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Internet in the digital divide areas

Internet access in blackspots

What is a blackspot?
In the telecommunications industry, a blackspot is a location that does not have electronic communication coverage. The majority of these blackspots are in rural areas, and are geographically isolated from other population centres.

There are two types of blackspot: “mobile blackspots” and “broadband blackspots”.

The first type concerns locations with no mobile network coverage from major providers.
The second type – which is of particular interest here – concerns areas with no high-speed internet coverage by any Internet Service Provider.

Although less than 2% of the UK is located in a “blackspot”, the importance of the internet to our everyday lives (work, study, day-to-day tasks, etc.) means that this is an important consideration, especially when moving house. For this reason, it is important to check whether your address is eligible for broadband internet. You can do this free of charge by contacting your provider or using one of several specialist websites.

Is there anything I can do if I live in a blackspot?
Fortunately, there are other ways to access high-speed internet. The most popular alternative to traditional broadband is to switch to a high-speed satellite connection.

In 2008, the government introduced legislation to improve broadband coverage and combat digital exclusion by widening access to high-speed internet services. A number of solutions have since emerged, including satellite internet for broadband blackspots. Satellite internet services now offer increasingly high speeds at attractive prices and, as a result, this type of connection is becoming ever more popular and affordable.

What’s more, there is no difference between a satellite connection and a traditional broadband connection.

Satellite technology does not yet cover all blackspots, and those living in these locations can instead use Wi-Fi internet technology, which transmits data via radio waves across a range of several miles. There is also the emerging “WiMAX” technology, which is based on the same principle but has a range of tens of miles.

Some remote areas also use Power Line Communication (PLC) connections, which provide internet access at similar speeds to traditional broadband, but use National Grid power lines to transmit data.

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