Rural areas have always incurred the brunt of poor infrastructure. The lack of reliable internet speeds has always added to the long-existing digital divide. Due to the dreaded digital divide, students, telecommuters, and small business owners suffer the most.
Satellite internet was introduced in a bid to address the digital divide as it works the best in this situation. Satellite internet is widely available all over urban and rural American localities, albeit it is expensive than wired connections and there’s only a certain level of download speed that it can deliver. You can’t simply ignore how it has contributed towards bridging the internet gap between urban and rural populations.
What is Satellite Internet?
Satellite internet travels wirelessly from geostationary satellites orbiting the Earth. Since this type of connection does not require hefty wired connections to reach its users, it’s easier to take it to remote rural areas. Satellite internet works via a five-step communication system:
- Satellite dish
- Satellite in Earth’s orbit
The entire process of data traveling back and forth the 5-step relay system takes about a second or less than that, hence adding to the latency. Here’s where rural dwellers wished they could access high-speed wired internet connection such as Spectrum internet.
A Cursory Overview of Satellite Internet Providers
Currently, USA has two leading satellite internet providers in the market: Viasat and HughesNet that cater to thousands of rural users. Both the satellite internet forerunners offer a variety of internet plans, alongside a monthly data cap.
Most users dread data cap as it restricts their online activities. Satellite internet providers, however offer a much snuggly data cap that’s big enough to last them the rest of the month without experiencing speed throttles.
Among the two satellite providers, HughesNet offers a substantial additional data value, as well as a ‘Bonus Zone’ with each of its plans. In case you’re not familiar, Bonus Zone refers to a specific period when users can enjoy additional high-speed bandwidth – free of any extra charges. HughesNet offers Bonus Zone from 2 AM to 8 AM to its residential customers. You can schedule downloads for movies during the Bonus Zone. Talk about an experience free of hassle!
What’s New in the Satellite Internet Market?
Satellite internet is the only option in the market that covers 99% of the rural population in the US. Because laying a wired infrastructure in remote areas is so expensive, rural residents had learned to live with the little bandwidth they had access to.
Fortunately, investments have been made and shortly rural areas would finally be able to access blazingly fast internet speeds over wired connections. But, among all that’s being done for rural residents, we can’t overlook the third satellite internet competitor that has recently entered the market. Will it replace the need for wired internet connections for the rural residents? Guess we’ll have to find out.
Starlink is the brainchild of SpaceX. Theoretically, this new provider in the market can deliver internet speeds up to 150 Mbps, wirelessly and virtually anywhere in the world. All users do need to enjoy consistent speeds is a clear sky that keeps the flow of data unhindered.
Now, just like everybody else, you may be feeling a bit skeptical about this new provider in the market. Would it be worth it? Well, for starters, Starlink aims to deliver 80 to 150 Mbps of download and around 30 Mbps of upload, while latency is expected to surface around 30 milliseconds – pretty cool if you ask us. Soon, Starlink will increase its offered download speed to 300 Mbps, with latency dialed down to 20 milliseconds.
Our Final Thoughts
This service is a new one in the market so we can’t say anything about the congestion it may experience due to the higher number of users and weather-related bottlenecks. As for replacing the need for wired internet in rural localities, it’s still a bit too far-fetched for satellites to deliver internet speeds up to 1000 Mbps.
So far, only wired internet connections such as pure Fiber-Optic and Hybrid Fiber-Coaxial have managed to reach a high of 1000 Mbps. Reaching speeds this high had always been a dream for rural residents. Let’s see if it comes true with the new satellite provider or with the deployment of wired internet infrastructure.