How To Get Broadband & Internet Without A Telephone/ Landline
If you a require a reliable internet service, or temporary internet service at an address, but do not want to or can’t have a landline installed for a broadband connection, read this blog for many alternatives to a traditional internet service and how to receive internet without a phoneline. In this article with discuss many of the pro’s and con’s associated with broadband over landline alternatives. Before we begin it’s also worth noting that if your motivation for wanting broadband without a telephone line as you won’t use this, or because you don’t wish to pay for line rental. Many service providers offer a service without line rental so you a traditional ADSL/ fibre connection may still be suitable. Now that’s been said, lets’ begin.
Although at the time of writing this, Starlink is still a relatively new service. I have begun with this one as it is perhaps the most viable alternative to internet over a land telephone line. I’m sure you’re already familiar with the CEO Elon Musk who is purported to be the richest man in the world, who is/ has been associated with Paypal, Tesla, and now Twitter.
Starlink is a high speed internet service delivered by low orbiting satellites, which is received with a small motorised satellite dish which points direct up to the Sky. A cable then connects between your dish antenna and a router which would be sited within your building. Unlike traditional satellite broadband services like Tooway or SES Broadband which transmit/receive from a fixed satellite orbiting position within geostationary orbit, Starlink broadcasts with hundreds / thousands of low orbiting satellites. This is beneficial because, line of sight issues are rarely a problem. It’s very unlikely that you’re going to find a spot where a tree or building will block your satellite signal meaning that coverage is as close to 100% that you’re likely to get. This means that which an appropriate stand/ mount the antenna could be sited on your patio should you wish. It can also very easily be moved as no specialist alignment tools are required. Also, as the satellites are much closer to earth than those in geostationary orbit, the service is very low latency. This means the time that your device will take to respond when connection to the internet, traditional ADSL/ VDSL/ FTTC/ FTTP are naturally low latency, especially where fibre optic cabling is involved as you’re physically connected via cables. Satellite broadband is different on the other hand, where the signal needs to be beamed up to satellites and back down to earth is considered high latency owing to additional time it takes for the signals to travel these distances. Starlink use low orbiting satellites, greatly reduces this distance meaning the latency is still very low. Starlink typically has a latency of 20-40ms which is comparable to a ADSL connection. The main downside of Starlink is the costs, the service costs approx £75 per month with the addition of purchasing costs of nearly £500 for the equipment required.
More info on Starlink can be found here: https://www.starlink.com/
High Speed Service, you can expect speeds of: Download-50-200Mbps, Upload- 10-20Mbps.
Low latency – Latency typically only 20-40ms (suitable for VOIP, online gaming etc)
Near 100% Coverage
30 Day Rolling Contracts
Easily movable – perfect for travelling with you, motorhomes, caravans etc.
Easy Installation – no specialist tools required (just some DIY skills)
Expensive when compared to a traditional broadband service.
Requires an externally installed antenna
Prior to the release of Starlink, satellite broadband services where gaining popularity in the UK for broadband in rural locations or locations where the broadband speed was very slow. Satellite broadband as the name suggests broadband received via a satellite dish similar to that used for satellite TV. In order to connect to the internet the internet data is converted into radio-waves which are beamed up (uplink) to the satellites in geostationary orbit space and down (downlink) to earth. As the service uses fixed satellite orbital positions a satellite dish aligned in a fixed position is required. To provide a half decent internet speed, satellite broadband is transmitted on higher frequencies in the KA sat band which is higher frequencies than is associated with satellite TV services. Higher frequencies mean a higher data rate transfer is possible. Depending on the service you subscribe to the satellite dish would then connect a satellite modem via coax cables, although it works differently, this is similar to a traditional broadband router/ modem. The main two satellite broadband services in the UK are Tooway, and SES Broadband. Of the two Tooway was the superior service but due to the uptake and limited bandwidth capacity, Tooway is no longer available in some locations, so SES Broadband is a viable alternative.
