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Blogs

Comparing Rural Broadband Options for Your Business

Blogs

By Emma Fox
Product Manager

Read time: 5 minutes

The days of moving to the big city for that dream job are dwindling. Now, people can work from virtually anywhere – and businesses of any size, anywhere, can operate just as efficiently as urbanized operations. That is, if they have reliable internet.

With newer rural broadband technology, it’s all possible – you don’t have to sacrifice internet quality to live and work where you want.

Ever-changing technology is helping telecommunications companies bridge the digital divide. That means bringing high-speed, reliable internet to support rural communities and small businesses that have had limited options in the past. From healthcare to family farms and ranches, more reliable internet can help small communities innovate and thrive.

But, what kind of technology is out there for your rural business internet – and how do you get it to your area? Midco uses our wholly owned network to power what’s called fixed wireless internet, but there’s also DSL and satellite. How do the three options stack up?

Fixed Wireless Internet

Midco Business Fixed Wireless Internet relies on a solid fiber network, wireless signals and antennas. First, Midco installs equipment on the top of a water tower, grain elevator or other tall structure that is connected to the Midco Network. Then, an antenna on your business points directly to that equipment (not at the sky) and delivers high-speed internet using point-to-multi-point signals.

Pros

No data caps or required contracts: Enjoy unlimited internet. Midco doesn’t cap your business’ internet usage, so you and your employees can connect all your devices and don’t have to worry about maxing out data month to month.

Fast download speeds and bandwidth: With download speeds up to 50 Mbps (depending on your distance from our equipment on the tower), Midco Business Fixed Wireless Internet lets you do more online on all your devices.

Accessibility: If your business is within reach of our equipment – typically within seven miles of the tower – it’s available for you. That means not only businesses and homes, but also workshops, barns – any location in sight is an option.

Constantly evolving technology: At Midco, we’re investing in this technology for the long haul. We keep our equipment up to date with the latest hardware and software, and your internet experience upgrades right along with us.

Local, professional support: Midco has local technicians to meet your specific business needs, with customer care based right here in the Midwest.

Cons

Clear line-of-sight: You can’t make a connection if rows of trees or buildings block the signal between your antenna and our equipment on the tower.

Geographic limitations: Fixed wireless technology requires that businesses be within reach of our equipment, typically within seven miles. If you’re located outside this area, we’re unable to provide internet service, although we are investing in expanding this technology to more areas in the future.

"You don't have to live in a big city to create your dream. You can live in a small town where it's a peaceful, quiet and low crime and still live your dream."

- Erik Younggren | Younggren Farms, Hallock, MN 
Read the Story

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

DSL brings you internet service over your local phone lines. It’s broadband technology, so it doesn’t tie up your business phone line (unlike old-school, dial-up modems).

Pros

No new cables: DSL works with what you’ve already got for your landline phone. If you have that connection, DSL could be an option for you.

No bandwidth sharing: Since it’s delivered via your phone line, you have a dedicated connection unaffected by others’ internet activity.

Minimal equipment installation: There’s no antenna to install for access to DSL service – only a DSL modem.

Cons

Slower speeds: Technology advances today have outpaced the capabilities of DSL, which generally offers download speeds in the 0.5-25 Mbps range, depending on the availability to your business. While some companies have upped their speed offerings in the past couple of years, they’ve increased their costs, too.

Required bundling: Most DSL providers require customers to pay for a phone line bundled with your internet.

Data caps: Many DSL companies enforce data caps. While these data caps may not result in overage charges, as was standard in the past, the companies will slow down your speeds (also known as “throttling”) for any data use beyond those caps.

Distance affects quality: Your distance from the local network office or network telephone exchange may affect your available internet speeds.

Satellite

With satellite internet, data travels from an antenna at your business to a satellite orbiting the earth. Data comes back to you the same way.

Pros

Availability: Satellite internet is available practically anywhere. That makes it an option for people working in remote or less accessible areas.

Cons

Slower speeds: Satellite internet speeds generally range from 1 Mbps to 25 Mbps, depending on availability. Satellite internet is slower in part because of the extra time involved with sending signals thousands of miles into space and back again. This leads to higher latency, which can affect services that use large amounts of data, such as video conferencing and streaming.

Data caps: Satellite companies typically limit your data usage, with caps ranging from 40 GB up to 150 GB, depending on your plan. (Streaming an hour of high definition video typically uses 3 GB or more of data.) And depending on your provider, once you hit the data cap, you will either experience extreme throttling, or you may lose your internet connection altogether.

Line-of-sight and weather-related issues: As with fixed wireless, you need a clear line of sight between your antenna and the equipment, but in this case, the equipment is thousands of miles away. This means you deal with more than just trees and buildings. Surrounding terrain, storms and other weather conditions can interfere with signals.

Time to connect.

Living and working in a small town or outside of town is a choice, not a limitation. Request a consultation to see how you can get connected.

 Request a Consultation  Find a Consultant  Call 1.800.888.1300

About Emma Fox

Emma Fox Emma Fox is a Product Manager at Midco, responsible for not only researching customer and market needs but also launching products to fulfill those needs. Fox leverages her experience from Tesco and General Mills to remain customer-focused. She earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree in English and history from Trinity College Dublin (Ireland).

About Emma Fox

Emma Fox Emma Fox is a Product Manager at Midco, responsible for not only researching customer and market needs but also launching products to fulfill those needs. Fox leverages her experience from Tesco and General Mills to remain customer-focused. She earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree in English and history from Trinity College Dublin (Ireland).

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