Internet technologies are highly complex and costly to install and maintain. The geographic features of rural communities can increase challenges to installations in which technicians must work around the natural features of trees, mountains, and rivers. These barriers increase the time and expense of building towers of laying cable. At the same time, the low population densities that characterize rural communities decrease the return on investment that telecommunications companies can expect to receive from providing service in these areas. As a result of this combination of higher investment costs and lower profits, rural communities often have lack internet access or have slower speeds and less bandwidth than their metropolitan counterparts. As a result, many of the smaller, more rural regions have the most to gain from access to broadband.
Some rural communities have taken a more active role in bringing broadband to their region, creating community or regional networks themselves and using existing governing bodies and agencies to support and finance these efforts. The new Community Broadband Act improves the ability of “cities and counties … to become Internet service providers or build out existing services in their regions.” As the advantages associated with high speed internet continue to increase, communities will be rewarded for these endeavors to improve their own broadband service.