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SURE! Blog

Delivering Broadband in Rural Areas via Satellite & Wi-Fi

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Dec, 2015



People who are living in the rural areas are often struggling to get a fast broadband, some of them are unable to receive the broadband at all, while there are some others who are stuck with a speed less than 2Mbps. The internet day-to-day usage is a bit frustrating and sometimes even impossible proposition for some people.

There are many issues which affect the delivery of the fast broadband in the rural areas. Following are some related key issues as well as possible solutions to deliver broadband in rural areas.

Key Issues That Affect Delivering Rural Broadband:

Aged / Archaic telephone exchanges

Years ago, Most of the Telephone exchanges around the world were owned and managed by governments. Especially developing countries struggle to keep the exchanges updated with new technology, mainly due to lack of funds. They usually do not have enough resources to open exchanges in rural areas. Even if they do so, they couldn’t upgrade these exchanges on a regular basis that resulted in lack of latest technology. This is one of the major reasons for them to provide broadband in rural areas.

Long Distances over the Old Copper Wire Infrastructure

It’s well-known that the copper wires which are used to carry the standard (ADSL) broadband is actually slowing down the internet connection as they must travel throughout a very long distance from the telephone exchange till they reach the telephone at home and due to inefficiencies in lines and technology. The further the user lives from the exchange, the slower his broadband will be.

The economic feasibility of Fiber Broadband

Initiatives are underway to replace copper cables with the fibre optic cables, which can simply deliver high speeds up to even 50 times faster than the standard broadband. However, in many rural areas this proposition is not commercially viable, leading to poor ROI.

What Are The Possible Solutions Out There?

Satellite Broadband Is Offering a Viable Solution, But It’s Limited and Expensive

The satellite broadband will require a dish, receiver, and governmental approval as well, but it will be no need for a landline, so the line rental cost can be taken off.

It delivers speed of 20Mb download speed, while the upload speed is 6Mb. Sometimes, such speed may be enough for surfing the internet, watching movies, as well as streaming music, but if the home has a big family who are sharing the internet this may result in connection lacks.

Wireless Local Broadband (WiFi) Is Offering Good Speeds, But May Be Unreliable

Some rural villages have opted for a high-speed Wi-Fi connection. The wireless networks are often installed by some private companies who are connecting fibre lines to the access points on high building’s roofs in the area. The subscriber to the Wi-Fi network can use later his own aerial for picking up the Wi-Fi signal.

Wi-Fi can be considered to be a short-term to a medium-term solution for those communities who are still waiting for the fibre broadband upgrade. The signal of Wi-Fi can be affected by bad weather, which makes it not reliable enough comparing to the fixed broadband or the mobile broadband. At present, Wireless broadband seem to be the only economical option that is available to deliver an internet connection to the rural areas or to the areas where ROI is poor.

The 3G/4G Mobile Broadband Is Faster, But In Case of Strong Mobile Signal Only

The mobile broadband is offering now 3G and 4G, for many people, is the fastest till now. This mode offers a very strong boost for people who are unable to catch a significant connection throughout the home broadband as 4G plans can simply provide up to 30Mbps download speeds.

Mobile broadband can be a bit more expensive comparing to the traditional broadband. In order for getting the 3G/4G, the user will need to live in an area with sufficient coverage. So, if the signal of the mobile phone is a bit weak, then the broadband can be considered the same.

National Broadband Grids:

In order to entrench broadband into rural / non lucrative areas, most governments are launching National Broadband Rollout projects that supposed to provide high speed fiber connection to each and every village / community. This has number of benefits, such as, reduces costs of entry to an ISP, improves adoptability, constant connection with customers etc.

In nutshell, there are several challenges covering rural / under populated areas with internet, however, we don’t see this lasting long as there are several public , private and hybrid initiatives  getting into effect with International regulatory bodies pushing governments to have this enabled at rapid pace.

By : Ramakrishna Mashetty

Ramakrishna Mashetty is The Chief Marketing officer of SURE! (a Magnaquest product).SURE! is an internationally acclaimed player in comprehensive end-to-end Subscription Business Solutions for PayTV, Broadband and Cloud Computing businesses – through deployment of Metered Billing, CRM, Service Fulfillment, Value-Added Services, and Managed Services.

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