Rural Internet Access: Finding High-speed Connections
Andy Ruffell / 7 years ago
The author of this article Sarah Bolloum advised her daughter to do a broadband speed test when she had some speed issues on her computer.
In rural communities, high-speed Internet access is not always easy to find. Even if a local provider offers service, your home might be ineligible for various reasons. Consider these tools and options to help locate a provider that serves your area.
Check with companies that offer other services
Sometimes, nationwide companies bundle different services for rural customers. For example, your telephone or satellite-TV provider might offer Internet access via satellite dish. Visit the company’s Web site, or make a phone call, to learn more.
Get on waiting lists
Waiting lists tell providers that they have potential customers in the area. If access is close to your home, but not quite there yet, a list of interested people might persuade the company to plan for expansion. This can take time—months, even years—but adding your information to the list does not take long. Afterward, you can move on and continue looking for other providers.
Search online for providers
Sites like DSLReports.com have searchable databases. These sites include different kinds of Internet connections; customer reviews; and multiple search options (by ZIP code, for example, or by state). Some companies that come up in your search results don’t serve your area, but others might.
Look for more than one kind of connection
You might not be able to get a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) through your telephone provider, but what about a WISP (terrestrial wireless) connection from another provider? This kind of access is ideal for some people in rural areas. Others can use satellite dishes. In some parts of the country, cell-phone providers’ connections work well. Don’t limit yourself to one or two kinds of service; you might have other, unexplored options.
Use local resources
Ask your neighbors how they get Internet access at home. If the family next door has a high-speed provider, the odds are very good that you, too, can subscribe. Sometimes, providers advertise in your area. Keep an eye on billboards, the local newspaper, and even signs staked out in yards. Rural areas are no different from more-populated regions as far as advertising goes; companies find creative ways to get your attention.
You might have only one option other than dial-up. If that’s the case, keep looking while you make the most of what you have. Companies expand coverage areas on a regular basis. New providers move into underserved areas and set up shop. Businesses that offer other services expand. Keep looking, stay on the waiting lists, and talk with your neighbors; convincing them to express a desire for high-speed Internet in their homes can encourage a company to sell you all what you want.
Image courtesy of NYnet