It’s not talked about as often as gardening or water supplies, but managing your communications on a homestead can be a vital issue. Communications infrastructure can be poor in some rural areas so be prepared to down-grade your expectations a bit.
Standard phone lines aren’t usually a problem, unless you have very remote or just undeveloped property. As long as you have a line at the road, it’s not that expensive to bring phone service in once you have a home built. Though “land lines” are slowly falling out of favor, it does offer a very reliable source of communication with the outside world.
Cell phones are now more common than standard house phones so they need to be considered if you normally use one. Find out where the nearest towers are and do some testing of your own before you buy property. Knowing what kind of cell phone reception you are going to have to live with is important but hard to research. Don’t be surprised if its lousy.
Any type of communications that rely on satellites can be important because your location won’t matter nearly as much. These days, that means television service as well as Internet. In a lot of locations, this may be your only option. Yes it will be more expensive but it shouldn’t be so costly as to break the bank. Of course, many homesteaders give up TV once they are out on their land so you might find it becomes less important as time goes on.
And speaking of Internet, you can always stick with dial-up if high-speed is not available and you don’t want to pay the extra for satellite. Another option for rural but not-that-remote areas is wireless Internet. It’s similar to getting a signal for a cell phone, so you don’t need your home to be wired up for it. You do need to be close enough to a wireless tower though and have a good line-of-sight for it to work. Wireless service can also fade out when the weather gets bad. Heavy rain or snow can block the signal.
Don’t forget personal communications options too. Screaming out the backdoor to find someone who may be acres away isn’t the best way to communicate with your family. A good set of hand-held walkie-talkies can be invaluable so you can quickly reach someone who may otherwise be too far away to hear you.
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