All across the United States, rural areas are being left out from our society because of poor cellular network and Wi-Fi. There are many rural areas around states like Kansas, Maine, and Texas that struggle with cellular and Internet use even today. Much like city life, rural Americans also want faster Internet and better cell service, but for so long they haven’t been getting it. It seems that providers don’t want to entertain the thought of helping rural areas by providing better cellular and Internet access. This is a major problem because the Internet is a major part of our society. It represents a much-needed tool for getting information, news, and even shopping online.
More than 39% of rural Americans lack even the basic broadband service, meaning that more than 39% of rural American households lack Internet access.
The Rural Internet Problem
Since the first introduction of the Internet rural parts of the U.S have been left in the dark, while cell network and Internet access are far more common in urban areas. Wired communications are less common in rural areas, and cellular network is extremely weak, and in some parts it’s non-existent. Recently there have been some improvements to parts lacking even the basic broadband access, however, the general problem still persists and some communities have a terrible cell and Internet access.
The lack of communication site power equipment means that rural areas are finding it harder and harder to integrate into our society. Most of the time, they pay more and get far less than what urban areas get, despite earning far less money than urban households.
Cellular network, or mobile network, is on our Smatphones and located nationwide. In general, people use Wi-Fi while at home or coffee shops, but when they are on-the-go, they rely on mobile data. This is a major problem for rural areas as Wi-Fi is far less spread, and people in rural areas have to use public places, like libraries which have better and faster Wi-Fi.
Many U.S wireless companies’ have cellular towers in rural areas, but that doesn’t mean the surrounding areas have cellular coverage. There have been reports that people have had phones with up to 4 different carriers, but there are still places where they have lacked complete cellular coverage.
More and more wireless communications companies’ are starting to build sites in rural American areas that will increase the quality of cellular networks and Wi-Fi, but it can take some time before everything is covered and everyone gets the minimal broadband set by the FCC. There have even been reports that the FCC could lower the current download and upload speed, 25 megabits, and 3 megabits, to 10 megabits and 1 megabit. Experts say that this will somewhat eliminate the problem, but another one could occur altogether.
There are some ways to cover the vast rural areas with wireless technology. Satellite broadband, short-distance radio links, and mobile data are some of the ways this can be achieved.
Satellite broadband can technically cover any areas of the country, but it’s considered to be slower than wired connectivity, and often more expensive.
Radio connections are another option, and they can reach speeds up to 20 megabits per second. However, radio links require you to be within distance of a service tower. Satellite broadband and radio links are two options mostly used to cover rural areas with cellular and internet access, however, they account only about 3 % of the total fixed U.S. broadband market.