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Rural internet service providers

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

Rural internet
Rural internet
Rural internet

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What internet options are available in rural areas?

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.

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.

Best rural internet providers:

Rural internet service details

**Rate requires paperless billing. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. Offer Details. Speed may not be available in your area.

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 – 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.

What to consider when shopping for rural internet service

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.

What internet availability can I expect in rural areas?

Broadband internet is classified as download speeds of 25 Mbps or higher and upload speeds of 3 Mbps or higher. In many rural areas, satellite, DSL or fixed wireless providers may offer an internet connection, but are unable to deliver speeds considered to be “broadband.” 

Broadband internet availability in the U.S.:

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

What price range can I expect in rural areas?

When shopping for rural internet, consider the monthly price plus added fees for installation, data overages and equipment, as well as price increases after a set number of months, especially if you sign a contract.

Price ranges for rural internet:

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

What internet speeds can I expect in rural areas?

Speeds of 1-10 Mbps are ideal for browsing the web and sending emails. For streaming and online gaming, you may want speeds of 25 Mbps or higher, especially if you’ll be using a Wi-Fi connection or using multiple devices at once. As you can see, dial-up internet does not offer speeds fast enough for general or even light internet use.

Speed ranges for rural internet:

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

Call (844) 451-2720 (844) 451-2720 to find your plan

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 that 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.

Call (844) 451-2720 (844) 451-2720 to find rural internet service

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

Staff Writer

David joined the Allconnect team in 2017, specializing in broadband and TV providers. He is our transactional content lead and responsible for the most popular post in our Resource Center… Read more