Technology is improving – Why is rural broadband access still a problem?

    Technology has evolved drastically in the past couple of years. Everything we use and see today is internet driven and we still see rural areas struggling to have broadband internet access. What are the factors? What is the roadblock for enabling broadband internet access to people living in rural areas? Why are rural areas still far from metropolitans?

    Having an internet connection translates into having countless opportunities and all the convenience a few clicks away. Why are rural areas not getting equal privileges? What are the internet options accessible to them? This statement brings along so many valid questions. Before we begin, please note that broadband is high-speed internet that is usually experienced through cable and fiber internet services. However, some satellite services and DSL also get similar experiences due to the technological advancements that support them now.

    Let’s discuss what are the factors that are influencing and what are the possible solutions to get broadband to people living in rural areas.

    Long Distancing

    The far you go from the source office, the slower and less reliable the internet becomes. There are no ISP offices in rural areas. If you want to use the internet in a rural area, you have to make the connection from a developed city near your area. The distance between your area and that city would be much more, causing the internet speed and reliability to drop. Rural areas have less population compared to cities which results in less demand and that keeps the cable and fiber internet companies at loss. Constructing and bringing the internet to the rural areas only requires an underground network of cables which costs a lot. This is the reason why internet services are expensive in some areas but increasing the price does not keep the internet providers’ business at the loss. Otherwise, they would have to shut down eventually.

    You might wonder why ISPs are not focusing on rural areas.

    As we mentioned earlier, the population of rural areas is way too low than that of urban areas. The more users there is the more profit the companies are able to generate. It is by far the most important reason why ISPs focus on urban areas.

    A good example of this statement is the introduction of the fiber internet. They introduced the internet first in populated areas and then started to expand it towards less populated and rural areas. It is because of the number of users and the labor to install the wires.

    We live in a world where machines can do almost all of the work. However, it requires a lot of labor-intensive hard work and effort to install internet wires. It takes a lot of time and investment. Companies are not interested in investing their time and money in areas where there are few internet users.

    Going Wireless

    Wired internet connections are becoming less popular as wireless connections are replacing them. Cellular networks such as 2G, 3G, and 4G are here in the market. This technology innovation has opened the doors of hope for people living in rural areas. The cost of setting up a wired internet connection is way more than a wireless one. Thus, we can hope to see the availability of this cellular internet in almost every part of the rural areas. However, things are not that easy, but we can only hope based on the trends and existing situation, which is quite promising.

    What is hope and what can we expect in the coming future?

    Mediacom internet speeds and any other conventional cable and fiber/DSL internet offers broadband internet in cities. However, satellite internet is available to everyone and everywhere irrespective of where they live. This is alongside the 3G, 4G, and 5G for most of the rural areas.

    According to the stats, only 14% of wireless connections can reach an internet download speed of 25 Mbps. This implies that internet speed, in general, is not as fast while using wireless devices. The speed for satellite internet is 15 Mbps max. It is because signals traveling wirelessly are not as strong as you have with a wired connection. These are the reasons why broadband in rural areas is still an issue.

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