Home » Broadband Options in Rural Locations

Broadband Options in Rural Locations

For millions of people around the world, the internet has revolutionised their daily lives. From shopping online to social media, the internet allows people to communicate, shop, and work in a way that simply wasn’t possible before. Remote and hybrid models of working wouldn’t be possible without the internet, and such working methods have given staff more flexibility in how they approach their working week, with an ability to gain greater control over their work-life balance.

In recent years, many households have upgraded their internet connections, moving to faster services that offer improved download speeds and bandwidth. This can allow lag-free online gaming and the streaming of content such as TV and films in 4K resolution without any buffering.

However, while consumers in larger urban areas tend to have access to superfast internet connections, the same can’t always be said for people who live in rural areas. Smaller rural areas typically don’t have the same level of communication infrastructure, which presents challenges when seeking to get online at home. In this article, some of the key broadband options in rural areas will be explored.

 

The challenges for broadband in rural areas

One of the key problems with internet access in rural locations is the fact that digital infrastructure and telephony services aren’t as advanced as in larger urban areas. Broadband providers may find it difficult to justify the expense of laying new cables and exchanges that are needed to supply fast internet access. The smaller local populations make investing in expensive new digital infrastructure less cost-effective as fewer people will use the services.

There may also be geographical and environmental issues, such as the distance between houses and the varied terrain of the rural area, which can pose additional challenges when seeking a reliable internet connection. These factors combine to create what’s known as a ‘digital divide’ in terms of access to fast and reliable internet in rural and urban areas.

 

Mobile broadband

A key way to overcome the infrastructure challenges of creating cabled networks for rural locations is to use mobile broadband that’s available from providers like Dyfed Telecom. This form of internet access relies on mobile networks rather than physical connections. Wireless signals from mobile networks are received by mobile devices or by connecting IT equipment to dongles.

Depending on the area you live in, it may be possible to get 3G, 4G, or 5G coverage. As you would expect, 3G typically provides the slowest download speeds, which range from 400 Kbps to many times this speed.  However, as a rough average, 3G speeds are generally around 3 Mbps. 4G speeds are around 20 Mbps and 5G average at 200 Mbps in the UK.

However, it’s important to consider that the quality of mobile reception will vary from area to area. If you live in a small rural community that’s surrounded by hills or has significant changes in elevation, the actual speeds and connectivity can vary considerably. You may even find that certain mobile internet providers don’t cover your area.

 

ADSL

ADSL stands for asymmetric digital subscriber line. Put simply, it’s a type of internet access that uses the same lines as your home landline phone to connect you to the internet. Typical download speeds in the UK for ADSL are around 10–11Mbps. ADSL is the most basic form of broadband internet access and may be a cost-effective way to get online in more rural communities.

However, one of the key factors that will influence your average download speed is the distance you live away from the telephone exchange. The further away you are, the lower your speeds will be, as the old-fashioned copper cabling will have a significant impact on transferring data over longer distances.

Fibre broadband

Fibre broadband is currently the fastest form of internet access for millions of consumers. As the name suggests, it uses fibre optic cables that transfer information in the form of light. Average download speeds can be as high as 60 Mbps for many connections, with some of the fastest suppliers allowing users to enjoy speeds of 300 Mbps or above. At this speed, large downloads can take place in a matter of seconds, multiple household devices can stream content in high-definition, and internet gaming can be virtually lag-free.

However, the key challenge in rural areas is gaining access to fibre networks. As previously mentioned, many suppliers are reluctant to install the infrastructure that’s needed to supply fibre internet. The cost per user may be significantly higher than in larger urban areas, which can make the proposition financially unattractive.

However, some rural communities have found that by demonstrating the demand for fibre connections (by creating petitions of residents who wish to pay for fibre internet), they may be able to offer a suitable business case to some providers.

Follow: