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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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Find the best rural internet options near you

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.

ProviderStarting monthly price*Speed rangeData caps starting atInternet type
AT&T Fixed Wireless$50.001 – 10 Mbps215 GB/mo.Fixed wireless
CenturyLink$49.003 – 100 Mbps1 TB/mo.DSL
HughesNet$59.9925 Mbps10 GB/mo.Satellite
Net ZeroFree (10 hours a month)56 KbpsNoneDial-up
Rise Broadband$29.995 – 1,000 Mbps150 GB/mo.Fixed wireless
Viasat$50.0012 – 100 Mbps40 GB/mo.Satellite
Verizon LTE (installed)$70.005 – 12 Mbps8 GB/mo.Fixed wireless
Windstream$19.991 – 200 MbpsNoneDSL

Best rural internet service providers 2020

Compare rural internet provider pricing and speeds

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What to consider when shopping for rural internet service

When choosing an 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 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

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.” 

Price – Check plan pricing, added fees and data allowances

Rural internet may seem higher priced than in other areas, but that’s largely due to the operating and maintenance costs of providing broadband to areas with lower population density. With most rural internet providers, the more expensive plans will offer faster speeds, higher data limits or both.

With satellite internet, you could have a monthly data allowance of 10 to 100 GB depending on the provider and plan you choose. Going over your data allowance can result in slower speeds for the remainder of your billing cycle. Consider DSL or fixed wireless providers if you plan to use the internet for data-consuming activities such as streaming video or downloading music.

Price ranges for rural internet

  • Satellite – $50-$150/mo.
  • DSL – $25-$49.99/mo.
  • Fixed wireless – $29.99-$99.99/mo.
  • Dial-up – $10/mo. or lower

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.

Speeds and latency – Get a connection you can use

Rural internet isn’t known for it’s 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
  • Dial-up – 56-768 kbps

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.

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

Types of internet connections for 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.

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.

DSL – Affordable and high monthly data allowances

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 140 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 – 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.

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

Dial-up – Likely available, but not practical

Yes, dial-up is still around, and it’s a decent 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 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 connection type, with max speeds around 56 kbps.

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 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.

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

David Anders David Anders
David Anders

Staff Writer

@allconnect

@allconnect

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

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Rural internet frequently asked questions

What is the best internet service for rural areas?

  • 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.

Is fixed wireless internet better than satellite?

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.

Is satellite internet any good?

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.

How can I improve my rural internet speed?

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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