How to get fast internet in rural areas: The ultimate guide
It is a well-known fact that rural areas of the UK don’t get as high-quality internet as urban areas. Many people who live in remote locations have a headache trying to access internet with a good connection. Some internet providers struggle to offer a fast and efficient service in harder to reach areas because the infrastructure is limited or there isn’t any there to work with which can be a huge challenge for larger companies.
In the modern, technological era today there is a high demand for superfast internet from everywhere in the country, but the difference is some are getting it, and some aren’t which doesn’t seem very fair. No matter where you live there should be a way for you to have a good reliable internet connection.
Firstly, why is the connection in rural areas so poor?
If you live in a rural part of the country and have significantly poor internet speed you may have wondered why. Knowing what might be causing the problem could help give you a better understanding of what can be done to fix it which will benefit you in looking for the right service provider for the job. So, here are a few reasons your internet connection and broadband might be slower in your area.
- Fibre broadband is widely offered by many providers to get faster internet speed. However, with fibre broadband the cables run from your nearest street cabinet and your home. Therefore, if your home is quite far away from the nearest cabinet, this could have a direct impact on your overall broadband speed.
- In countryside areas homes aren’t as close together as they tend to be in towns and cities, a single street cabinet could cover a much larger geographical area despite having the same number of telephone lines attached. This means that the line length to street cabinets tends to be much longer and as a result you are more likely to experience much slower fibre broadband speeds.
- Some of the lines are not upgraded as regularly due to less demand so larger companies might decide that the demand doesn’t warrant upgrading the services.
What are your options if you live in a rural location?
Here are a few options for you to consider when looking for a good quality broadband connection. Some of these options could work for you but some may not, we are providing a breakdown of them anyway for you to try and see what will work for you.
Fibre broadband delivered by fibre optic cables
Fibre broadband is one of the most popular options in the UK with almost 90% of homes using this type of broadband. This is because it is a high-speed, efficient, and reliable choice for many people, not just those who live in more populated, urban areas.
Standard broadband using copper phone wires
The majority of households should be able to access standard broadband, however this may not be the best option for people living in rural communities as it is more common and generally much faster in urban areas. It shouldn’t be fully ruled out though, it could be something that works for you even if you aren’t in an urban centre, everything is worth a try.
Mobile broadband running on 4G
If your area has good 4G coverage, then you shouldn’t have a problem with this. However, relying on mobile broadband can be unreliable, particularly if you are in a very remote location. On the flip side there would be no need to have a phone line and line rental charges which would be a handy bonus.
Satellite broadband through a satellite dish in your home
You don’t require a phone line for satellite broadband either and the speeds are considerably faster, so it is generally offered by more niche providers rather than the larger companies.
Fixed wireless broadband via a receiver and mast
Speeds can be fast with fixed wireless broadband; however, it can vary sometimes and may not be the most reliable option if you live in a rural area.
Bonded broadband that uses two or more phone lines to create a faster one
This is a specialist option that only certain providers in the UK will offer. Bonded broadband can significantly improve internet speeds where faster services are not available, but these services are mainly aimed at businesses rather than residential use.
What to consider if you are looking to switch broadband providers
If you are living in a rural area and getting poor quality internet, then you are bound to be unhappy with your provider, they are letting you down by not giving you the level of service you should expect. One of the key things that you can do yourself to potentially get faster speed for your broadband is to change provider.
Many people don’t change providers for a range of reasons including, the time and effort, they would feel bad leaving etc but if you are not getting the service you expect then you are entitled to change so you can get the benefits of a much faster and more reliable service elsewhere. There can be many advantages to switching providers from less monthly line rental fees to reliable and faster response times from engineers. Here’s what you need to think about if you are looking to switch service providers:
- There are a lot of providers out there, each one offering something slightly different for a different price. When you are looking to switch using a price comparison tool can be invaluable. A price comparison tool can see what options are available in your area and which one will give you the best deal. You shouldn’t have to pay an extravagant amount just to have good broadband and internet which is why shopping around is so important.
- Be sure to check the terms of your contract with your current broadband provider as they can last a long period of time. If you are no longer within the contract’s minimum terms, you are free to switch.
