(844) 451-2720

At Allconnect, we work to present quality information with editorial integrity. While this page may contain offers from our partners, our opinions are our own. Here’s how we make money.

What is fixed wireless internet?

Fixed wireless internet is a type of internet service that uses broadcast towers to transmit and receive internet signals in the form of radio waves. A small dish or antenna receives the signals and sends them to a modem, which converts them into the internet service you use to browse the web, send emails and stream TV.

Similar to satellite internet, fixed wireless broadband eliminates the need for a phone or cable line for service, making it a popular choice for residents of rural areas. According to the FCC, fixed wireless internet service is available to about 37% of the U.S. population, with 21% having access to broadband speeds (up to 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload or higher).

Main service areas for fixed wireless internet providers include rural regions in the Midwest and western U.S.

Top fixed wireless internet providers

  • AT&T – Available in California, Florida, Texas and 19 more states
  • Etheric Networks – Available in California
  • GHz Wireless – Available in Texas
  • King Street Wireless – Available in California, Illinois, Indiana and 21 more states
  • Rise Broadband – Available in California, Colorado, Idaho and 16 more states
  • Verizon LTE – Available in California, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Texas

Fixed wireless internet providers

Compare the most widely-available fixed wireless internet providers by price, speed and monthly data allowance from these top fixed wireless providers. 

Available fixed wireless internet providers and plans vary by location. Additionally, your home needs to be close to a fixed wireless tower, ideally within 10 miles or less, for quality service. For this reason, some addresses may not be eligible for fixed wireless internet service, even if there is a provider in their ZIP code.

Who is fixed wireless internet good for?

Fixed wireless is a good solution for home internet service, but it may not be perfect for everybody. Compare the pros and cons of fixed wireless service to see if it is right for you. 

Pros of fixed wireless internet

  • Availability in rural areas – Because fixed wireless broadband uses open radio frequency to deliver service, this connection type can reach areas where DSL, cable or fiber-optic internet may not be available. Rural areas also often lack tall buildings and other obstructions that may disrupt service.
  • Low latency – The short distance between fixed wireless towers and receivers makes for latency numbers comparable to DSL or cable.
  • High data allowances – Most providers include 100 GB of data or more per month, with some having no data caps at all.
  • No phone line required – Fixed wireless internet is one of the best ways to get cheap internet service without a phone line.

Cons of fixed wireless internet

  • Equipment and line of sight – Similar to satellite internet, fixed wireless internet requires installing a small dish, which needs a direct line of sight to a fixed wireless tower to receive service.
  • Data limits – We mentioned high data caps as a benefit because a good amount helps. We’d much rather browse with no limits, especially with multiple users and devices in a household. 
  • Weather disruptions – Rain, snow, fog and other instances of inclement weather can disrupt your connection.
  • Signal interference – Radio frequencies are subject to crosstalk and interference, which may result in temporary service issues.
  • Service and equipment cost – Monthly and initial startup costs for fixed wireless internet may be higher than other internet types.

Fixed wireless vs. satellite internet: which is better?

Fixed wireless internet can offer faster speeds and lower latency, but satellite internet has far better availability and is less vulnerable to signal frequency interference. Here’s how fixed wireless and satellite internet compare.

Advantages of fixed wireless

  • Speeds – Fixed wireless broadband can deliver speeds comparable to DSL or cable services in select areas. However, for satellite internet, 25 Mbps is the most common available speed. 
  • Data caps – Fixed wireless internet providers can offer much higher data allowances than satellite. You may be able to get a wireless broadband plan with no data cap at all.
  • Latency – Satellite internet has high latency, which can make playing real-time online games or video-conferencing impossible. Fixed wireless internet users are less likely to have these issues.

Advantages of satellite internet

  • Availability – Satellite internet is much more widely available than fixed wireless internet, covering 99% of the U.S. Fixed wireless is not as available because it requires numerous towers to cover a large area.
  • Advancing technology – Though satellite internet speeds currently top out at 100 Mbps, promising technology advancements in satellite internet could bring much faster speeds in the near future.

