Broadband Internet access is increasingly necessary for conducting business and supporting education, and substantially affects the quality of life for County residents. Allegan County has a very diverse landscape of urban and rural areas and sits between several large cities. As such, broadband Internet availability varies greatly, from areas with many connectivity options to portions of the county with very limited choices.
For urban areas of the county with dense populations, hard-wired Internet (those using physical wires, cables or fibers) can be delivered very cost-effectively by private-sector service providers at reasonable costs to residents. However, the costs to extend hard-wired Internet services into more rural areas of the county grow rapidly and the private sector is challenged to deliver services at prices that residents are willing to pay.
For rural areas of the county without hard-wired Internet service availability, wireless broadband solutions such as point-to-point, cellular and satellite are the only available option. These types of internet services are generally available to anyone with the proper view of the sky (for satellite connectivity) or line-of-sight view to a cellular tower. While the costs for wireless services are significantly higher than comparable hard-wire services, the cost to the resident is less than it would be if hard-wired Internet was extended from urban areas.
There are significant costs in delivering any services to rural portions of any county including Allegan, but the issue with Broadband Internet access is generally one of affordable access, not of overall availability.