- Work out what speed you need and don’t look around blindly, consider the internet requirements for everyone in your household. For example, a package with superfast speeds (24mb and over) is ideal for large households, or anyone who streams a lot of video, downloads large files, or plays video games online. Whereas if you are not a heavy Wi-Fi user you should consider a smaller package, you don’t want to pay for something you won’t use.
- Look at their customer service – will you get a fast response from them if something goes wrong? Having a read of existing customer reviews will help you find out if the provider is reliable and efficient.
- Consider a specialist broadband provider, if you are used to giving your business to larger companies you might not have considered other possibilities. Just because a company is big and well known doesn’t mean it will give you the best service in your area. Here at Broadway, we specialise in connecting the rural areas that are most difficult to connect because we believe that everyone should have access to high quality broadband and internet.
What other help is available to get faster broadband and internet in your area?
Home and businesses in rural areas who want faster broadband and internet speed could benefit by applying for a government voucher scheme. The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme was introduced by the government in 2018 with the goal of increasing gigabit-capable coverage throughout the UK, particularly in the countryside. As we have previously mentioned network providers are often reluctant to extend the much-needed fibre broadband and it can be pricey to install which leaves many in rural areas with slow internet. However, the cost can now be significantly discounted with the voucher scheme.
On the surface to some the scheme has seemed somewhat confusing with households who want to apply having to check that others in their nearby area are also willing to apply. To resolve the confusion, we have included some common questions people have asked about the scheme. So, if you’re looking to apply but are needing more information you will be able to find it here.
Who is eligible for the scheme and why do you need your neighbours?
Homes and businesses that experience less than 100Mbps in broadband speed can use the vouchers to support the cost of installing new gigabit-capable connections when part of a group scheme. Group projects are when two or more residents and/or small businesses get together to combine their vouchers towards the shared cost of installation. Single connections unfortunately are not eligible for additional funding. Therefore, households and small businesses must discuss between themselves who wants to apply, how many people want to apply, and how the cost would be shared.
What is the aim of the rural broadband scheme?
The Gigabit Broadband voucher scheme has two aims, firstly to connect homes and businesses that are not due for an upgrade through normal industry rollout with the next-generation gigabit-capable broadband. The second aim is to encourage broadband companies, particularly smaller, alternative providers to start building gigabit capable broadband in the hardest-to-reach areas of the UK. Larger providers are using the scheme, but it is hoped that small local providers will scale their operations to better support their local communities.
Who wouldn’t qualify for the scheme?
Premises owners could be ineligible to apply for the voucher scheme for three main reasons. Firstly, they are not in a rural area as defined by the ONS. Secondly, the available broadband speed in their area is already more than 100Mbps. Finally, there is planned government intervention e.g., its Superfast Programme which will be in their area within the next 12 months.
How can you apply?
If households want to apply, they can discuss with their neighbours, but the decision ultimately lies with the supplier. This is because the supplier has to work out if the build to that area is viable. Applicants will need to go on the government website and enter their postcode to ensure that they are in an area that is eligible for work. If you are in an eligible area you will see a message below the box to indicate so. From there you can continue with your enquiry with any of your nearest registered suppliers listed underneath.
The supplier you choose will request a voucher from the government and will confirm with the applicant that they are happy to proceed. If all is confirmed the supplied will get to work on delivering the new connection. After the supplier has informed the government that the connection has been made it will check with the applicant it is working properly. The government will sometimes conduct further checks before it pays out. For example, running third party audits of connections installed to ensure suppliers are doing their job properly, but this shouldn’t affect the building owner.
How much does it cost?
Beneficiaries do not directly receive any money through the scheme because the voucher is used to offset the costs to the supplier installing gigabit-capable broadband to their premises. The premises owner will continue to pay ongoing usage costs for the connection as normal. Rural premises with broadband speeds of less than 100Mbps can use vouchers worth £1,500 per home and up to £3,500 for each small to medium sized business to help with the expense of installing new fast and reliable connections. Anything over these set amounts will have to be paid for by the households and businesses themselves. The cost of the connection can vary based on the location and the size of the operation, but it will likely range in the mid to high thousands.
So, that was the ultimate guide to getting fast internet in rural areas. Hopefully, you have found some useful information to take away from this guide and can improve your connection if you have been stuck with a poor quality one. It’s important to remember that living in a rural area doesn’t mean you should put up with bad service. There will always be a way to improve it that won’t cost a fortune, you just have to find what works for you in your area.