7 Best Internet Options for Rural Areas for 2022
Updated: March 28,2022
Living outside the city may limit your internet choice. So with this in mind, we investigated some of the best internet options for rural areas this year.
We’ll focus on:
- Connection Type
- And More
So, whether you want a permanent solution for your home in the country or a quick remedy for a vacation, check out these rural internet options.
- •Different speed plans
- •Fast satellite connection
- •Available across 50 states
2. Rise Broadband
- •Unlimited data plans
- •Stable speeds of 25-50Mbps
- •Easy setup
3. Spectrum Internet
- •Very fast
- •No usage restrictions
- •WiFi hotspot access
- •Unlimited data
- •No contracts or hikes
- •Doesn't throttle data speed
5. HughesNet Internet
- •Available everywhere
- •Consistent connection
- •Lots of plans
6. AT&T Fixed Wireless
- •Bundle with DIRECTV
- •Use own router
- •Covers 18 rural states
7. Kinetic by Windstream
- •Speeds between 200Mbps to 1000Mbps
- •Unlimited data
- •No contract requirement
The Best Internet Options for Rural Areas for 2022
- •Viasat - Best satellite service for rural areas.
- •Rise Broadband - Best fixed wireless broadband.
- •Spectrum Internet - Best high-speed Internet for rural areas.
- •CenturyLink - Best option for ‘DSL’.
- •HughesNet Internet - Best budget satellite plan.
- •AT&T Fixed Wireless - Best fixed wireless with TV bundling.
- •Kinetic by Windstream - Best DSL in the midwest and southern states.
Different speed plans
Fast satellite connection
Available across 50 states
Viasat is our pick for the best satellite internet option for rural areas. It’s quite literally available everywhere, whether you need rural internet in Georgia or internet for rural areas in Illinois. Even remote Alaska isn’t off the grid, thanks to some satellites in space.
Top speeds of up to 100Mbps and no hard data limits cement its position. The latter is rarely seen from satellite providers. Instead of cutting off your connection as soon as you reach your monthly limit, it just slows down.
The upshot? You can still access email, social media, and reach people in an emergency. However, high bandwidth activities like watching YouTube may barely crawl along.
Pricing starts at $64.99 per month with a $12.99/mo equipment fee. But look out! After three months, the base price leaps to $84.99/mo. For this, you get 12Mbps downloads, up to 3Mbps uploads, and 40GB of data. This is very much a competitive price for satellite internet.
At the other end of the scale, you get 100Mbps download and 150GB of standard data for $169.99/mo, increasing to $249.99/mo after three months. Plus, the $12.99 equipment lease. Not everyone will have the budget for this, but it’s the fastest satellite plan on the market.
If you can’t get cable, DSL, or mobile internet services, Viasat is the next best thing.
2. Rise Broadband
Unlimited data plans
Stable speeds of 25-50Mbps
Rise Broadband is your go-to solution if you can get cellular coverage. It provides unlimited internet for rural areas via fixed wireless technology. This requires installing the Rise receiver and modem, but you can use your own router to manage WiFi across your devices.
It’s the fastest fixed wireless option on the market, with download speeds of up to 50Mbps. However, the actual rate you’ll get still depends on location and can be affected by things like bad weather. It’s primarily available in the Midwest, covering 16 states in total.
It prices its service competitively, with a plan at $25/mo for 25Mbps and another at $39.95/mo for 50Mbps. This gives you a hard data cap of 250GB. After 12 months, the price of each plan increases by $10/mo. Meanwhile, unlimited data will cost you a further $20/mo.
So, the cheapest option works out at $35/mo over the long haul, while the most expensive is $69.95/mo. There’s also a $149 upfront installation fee.
If you intend to game or stream Netflix, you should go for the more expensive plan. This promises low latency, fast speeds, and no limits.
However, this isn’t a mobile internet service, so you can’t use it on the go.
3. Spectrum Internet
No usage restrictions
WiFi hotspot access
On paper, Spectrum now offers the best high-speed internet in rural areas. However, its full roll-out of cable-fiber hybrid lines won’t be complete until 2027. This initiative targets remote areas in 24 states, expanding on its already strong coverage of 41 states.
The best way to check if it covers your area is to enter your zip code on the Spectrum website. If you’re lucky, you could get speeds ranging from 100Mbs to a whopping 1Gbps.
They don’t lock you into a long-term contract, although after one year, prices go up by $25. Besides that, the base plan for up to 200Mbps is $75 per month. To unlock the full plan with 35Mbps upload, you’re looking at $135/mo. That’s at the higher end of hybrid fiber.
