Although so many modern-day activities — from remote working to streaming — depend on a decent Wi-Fi connection, not everybody has one. In the UK, people in rural areas are far more likely to experience slow broadband than those in towns and cities. In 2020, the average download speed in rural areas was 51 megabits per second (Mbps) — far slower than the average of 84 Mbps in urban areas. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be this way!
In this blog, we explain why broadband connections tend to be worse in rural areas and what measures you can take to improve this!
Why are broadband speeds worse in rural areas?
The main reason for this is the broadband infrastructure in areas which are considered to be ‘hard to reach’. 58% of these areas are in rural locations, where it’s harder and more expensive to install the cables that get homes and businesses online.
Rural areas are less accessible and inherently further from the street cabinets and telephone exchanges that deliver broadband. The further broadband needs to travel, the slower its speed. Naturally, after travelling so far to reach remote buildings in the countryside, the broadband received is rather slow!
Moreover, telecom companies tend to focus on areas where it’s economically viable to upgrade broadband infrastructure. This means that rural areas with smaller populations are less likely to be a priority for broadband upgrades.
Tackling the issue
Rural customers unfortunately can’t do much about the local broadband infrastructure. However, there are a few alternative ways of overcoming poor broadband speeds:
● Use a temporary 4G solution. This involves a special type of router which requires a SIM card to emit a 4G signal that can connect devices to the Internet. By using mobile hotspots, or ‘tethering’, phones can also work as temporary routers to get other devices connected. This consumes battery life and mobile data, so its reliability depends on your data allowance.
● Use a satellite Internet connection. This option requires a satellite dish and works just like satellite TV, meaning it’s independent of the network of cables going into a building to provide broadband. However, this route is rarely offered by providers and the speeds aren’t as fast as those of standard broadband.
Bridging the digital divide
Things are looking up for rural customers with slow broadband! In 2021, the government launched Project Gigabit, a £5bn initiative to improve broadband speeds in rural areas. As the name suggests, it aims to provide widespread gigabit connections rurally, resulting in faster speeds of one gigabit per second. The government’s target is for 85% of UK premises to have access to these speeds by 2025.
However, there’s a good chance you could get faster broadband already! Everyday Communications provides stress-free residential and home broadband across the UK — including rural areas. To access our high-speed broadband and outstanding customer support, check your postcode with our Broadband Availability Checker or contact our helpful team.