What is 4G Rural Broadband?
4G is a fourth generation of mobile network (wireless technology) replacing previous 3G connectivity. 4G is often called LTE (Long Term Evolution standard) hence popular interchangeability of 4G and LTE when you search for 4G (or LTE) Rural Broadband.
Despite popular belief 4G and LTE are not synonyms. LTE is one of 4G standards but it’s not the only one. Another popular 4G technology, now not so much in use, was first commercially deployed in 2006 in South Korea WiMAX. LTE, the most common 4G standard nowadays, especially when it comes to 4G rural btroadband, was first commerically released in Sweden in 2009 and since then spread globally. Your own mobile phone most likely utilises this technology!
4G Broadband Speeds
4G broadband presents a significant imptovement to previous 3G standards and, at least in theory, offers up to 300Mbps download speeds. In practice it’s is very unlikely you will ever see it, unless it’s a laboratory with controlled conditions and specific hardware.
What kind of speeds you can expect then? In real life (and commercial deployments) 4G rural broadband offers speeds up to 100Mbps. It will depend on technology used, device and network condition.
Let’s start with technology. 4G broadband is not a uniform standard and often what you get is not what you think is there. What we mean by this is that your device may be handling a spectrum of standards starting with 3G HSPA+ that offers download speeds up to 42Mbps and is still often labelled 4G internet. It can be also handling LTE or sometimes LTE-Advanced with speeds up to 300Mbps. On top of that, 4G is widespread and more than likely your phone is connected to it. And your neighbour’s phone. The same with phones of your kids. And many other devices, other than phones. This will cause congestion where more and more devices request data and the network has to handle them all through a bottleneck of its supply. Simply put, your speeds may vary.
4G Broadband Providers
There are many 4G broadband providers, all you need to do is to search for 4G home broadband or 4G internet (or any related phrases). What you should remember though, not every 4G internet provider is rural broadband provider. Meaning, if you look for a solution for your own house, you need something that will fulfil your requirements. Especially if you live in rural area.
What you need is not a broadband provider. You need 4G Rural Broadband Provider, someone who specialises in rural areas. Imagine you are looking for a solution to connect your rural home, you live in Shropshire, Cumbria, Cornwall or even Oxfordshire (not to mention areas of Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland!)… are you sure someone who specialises in generic 4G broadband will be able to provide what you need? Most providers have generic offer, their own offer. Most of their customers are in London or Manchester, or in any of the big cities. 84% of UK population live in urban areas. So it makes sense for these providers to offer generic solutions. But it doesn’t mean it will work for you.
Unlimited 4G Home Broadband
Generic 4G Home Broadband is not necessarily what rural customer needs. 4G Internet coverage depends on network and not all areas have full coverage provided by all major networks. Rural residents need home broadband that combines good download speeds, affordable price point and unlimited usage. Only these three factors combined will provide a good user experience. As rural areas are not equally covered by all 4G networks Unlimited 4G Home Broadband should not be network dependent.
4G connection for home broadband may or may not be suitable for business broadband connectivity. While some small businesses might be happy to utilise a standard connectivity others, small or big, may need something different. Static IP is probably one of the most common requirements when it comes to business and some providers, like Vodafone, are able to provide both capped and unlimited 4G broadband with fixed IP.
4G Internet – Big Four
Irrespectively of the amount of different offers and brands there are only 4 major mobile networks in the UK serving 4G Internet market:
All the other brands piggyback of these big four creating the multitude of offers we have now. What it means is that if you go with ASDA Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile (and any of the others), you are really utilising the network provided by one of the big four.
LTE Rural Broadband Providers
What should you expect from 4G Rural Broadband Provider?
- Access to several 4G broadband providers
- Access to alternative technologies in case 4G is not available (satellite broadband, fibre, 5G)
- Optional custom solutions such as external antenna or bespoke router high performance
The reality is that 4G may not work as well as you want it to. Your rural broadband provider should then be able to offer you other options and bespoke solutions. Instead of calling big commerical providers and trying to get someting that works in your area, you should try someone who will do it for you. Why? Because rural broadband providers specialise in providing broadband to rural areas.