Faster Broadband Provides Relief for Rural Banks and Credit Unions

Mar 15, 2023
Though rural bank and credit union branches typically serve comparatively smaller communities than their metropolitan counterparts, remote and rural communities tend to rely on their local brick-and-mortar branches much more than city dwellers – making prompt recovery from an interruption that much more critical for those locations.  

Physical branch recovery innovations like mobile recovery branches, quick-ship equipment, and rapid data recovery allow a branch to quickly restore most critical operations with relative ease. Still, broadband limitations in rural areas continue to present challenges for branches dependent on satellite connectivity. 

Old Challenges 

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) establishes broadband minimum benchmark speeds for communications providers to ensure every community has adequate access to internet connectivity. Currently, the FCC standard is 25 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloading and 3 Mbps for uploading. Unfortunately, those speeds are far too slow to meet most small businesses’ needs. 

To address this issue, in July 2022, the FCC proposed increasing the benchmark to 100 Mbps for download and 20 Mbps for upload. This significant increase is still less than a professional office with at least 20 employees online would require for typical use, meaning many businesses and financial institutions in rural communities may still struggle to access the broadband connectivity they need to maintain critical operations.

How Connectivity Loss and Subpar Mbps Speeds Threaten Branch Resilience

  • Inability to access and execute incident response plans, impeding both physical and remote branch recovery  

  • Compromises remote control and access capabilities  

  • Increases vulnerability to cyberattacks

  • Inability to provide secured service to customers and members; loss of digital banking mechanisms, including ATMs 

New Solutions 

Technology has answered the call as the need for faster connectivity has increased. Smaller, more efficient satellites offer speeds up to 350 Mbps (and up to 40 Mbps latency) and are becoming increasingly accessible to businesses everywhere, including those in rural communities. Most impressive, though, is that some of these faster satellite solutions offer substantially easier setup and use.  

While traditional satellites require a certified technician and a lengthy on-site installation process, modern broadband recovery solutions can be shipped directly to a branch and set up in minutes without any previous experience or expertise required. These new portable solutions support faster recovery from connectivity interruptions and are more reliable and less vulnerable to severe weather and line-of-sight challenges. 

Looking Ahead 

Though the FCC’s proposed minimum benchmark speed has not been widely implemented yet, remote and rural communities can look forward to increased broadband speed availability soon. Roughly $42 billion in funding through the Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will help states build new broadband networks in previously underserved, low-population areas.  

As businesses and financial institutions look forward to enhanced standard connectivity speeds and reliability, faster, easier-to-use branch recovery options are available now. Together, these advancements mean increased resilience for rural bank and credit union branches and sustainable access to critical community services for individuals in rural and remote parts of the country. 


Learn more about Agility's enhanced connectivity and complete branch recovery solutions.