Know How to Close The Rural Broadband Gaps
It has been clear to us for some time that the gap in access to broadband for rural areas is real. It is posing a legitimate threat to the development of rural communities. The pandemic has exposed the digital divide with several essential services like healthcare, education, and remote work staying out of the reach of rural dwellers.
However, not all hope is lost as satellite broadband may be the key to bridging the rural broadband gap.
Why is broadband for rural areas so bad?
Internet connectivity options for the rural and remote areas are barely serviceable since they are slow, expensive, and unreliable. In most rural areas, traditional wired services are unavailable as the service providers mainly provide internet connectivity options to urban areas with high population density.
Moreover, setting up the infrastructure to provide fast and reliable cable internet is difficult in some rural areas due to the uneven terrain and weather conditions. Since there are fewer customers per mile, investing in setting up the towers and digging trenches to bring the wirelines out to the valleys and villages is not worth it for many providers.
Connectivity options that are available in such areas, like DSL and dial-up, are either slow or unreliable. Speeds on DSL can vary vastly depending on the distance between your home and the phone company hub. Even if you live close to the phone hub, there is no guarantee that you will get high-quality internet.
Mobile hotspots are another internet connectivity option, but they can be very unreliable with higher congestion in certain areas and hours. If you live in a remote area with poor cell reception, a mobile hotspot may not even work.
How can satellite broadband help bridge the digital divide?
One of the primary advantages of satellite broadband connectivity is availability. Since it does not rely on land infrastructure and hardwiring through neighborhoods, it can easily reach the areas where cable and fiber optics have not reached yet.
With satellite internet speeds reaching up to 100 MBPS, you can conduct most of your daily activities without hiccups. The direct benefit of high-speed satellite broadband for rural areas will be helpful for the better access to telehealth, education services, and remote work.
Moreover, as the new generation of low-earth orbit satellites start rolling out, people will get access to even faster internet speeds with reduced latency, changing the standards of satellite internet. As these innovations become available for the public, expect even higher data caps, faster speeds, and lesser lag across the board.
Access to satellite internet alone is the first step in a long journey and there will be a need to improve the infrastructure with 24×7 tech support, architectural shifts, and investment flexibility. Moreover, as the number of internet users increases, more satellite broadband providers will get an incentive to expand their services to such areas, helping close the digital divide even further.