A need for governments to close the rural broadband gap

Broadband gap

As hyper-connected as we may seem, some populations living in rural areas, simply do not have the same ‘connected’ experiences as those living in busy cities. Even though they too witness the same developments occurring through media broadcast, implementation in more remote parts of that country, highlight the divide between rural and urban standards of living.

Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to installation of broadband networks in rural areas. The objective of each community may vary from broadband connections to business network implementation, to a more progressive vision for a smart-community platform that enables all connected devices to hook up to a centralized system. Whatever the requirements, the grand plan of network deployment costs will vary depending on the size and scale of the project in hand.

Living in a tech-centric era means that people, regardless of where they reside, are looking for an enriching digital experience that provides high speed, low latency connection to the rest of the world. The reality remains that some areas are better funded than others where broadband connection is concerned.

Governments across the globe, have recognized the need to step up efforts and invest in poorly connected rural locations, which presents a striking contrast to their technologically advancing urban areas.  Many rural locations still face basic challenges of slow broadband, less bandwidth and inconsistent tv and mobile connection. This problem is not only an issue faced by governments of LMICs (low- to middle-income countries). High-income countries have had to focus their attention on designing effective policy reform that supports broadband access in areas where connection has been ‘forgotten’ or neglected.

While it has been reported that 96% of UK premises are connected to high-speed broadband, a study by Ofcom also reported that outdoor geographic coverage of 4G services was rather low, at 67%. Those affected by poor services and connectivity include farmers and people living in underserved areas, who are often not on the priority list of service upgrades. The expenses associated with broadband with fewer people over wider area is significant which hinders progress of providing consistent, high-quality broadband services across the geographic landscape. Boris Johnson has made a pledge to make ‘full fiber’ broadband available to all homes across the country by 2025. Even though some question its feasibility, the plan, still reflects the growing recognition that connectivity is a fundamental necessity of modern-day life.