There are several downsides to satellite broadband. Firstly, for reasons already described within the Starlink section of this article, satellite broadband is very high latency. This means that although the service may run fast, there is an effective delay in the using of the service. This doesn’t cause much of a problem for general browsing of the internet or streaming of video, but for things such as VOIP telephone systems and fast action internet gaming, it really isn’t suitable. It will work with both of these of these systems, but with VOIP telephone systems it can make phone calls very difficult. As there is a delay in speech, you could find yourself talking over one and another, you may even want to agree an “over” after you have finished talking. For online fast action gaming such as shoot-them-ups, you may find you keep getting shot and not understanding why, other competitors with a low latency service would have an immediate advantage over you. That being said, online gaming such as chess or card games, high latency shouldn’t cause much of a problem. Secondly, satellite broadband is expensive compared to normal broadband systems. This is because you need to purchase the satellite dish and equipment as well as paying for monthly subscription fees, but many suppliers offer lease/rental and/ or hire purchase agreements for the equipment to offset this. Thirdly, “unlimited” although never truly being unlimited isn’t really a thing with satellite broadband. If you have used up your data in your tariff you may find your internet service being cut, or if you have used up a high percentage of your data with regards to your allowance you may find your internet speed throttled to reduce your usage. Finally, satellite broadband although once upon a time not long ago did offer speeds that were considered fast, it isn’t really that fast today when compared with speeds associated with Full Fibre, 5G, or Starlink.
Near 100% Coverage – similar to that of satellite TV services, Sky/ Freesat etc.
30 Day Rolling Contracts Possible, good option for temporary broadband for events like shows, festivals, building sites.
Reasonable Broadband Speeds (Up to) - Tooway: Download-50Mbps,Upload-10Mbps. SES Broadband: Download 20Mbps, Upload: 2Mbps
High Latency, not suitable for VOIP telephone system, fast action internet gaming, stock trading. Typically 650-850ms which is almost a full second.
Expensive in comparison to traditional broadband. You need to purchase the equipment as well the ongoing monthly subscription costs.
Requires an external dish installation. Although DIY installation is possible, a satellite dish installer will likely be required.
Tariffs and data allowances can be restrictive
Service can be affected by bad weather
Broadband Over Radio-wave/ Point to Point (PtP)
Many of you reading this will already be familiar with PtP installations which can be used to wireless share an internet/ Ethernet connection over distances and for internet connections to outbuildings. You may not be aware that this can be extended to provide a similar service to broadband to your property. Broadband over radio-waves is another type of fast, low latency internet service that is available in many areas of the UK which involves a small external antenna installation received not from satellites orbiting above our heads, but rather a point to point (PtP) service where the service is received via a land based transmitter. Although it’s different for each area, this typically involves a leased line installation at a prominent position, to allow for maximum coverage which is then broadcast similar to a wireless access point over licence free spectrum, usually 2.4Ghz, 5Ghz, or 60Ghz. This is then received with Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) which is usually an external antenna, POE injector, and broadband router. The service is compatible and can be configured to work via most broadband routers.
Once installed Internet provided via PtP can offer very fast internet speeds. If you’re happy to pay for the costs, speeds well in excess of 1Gbps are possible, but you may find a connection of around 60Mbps perfectly suitable for your needs and much more affordable. I’m not aware of any national companies that offer this service as this is localised service offered by independent companies, so you will need to do some research in your area to see if this is possible. In my area, Eastbourne, East Sussex a company called CloudConnX offers this service which is marketed as EtherAir to areas including Eastbourne, Polegate, Parts of Hailsham and Bexhill using various points of presence. This type of system can even be extended from building to building creating a Wide Area Network (WAN) if a neighbourhood ever desired to get together to solve poor connectivity issues. The system is also very low latency making it perfect for VOIP, trading on markets, fast action internet gaming.
Very fast internet speeds possible, excess of 1Gbps possible.(Typically 60Mbps)
Local service provider – Less likely to be on hold to a call centre in Mumbai.
Low latency – Great for VOIP, online gaming, stock trades
Requires an external antenna
Localised coverage only, not available in all areas
Usually requires line of sight between property and transmitter, trees/ neighbouring buildings can prevent service
Can be expensive in comparison to traditional broadband
4G/5G Mobile Internet
Again, I’m sure that many of you reading this are familiar with4G and 5G internet. If you’re not, 4G and 5G stands for 4th Generation and 5th Generation mobile internet, these are telecoms standards that are usually used for the connection of Smart phones and tables to an internet service on the go when WIFI is not available. You may or may not be aware that it can also be used to provide an internet connection to a fixed address and connect to a network to provide Ethernet and WIFI connections. If you have a reasonable 4G or 5G connection a router or gateway inside of which a SIM card is inserted can be installed to provide an internet connection to a property. You subscribe to the service as you would a mobile phone contract.
If you do not receive a reliable 4G/5G service or you just wish to maximise the quality of the connection, an external 4G/5G antenna can be installed on the exterior of your property where a good signal can be received and then this connected to a internal router (into which the SIM is inserted) to provide a more reliable connection. If you do some investigation to the transmitters and providers in your area you may be able to install a directional 4G/5G antenna in increase the signal reliability still.
