This may be hard to believe but in 1995, only 0.04% of the planet had Internet access. 25 years later, the world is now dependent on a reliable Internet for most everyday tasks. Canada is a very large, sparsely populated country. Providing quality Internet services to rural Canadian communities has been a challenge for most Canadian ISPs, with many communities remaining on slow dial-up Internet. In other areas, DSL is an option with low data-caps and large overage penalties, if you go over your limit.
At first glance, mobile data options appear to be a quick-fix to get your email or go online.
Mobile services and packages, however, are not designed to stream the amount of heavy usage most customers desire. Again data limit overages can be a hefty fine from your carrier company.
Mobile phone plans are notoriously overpriced and price gouging has been a controversial topic for many years among mobile carriers. Even with high prices, poor connection quality is a common concern with mobile services. In 2011 BlackBerry made major news when the entire network collapsed.
With a lack of infrastructure for wired and cable-based internet services, rural Canadian customers have been looking for alternative solutions that work.
One solution internet companies provide that is popular is fixed wireless Internet. Rural internet is fiber-fed at each tower location, which makes it extremely fast and reliable.
What is a fixed wireless internet?
What exactly does “fixed wireless” mean? Compared with mobile services, which means you can operate your device anywhere, a fixed wireless service provides Internet services in a specific location, direct to a house or a building. Sometimes getting the nickname, “DirectWave” as the wireless wave is directly aimed at a specific location.
Installation is a fairly simple process, an antenna is set-up on the roof of a home or building, and everything is handled by the ISP, similar to satellite TV.
Essentially, the internet service is transmitted wirelessly, and the line of sight from the tower to the home must be clear. Trees, big hills, or even buildings can obstruct the quality of service as a clear line-of-sight is required between antennas and their corresponding towers.
The antenna or dish communicates to a nearby wireless tower, which can connect to many antennas at the same time. This is commonly called MU-MIMO technology in the internet world.
There are many pros of using rural internet! Fixed wireless is generally faster than DSL and faster than 4G mobile services. The High Speed is offered alongside Unlimited data, which means no data-caps and unlimited entertainment. Which is really great news for gamers and TV streamers alike!
Fixed wireless internet is so fast and reliable that it is a standard option for businesses looking for internet in rural areas.
Fixed Wireless Vs Satellite Internet as a Rural Internet Solution
Sometimes, consumers confuse fixed wireless and satellite services. Fixed wireless is a ground-level technology, where satellites are situated up in space. Lag is a major issue with satellite internet since signals are transmitted out to space of orbiting satellites and back down to residential homes.
Another comparison to be made is the Weather does not interfere as much with fixed wireless compared to satellite transmissions.
Fixed wireless is a fairly new technology but is an increasingly popular choice in rural Southwestern Ontario as it has become a more affordable option. As technology improves, costs go down.
The fast speeds and lack of data-caps make fixed wireless services very attractive and anyone doing any rural internet research would definitely be interested in this type of technology.
Many people living in rural parts of Canada are still left without a high-speed internet connection. For some, there are no options for internet access at all and for others, it’s the cost factor.
No matter what side of this coin you are on, internet access has become a necessity for everything we do online today. From searching for employment, getting a higher education and even social engagement.
Online influencers even have gone so far as to say that, internet access is a basic human right like Mark Zuckerberg in this Entrepreneur article. There are many reasons, but it’s clear that there are not many people in this day and age that don’t use the internet on an hourly basis.
As stated earlier, some believe it is a “human right” to have access to the internet and I agree with them.