Rural internet service providers

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Best high-speed rural internet options

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To make finding rural internet easier for you, we’ve researched the top providers, prices and speeds available so you can make an informed decision on the best high speed rural internet in your area.

The best rural internet providers

Rural internet pricing and speeds

Our approach: We determine the best rural internet providers for you

When narrowing down our list of the top internet providers, we sought to highlight providers that are available to many people in different areas. Using the most recent FCC data, we identified the top

When narrowing down our list of the top internet providers, we sought to highlight providers that are available to many people in different areas. Using the most recent FCC data, we identified the top internet providers available to at least 5% of U.S. residents.

From there, we leveraged our own in-house technology to further accumulate availability, speed and pricing details and for each provider. Specific plan, pricing and service details were sourced directly from the providers, both via our professional relationships with them and their official websites.

We also sought inspiration from Reviews.com, who is owned and operated by an affiliate of Allconnect, Inc. However, Allconnect, Inc. is not involved in or responsible for the production of Reviews.com content, including rankings cited on this page.

Equipped with an accurate, up-to-date portfolio of each provider, we then carefully examined each provider’s attributes to identify a provider’s exclusive advantage over the rest. The result is our list of the best internet providers of 2020.

Learn more about our research

Best for service without data caps: Frontier offers DSL internet plans in rural areas with no monthly data limits. 
Best for widespread availability: HughesNet offers satellite service which is available in 100% of locations nationwide.
Best for cheap internet: Frontier offers affordable DSL internet starting at $27/mo.* for various speeds depending on location. 
Best speed range: Frontier offers the best speed range with starting speeds of 1 Mbps and max speeds of 115 Mbps. Speeds available vary by location.

Our pick: Frontier is our choice for all-around best rural internet provider offering cheap internet plans, a wide speed range and service without data limits.

Shop rural internet providers

You’ll find a few of the best rural internet providers in your area below. For more accurate results, click Update location to shop cheap internet plans for your address.

Internet service types in rural areas

Depending on where you live, you could have a few options for internet service in rural areas. Some common internet connection types for rural areas include satellite, DSL and fixed wireless.

Satellite – Available virtually everywhere

Satellite internet is a great option for rural-area residents because it’s available virtually anywhere. All you need is a clear view of the southern sky to be eligible for satellite internet from HughesNet or Viasat. Internet speeds can range from 12 to 100 Mbps.

What we like

  • Availability – Satellite internet is available throughout all 50 states.
  • Speeds – Satellite internet can get you broadband speeds.

Things to consider

  • Data restrictions – HughesNet and Viasat plans come with monthly data restrictions that could result in slower speeds if you go over them.

DSL – Affordable and high monthly data allowances

Unlike cable or fiber optic internet, DSL internet uses existing phone lines to carry service. If you have telephone lines to your house, you might have access to DSL from providers such as AT&T, CenturyLink or Windstream. Internet speeds can range from 1 to 140 Mbps.

What we like

  • Pricing – DSL internet plans are often among the cheapest rural internet services.
  • Data limits – DSL providers often give you higher monthly data limits than what you’ll get with satellite internet.

Things to consider

  • Speeds – DSL speeds may be as low as 1 Mbps, and the further away you are from your service provider, the slower your connection may be.

Fixed wireless – Lower latency makes online gaming possible

Fixed wireless internet works like satellite internet in that you have a dish or antenna to receive internet signals. You’ll need to live close to a cellular tower to get fixed internet from rural internet providers such as Rise Broadband, AT&T, Verizon or others. Internet speeds can range from 1 to 1,000 Mbps.

What we like

  • Availability – Fixed wireless internet is available in all 50 states from various providers.
  • Latency – Unlike satellite internet, fixed wireless has lower latency, which makes it a viable option for online gaming.

Things to consider

  • Signal interference – Bad weather or obstructions blocking your antenna can disrupt your connection.

Rural internet shopping tips

When choosing a home internet service in a rural area, your options may not be as limited as you’d think. You may have multiple providers to choose from. Even if there are only one or two providers available, you’re likely to have different plan options, so it’s always good to know what to consider when shopping for high speed internet in rural areas.

Availability – Know your rural internet options

According to the FCC, 99% of the U.S. has access to at least two broadband providers and 95% has access to three or more. While satellite internet is the main reason broadband internet is accessible in so many places, other types of internet could also be available.

Before committing to any one internet service, check to see if other providers and internet types are available in your area.

