, without it I think my life would be quite difficult up here… but it does need a satellite 24,000 miles above the surface of the earth over the Congo – it does seem ridiculous doesn’t it,” he said.
“Without broadband we’re living in a dark age, so let’s hope everybody can have high speed broadband soon and they’ll be able to use it for whatever they want – entertainment, education, research – it’s a wonderful tool for everybody.”
Despite his best efforts, nature can still throw a spanner in the works when it comes to his satellite connection: “It’s pretty adequate for most of the programmes I need so I’m a happy rabbit – the only difficulty for me is that there’s a tree in the way and I have to trim that!”