Alternative internet connectivity for homes and businesses in rural locations

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Reliable internet connectivity is a necessity in our current time, but there are real geographic disparities between urban and rural areas. If you’re in a rural area, you may find that it’s tough to get the internet connectivity you need. A lack of infrastructure often means that internet speeds can be significantly slower than for sites in cities and urban areas. People in rural locations are seeking alternatives to the most common types of connectivity for both home and work needs. This article investigates alternative internet connectivity for homes and businesses in rural locations.

What connection options are available in rural locations?

There are various connection options for rural locations. ADSL broadband is the most common broadband in the UK and covers most rural areas. ADSL lines work through copper wires and allow for faster data transmission. Whilst speeds are typically slower than fibre connections, ADSL broadband is usually sufficient for small homes and infrequent users.

Another option is FTTPoD – Fibre to the Premises On Demand. Just like FTTP in an urban location,  fibre broadband is known for being fast and reliable. The required infrastructure is built from the nearest existing infrastructure to connect to your property. If there is no existing infrastructure close by it may be difficult to arrange FTTPoD. It’s also a costly solution as the purchaser is responsible for the cost of the new infrastructure. However, in some cases, this might be the only feasible option for accessing a fast and reliable internet connection.

Mobile broadband such as 4G, and increasingly, 5G can also be a solution in remote locations for both businesses and homeowners. This option can be more expensive than other types of broadband and is reliant on a strong mobile signal. This in itself can sometimes be an issue in rural locations.

A popular choice for rural businesses is bonded broadband, which works by combining up to four different ADSL lines into one internet connection. Joining multiple connections together allows for a faster overall connection speed, and is often more reliable than wifi in rural areas. Businesses that are located in rural areas often choose a bonded broadband connection to access fast connectivity.

Another option for businesses is to have a leased line. A leased line is a dedicated internet connection providing connectivity on a network for multiple end-users, for example, office employees. Much like any business broadband in a rural location, a leased line is typically a more expensive option. However, a leased line usually guarantees powerful speeds and can also be used for VoIP services.

Why is it important to get the right kind of connection in a rural area?

Internet connectivity gives rural and remote communities access to resources they might otherwise need to travel long distances for, such as education, shopping, and healthcare. It allows businesses and suppliers like farmers to access the markets and customers they need. Getting the right type of connection is vital for reliable performance and speed. If you’re looking for better internet connectivity in a rural area it’s worth thinking about what you need from your connection and what existing infrastructure there is in your area.

Why is it difficult to build in rural locations?

It can be tough to physically lay down cables in rural locations. Hills, mountains and bodies of water can all interfere with the ability to lay cables, making building a challenge. This often deters internet service providers from expanding into these areas, especially considering that there are likely to be fewer customers in these locations. This can mean that building the infrastructure is not cost-effective for service providers, as well as being logistically challenging.

When will builders reach rural areas?

The connectivity options for rural areas are likely to improve over time. Alt-net suppliers are already making progress towards offering alternative solutions to rural homeowners and businesses. In addition, the UK government is investing more than £22 million to subsidise the costs of gigabit-capable broadband networks in remote and rural areas. The aim is to supply gigabit-capable broadband across the whole of the UK by 2025. Faster broadband speeds in rural areas are coming, but alternative solutions for internet connectivity may still be needed for the next few years.

Chris Price