Fixed wireless internet service providers

Compare plans from the best fixed wireless internet providers in your area.

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.

Fixed wireless internet providers

ProviderStarting price*Speed rangeMonthly data allowance
AT&T Fixed Wireless$40/mo.Up to 25 Mbps215 GB
Etheric Networks$99/mo.15 – 100 Mbps150 GB – 2.4 TB
GHz Wireless$39.95/mo.Up to 50 MbpsNo data caps
Rise Broadband$29.95/mo.5 – 50 Mbps150 – 500 GB
Verizon LTE (Installed)$60/mo.5 – 12 Mbps10 – 40 GB

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.

If no fixed wireless providers are available in your area, you may have internet options from satellite, DSLcable or fiber-optic internet providers. Call to speak with our internet experts about internet options in your area.

Pros and cons of fixed wireless internet

Pros of fixed wireless internet

  • Availability in rural areas – Fixed wireless broadband can reach areas where DSL, cable or fiber-optic internet may not be available.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Is fixed wireless or satellite internet 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:

  • 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.
    Advantage: 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.
    Advantage: Draw
  • Speeds – Fixed wireless broadband can deliver speeds comparable to DSL, cable and even fiber-optic services in select areas. Satellite internet speeds currently top out at 100 Mbps, with 25 Mbps being the most common available speed. However, promising technology advancements in satellite internet could bring much faster speeds in the near future.
    Advantage: Fixed wireless internet
  • Data caps – Since fewer users will connect to a specific wireless tower than a satellite, fixed wireless internet providers can offer much higher data allowances than satellite. You may be able to get a home wireless broadband plan with data caps of 100 GB or higher, or no data cap at all.
    Advantage: Fixed wireless internet
  • Latency – One of the disadvantages of satellite internet is its 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 as latency performance is more comparable to DSL or cable internet.
    Advantage: Fixed wireless internet
  • 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.
    Advantage: Draw

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 announced that their fixed wireless service now 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.

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.

Secondly, 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 lastly, 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.

Fixed wireless internet frequently asked questions

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.

What fixed wireless internet providers are there?

Some of the most widely-available fixed wireless internet providers include:

  • AT&T Fixed Wireless
  • Etheric Networks
  • GHz Wireless
  • Rise Broadband
  • Verizon LTE (Installed)

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.

Is fixed wireless available near me?

Fixed wireless internet is available to around 37% of U.S. households with service areas mostly in rural and suburban regions. Access to fixed wireless internet also depends on your home’s proximity to a broadcast tower.


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