King & Queen County Takes Rural Internet Head On
Posted November 25, 2014
In an increasingly connected and internet dependant world there are many areas of the country that face challenges keeping up with modern internet connectivity standards. Especially in rural areas population densities don’t justify private investment in broadband infrastructure. This creates a challenge to economic and residential growth in rural areas.
A variety of solutions exist, though each with their own pros and cons. Satellite internet access is available virtually anywhere but users are limited by data restrictions and high latency issues. Satellite internet can also be more expensive than standard broadband access, deepening the divide between lower income households and the rest of the population. Federal involvement similar to rural electrification in the 1930s could incentivise the laying of broadband cable to rural areas, but this seems like the least likely solution to actually happen given the divisive political climate at the federal level, broken budgets, and the political reality of catering to areas with less voters. A popular solution currently in use is access through mobile networks with cell phones and 4G hotspots. While this is a good solution for some, for people whose homes are outside of 4G coverage this option is a non-starter, and as internet users in populated areas start using new services such as cloud storage and computing that rely on ever increasing internet speeds, these services will outstretch existing mobile network’s capabilities.
Another solution, which King & Queen has put together without federal assistance, is wireless broadband. Wireless broadband, which works independently of current mobile networks, addresses most of the deficiencies of the other alternatives to create rural internet access. It has also proven successful in other parts of the country and world where internet access is an issue. Over 75% of the county is covered with wireless broadband including commercial corridors along Routes 33 and 360. Rural broadband access is an issue the county takes very seriously. You can read more about our efforts on this in Virginia Business.