So, you’re on the hunt for a new home-Internet provider. The one you like seems to offer fast, reliable service, but its footprint ends just short of where you happen to live — and there aren’t many other options in your area. Too bad: Looks like you’ll be sticking with slow speeds and lackluster customer support while your luckiest neighbors get to surf without interruption.
For many Americans, this isn’t hypothetical. It’s reality. In Tennessee, for example, one city-run provider has spent years fighting to reach people who are literally a tenth-of-a-mile off its network. The reason for delay is somewhat bureaucratic — the answer involves state laws — but the point is that for those would-be customers, a better Internet connection has remained tantalizingly out of reach.
Until now, there weren’t many ways around this problem. But thanks to a technology some Internet service providers (ISPs) expect to roll out next year, Americans dreaming of better, faster broadband may actually be able to get it.