Broadband internet availability in the U.S.:

  • Satellite – 99% coverage 
  • DSL – 38% coverage
  • Fixed wireless – 29% coverage

Price – Check plan pricing, added fees and data allowances

Rural internet can seem higher priced than other areas due to the operating costs of providing broadband to areas with lower population density. Check for online offers or exclusive discounts that you won’t get over the phone.  

With satellite internet, you could have a monthly data allowance of 10 to 100 GB depending on the provider and plan. Going over your data allowance can result in slower speeds. Ask your provider if there’s a data management tool you can utilize for free, or consider DSL or fixed wireless providers if you plan to use the internet for data-consuming activities like streaming.

Price ranges for rural internet:

  • Satellite – $50-$150/mo.
  • DSL – $25-$49.99/mo.
  • Fixed wireless – $29.99-$99.99/mo.

Speeds and latency – Get a connection you can use

Rural internet isn’t known for its blazing-fast speeds, but you still may have access to speeds that are suitable for your desired online activities, including browsing the web and streaming.

For real-time online gaming, latency is more of an issue than speed. Satellite internet’s high latency makes online gaming impractical.

Speed ranges for rural internet:

  • Satellite – 12-100 Mbps
  • DSL – 1-140 Mbps
  • Fixed wireless – 1-1,000 Mbps

Alternative options for internet in rural areas

Explored the rural internet options near you and still not finding what you’re looking for? Don’t worry, there’s still a few more tricks up our sleeve. Here’s a few more outside-the-box options for rural broadband. 

  • Dial-up — Yes, dial-up is still around, and it’s a decent and cheap internet option for those in rural areas needing the internet for little more than checking email. You’ll need a home telephone line and likely a compatible modem for service from AOL Online, People PC, EarthLink or other dial-up providers. Keep in mind, internet speeds top out at a humble 56 Kbps.
  • Mobile hotspots — Some smartphones can be used as a mobile hotspot within your home, for an added fee, of course. Check with your cellphone provider to see what hotspot options are available for you. You can also purchase standalone hotspot devices, such as a Verizon Jetpack or Skyroam Solis. While mobile hotspots are generally intended for temporary internet use, they could serve as a home internet option for users who don’t connect too often.

What to expect from rural internet in the coming years

Satellite internet and fixed wireless connections could see some major improvements in the coming years. It’s unlikely, however, that cable or fiber optic internet providers will aggressively expand into rural areas because operating costs are too high in low population areas.

SpaceX, Boeing and even Amazon are investing in low-flying satellites, which won’t offer the expansive coverage traditional satellites can, but will be able to deliver faster speeds and lower latency. As of 2020, Starlink (under the SpaceX umbrella) is in its beta testing phase, while Amazon is still preparing the launch of its satellite internet system.

The rollout of 5G could mean faster fixed wireless connections are on the way. As Verizon and AT&T update their networks to support 5G technology, fixed wireless internet customers may have access to faster speeds and higher data limits.

Improved internet connectivity in rural areas may well be worth the wait, but if you want to see what’s available for your home now, give us a call. Our internet experts will inform you of the best rural internet options in your area.


Rural internet FAQs

Can I get high-speed internet out in the country?

Yes. Satellite, DSL and fixed wireless connections are popular in rural areas. Satellite internet is one of the best choices for broadband internet in rural areas, while DSL is a great option for higher monthly data allowances.

Both fixed wireless and satellite internet are good choices for internet service in rural areas. Fixed wireless internet has lower latency than satellite internet because the wireless signals travel a shorter distance. Satellite internet, however, is generally better than fixed wireless because it can offer fast speeds and a more reliable connection.

Satellite internet can deliver broadband speeds (up to 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload), making it a great option for rural residents wanting a fast internet connection for streaming, downloading music and more. Satellite internet is not an ideal connection for online gaming, though, due to its high latency.

Adjust or reset your router – Wi-Fi router placement can affect the speeds you get on your devices. Place your router in a central location in your home, clear of obstructions that could block Wi-Fi signals. Reset your router if you are suddenly experiencing slower speeds.

Switch rural internet providers – If you have dial-up or DSL internet service, satellite or fixed wireless providers could offer faster speeds. Of the rural internet options, satellite and fixed wireless internet providers are likely to offer the fastest speeds.

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David Anders

Written by:

David Anders

Senior Writer, Broadband Content

David joined the Allconnect team in 2017, specializing in broadband and TV content. As a Senior Writer, David is passionate about making sure our broadband content provides vital information to consumers and hel… Read more

Robin Layton

Edited by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband & Wireless Content

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