Rural Communications
Connect the Unconnected and Underconnected


Rural connectivity will open new opportunities for the communities and will lead to improvement in their quality of life. Internet connectivity will provide people with more options to achieve economic self-sufficiency. Information on healthcare, agriculture, education, employment opportunities, etc. can be accessed by the people through the internet. COVID-19 reinforces the need for affordable connectivity and this effort focuses on the challenges, opportunities and solution in providing sustainable, reliable and affordable connectivity to rural areas.

The goal of the workstream is to provide connectivity to the unconnected and under connected region of the world. Some of the activities and standards this practice is working on are efforts to move the bar to this end.


IEEE P2030.10™ - IEEE Draft Standard for DC Microgrids for Rural and Remote Electricity Access Applications
This standard covers the design and operation of a dc microgrid for rural or remote applications based on extra low voltage dc to reduce cost, simplify stability, and to be safer than grids using typical ac voltages. Such microgrids are typically operated without connecting to a nation's electric power system and are referred to as stand-alone microgrids.  Sponsored by the IEEE Power & Energy Society.
Learn more about how to contribute to this standard in development

IEEE P1941.1™ - Recommended Practice for Internet Grades of Service in Rural Areas
This project will provide recommendations for Grades of Service offerings by internet service providers in rural areas. Service scenarios include generations of cellular networks. Recommendations include access service and core network parameters, service concentration, service availability and reliability.  Sponsored by the IEEE Communications Society and developed by the Internet Grade of Service in Rural Areas working group.
Learn more about how to contribute

User-Centered Approach to Designing a User Interface for Rural Communities
Father and daughter using phoneBringing together experts and designers from across industries, this Industry Connections (IC) program aims to research the technology needs of global rural communities. These insights will be used to develop a model for the design and implementation of user interfaces for rural communities.

IC Rural Communications Activity
Two girls staring at a lightbulbThis Industry Connections program is intended to contribute toward the goal of global (including rural community) digital inclusion by developing solutions for rural and remote areas using suitable technologies.

Rural populations need to be provided with viable connectivity solutions by connecting remote areas to the broadband core networks. Choosing efficient, cost-effective, and fast-deployment technologies—whether wired or wireless networks—will improve accessibility.

Rural connectivity will open up new opportunities for the communities and will lead to improvement in their quality of life.

Frugal 5G Working Group
Join the working group for Frugal 5G Working Group to help specify an architecture for an affordable wireless broadband communication network:

  • Targeted towards providing connectivity in Rural Areas
  • An Energy Efficient Network
  • Supporting Low Mobility Use Cases


Options and Challenges in Providing Universal Access (White Paper)

Connecting the Unconnected: Toward Frugal 5G Network Architecture and Standardization (Article)
This article adopts a holistic approach to address the problem of poor broadband connectivity in rural areas by suggesting a novel wireless network architecture called "Frugal 5G Network." To arrive at the Frugal 5G Network architecture, we take into consideration rural connectivity needs and the characteristics specific to rural areas.

Frugal 5G: Towards Affordable Rural Wireless Broadband (Paper)
In the recent years, there has been a significant growth of cellular wireless communications. Despite this growth, a large part of the world is still deprived of broadband connectivity. Using existing cellular wireless systems including Third Generation (3G) and Fourth Generation (4G) technology, there are significant challenges in providing broadband access.

Universal Broadband Service and the Pandemic (Article)
This article was originally published in the IEEE Communications Standards Magazine.
“Universal Service” has a long history as a goal for telecommunications networks. The meaning is simple: everyone who wants to be connected to the network will have the opportunity to be. A century ago, when the phrase was first coined, this meant connection to the voice communication network. Today the goal has shifted, and universal service is interpreted to refer to a broadband connection to the Internet, affording access to voice, audio, video, and data.

How might the aim of Connecting the Unconnected allow for improved digital literacy and economic wellbeing to avoid predatory data capture and compromise?

Do you have ideas to help connect the unconnected? Do you have a use case you’d like to share? Or do you just want to help this growing ecosystem? 

Get involved and join other invested stakeholders to help leverage technology for the benefit of humanity.