There are several available in the county.
Line-of-sight services: Internet is beamed from a tower directly to an antenna on your house
- Can regularly provide 100 Mbps symmetrical service.
- Trees and mountains can block the signal.
- It's too expensive to extend cable or fiber to specific addresses to fill in gaps.
- As the number of signals increase, so does the opportunity for interference, which could someday create a ceiling to the technology.
Mobile internet services (e.g. cell phone service)
- Mobile transmissions can go through trees and can provide better coverage.
- Some 5G cell networks can theoretically provide high-speed internet but in practice, they often don't reach 100 Mbps symmetrical service.
- Speeds could improve with new technology but that may take years to see.
Hybrid systems: Internet beamed from one tower to another connected to homes by cable or fiber
- Some of these systems already exist in Tuolumne County and can be effective.
- Limits to the signal between towers, limit what is available in homes.
- Tower infrastructure would need to improve to deliver 100 Mbps throughout the county.
- Traditional satellites (HugesNet, DirecTV, etc,.) have been unable to provide high-speed internet and are usually a last resort.
- Low-orbit satellites (Starlink) have proved capable of providing high speeds but cannot currently provide 100 Mbps symmetrical service and recently announced data caps.
- Low-orbit satellite infrastructure is promising but is in it's infancy and needs to expand before it can keep up with extensive demand, which could take several years.