Rural California Finally Gets Broadband Internet, Still Waiting For Second Gold Rush

Illustration for article titled Rural California Finally Gets Broadband Internet, Still Waiting For Second Gold Rush

A California ISP called Cal.net is rolling out service in El Dorado county where almost 60,000 residents have minimal internet access. Cal.net is taking advantage of unused portions of the radio spectrum, called white spaces, to send wireless signal over long distances.

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This is not a new idea, but concerns about interference and scaling have largely limited white space broadband to pilot programs so far in the U.S.. Cal.net's service uses a relay system of antennas called RuralConnect in combination with broadband radios to achieve reasonable internet speeds. Cal.net is currently promising 16Mbps, but we'll see. White space broadband is beginning to gain some traction worldwide, but will definitely require additional testing and improvement. [Engadget via ArsTechnica]

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DISCUSSION

My parents live in the rural Midwest and need this DESPERATELY. Even for them as empty-nesters it is so hard to not have easy access to broadband (they're best option is a 3g connection with 2 gigabytes a month data cap)... but I can't imagine how far back children in those communities are being left behind, not because they can't access cat memes as easily but for so much we take for granted as in research, sharing information, etc.