Sadly New Zealand is trailing in the rural broadband stakes. NZ Telecom have been slow and reluctant investors and still don't really get it.

This leaves many of us struggling to get any kind of decent service. We used the IHug Ultra satellite service for several years but they sold this to Bordernet who, for reasons that are hard to understand, changed the underpinning technology. Once this had happened it never really worked so well and there were many complaints.

Anyway last year we took the plunge and moved to a full on satellite system, ipstar.

IpStar BoxThere is a rooftop dish, somewhat bigger than a Sky TV dish and an inside box (pictured). Installation was no great problem, apart from the expense of the installer traveling out here. We used Wireless Nation as our ISP and they seem quite adequate but not very flexible.

An additional item was a Linksys wireless router so laptops and so forth would work.

Overall the system is quite usable albeit expensive with low data caps and very high latency. You could use it for voice over ip (voip) but be prepared for poor quality sound and lots of drop outs. It's not going to support a replacement telephone.

The high latency manifests itself as slow web browsing, it takes a moment (about a second) for your mouse click to get to the satellite and back. This adds at least a couple of seconds to each web page click and seems very frustrating. Once stuff is downloading then that's quick enough.