Getting decent broadband internet in rural areas has always been a real challenge. And I’m one who believes that broadband internet is a required / essential service, just like roads and electricity. For all the talk that there has been about equal access to broadband for all Canadians, I’ve yet to see the government do anything meaningful to make this happen though. The good news is that today, there are finally some good options.
I’ve had my rural property for about 3 years and during that time I’ve gone through 3 different solutions. I started with satellite service. It was expensive to install and offered 512K download and 128K up. While the speed was actually almost useable, the latency was atrocious. I was seeing ping times on average of 300-400 msec and sometimes it was worse. Moving from one message to another in my email client had a noticeable lag. Still, it was all that I could get (other than dialup) and I was grateful to have something.
Then last year, I was able to switch 802.11b wireless broadband. A local ISP provider has strung up transmitters on a number of barns and was offering the service. Again, I dished out for a hefty install charge. The result was speeds that were almost the same (400K down and 400K up) but the latencies were very good at under 100 msec. This is actually a very useable service and I really don’t have much bad to say about it. Note, because it is line of sight, the coverage is fairly limited and I was just lucky that there was a barn/tower close to me. A lot of people will not be able to get this kind of service.
Recently my local mobile company (Rogers) has been pushing a 3G broadband solution. Its called the Rocket Hub and even though its a home solution, it’s based on mobile 3G technology. So it’s got a SIM card just like my mobile phone. And the speeds are very good. For the 1st time, I’m getting download speeds that someone in the city might consider calling broadband.
It’s a world of difference and something that is exactly what rural homes need. So while I’ll always be looking for faster solutions, I am now able to be productive whenever I’m at my country property. For anyone in a rural location, I recommend you check out the Roger’s Rocket Hub.