I live out in Rural, and the only DSL speed available to me is 1.5Mb/s. In town they have 7Mb/s, but not here.

Where does that speed limit come from? Is it the wiring we put in the street? Or the TELCO's equipment at the CO?

is it something we could convince them to upgrade?

  • 1
    Welcome to the world of telecommunications engineering! As someone has already noted, it isn't really within the purview of workstation computer software and hardware. Fortunately, more than one StackExchange site exists.
    – JdeBP
    Dec 24, 2011 at 4:06

3 Answers 3


The two likeliest possibilities are:

  1. Distance from the CO - this FAQ from DSLReports.com has some dated information that might still be useful as a rule of thumb.
  2. The DSL provider has decided to cap the speed for rural customers and not for the folks in town.

My guess is that distance is probably a bigger factor, since rural customers are probably farther away from the CO than customers in town.


Maybe the only thing that is limiting your connection is the startup software sended by your ISP to your modem, in my country even rural area get the 10 Mbs connection, so I guess you have the 7Mb/s on cable, but is shaped by your ISP on your modem. Only a hack can win this kind of thing. (I'm NOT advising you to do this anyway... =D )

  • Or maybe you could convince them to sell this plan to your area. Ya, truth hurts.
    – H_7
    Mar 24, 2012 at 0:13

The longer a wire is, the less bandwidth it can carry, and that translates to slower speed for you. Two wires could be equally long, but one could be worse than the other. The local loop is a pair of wires that run between your house and the nearest TELCO switching office (CO).

There is almost nothing you can do to get the TELCO to upgrade their wires. Your local or state government may have some regulatory power, but they are often more interested in holding costs down than in improving quality.

Cable coax has a lot more bandwidth than a TELCO local loop. And the cable company often runs fiber optic cable as far as the closest pole to your house. Unfortunately, the cable company often pools bandwidth among a pool of customers that share a single cable.

If you can afford it, you may get better service on a data link to the nearest cell tower.

YMVV. In my location, TELCO DSL is fast enough for my purposes, cheap enough, and service has been pretty good so far. Quality varies widely from location to location.

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