Rural internet providers

Find rural internet options from satellite, DSL, fixed wireless and dial-up providers near you

Satellite internet service

What are the best rural internet options?

There are many benefits to living in a rural area, but one potential drawback is the lack of quality internet options. Those living in rural areas may not have access to cable or fiber-optic lines, which means getting a fast, reliable internet connection can be difficult.

How can you get internet in your rural area? Rural internet options including satellite, DSL, fixed wireless and dial-up connections may be available in your area. Call or click “Shop providers” to see which rural internet providers are available for your home.

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Types of rural internet connections

Depending on where you live, you could have a few options for rural internet service. Some common rural internet connection types include:

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.

Pros and cons of satellite internet

  • Availability – Satellite internet is available throughout all 50 states.
  • Speeds – Satellite internet can get you broadband speeds.
  • Data restrictions – HughesNet and Viasat plans come with monthly data restrictions that could result in slower speeds if you go over them.

Unlike cable or fiber-optic internet, DSL uses existing phone lines to carry internet service. If you have telephone lines to your house, you might have access to DSL internet from rural internet service providers such as AT&T, CenturyLink or Windstream. Internet speeds can range from 1 to 100 Mbps.

Pros and cons of DSL internet

  • 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.
  • 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 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 50 Mbps.

Pros and cons of fixed wireless internet

  • 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 rural internet option for online gaming.
  • Signal interference – Bad weather or obstructions blocking your antenna can disrupt your connection.

Yes, dial-up is still around, and it’s a decent rural internet option for those needing the internet for little more than checking email. You’ll need a home telephone line and likely a compatible modem for service from Net Zero, AOL Online or other dial-up providers. Internet speeds top out at 56 kbps.

Pros and cons of dial-up internet

  • Pricing – Dial-up internet is a cheap rural internet option, with some providers offering service for free or under $10/mo.
  • Availability – Dial-up is available to virtually any home with a landline phone connection.
  • Speeds – Dial-up speeds are likely the slowest you’ll find from any rural internet connection type, with max speeds around 56 kbps.

What are the top rural internet service providers?

Compare rural internet provider pricing and speeds

ProviderStarting price*Speeds rangeData caps starting atInternet type
AT&T Fixed Wireless$50/mo.1 - 10 Mbps215 GB/mo.Fixed wireless
CenturyLink$45/mo.3 - 100 Mbps1 TB/mo.DSL
HughesNet$59.99/mo.25 Mbps10 GB/mo.Satellite
Net ZeroFree (10 hours a month)56 KbpsNoneDial-up
Rise Broadband$29.99/mo.5 - 50 Mbps150 GB/mo.Fixed wireless
Viasat$50/mo.12 - 100 Mbps40 GB/mo.Satellite
Verizon LTE (installed)$70/mo.5 - 12 Mbps8 GB/mo.Fixed wireless
Windstream$19.99/mo.1 - 200 MbpsNoneDSL

*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 10/10/19.

Improvements in rural internet access

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 others 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.

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 frequently asked questions

  • Satellite internet – Best for internet availability
  • DSL – Best for high data allowances
  • Fixed wireless – Best for low latency
  • Dial-up – Best for cheap internet

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.

Adjust or reset your routerWi-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.

The FCC reports 24.7 million U.S. residents do not have access to broadband internet, many of whom live in rural areas. However, satellite internet, fixed wireless internet and other rural internet options can deliver speeds up to 100 Mbps in select areas, which is significantly higher than the broadband standard of 25 Mbps.

Cable and fiber-optic lines support the bandwidth needed for high-speed internet connections. These networks are not commonly available in rural areas, which can limit residents to slower internet connection types such as DSL, satellite, fixed wireless or dial-up internet as their only options for rural internet.

Rural internet can be a bit pricier than cable or fiber-optic internet services. Some ways to save on internet service include switching internet providers to take advantage of special promotions, using your own internet equipment, bundling internet services and negotiating with your current provider for a lower rate.

Quite possibly. Satellite internet offers speeds up to 25 Mbps or higher, which qualifies as “broadband internet.” In other areas, DSL and fixed wireless offer rural internet with speeds up to 100 Mbps or higher. Call to see what rural internet speeds are available at your address.

Rural internet speeds vary by location and provider, but satellite and fixed wireless internet services are your best bet for the fastest rural internet service. Satellite internet offers speeds starting at 25 Mbps could reach 100 Mbps in select areas. Fixed wireless rural internet service can also reach 100 Mbps or higher depending on the provider. You’re also likely to experience lower latency with fixed wireless internet vs. satellite.

Last updated 10/10/19.

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