INTERNET CHALLENGES IN RURAL AREAS

Standard, dependable DSL connection doesn’t work as well for rural areas due to physical distance, zoning laws, and permit acquisition – just to name a few. With typical DSL connection, 2-wire copper cables are the primary pathways for internet data. The longer the cables, the further the distance the data has to travel, the more data packets it loses along the way. This leads to considerably slower internet, which is just downright frustrating.

Satellite internet services are usually the best solution to rural internet problems. They’re fast, have a wide reach, and don’t need physical cables or coaxial lines to broadcast their signal. Unfortunately, topographical barriers, geographical distances, and other uncontrollable factors may make it difficult for service providers to get the proper documents to set up satellite connections for rural areas. The low population density alone is enough to discourage most providers and authorized sales agents, dismissing the effort of obtaining permits, setting up, installing, and marketing as “not worth it.”

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY “RURAL” AREA?

So the definition of rural is pretty broad, and it varies depending on your area and circumstance. While it’s difficult to narrow it down to a specific description, a rural area typically refers to a portion of the country that is less densely populated or geographically far from metropolitan areas and urban cities. These kinds of areas are often seen as “small” towns or cities that are fully independent. Instead of getting items like food, clothing, gadgets, and other supplies from big city providers or resellers, they have their own smaller manufacturing centers or local alternatives.

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

The challenge of rural internet connection is not a new one. Ever since the digital age transformed our lives and redefined societal norms, there has always been a demand for high-speed internet. Multiple solutions have popped up over time, meaning the problem doesn’t still exist due to lack of people trying to solve it. The problem remains a problem because the solutions that were meant to address it are bandaid solutions that don’t work for every situation.

For instance, some rural communities have decided to develop strategies for authorized broadband and satellite internet providers, resellers, and service centers. These comprehensive plans are typically business proposals addressed to the service providers and sales agents in question. They typically list reasons why investing time, money, and effort into installing internet services to their rural area is a beneficial move for both parties involved.

Other communities engage in what is called community broadband projects, where a number of smaller communities form partnerships to either bypass certain systems or red tape, or to raise population density to a number that convinces providers they won’t be losing money on their service. The latter involves educating the community about the benefits and opportunities broadband service would provide.