The good news is there are no data caps or throttling. You can use as much as you need at the fastest speed capable in your plan/area. This is ideal for online gaming and HD streaming services.
Furthermore, Spectrum gives all customers access to their free wireless hotspots when you’re on the go in major towns and cities.
To conclude, if you’re on the hunt for unlimited high-speed internet for rural areas, keep a close eye on Spectrum.
No contracts or hikes
Doesn't throttle data speed
DSL is one popular solution for remote internet users, though speed can vary greatly depending on location and the ISP. As a whole, CenturyLink offers the broadest and most reliable DSL plan for such customers.
The prerequisite, of course, is an existing phone line, which instantly excludes some remote locations. However, it reaches 37 states, the broadest coverage for a single rural DSL provider.
If it’s available, you’ll benefit from unlimited data, no long-term contracts, and no price hikes. What you pay initially, is what you’ll always pay.
On average speed ranges between 15Mbps and 100Mbps but the provider doesn't throttle data speeds. The plan costs roughly $50 a month. This is a better value than satellite or fixed wireless internet. You can also avoid modem and router rental by using your existing hardware. However, specific rural locations may need professional installation for a one-off fee of $99.
CenturyLink stands out among rural internet providers for its superb customer satisfaction. There’s online chat, a speed tester, and an outage checker. You can quickly and easily troubleshoot any connection problems.
The catch is, if you’re having issues at the hardware level and aren’t using CenturyLink’s kit, you may have to pay a fee.
5. HughesNet Internet
Lots of plans
Satellite remains one of the internet options rural areas can rely on. HughesNet offers an affordable service if satellite is your only option.
Pricing starts at $60 and gives you 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload speeds, which is universal across all plans. The limit comes in data, with the starter plan permitting just 10GB.
The speeds can support gaming and streaming services, but you’ll want the higher-priced plan to get enough data, especially in a multi-person household.
Fortunately, it touts soft data caps, so even if you go over your monthly data allowance, it doesn’t charge an extra fee. Instead, you’ll experience heavy slowing, meaning only basic browsing is possible until the next month rolls around.
HughesNet doesn’t hide fees or price hikes, but there are some added costs you must consider. For example, there’s a $99 installation fee to get your dish and modem set up.
If you decide to pay for the hardware upfront (around $450) this won’t be included in your monthly bill, saving you $15 a month over the long haul.
Also note there’s a two-year contract when renting the hardware. If you wish to cancel early, you have to pay off the remaining balance as well.
Whether you need internet for rural areas in Texas or Indiana, HughesNet provides countrywide stable connections, with the cheapest starter plan of all satellite providers.
6. AT&T Fixed Wireless
Bundle with DIRECTV
Use own router
Covers 18 rural states
You might know AT&T for its popular fiber and DSL plans, but for rural areas, it also provides fixed wireless plans in 18 states. If you’re in one of them, you can get good speeds up to 25Mbps and some perks you won’t find elsewhere.
AT&T satellite isn’t currently an option, but a partnership with OneWeb expects to roll out the service in 2022.
Of course, with fixed wireless, you require a phone socket or at least one to be installed in a coverage location. You’ll also get a receiver professionally fitted to the outside of your property, so self-installation isn’t possible. However, you are free to use your own router.
Average speed is entirely location-specific, so while other providers promote a higher top speed, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get it. Therefore, enter your zip code or talk to an agent at AT&T or the likes of Rise Broadband to see where you’re covered and what speeds you can get.
The main advantage of a giant like AT&T is they’re always running deals and have lots of bundles to choose from. For example, you can get DirecTV over fixed wireless, including more than 150 channels, and a few taster months of HBO Max, Cinemax, SHOWTIME, etc.
So, when looking at top rural ISPs, it’s our fixed wireless home internet pick for TV bundles.
7. Kinetic by Windstream
Speeds between 200Mbps to 1000Mbps
No contract requirement
Windstream’s Kinetic DSL internet is our pick if you live in one of the 18 or so states it covers in the South and Midwest. Fiber is an option, but the lack of ISP investment in availability makes it extremely limited. It’s looking at full expansion towards 2027. Until then, most rural users with a phone line will be gunning for its 200Mbps DSL plan.
Of course, this is an ‘up to’ speed and will depend on your location, but even the cheapest plan available supports such speeds. This means most people will be able to enjoy HD video streaming, online gaming, and connecting with multiple devices.
Its internet for rural areas in Kentucky, Georgia, and Iowa, is particularly reliable.
