Top fixed wireless internet providers
AT&T Fixed Wireless
Plans starting at $59.99/mo
Plans starting at $25.00/mo
Plans starting at $50.00/mo
Plans starting at $29.95/mo
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. Fixed wireless towers can only send signals to roughly a 10-mile radius, however, meaning fixed wireless is available to fewer areas than satellite internet.
Where is fixed wireless available?
According to the FCC, fixed wireless internet service is available to about 46% of the U.S. population, with 29% 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 Northeast, Midwest and western U.S., but some providers, such as Starry, may provide fixed wireless service exclusively in major metropolitan areas.
Fixed wireless providers available in the U.S.
|Provider||Download speeds||Monthly data allowance||Starting price*|
|AT&T Fixed Wireless||10 – 25 Mbps||350GB||$59.99/mo.|
|Etheric Networks||3 – 100 Mbps||300GB – 4TB||$99.00/mo.|
|GHz Wireless||5 – 50 Mbps||Unlimited||$59.95/mo.|
|Rise Broadband||25 – 50 Mbps||350 – 700GB||$29.95/mo.|
|Starry Internet||200 Mbps||Unlimited||$50.00/mo.|
|T-Mobile Home Internet||35 – 115 Mbps||Unlimited||$50.00/mo.|
|Verizon 5G Home||200 – 1000 Mbps||Unlimited||$25.00/mo.|
|Verizon LTE (installed)||25 – 50 Mbps||Unlimited||$25.00/mo.|
*Pricing per month plus taxes for length of contract. Additional fees and terms may apply. Pricing varies by location and availability. All prices subject to change at any time. May or may not be available based on service address. Speeds may vary. As of 03/22/22.
Depending on your address, there may be availability of one or more of the fixed wireless providers listed above near you. There are dozens of other fixed wireless internet providers serving residents all over the U.S., but most are small regional providers that serve less than 1% of the population.
Your home needs to be close to a fixed wireless tower, ideally within 10 miles or less. For this reason, some addresses may not be eligible for fixed wireless internet service, even if there is a provider in their ZIP code.
For the most part, fixed wireless providers operate in rural areas since cable and fiber providers are already established in most cities. Plus, tall buildings and densely populated areas can obstruct fixed wireless signals.
Fixed wireless provider service areas
- 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
- Starry Internet – Available in Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C.
- T-Mobile – Available in parts of Indiana, Kentucky, Texas, California, Florida and 44 other states.
- Verizon LTE – Available in California, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Texas. 5G service is available Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Boston and 60 other cities.
What 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 internet service to see if it is right for you.
What to love about fixed wireless
Affordable pricing – Fixed wireless tends to be a more cost-efficient internet option compared to satellite internet. It is similar to DSL internet in pricing and speeds.
Availability in rural areas – Fixed wireless requires no direct lines to your home, so it is often available in areas where cable, DSL and fiber are not. Satellite internet is the only connection type that has wider availability.
Online gaming is possible – The short distance between fixed wireless towers and receivers reduces the latency that makes online gaming impossible with satellite. This also means Zoom calls and live streaming are much easier with fixed wireless than satellite.
Things to consider
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.
Service and equipment cost – Monthly and initial startup costs for fixed wireless internet may be higher than other internet types, such as DSL internet.
Weather disruptions – Rain, snow, fog and other instances of inclement weather can disrupt your connection.
Fixed wireless coverage is expanding rapidly
Fixed wireless internet is already available to 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 availability covers parts of 21 states, with its highest coverage in California, Texas and Illinois.
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.
Fixed wireless expansion into metropolitan areas
Major cities, such as Boston, Denver, Los Angeles and New York, that typically do not have access to fixed wireless service are starting to see options come available thanks to providers such as Starry Internet, Verizon and T-Mobile. These fixed wireless networks often provide internet to entire buildings and may not be available for individual homes.
Starry $50/mo. service brings affordable fixed wireless to select cities
Starry Internet offers fixed wireless service in major cities including Boston, New York, Washington D.C., Columbus, Denver and Los Angeles. Currently, Starry is offering internet with speeds up to 200 Mbps starting at price-for-life guaranteed $50/mo. in select areas.
In larger cities, fixed wireless providers often run service to an entire building, such as an apartment complex, rather than to individual homes. Consequently, service may not be available at your address, even if there is a fixed wireless provider in your area that serves local buildings.
T-Mobile and Verizon continue to expand 5G fixed wireless
T-Mobile and Verizon have expanded their fixed wireless coverage significantly in recent years. In many areas where their 5G cellphone coverage is available, you can now access home internet using the same towers.
These 5G home internet speeds are a huge improvement on traditional fixed wireless. Verizon says customers can expect download speeds around 300 Mbps, while T-Mobile says their average is around 100 Mbps.
Verizon fixed wireless currently covers about 100 million people and projects to expand that to 175 million people by the end of 2022 with their 5G Ultra Wideband service. It is now available in parts of 65 cities including Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Boston, New York, Atlanta, Miami, Philadelphia, Knoxville and Tacoma.
Fixed wireless vs. satellite internet
Fixed wireless and satellite internet are often the only choices for internet in rural areas, and both have their advantages. Overall, you can expect faster speeds and higher data caps with fixed wireless. The two main satellite internet providers, HughesNet and Viasat, have very low data caps that make streaming or working from home difficult.
Satellite internet is also more sensitive to weather. Because its signal has to travel to satellite dishes in space, it can be slowed down by storms or cloud coverage.
Essentially, satellite internet is a last resort when you can’t get cable, DSL or fixed wireless internet. It’s more expensive than fixed wireless, offers slower speeds and has lower data caps. The one exception is Starlink, but the new internet provider from Elon Musk isn’t widely available yet.
Faster speeds — Newer 5G fixed wireless providers offering speeds up to 300 Mbps.
More affordable — In general, you won’t pay as high of a monthly rate, and equipment is much cheaper than satellite.
No contracts — With 5G fixed wireless providers like Verizon and T-Mobile, you can go month-to-month.
Equipment — Some fixed wireless providers require installing a small dish on your roof.
Availability — You can get satellite internet almost anywhere you can install a dish.
Prone to weather disruptions — Because its signal has to travel through the entire atmosphere, satellite internet is often affected by storms.
Low data caps — Aside from Starlink, satellite internet usually comes with data caps that make streaming or working from home difficult.
Two-year contracts — Both HughesNet and Viasat require a two-year commitment for internet service.
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Written by:Ari Howard
Associate Writer, Broadband & Wireless Content
Ari is an Associate Writer for the Allconnect team. She primarily writes about broadband news and studies, particularly relating to internet access, digital safety, broadband-related technology and the digital d… Read more
Edited by:Robin Layton
Editor, Broadband Content
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