Similarities between fixed wireless and satellite internet

Whether you decide on fixed wireless or satellite internet at your home, both types of connections have similar performance when it comes to the following features.

  • Signal interference – Both satellite and fixed wireless internet are susceptible to service interruptions during periods of inclement weather. However, since fixed wireless is much more localized, it is less susceptible to bad weather in surrounding areas. That being said, you may experience service disruptions from frequency crosstalk with fixed wireless broadband, whereas this is not an issue with satellite internet.
  • Pricing – Monthly costs for satellite and fixed wireless internet start around $50-$60/mo., depending on which providers are available and the plan you choose. Start-up costs for fixed wireless internet vs. satellite are also similar because both require the installation of a dish or antenna to receive service.

Fixed wireless internet is likely to keep expanding

Fixed wireless internet already covers nearly half the U.S. population, but many providers hope to continue expanding their networks to bring the service to more areas.

AT&T’s fixed wireless service covers parts of 18 states and the company hopes to “make internet access available in over 1.1 million locations by the end of 2020.”

Verizon’s fixed wireless internet — LTE Internet (installed) — is already available in most locations where Verizon 4G LTE service is offered. As Verizon rolls out their 5G network, new fixed wireless plans with faster speeds may become available in select areas.

With eyes on competitors like Spectrum and Xfinity, both AT&T and Verizon plan to make fixed wireless access a top priority for small businesses. Other fixed wireless providers, such as Rise Broadband, also hope to continue expansion and bring fixed wireless broadband to more areas. Rise Broadband announced plans to preserve their networks, currently in 16 states, with plans to expand to more markets in the coming years.

Will fixed wireless internet come to urban areas?

Most likely not, for a few reasons. First, cable, DSL and fiber-optic internet services are already common in these areas, so a new internet type is not necessarily needed.

Second, fixed wireless internet relies on open radio frequency channels for service. In densely-populated areas, radio frequency congestion and crosstalk is more likely to interfere with fixed wireless signals.

And last, fixed wireless internet requires a direct line of sight to the tower, something that may not be available due to tall buildings and other obstructions that come with urban areas.

Lisa Iscrupe

Written by:

Lisa Iscrupe

Staff Writer

Lisa uses years of experience in sales and customer service for internet-TV providers to inform her writing on broadband. Her work has been referenced by CNN and other national sources. … Read more

We value your feedback

Was this page helpful?

We value your feedback

We’re glad! Tell us what helped most on this page.

We value your feedback

Was this page helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!

Your insight helps, and we’ll do our best to improve your experience.

Fixed wireless internet FAQs

How does fixed wireless internet work?

Fixed wireless internet providers use broadcast towers similar to cellphone towers to send internet signals over the air via radio waves. A small dish or antenna receives the signal and sends them to a modem which converts the radio signals to internet service.

Is fixed wireless internet any good?

Fixed wireless internet requires no phone or cable line for service, making it a great option for broadband internet in rural areas. Some fixed wireless internet providers can deliver speeds up to 100 Mbps and data allowances comparable to DSL providers.

Is fixed wireless internet better than satellite internet?

In select areas, fixed wireless internet can offer faster speeds and lower latency than satellite internet. However, satellite internet is more widely available than fixed wireless. Satellite internet plans are also less likely to come with hard data limits.

Can you game online with fixed wireless internet?

Many fixed wireless internet services give you a connection that will support online gaming. Low latency, or ping, is required for online gaming. Latency from a fixed wireless internet service is similar to a DSL or cable connection, which is often much lower than satellite internet.

Compare internet plans near you

Moving or looking for a new deal? Let Allconnect help you find the right internet plan for your needs. Call now to start comparing providers, prices and speeds in your local area.

Shop providers

or call us today: (844) 451-2720

Comparing Data Comparing Data Comparing Data