Owning a home in the countryside of the United Kingdom is fantastic for many reasons. Sadly, a reliable internet connection is often not one of the perks of living in a rural area. While the government is spending billions to increase broadband speeds, those who reside in rural areas may still experience excruciatingly slow connections.
In this guide, we’ll tell you what your alternatives are for having reliable internet connectivity and explain why broadband connections for rural areas are much slower than in towns and cities.
Why do rural areas have slower broadband speeds?
Roughly 58% of the United Kingdom’s “hard-to-reach” areas are located in rural areas. Unfortunately, the lack of modern infrastructure contributes to the slowness of broadband internet service in these areas. Unlike urban areas, rural areas have not benefited from the introduction of fibre optic cable. A street cabinet is linked to your local exchange through the socket on your wall. Your internet speed is determined by the services available at the exchange and, in some cases, the distance between your wall outlet and the exchange. The quality of rural broadband signals gets worse the farther they have to travel. And distance is also a common issue in rural areas.
It’s also more time-consuming and costly to connect households and businesses in rural areas. Modern advancements in technology allow for higher internet speeds. However, the cost of setting up an internet network is very high. The likelihood of an Internet service provider (ISP) recovering its initial investment is higher in densely populated areas with a larger population than in more remote areas with a smaller population. Connecting a row of urban homes can be done for a small fee, making it worth the ISP’s time. While making the same connection to just one or two rural residences may cost thousands of pounds.
What options do people in rural areas have when it comes to high-speed Internet?
People in rural areas who wish to enjoy access to the internet, have a variety of options to choose from. It’s possible to have the same choices as in a city, but if connectivity is an issue, you also have access to various alternatives to the typical services.
It is commonly referred to as “standard broadband” and operates at speeds of 10–11 Mbps, provided there are no major disruptions to service. This speed, however, is sometimes much slower in rural areas.
Pros of ADSL:
- It’s relatively inexpensive.
- This method makes use of existing copper telephone cable.
- Most homes in rural areas already have phone lines.
Cons of ADSL:
- Connection speed is average at best.
- The further away you are from the exchange, the slower it gets.
FTTC fibre optic
With Fibre to The Cabinet (FTTC) broadband, fibre optic cables stop at a street cabinet rather than entering each home directly. Many homes in the UK already have access to this sort of fibre broadband, which is now the most popular option.
Pros of FTTC:
- It’s a lot quicker than ADSL.
- It’s relatively inexpensive.
- Easily available.
Cons of FTTC:
- Limited availability.
- The service is slower than full-fibre, because it makes use of conventional telephone lines
This is when you pay to have two or more lines connected to your home, which speeds up the signal coming in. It is quite pricey and designed for commercial use. In addition, it can only be implemented by specialised rural broadband providers.
Pros of bonded DSL:
- It makes use of pre-existing facilities.
- When compared to standard ADSL, it offers faster speeds.
- Available in many locations where ADSL works.
Cons of bonded DSL:
- It can be costly to implement.
- There just isn’t enough computing power at the exchange to run the system in some locations.
- The service is not offered by all broadband providers.
FTTP fibre optic
Fibre-to-the Premises (FTTP) is another type of ultra-fast Internet service. This is a full-fibre system, with fibre optic wires sent directly into your home. Although it is less common than FTTC and ADSL, it is intended to eventually take their place. While FTTP availability in rural areas is limited, some can get it from major ISPs.
Pros of FTTP:
- It is extremely reliable.
- High-speed Internet service delivered to your home
- The offers are reasonably priced.
Cons of FTTP:
- There aren’t many rural broadband providers that offer this service.
- Installation can be very expensive.
- Coverage is limited.
There is hope for rural areas thanks to mobile broadband. It eliminates the need for pricey cables by utilising the cellular network to deliver high-speed internet to mobile devices and fixed-line workstations. allows you to connect to the web on the go from any phone or device that uses a SIM card.
Pros of mobile broadband:
- It is sometimes faster than other alternatives.
- More adaptable than fixed-line broadband.
- Much more accessible than conventional broadband connections.
Cons of mobile broadband:
- Coverage is completely dependent on the signal from the mobile network.
This is high-speed Internet brought directly to your house through a satellite dish. Satellite is one of the best options for those who live in rural areas with no other access to the internet.
Pros of satellite broadband:
- Satellite broadband is available across the UK, provided there is a clear view of the sky for a satellite.
- Gives you access to fast data transfer rates in areas where you would have none otherwise.
- Requires minimal setup time and effort.
Cons of satellite broadband:
- Costly to set up and maintain.
- There is a lot of lags because the signals have to travel such a long distance.
Free and open wireless access
Fixed wireless access (FWA) uses a wireless base station to connect your home or business to the internet, and from there, data travels across a fibre-optic network that is connected to the wireless station. Just like with personal Wi-Fi, a wireless access point is stationed in a central location, and users connect to it in order to access the network.
Pros of Fixed Wireless Access:
- Uses less equipment and costs less to set up than a permanent line.
- In some areas, it is even quicker than 4G and ADSL.
- Somewhat reliable.
Cons of Fixed Wireless Access:
- There is a limited supply.
- Bad weather can disrupt wireless signals.
When will broadband speeds in rural areas improve?
Sadly, there is no way for us to provide a definitive answer to this. Cables are being laid, and the network’s ability to reach rural areas is being expanded, but development is gradual. There are also a variety of government incentives put in place to encourage this, but implementation is, once again, slow.
However, the government aims to provide gigabit-capable broadband to the entire country by 2030. These goals, however, cannot be depended upon completely. There’s also a minimum investment required, so some households in the most remote regions will have to pay for installation costs or find other alternatives.
How to get better broadband in rural areas
While waiting for ISPs, the government, 5G, or anything else, there are steps you can take to improve the performance of your current connection. If your broadband speeds are occasionally satisfactory but then dip, this could be an indication of a problem with your line and warrant further investigation. Get in touch with your service provider’s tech support and have them check it out.
If your 4G phone signal is strong outside but weak inside your home, a signal repeater can help. With a repeater, everyone in range can use their mobile data connection, and you might not even need to wait for fibre to be installed in your area. Improving reception with an external antenna can also make a big difference in how well mobile broadband works.
The Best Broadband for Rural Areas in the Uk!
Consumers in the UK are beginning to place a greater emphasis on having access to high-speed Internet. The share of UK households using fixed broadband climbed from 65% in 2009 to 80% in 2018. “according to Ofcom in 2019, almost nine in ten (87%) UK households had internet access, with 82% of people using home broadband.”
It’s true that rural broadband in the UK is improving slowly, but it’s improving all the same. You may not have access to fibre or other ultra-fast connections just yet, but you still have more options than ever before for staying connected. Do you need more information on the best broadband for rural areas? Get in touch with us today!