Rural Internet Options in Oklahoma
Not so long ago, the internet used to be a novelty, especially in rural areas where advancements in technology and communication were slow to arrive. Now, however, in a time when more people than ever—in more places than ever—can do more from home, high-speed internet has evolved from nice-to-have to absolutely necessary. Whether residential or business, the absence of a reliable internet infrastructure can make everything from working and learning to entertainment and efficient shopping incredibly difficult, if not downright impossible. Poor or inadequate access to high-speed internet has been linked to inequities in financial, educational, economic, and social health.
Oklahoma in particular suffers from what’s referred to as the “digital divide,” a term used to describe the gap between populations who have access to high-quality, high-speed internet and those who don’t. Although 90% of Oklahoma school districts are considered partly or entirely rural, the majority of high-speed internet access is most concentrated in urban areas. Nearly a quarter of the state’s residents don’t have access to adequate internet, and in 39 of the 77 counties, those that did have access accounted for less than 13% of households.
What’s keeping rural Oklahomans disconnected from the internet?
The primary barriers to widespread internet access are installation and operation costs. The leading services for internet in Oklahoma—fiber, cable, cellular, and 5G—are expensive to install, operate, and maintain, so a robust customer base is needed to help shoulder the financial burden. In most cases, the cost to expand services and install infrastructure into rural, low population areas—where there are fewer customers to spread out those expenses—is more than the provider’s return. It’s simply more cost-efficient and cost-effective for service providers to only install new communication lines in higher, more densely populated areas.
Another limitation to rural internet access is the performance capability of some of these services. For example, although 5G is growing in popularity with its lightning-fast speeds, it operates on higher-frequency radio waves than other technology, so its signal can’t travel as far. This requires a higher concentration of towers that is not financially feasible in less populated rural areas.
What internet options do rural Oklahomans have for high-speed connections?
Just because you live out of town doesn’t mean you have to stay out of touch. There are several options rural Oklahomans have for high-speed internet, but their suitability will depend on a variety of factors.
Satellite internet has long been the preferred method for providing high-speed internet to rural locations. Satellite internet distributes a signal from a satellite orbiting the Earth to a dish or antenna that is connected to a router in your home or business.
Pros: Satellite is widely available, with faster speeds than dialup or DSL.
Cons: Because it’s transmitting signals from so far away—more than 20,000 miles—and through miles of the Earth’s atmosphere, satellite internet tends to have high latency (or lag time) and its signal quality can be impacted by weather. Because it services a wide area and lots of consumers, satellite internet typically has low data allowances to prevent network saturation, while the higher infrastructure and maintenance costs translate to higher prices.
DSL (digital subscriber lines)
DSL uses existing wired phone lines to carry digital data over unused frequency ranges and is connected through a DSL modem.
Pros: DSL is known for its quick, inexpensive installation; consistent service and connectivity, i.e. it’s virtually “always on”; lower cost; and relatively decent speeds (768 Kbps to 1.5 Mbps on average). Additionally, because it operates on unused frequencies, it doesn’t interfere with voice communication on the same phone lines.
Cons: Actual DSL speeds can vary by location and provider, as can the quality of the signal, which relies on the distance from the ISP’s central distribution point. Speeds can also be inconsistent and access can be limited (most customers must live within a specified distance of a digital subscriber line access multiplexer (DSLAM) operated by the phone company). Additionally, not all phone lines are equipped for DSL.
Dial Up Internet
Dial Up also uses existing telephone landlines, but fully occupies the line. It is connected via a computer modem.
Pros: Dial Up requires no infrastructure, so it is very easy and inexpensive to set up with very low monthly fees.
Cons: Dial Up has by far the slowest speeds, at less than 56 Kbps. Because it uses the same frequency as voice communications over the phone lines, connecting to the internet will block access to the phone line. And, users have to establish a connection via an access number every time they want to use the internet.
Cellular and Mobile Internet Hotspots
Cellular or mobile internet delivers internet signal via a mobile network provider through a wireless hotspot or modem.
Pros: In areas with reliable cell coverage, mobile internet is widely accessible and can offer both high speeds and consistent service. Set up is also essentially “plug and play,” with no requirement for phone lines, cables, or even an electricity source.
