Technology Is improving – Why Is Rural Broadband Access Still A Problem?

The year 2020 will be the year of political campaigns and the race to get the office. The slogans and promises to make the internet accessible in rural areas will be the highlight of fiery debates and townhouse meetings. The issue of improving rural broadband is dominating the political campaigns because politicians have recognized that without a fast internet connection, the businesses in rural America would not grow.

Broadband access in rural areas is a problem and more than 19 million Americans have no access to broadband internet. There are multiple reasons hampering this internet access. Check Cox Internet Prices for reliable and faster broadband. Technological advancements are taking over the world by storm and we have to discuss why rural broadband access is a problem in the world, let alone the US.

Rural-Urban Divide

We are a big country with 50 states. More than 60 million people live in rural America. Out of these 60 million, 39 percent of residents don’t have the access to broadband, but in urban areas, the number is as low as 4 percent. Right now, there is no perfect solution to bridge the gap between urban and rural populations as the problem goes far beyond the internet.

Every industry in the rural areas suffer. The problem lies in the education sector, the business sector, and even healthcare. This rural-urban divide has led to the lack of availability of broadband in rural areas.

Lack of access

Rural areas do not have access to high-speed internet for many reasons. The primary reason being the absence of infrastructure required to hook up the services. All the broadband companies used to rely on phone lines but they are switching to fiber optic to get blazing fast speeds for the customers. The problem associated with this upgrade is the cost involved.

Moreover, to get started, these ISPs have to lay down cable lines and there is a huge upfront cost associated with that. Companies defray these costs in the densely populated areas by huge numbers of people getting the service.

In rural areas, even if every single person signs up for the service, the revenue will not be enough to offset the upfront cost.

Why can’t they use cell service?

Now you might be thinking if the cable has no access, why not resort to other avenues of internet. As we already discussed, the problem extends to other aspects of life as well. These rural areas and towns even lack regular cellular signal. This puts rural businesses at a disadvantage as compared to metropolitan companies with blanket connectivity. Many rural areas are cell phone dead areas. The weather has a major influence on the quality of connectivity.

Inadequately skilled labor

Rural areas have neither the resources nor the access to a wide population base to hire skilled labor. IT professionals, technicians, and other labor demand higher wages than what rural businesses have to offer. This is the primary reason why rural areas have limited digital adoption. What investors don’t realize is that the utilization of blockchain for the management of the supply chain of small farms can lead to an economic boost for all the stakeholders involved.

Satellite is not the solution

We shy away from our burden by mentioning satellite as a solution to all the woes rural areas face but this is not the solution. To understand their position, you should use satellite internet first.

First, the speed a satellite gets you is slow. As a result, it takes ages to load a show you have been wishing to watch in HD on Netflix.

Secondly, with the progression of technology, we move to reliable avenues and satellite is not one! If the weather is windy, cloudy or rainy, your internet will not work at its best, as a satellite requires a clear view of the Southern sky.

How can we solve this issue?

We can enjoy seamless wireless coverage by installing distributed antenna systems and cellular repeaters. The local populace will have to work with the local carrier on a retransmission agreement having minimal cost.

Secondly, big corporations like Microsoft are working to expand broadband in rural areas. They have joined hands with telecom companies and their Rural Airband initiative aims to connect 2 million residents with the internet by 2022.

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