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How to get fast broadband in rural areas

Broadband in rural areas

It is no secret that broadband in rural areas is not the best. It’s lagging behind fibre rollouts, relying on old copper lines, not prioritized by big operators like BT. And it’s not only in the UK. Everywhere is the same. If a broadband service provider is to extend its network, obviously as a commercial entity it will start with high density (more houses!) areas where it can make money. What leaves people living in rural areas stranded and struggling to get better internet connection. It leaves them without access to certain services, less competitive on the employment market and without an option to work from home.

What kind of rural broadband is available in your area?

Every big broadband provider nowadays offers “rural broadband” what is actually a normal offer just advertised as rural. What does it mean? It’s basically a way of get you on the hook. You look for broadband for rural areas, you get what you need. Is that so?

Not really. Most offers available in London or Manchester are not suitable for rural areas. That’s the fact. The quality of cables is different so the offer is not the same. Further from “civilization” you live, more problematic you are. To the ISPs.

So, the question is, if you can’t get what you want, what can you get?

First of all, you shouldn’t stop looking. The fact you don’t have broadband doesn’t mean you cannot get it. Shockingly many households are on old offers, never upgraded despite the fact they can get something better. From their current provider!

First step then, call your customer support!

What if they can’t do anything? This is when you have to start looking at alternatives. First, check with your neighbours. A chance is they went through the same before. Ask and see! Second step is to start looking at alternative broadband offerings. Wireless like 4G or satellite broadband. Also, 5G internet, and don’t mind conspiracy theorists, do your own research!

4G Broadband UK

4G broadband is pretty good in the UK so try that. The problem is that if you live in sparsely populated area it may not be available or might be too congested to be usable. Still, worth a shot. Go to Google and search for “4G broadband UK” or “LTE broadband UK.” That should give you some options

Satellite Broadband UK

Another option is satellite internet. Search for “satellite broadband providers” or “satellite broadband UK” and see what’s available. Satellite broadband is often your last option. Literally. If nothing else works, satellite is the answer. The problem is satellite internet has limitations. If you have kids (or grandchildren) who want their Xbox or PlayStation connected to the Internet, you have a problem. Satellite internet is generally incompatible. Still, it’s a viable option. At least your Netflix will work with Satellite internet provider!

Is Starlink an option?

Yes, it is… if you are willing to pay. Starlink is LEO satellite service and the speeds are better while keeping low latency. It comes at a price though. 2-3 times higher than lowest satellite price plans from other providers. Still an option to consider!

Should I switch my internet provider?

I already have Internet. Should I switch? It is actually quite surprising how often people stick to their broadband provider even if they are not happy. Despite the fact Ofcom made it much easier! According to Statista.com 45% of Americans are unwilling to change their broadband provider. Until recently over 20% of households never changed their broadband provider. Never! Irrespectively of benefits like better speeds or money saving. 20% of UK’s households never changed their broadband provider!

Post-switching surveys reveal very interesting facts:

  • 63% of respondents said that switching was easier than they thought
  • 33% said they intend to switch again in the next 18 months

At the same time 19% of respondents are worried that their new provider will be worse that the current one what is followed by 12% being afraid of hidden costs. Additional 11% responded they are worried they will have no internet during the switch.

So why would people switch? 35% of respondents can see an increase in number of devices they can connect. Lockdowns played a role too. 38% of respondents said they used time they had during lockdowns to explore other options.

Switching Broadband – Price

Price is a factor too. 33% of people would stay with current provider if there was a guarantee of no price increases. Additional 30% states that they would stay if the offer was the same as for new customers. Similar number (28%) claims good customer service is important when making decision.

Bundle Trap

If you purchased broadband in the last couple of years you probably have some additional services like landline, TV channels, Spotify or mobile phone subscription. When you buy it’s an obvious choice? It’s a great deal! You get your internet connection and more.

Is it such a deal though? From financial point of view, yes. At least initially. After a while it’s an anchor keeping you with your provider. If you switch, you have to think about changing numbers, buying TV subscriptions… it’s a headache! That’s why they do it! That’s why you are offered these linked transactions so switching seems like an impossible task! Even if you see a better offer, when you think about that headache of switching you just give up. You end up with slow connection, unwanted services you are paying for, just to avoid pain of switching.

So, what are your broadband options?

Living in rural areas may be difficult from broadband perspective but you are not left without anything. You should consider all options and decide if you want to stick to what you have or maybe move. If you go with the latter, where to go? Satellite internet provider? Mobile internet? There are options, consider them carefully. And don’t be afraid to switch! Sometimes you need to take chances in order to get something better!.

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