Rural community

About two thirds of the world population has access to the Internet. The one third that does not have Internet access is the 2.6 billion people who live in remote rural communities and people with limited economic means.

People want to connect to the Internet. The Internet will give them access to communication, access to information, and opportunities to trade over a larger area or internationally. Many see the Internet as a means to improve their situation economically.

Many countries have developed economically in urban areas but development has been very limited for rural areas so that basic infrastructure is not available to that part of the population living in rural communities. Such countries are located in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Africa and parts of Asia. Lack of infrastructure means no telecommunications services, intermittent or no electrical power, and limited access to clean water. Even with such difficult conditions the younger community members will make sacrifices to get access to the Internet.

Starlink brought hope to rural communities who need access to Internet

Satellite Internet services, such as Starlink, can be installed in rural areas that have no infrastructure but the cost is high, well outside the ability of one member of a rural community to afford the service. However some communities have been proactive to combine resources so that they can purchase a Starlink antenna to share the Internet service.

Many communities have been using Guest Internet products for the past 10 years to implement sharing of an Internet service, starting with the HughesNet geo-stationary satellite service, and now with the Starlink low earth orbit satellite service.

If 100 families share a Starlink service then the data speed for each family is very low by the standards of North America and Europe, however the data speed is sufficient to get access to communications and the information that can initiate a cycle of economic improvement for the community. If 100 families share the cost of the Starlink service then each can afford their fraction of the service.

What is required to share a Starlink service between 100 families?

The answer is to limit and control access for each member of the community by providing a unique access code for each person. The access code sets limits on the Internet use by imposing the following restrictions.

  • Limit the duration of access to the Internet, programmed into each code.
  • Prevent codes being shared between community members by assigning each code to a device MAC address when first used.
  • Set the maximum download and upload speeds, this is the speed of the Internet service approximately divided by the number of access codes issued. If many people connect to a service without an individual speed control then the service will suffer network congestion and people will get disconnected from the Internet. The ISP will flag this as abuse of the service.
  • Limit the maximum data that can be downloaded, many ISP services don’t have an official data limit but will flag a customer for excessive data use, and in the worst case suspend the service.
  • Prevent the sharing of copyright material; if the copyright owner complains to the ISP and provides an IP address then the ISP has a legal obligation to suspend the service to that customer; this requires blocking Torrent and similar file sharing applications.
  • It may be necessary to block access to some high data volume websites in order to ensure that the total data use of the service does not exceed a monthly expectation.

It is also essential that the Internet service data link be monitored to ensure that the Internet connection is not reaching saturation which will lead to network congestion, and that the total monthly data volume is not exceeded. The administrator can make adjustments to the service to keep the parameters within limits. The administrator can also identify the individuals who are using excessive data volumes and restrict or deny service to those individuals.

Print WiFi access codes to distribute in a community using Guest Internet controllers

The access codes are printed onto vouchers for distribution to community members. In order that the cost of the service is shared fairly between individuals, a charge can be made for each voucher; the person who uses more data pays more for the service.

The community has to build the WiFi infrastructure so that each home has an Internet connection. The cost of the WiFi products is low however members of the community must learn how to install and configure the products. Guest Internet makes this process easy by providing written materials in Spanish that make what might be a technically complicated process into an easy to understand process.

Many rural communities with intermittent electrical power have installed solar panels, batteries and chargers to power the satellite antenna and WiFi equipment. People in the rural communities connect to the WiFi Internet using low cost mobile phones; the mobile phone has become the accessible personal computer.

The satellite service providers will benefit by providing rural community infrastructure and support. The opportunity worldwide is big. Of the 2.6 billion people who do not have Internet access it is possible that 500 million people who live in rural communities can financially support the satellite receiver and infrastructure investment, and monthly service fees. This might represent 5 million communities, which will add 5 million accounts to the satellite provider portfolio. In order for this to happen the satellite service providers have some gaps to bridge.

  • Improve global logistics to deliver receivers to remote areas.
  • Accept payments through regional payment methods, most rural community members do not have credit cards, much less international credit cards, however many countries have payment methods that are cash based.
  • Provide support in many languages with videos that explain the installation process.
  • Offer community infrastructure components bundled with the satellite antenna.

It is not necessary for the Satellite provider to make the investments listed above, but the provider can seek partnerships with country-based businesses that can provide communities with products and services. The partner can receive monthly service payments from customers using local payment methods then pay a consolidated fee to the satellite service provider.

It is likely that the Satellite providers are not aware about a business opportunity that could add 5 million accounts. It might be possible that the satellite companies are aware of the opportunity but prefer to dedicate their efforts to the high-income customers with ships and businesses, and who can blame them; one cruise liner can generate the same income that 100 communities would with much less effort.

For more information on Guest Internet controllers and other products, please feel free to reach out at or


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