The New Zealand Government invested heavily in the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) programme, which was one of the largest and most ambitious infrastructure projects our country has ever seen.
This project would see approximately 87% of Kiwis in over 390 towns and cities having access to ultra-fast fibre internet by the end of 2022.
But what becomes of the other 13% of New Zealanders? Well, according to MBIE, it’s “not cost-effective to provide UFB in every rural community”.
However, a Rural Broadband Initiative was established to provide faster internet for hundreds of thousands of homes outside UFB areas. But even then, not all homes in all areas would benefit, and countless homes were still faced with slow rural internet.
So, why is rural internet so slow, and what can you do about it? Read on to find out.
The government invested in ultra-fast fibre internet for most of the country because it made commercial sense to do so based on population numbers. The alternatives were VDSL, which has a limited footprint, and 4G wireless, which generally has data caps.
Fibre is by far the fastest broadband option available, but it costs in excess of $40,000 per kilometre. Infrastructure entities would not see those costs as financially viable when trying to reach small populations of people in isolated locations.
Many people in rural locations receive their internet connection through traditional copper lines. These lines are traditionally associated with slow internet connectivity. Moreover, some people’s internet connection might be slower than others based on how far they are from internet cabinets and environmental factors resulting in degradation.
Sadly, approximately three percent of Kiwis aren’t close to a cabinet for internet connectivity options beyond copper, and some have no copper lines at all. As a result, they often have to access the internet through slower and less effective means than most other internet users in Aotearoa.
A connectivity survey undertaken by Federated Farmers has produced some interesting findings. The survey found that many members are concerned about competition and say they only have access to one provider in their area. As a result, they have to ‘take it or leave it’, even if the price and quality of service don’t actually suit their needs.
Not all slow internet problems involve competition, copper lines, and infrastructure investment. Sometimes, the causes are more innocent and relate to each rural user’s unique properties.
For example, wind storms have been known to interrupt and slow down internet connections. Some people might also find that their overgrown trees are blocking the signal to their aerials.
Even a minor power outage can impact speed, but, fortunately, this problem can often be solved by restarting your modem. Restarting your modem essentially ‘refreshes’ your device, the same way restarting your phone or computer might when you encounter any problems.
Internet users with data caps might find their internet speeds slow after reaching their data allotment. While you’ll still have internet access upon reaching your data cap, the service will be limited.
To prevent this from being a problem, note how much time you spend on the internet and limit unnecessary media viewing.
Most satellite internet companies provide high-quality modem and router sets to suit your internet needs well. However, the occasional modem and router-related issues can still occur.
Your router might be too far away from your internet-using device, or the wireless band of your router is experiencing congestion. Sometimes, even neighbouring properties on the same channel can result in interference and slow internet.
While rural internet users encounter many complex internet problems that slow down their service, speed-related issues might be as straightforward as having too many devices connected to WiFi at any one time.
The more devices you have connected, the slower the internet speed can be. And if you’re on a limited data plan, you can quickly use up your allotted data long before the month is over.
Slow internet isn’t always internet-related. You might have malware and viruses! A virus might be to blame if you’ve noticed an abundance of pop-up ads combined with slow page loading.
Often, malware and viruses cause significant processing speed problems, which can easily look like internet-related woes. Solving these problems can sometimes require a trip to a computer expert.
If you’re tired and frustrated with slow, unreliable, and inconsistent internet connectivity, it’s time to talk to WOI. We can provide you with fast, unlimited rural home or business satellite broadband and find broadband solutions for any network problem in Aotearoa. Check out our plans and pricing, and get in touch to find out more.
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