Those that can only receive a lower speed will still appreciate the $37 a month cost. A price that’s lower than pretty much all the competition.
Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about long-term financial commitments because it doesn’t lock you into an annual contract. Moreover, every plan has unlimited data, so you can use the internet as much as you like without extra charges or speed slowdowns.
You can subscribe to its security add-on for an additional $10 per month. This provides browser protection and the blocking of suspicious sites. It also detects viruses, malware and other nasties, and parental control.
How To Choose the Right Rural Internet Provider?
Choosing the right rural internet provider is all about availability, but when there are multiple options, here’s what to consider:
Price and Fees
Generally, the price of Satellite is higher than all other options, but it’s available everywhere.
When it comes to DSL and fixed wireless, there’s an overlap depending on the specific plan and its features.
The other choice of cable or fiber can be more expensive due to faster speeds. They also tend to have limited availability in most rural areas.
In general, expect to spend as low as $35 for entry-level DSL and wireless plans. On the other end of the scale, it’s possible up to a few hundred dollars a month for a top satellite option.
High-speed internet options for rural areas are lacking. Usually, higher speeds mean less rural. However, plenty of options can still support video streams and playing games online.
Satellite is the slowest but most dependable, whereas DLS and fixed cable speeds vary based on location. You’ll need to do some shopping around. You’re looking at anything from 10Mbps to 200Mbps on a good day. This excludes the few that have access to fiber.
DSL and wireless internet in rural areas can be unreliable for different reasons. While ISPs send DSL via your phone line, it may poorly maintain the network or lack neighboring infrastructure. The longer it has to travel, the worse the connection.
On the other hand, fixed wireless relies on a cellular tower often in the receiver's line of sight. Physical terrain, trees, and even bad weather can be disruptive. Moreover, the further the building is, the less stable the connection is.
Satellite has similar issues as fixed wireless, in that the signal can be blocked. However, it’s much stronger and more reliable. The speed can be slow but more consistent.
Getting unlimited internet in a rural area is still a privilege and one you pay a premium for. Before parting cash down on the cheapest plan, make sure to check the monthly data allowance.
Once you reach your limit, an ISP with a hard cap will cut your connection until the month rolls over otherwise you face expensive fees.
‘Soft caps’ are sometimes sneakily marketed as ‘unlimited,’ but all it means is you can still connect. However, the ISP heavily restricts your speed until your data period resets. In other words, don’t expect to watch Hulu or play an MMORPG, but browsing news sites or reading emails should be ok.
In conclusion, we’ve looked at the various internet options for those who live in rural areas. From satellite to even hybrid-fiber, there’s some kind of solution for most everyone. Moreover, the opportunities and availability will only increase through 2022 and beyond.
What type of Internet is best for rural areas?
The best option for internet in rural areas depends entirely on the exact location. Cable and fiber-optics will always provide the best stability and usually the best speed where it's available. However, it could be hard to get in remote areas as the infrastructure doesn’t exist.
The next best option is DSL, which uses existing phone lines and is available in most areas that have access to them.
Fixed wireless is also an option which can compete with DSL in terms of performance. However, this depends on the tower's proximity and whether anything interferes with the signal.
For the remotest locations without phone lines and only limited cellular coverage, satellite is the best choice. It can be costlier and slower, but satellite coverage can be delivered anywhere.
How do I get internet in the woods?
Portable internet services are a must if you’re out in the woods camping or hunting. If it’s a temporary situation, you might opt for a cellular signal booster. This allows you to still use your mobile data once the signal gets spotty.
For long-term solutions, satellite internet can provide a stable connection in a heavily wooded area since the signal comes from above.
Lastly, fixed wireless might be available in less dense woodland with cellular connectivity.
Why is it hard to get WIFI in rural areas?
This is because the remoteness means you’re further away from any infrastructure that provides an internet connection.
The same reason you lose cell phone coverage in the wilderness is why you struggle to get cellular broadband like 3G and 4G.
Vast farmlands, trees, mountains, streams, and rivers all make it difficult to roll out infrastructure and also play a role in interfering with wireless signals.
Imagine you’re in a major city with good internet; you can still find it hard to connect to your router when your device isn’t close to it. Similarly, if your device is far away from a cellular tower, it isn’t going to be able to connect.
So, again, go with satellite or fixed wireless if you want the best internet options for rural areas, especially if no cabling or phone line is available.
A qualified journalist and longtime web content writer, Keelan has a passion for exploring information and learning new things. If he's not writing or pushing his own brands, you'll find him watching pro wrestling or trying not to rant about politics online.
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