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Rural Broadband…. Slow-spots and Not-spots!

We’re often lucky enough to work on some beautiful old buildings out in ‘the sticks’, unfortunately, although the views are superb, often the same can’t be said about their broadband internet speeds!

Today’s homeowner craves intelligent audio visual gadgets, security systems, tablets, games consoles, smart phones, and smart TVs. This means there is much more demand for robust broadband internet with a high speed.

Most built-up areas have broadband delivered via ADSL or cable and are also situated closer to the BT exchange, so poor performance is not generally an issue. However, if you live in a rural area it is unlikely that you will have access to a good cable broadband. The speeds available may only be a very basic, struggling to deliver the speed you need to check a bank balance, never mind streaming a Saturday night movie!

If the speed you receive is less than 2 Mbps, the area you are in is known as a ‘slow-spot’, though it might be the case that you can’t get land-based broadband at all, which means you are located in a dreaded not spot.

Fortunately, other options are available, such as broadband via mobile phone technology, broadband satellite or microwave satellite. Fibre optic broadband is also very popular and coverage is spreading fast throughout the country, although telecom companies are often reluctant to spread those services to individual rural houses or small clusters of houses, due to the long distances away from the telecom exchange as it’s just not financially viable for them to do so.

You may be lucky enough to be in an area where rural communities have come together to install and fund their own rural broadband network – schemes such as B4RN, for instance - although this can be a slow process and the difficult question to answer is ‘when will I be connected?’

Nowadays, having access to a fast broadband is a way of life. We just need to make sure there is enough juice available to feed these thirsty gadgets…

Stuart Harvey

Mason Gillibrand Environmental

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