Cons: Unreliable cell coverage, however, can make mobile internet spotty and inconsistent. Speeds fluctuate depending on the location of and number of people connected to the network. And, because of its wide coverage area, mobile internet typically imposes strict data caps to prevent network saturation. Overage charges—and even standard usage fees—can be expensive.
Considered a shared circuit, cable internet uses the same coaxial cables as cable television to deliver internet.
Pros: Because it uses existing infrastructure (that of cable TV), cable internet is quick, easy, and inexpensive to install.
Cons: As a shared circuit, cable internet service and speeds can be unreliable, especially during peak usage times or even severe weather. Access is often limited to urban communities, so it may not be available in very rural areas.
One of these newest technologies to internet services, fiber internet transmits data via light sent through fiber optic cables, instead of by electricity sent over copper wires like traditional cable internet.
Pros: Fiber boasts multi-gig speeds and a highly scalable and flexible infrastructure, where bandwidths can be increased or decreased virtually instantly. Fiber doesn’t require the same infrastructure as cable and is resistant to electromagnetic interference, which can affect the quality of your connection.
Cons: Fiber is very expensive and slow to deploy, with installations taking months and significant trenching. The fiber cable is also thin and light, making it sensitive to physical damage. Additionally, the cables can only transmit signals in one direction, so more than one cable must be laid to ensure data is moving in both directions.
Fixed Wireless Internet
Fixed wireless sends broadband internet to a single location via radio waves. It uses a system of towers and receivers to transmit internet signals from point to point and create individual wireless networks.
Pros: The broad range of benefits fixed wireless offers is quickly making it one of the most popular options for internet in rural Oklahoma. Because fixed wireless transmits signals directly from a distribution point to an individual receiver, it can offer exceptionally high speeds and bandwidth at a lower cost than satellite. Set up—which simply involves directing a receiver at a tower and plugging in a router—is fast, easy, and inexpensive with virtually no infrastructure requirements, environmental impact, or terrestrial restraints. This makes it widely accessible even in very rural areas. Fixed wireless operates on a higher frequency than other technology, allowing it nearly unlimited bandwidth and high or even no data caps. Symmetrical connections mean its upload speeds are as fast as its download speeds, up to 1,000 Mbps or even 1 Gbps.
Also, since fixed wireless transmits internet over a shorter distance than other services, it is rarely affected by weather, ensuring consistently high-quality connections with almost 100% reliability.
Cons: Fixed wireless internet is limited by line of sight, meaning there must be a clear, unobstructed shot between the receiver and the access point, which can be difficult in heavily wooded or mountainous areas. It can also be slightly more expensive than services like DSL or cable.
Visit us here to find out more on how fixed wireless works, and how it compares to other internet services.
Fixed Wireless Internet in Oklahoma from Airosurf
Over the course of 20 years, Airosurf has become one of Oklahoma’s leading providers of fixed wireless internet, serving thousands of rural and urban customers alike. No matter how far out you live, you may be able to receive the high-quality, high-speed internet you and your home or business deserve with fixed wireless internet from Airosurf. With fixed wireless internet, even rural customers could experience:
- Download, upload, and connection speeds up to 20 times faster than traditional broadband
- Uninterrupted and unlimited streaming
- Online gaming capabilities with no lag time and fast downloads
- High data allowances
- Low cost and energy requirements
Airosurf is revolutionizing how rural and urban Oklahomans access the internet. Fixed wireless internet delivers the industry’s best in dependable, consistent, and cost-effective internet connectivity, foregoing the phone lines required for DSL, the devices needed for mobile broadband, and the cumbersome hardware and network infrastructure demands of satellite or even fiber. The time for affordable and accessible high-speed broadband internet is now, and Airosurf is committed to helping Oklahoma’s rural home and business owners take advantage of a new age in wireless internet.
Find out if Airosurf’s fixed wireless internet services are available in your area. You can call us at 405-413-7002 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also fill out our convenient contact form here (airosurf.com/contact).
If we’re not already in your community, we want to be, so let us know! Submit a request to add your community to our growing list of service areas.