It's not just a rural problem. A straw poll of my colleagues revealed poor souls within the Glasgow postcode area who can't get broadband because they're too far from the telephone exchange.
Poor internet infrastructure can be a real problem for businesses too, especially as more and more essential services and government forms go online.
Prodec Networks offers a solution that could bring high-speed broadband to even the most remote locations. Their system, known as Bonded 3G, combines signals from several mobile phone networks to provide a single, high-speed connection to the web.
By bonding up to six mobile channels, the system promises maximum speeds of 42Mbps – that's five times faster than most home broadband connections.
I tested their smaller, three-network system which has a top speed of 21Mbps.
Set-up of the unit is straightforward. There are just two connections: power, which can come from a mains outlet or 12V battery, and LAN, which can plug into an office network or directly into a single computer. I tested the system in a few locations, both urban and in the countryside, and was impressed with the reliability of the connection.
Even in the middle of a field, a mile from the nearest phone line, I was able to get online in seconds without fuss.
Download speeds, however, were less than stellar. Regardless of location, speeds varied from 2-3.5Mbps, roughly equivalent to entry-level fixed broadband services and just one-sixth of the theoretical maximum.
It was only when I returned the unit to Prodec that the cause of my lethargic connection became clear.
The unit had been configured to run on specific networks but, due to a mix-up at their HQ, had been supplied with SIM cards for a different set of networks.
As a result, I was seeing only one-third of the device's true potential. Hopefully, paying customers could expect a more carefully configured unit.
It's not particularly cheap either. There's a one-off installation cost of £2500 plus a monthly charge that varies depending on the speed you require and how much you download.
There's no doubt that Prodec's solution is a great option for remote businesses that require fast, reliable network connections. Home users, however, might be better served by satellite broadband solutions that offer comparable download speeds for much less cost.
Prodec Bonded 3G (from £2500)
Positives: A good option for rural businesses and oligarchs on yachts.
Negatives: Relatively expensive and not very portable.