Latest Technology Improving Internet Access in Rural Communities

Those of you who live in rural areas have suffered through inferior Internet speeds for years. Some of you haven’t had any access to the Internet until recent times.

You shouldn’t have to sacrifice web access just because you value your personal space and a quiet atmosphere. Thankfully, things are changing. The latest developments in technology will soon allow you to access the Internet at similar speeds as your urban counterparts.

One of the emerging options is the high speed satellite broadband connection. If you already receive television access through a satellite dish, you will not be able to simply add high speed Internet access as the two are separate and distinct technologies. You’ll need a different satellite dish for the Internet as well as a different reception equipment. There are business-class satellite providers that offer very fast Internet that reaches almost all points in North America. This option is costlier than the traditional satellite Internet but it allows you to select a plan without a data cap. This technology is advancing at a rapid rate, increasing in speed and dropping in cost.

Google has a non-profit branch that has contributed millions to a project called “Celerate” which is attempting to get a billion people online. It is accepting applications from community leaders in various rural regions to test the innovative technology.

Celerate will ideally provide web access that is cheaper than satellite or cellular options. The project’s technology uses Google money to create an open source, wireless network modeled after software-designed networking which is commonly used in gigantic data centers. This means that software bears a larger burden than it has in the past and less pressure is put on networking hardware. Since the project is open source, it allows other corporations and individuals to break ground in the push towards providing Internet access for all the residents of rural spaces. You can read more about Google’s Celerate project here.

Rural residents can also obtain wireless broadband Internet from a provider that sells cellular phone service to people in the area. This technology relies on cellular towers relaying signals to your hardware so the service is only offered in distinct boundaries. So, check the coverage map thoroughly to make sure that your location is included.

In an article written for Time magazine’s Tech section, “Last Mile” resident Ben Bajarin writes that he has accessed the web in his remote location in rural San Jose, California, through a line-of-sight ISDN provider. He complains that he can’t play games on the web without frame rate issues or stream video without glitches. Ben thinks the solution will be wireless technology. An individual cellular phone tower can service an rural area but it has difficulties providing access to many people in that space. Ben argues that in the future there could be multiple, smaller cellular towers that cover the same space to allow for faster speeds and improved service. The key is to build the requisite infrastructure. It is not possible to run miles and miles of fiber to the residents of rural areas. So, multiple cellular towers will have to be constructed and spaced in a strategic manner to service as many rural residents as possible.

Only one in three people worldwide are connected to the Internet. It has been difficult to provide web access to country folk due to the cost of building an infrastructure capable of sending signals to and from homes spaced out over remote areas. It won’t be long before everyone, including those in the remotest of global corners will have Internet access at an affordable price.