What Broadband Everywhere Means for the Smart Home

• • Broadband, industry trends, Smart Home

Your customers appreciate the money they save with their smart thermostat and smart lights. They feel safer knowing their smart security system will alert them on their phone if anything comes up. And they get a lot of use out of their smart home theater. All of this thanks to high-speed broadband, quality equipment, and your hard work getting everything set up!

Chances are they will soon consider these features as necessities, and when they have the means to retire to the country, they might choose to set up a rural smart home. A blend of smart farm and luxury home, the rural smart home will feature a connected chicken coop and barn as well as a fully integrated heating, lighting, and home entertainment.

The new hobby farmer will see more success with sensors in their outbuildings that communicate with systems that understand the needs of their livestock. And they can check in on their animals any time with a security system that includes cameras they can control from their smartphone or tablet.

Millennials head to the hills

As cities become more expensive places to live, and telecommuting is a reality for more occupations, many of your younger customers are moving to the country. According to economist Jed Kolko, more educated Americans, those with at least a bachelor’s degree, are moving to rural areas.

Under the right conditions, the rural smart home could really take off. According to a 2016 survey conducted by real estate company Coldwell Banker, the most popular smart home features are security and temperature control, and these are even more attractive to rural inhabitants. Security you can count on is more important when there are no neighbors to notice that something is amiss. Because rural homes tend to be larger, the savings in heating would make a big difference to household operating costs.

What are the right conditions? They start with the availability of high-speed broadband. Today many rural areas still have insufficient internet, but that’s about to change. Governments and private business interests are working on making it happen.

In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has created a $750 million fund for helping bring broadband internet to rural communities. The organization is still in a public consultation phase and is accepting public feedback until May 25, 2017.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been working on rural broadband since the establishment of the National Broadband Plan in 2010. More recently, individual states such as West Virginia are establishing their own broadband plans. And Letcher County in Kentucky is planning to set up their own broadband network by laying cable that connects into AT&T’s network.

Tech firms eye rural market

There is a strong business case for getting broadband into rural areas, and more than one technology leader has entered the race for the rural market.

Elon Musk has made a huge investment in rural broadband. His company, SpaceX, recently announced plans to launch more than 4,000 internet-providing satellites between 2019 and 2024. The company expects these satellites to deliver internet to rural communities that is faster than anything available now.

Google’s Project Loon uses balloons to provide rural internet, and recent developments make Project Loon a viable service. Project Loon balloons can now remain in the same geographic location. Until recently, they drifted with air currents which meant they could not provide continuous internet service. Now they can provide uninterrupted, stable internet.

The government and business efforts mentioned in this post are just a sampling of the work going on right now to bring broadband to rural areas. With this combination of government and business effort, it won’t be long before broadband is a service available to all.

With broadband everywhere, your rural customers can have all the comforts of a fully-connected smart home no matter where they live. And maybe you can move to the country, too, and become the local smart home specialist that they’ll need!