4G vs 5G Comparison Speeds
If you have the choice between a 4G or 5G connection, 5G is an improvement which offers faster internet speeds. The speeds which you can be received are subject to change, there are many providers using difference slices of spectrum that could impact your speeds. For instance the 5G coverage layer of 3.5Ghz would typically offer faster speeds than 4G, mm wave 5G will provide much faster speeds still and so on. As you can see from the below, the speeds these services can potentially provide compared to what is likely to received can be very different. The following has been taken from 5g.co.uk.
4G Real World Use – 18-36Mbps Average, Theoretical – 300Mbps
5G Read World Use – 100Mbps-1Gbps+, Theoretical – 10-50Gbps
Very fast, low latency internet possible
Coverage similar to mobile phone service
Can be moved, perfect for moving, and temporary internet service. Motorhomes, caravans, festivals, building sites etc.
Flexible contacts, Pay-as-you-go, rolling contracts possible.
Relatively inexpensive when compared with alternatives, similar ongoing costs to mobile sim only contract
Not 100% coverage, fast speeds may not be possible in your area.
May require an external antenna
Speeds not always consistent
I was 50/50 as to whether to include this within the 4G/5G section, but it has it’s own pro’s and con’s so I think it’s worthy of it’s own section. You may or may not be aware, but it’s possible to go into the settings on most phones and turn on a mobile hotspot. This allows the phone itself to broadcast it’s own WIFI, to connect other devices such as phones, tablets, computers and so on. You simply turn on the hotspot and on your second device you scan for wireless networks and enter the information displayed on the first device. This will be an SSID and password. This will now share the 4G/5G bandwidth that you have from your 1st device with your 2nd and if you have a decent speed this may be perfectly adequate for what you need it for, especially if you only need a temporary internet connection. This can be used to connect to further devices if required. Also if you currently already have a Smart phone contract, you most likely already have this facility. Meaning that it won’t cost you anymore money. Although it’s not really a solution for broadband, if you have WIFI that doesn’t reach to all parts of your house, a mobile phone hotspot could be used to get around the WIFI blackspots.
Already compatible with most Smart phones
No extra cost
Perfect for a temporary internet connection
Not always reliable
Speed dependent on 4G/5G connection/ coverage
Not a permanent solution
Cable (Virgin Media)
Ok, I admit that this is very similar to broadband over a phoneline. But, if you didn’t want to deal with the typical phone companies, or if you liked dealing with Virgin Media (on alternative in your location), and if it was available in your area, you could choose cable broadband instead. I appreciate that was a lot of if’s, but for many locations broadband over cable can offer a superior performance to many broadband over landline services. Rather than a two pair telephone wire which has it’s limitations, cable broadband is delivered via coaxial cabling (usually underground) which enters into a socket similar in appearance to a BT socket that can provide greater internet speeds. The same cabling can also be used for terrestrial TV services too. The big downside is that it’s not available in all locations, it’s typically only in and around big cities. It’s also similar price to most broadband providers out there.
Fast internet speeds – Average advertised speed of 264Mbps. Faster speeds possible.
Price similar to other broadband providers
No extra equipment or external antennas required
Not available in lots of places.
Internet Without Phoneline Questions
If you have any comments, feedback or questions that have arisen from this article. Please do feel free to post them with the Blog Comments section below and I will endeavour to personally respond to these. I may not be able to answer as fast as you may like so please be patient. Please note, that as we are a small business and we serve Sussex/ Kent only. We do not offer free over the phone technical advice or support, so please do not attempt to call us with your questions. We do not have the time, staff, or motivation to offer such a service. Please also do not privately e-mail or fill in our website contact forms, as we do not have time to answer these privately. By posting your comments in the comments section below you help future readers and help the blog.
What Is Signal Polarisation?
Signal polarisations used with TV aerials, satellite, & wireless telecoms. Inc info on different polarity types & how to align correct.
UHF/ RF Modulators For TV Systems Explained
Read this for info on UHF/ RF Modulators for TV Systems. Inc Tips, advice, & instructions on how to install a modulator. Create TV channel.
FTTC, FTTP, ADSL, VDSL Internet Comparison - What is the Difference?
For all you need to know about the difference between FTTC, FTTH, ADSL, & VDSL internet connections. Inc info on copper vs fibre and speeds.