Middle Mile Advocate Says Rural Areas Need Fiber Connectivity

Fiber connectivity – particularly middle mile connectivity – is the future of rural communications.

Middle Mile Advocate Says Rural Areas Need Fiber Connectivity
Screenshot from the Fiber Broadband Association webinar

WASHINGTON May 17, 2024— Sachin Gupta, director of government business and economic development of fiber provider Centranet, lamented the “serious lack” of middle mile broadband deployment in rural areas during a Fiber Broadband Association webinar Wednesday.

While there are a lot of current middle mile projects to connect major cities such as Dallas and Houston, he said that rural areas were neglected.

Gupta argued that middle mile networks can be “organically built,” meaning that pre-existing last mile networks could be connected with each other to create a middle mile network.

Interconnecting these networks could help address the paucity of broadband infrastructure in rural communities. 

Arkansas and Indiana are considering adopting this practice, Gupta said, and Alabama, Mississippi, and Oklahoma are already in the process of adopting this model. 

Fiber is the ultimate solution to closing the digital divide between rural and urban areas. And he dismissed the notion that other technologies could effectively do the job. 

Gupta said that in four to five years rural areas may not be able to access low-latency application technologies such as artificial intelligence or virtual reality because of the lack of middle mile and data centers. 

“The lack of middle mile will actually end up creating a new digital divide,” Gupta said, “because if you don't have a data center you don't have the latency and if you do not have these points of presence as close to them where data is being cashed you don't have that latency.”

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