Rural Areas Suffering Slow Internet
Summary: It’s a sad constant of rural communities the world over, that the more spread out the population of an area is the less likely it will be to receive high-speed internet connections. The problem is...
It’s a sad constant of rural communities the world over, that the more spread out the population of an area is the less likely it will be to receive high-speed internet connections. The problem is obvious, of course; with people living so far apart it’s often simply not worthwhile for companies to lay miles and miles of expensive cabling to bring broadband to a small number of people.
Some communities, such as Cranbrook in Kent, have speeds as low as 1.32Mbs for homes and businesses. Understandably, this is a major source of irritation for members of these communities. In an age where so much business, entertainment and socialising is transmitted via the web, speeds like this are becoming unacceptable to many people.
One suggested fix lies with mobile broadband. Mobile broadband, while infamously less reliable than its fixed-line counterpart, is capable of supporting people over wide areas without the expense of laying too much cabling.
In both the US and Australia right now the next generation in wireless broadband, LTE, is beginning to be rolled out. It’s already seen great popularity in America (Australians are yet to flip the switch on their new network) and its users tend to see between 5 and 12Mbps, although speeds both exceed and fall below these figures. While the lower end of these figures isn’t amazing, 5Mbps is a measurable improvement over 1.32Mbps.
The coalition currently plans to bring superfast broadband to 90% of homes and business in the UK by 2015. Just how fast “superfast” will be is uncertain, but no matter how fast it is it has to be a marked improvement for most rural areas. The coalition has set aside more than £362 million just for rural areas, with Scotland also receiving £68 million and Northern Ireland £4.4 million.
Although that may sound like a lot, £362 million is a paltry amount compared to what is being spent elsewhere in the world (Australia is currently engaged in the construction of a National Broadband Network, the cost of which is in the tens of billions of AU dollars). We certainly support the UK government in this ambitious initiative, as we’d love to see broadband for everyone. We’re just hoping that this budget won’t cause any cut-corners.
We’d like to hear your thoughts on this. Do you think rural areas will start seeing wireless broadband in the future, or would you consider that a stop-gap measure with no real long-term value?
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