Last Mile Technology

What Does Last Mile Technology Mean?

The last mile problem, in the context of telecommunications, refers to a gap between a broadband internet service provider's infrastructure and a customer's home or workplace. Last mile connectivity is one of the biggest costs many businesses and home owners face when trying to access broadband services outside urban areas. Note that the term is figurative — the actual distance can be more than a mile, particularly in rural areas.


In rural areas, it's been a challenge for telecommunication service providers to offer high-speed bandwidth services to every single subscriber because of the high cost of laying and maintaining fiber optic cable. Increasingly, Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) is being rolled out as a cost-effective way for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to provide small businesses and homes in remote locations with last mile connectivity.

FWA uses radio waves to create a connection between a Point-of-Presence cell tower and an external antenna located on the customer's home or business. When the antenna picks up a radio signal, it forwards the signal wirelessly to a special type of modem that converts the radio waves into WiFi signals.

Techopedia Explains Last Mile Technology

The last mile problem is often considered the most important part of customer experience management (CEX) because it directly involves the end-user. In supply chain management, for example, the term last mile is used to describe the transportation of packages and people from a hub to a final destination.

Ironically, the last mile is the least cost-effective part of logistics management. When a supply chain's last mile includes multiple stops with low drop rates, it can increase the cost of transporting packages or people by as much as 50%. When tracking technology includes the last mile, however, the data can be analyzed in real time to determine which delivery method should be used for the last mile. This is why a repeat order from the same e-commerce site might come by mail one month but get delivered by FedEx or UPS the next month.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.