Are there other forms of broadband service?

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.

Satellite service

  • 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. 

Show All Answers

1. Why is this important?
2. How can I help?
3. What qualifies as high-speed internet?
4. What does Mbps mean?
5. Does connection speed matter?
6. What are the expected speeds of a fiber network?
7. Am I guaranteed to get internet service that is that fast?
8. Who is going to get faster service?
9. Doesn’t this create a gap in services?
10. Are there other forms of broadband service?
11. Are any projects underway?
12. I represent an ISP, who should I contact?
13. Who’s working on this?