Better Farming investigates rural Internet access challenges and highlights some of the developments which promise improvements
Across the province, farmers struggle with access to reliable, high-speed Internet. Rural service can be interrupted by wind and precipitation – and plans can be costly.
Download speeds can vary significantly by location; farmers dependent on wireless Internet can expect download speeds of 1.5 to 3.0 megabits per second (Mbps), while rural residents in Glencoe in Middlesex County can expect upwards of 26.0 Mbps. But the situation seems to be at a turning point. Both the provincial and federal governments, for example, have invested in SWIFT (SouthWestern Integrated Fibre Technology). This not-for-profit “aims to build an ultra-high-speed fibre optic regional broadband network for everyone in Western Ontario,” according to its website.
Xplornet Communications Inc. has recently launched a broadband satellite which the company says is aimed to provide faster, more reliable rural Internet access. The federal government has also announced a new program focused on improving rural Internet. For more information, see New satellite launched for rural Internet access.