Best Internet Options for Rural Areas – What to Choose?

Whether you live in the city or the country, having fast internet isn’t just a luxury — it’s a necessity. However, choosing the best rural internet provider can be difficult.

Luckily, you have many options. Read on to learn more about our top picks for rural internet providers, including fiber, wireless home internet, satellite, and DSL.


Today, reliable internet isn’t just a luxury – it’s a necessity. High-speed internet is vital whether you need to work from home, connect with doctors via telehealth, or simply stay connected with family and friends. However, not everyone has access to fast, affordable rural internet options.

Living in a rural area may limit your choices to satellite, DSL, or fixed wireless options. The good news is that the options are getting better as both the government and major ISPs invest billions in rural broadband. But how do you know which provider and type of internet is right for you?

Cable internet is the best option for most rural areas because it offers fast speeds, affordable prices, and great reliability. You’ll find that most cable providers offer different monthly price options depending on internet speeds, data caps, and equipment rental costs, and where you are located might make a difference in your speed and availability.

DSL internet is another great choice, although it’s being largely phased out as fiber and other options become available. DSL offers a range of speed tiers from 768 Kbps to 140 Mbps, which is still plenty of bandwidth for most users. DSL is also typically cheaper than cable and has a much larger rural internet availability than other types of internet.

Wireless home internet is a newer option for rural areas. Rise Broadband and Viasat are stand-outs because they offer cheap rural internet with the option of unlimited data. But wireless providers can have latency issues, so it’s important to do your research before making a decision.

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of installing wired or wireless internet, you might be able to get mobile internet through your cellphone carrier. Some cell phones can be used as a hotspot for home internet, and you’ll probably pay an extra monthly fee for the service. You can also purchase standalone hotspot devices like the Verizon Jetpack and Skyroam Solis.

The fastest internet option for rural areas is likely to be 5G home Internet, which offers blazingly fast speeds and should be widely available by 2022. It’s also worth noting that cellular and satellite internet tends to be more expensive than other options, but it can be well worth the investment for many rural residents.


For folks who can’t get wired internet services, the best rural internet options are wireless connections. Wireless technology makes it easier for Internet service providers to build into remote areas because they don’t need to lay down cable or fiber. It’s also cheaper for ISPs to install and maintain for customers. Wireless connections include fixed wireless, satellite, and mobile hotspots that operate on cell phone networks.

The best wireless rural internet options deliver high-speed broadband for your home. These connections are reliable and secure and offer excellent latency, meaning you can stream video and games online without any lag. They also tend to be less expensive than DSL and cable internet, which makes them a viable option for families in rural areas that need faster speeds.

In addition to speed and price, the most important thing to consider when choosing an ISP is the reach of their network. Check the company’s website to see if they have maps that show the coverage area for their cable, fiber, and DSL service. If they do, you’ll be able to determine whether their service is available in your home and compare their internet plans against other ISPs in your area.

If you can’t get cable or fiber, the next best option for rural internet is DSL from providers like AT&T and Windstream. DSL uses pre-existing telephone lines to deliver a steady connection, which is more stable than satellite internet and can compete with fiber speeds in some markets. Some DSL providers have plans with unlimited data, making them ideal for families who play online games or work from home.

Another great choice for rural areas is cellular connectivity through 4G LTE and 5G home internet from companies like T-Mobile and Verizon. These internet services aren’t as fast as a wired broadband connection, but they benefit from being more portable since your smartphone can double as a Wi-Fi hotspot. However, be mindful of your cellular data limits to avoid overage charges, and make sure you’re within range of the nearest cellular tower for optimal performance.


If you live in an area without cable, DSL, or fiber internet, satellite is often your best bet. It reaches more rural and remote areas than any other internet connection type and generally provides high-speed download speeds. However, it can be more expensive than other options, and most providers limit data usage.

For example, HughesNet offers plans with up to 50 Mbps of download speed, while Viasat provides up to 1,000 Mbps and offers the largest data caps of any satellite provider. However, both can still be prohibitively expensive for those who don’t want to shell out a few hundred dollars each month for a home internet service.

You may also be able to find a cheaper plan through a cellular internet provider like T-Mobile or Verizon. These providers use their cellular networks to provide home internet services. T-Mobile offers the best deal for rural homes at just $50 per month plus your existing T-Mobile wireless plan (and no equipment charges). If you’re willing to sacrifice some speed, you can even get a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot that you can take with you on trips outside of the home. You’ll need to make sure you have enough data on your cellular plan to cover the internet needs for all of the devices in your house, though.

Another option is fixed wireless, which can offer speeds up to 100 Mbps. While this may not be fast enough for those who work from home, it is an excellent alternative to satellite and DSL if you can’t get a wired connection.

A final option is dial-up, which can be a good choice for those who need the internet to check email and do simple online research. You will need a phone line and compatible modem for a plan from AOL, People PC, or EarthLink. Plans start at around $20 a month for minimal download speeds of up to 50 Mbps.

Most providers that offer internet in rural areas don’t offer unlimited data, but you can find a few that do. Beware of claims that offer unlimited internet for rural customers, as these providers often restrict data usage or slow speeds after a certain amount is used up. To avoid overage fees, make sure you know how much data you need and consider a plan with a higher data cap if your family uses a lot of bandwidth-heavy apps or video streaming services.


Finding high-speed internet can be challenging if you live in a rural area. There are many factors to consider, including price, speed, and reliability. The good news is that more and more rural Americans have access to high-speed internet options like fixed wireless, 5G home internet, and fiber, thanks to improved networks and technology. The best rural internet providers will offer a range of connection types and speeds and provide various customer support options.

Depending on the type of internet you choose, you may want to limit how many devices you connect to your Wi-Fi network at one time to avoid overusing your data allowance. It’s also important to note that some electronic devices, such as cordless phones or baby monitors, can interfere with your Wi-Fi signal and slow down your connection speed.

When shopping for a rural internet provider, look for plans that offer the highest speeds for your area. Families should consider plans that offer at least 25 Mbps, while those who work from home or enjoy online gaming should opt for speeds of 50 Mbps and above. You should also make sure the provider offers a money-back guarantee and is available in your area.

In addition to looking for the best speed and reliability, you should also check to see if the provider has a data cap. A data cap is a limit on the amount of data you can transfer over their network monthly, and there’s usually a fee if you go over the limit. Look for a plan without a data cap if you’re going to be using a lot of data each month.

Wired internet connections are the most common choice for rural residents, and the top providers include cable internet providers, DSL providers, and fiber providers. You can use the internet search tool at the top of this page to find out if these services are available in your area. If they are, you’ll have to factor in the cost of the service as well as any additional fees, such as equipment rental or installation.