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Let’s face it―living in a rural area with scenic views and an unpolluted environment has its advantages, but we cannot overlook one of its potential disadvantages―which is the lack of internet options. True that in rural America, the pace of life tends to be slower than urban centers because of a myriad of reasons―but that does not imply rural communities do not need a fast and reliable internet connection for daily essentials such as virtual learning, remote work, and other activities―just as people living in metropolises do.

Unfortunately rural America, despite the FCC initiative to bridge the digital divide, still faces considerable dearth of high-speed internet options, and rural communities do not have access to the same privileges as enjoyed by their urban counterparts. 

But, then again, if you have done your homework and know your speed and data needs, it maybe a little less difficult to pinpoint what maybe your best bet.

Before You Sign up for a Rural Internet Service…

As with internet users elsewhere in America, before you set out to choose an internet option for your rural home, make sure you keep the following things in mind:

Availability

Make sure to check which ISPs are operating in your area. For this purpose you can put your ZIP code to some work here, or simply call at 1-855-349-9328 and speak to experts in the field―they’ll let you know exactly which ISPs deliver services at your address, as well about their offerings.

Speed & Data

Once you have a clear idea of your options, run a quick comparison keeping in perspective your speed and data needs―determine whether the available speed and data offers are sufficient to fulfill your everyday tasks―and then narrow down to the option which is the closest fit.  

Customer Support

No matter how great an internet service, glitches cannot be over ruled. Also, when you deal with a vendor there are multiple aspects of the service that may require interaction with the customer support staff. If you have many options available to you, being picky about after-sales customer support is a must. But even if you have limited options, it does not harm to check what kind of customer support a provider offers―and if the service will be backed by proactive customer care and technical support.

At the end of the day, no matter how great the internet service is, if the ISP doesn’t offer professional customer care, it may not be worth it.

Top Rural Internet Options

Keeping in mind various factors such as availability, connection type, speed and data, pricing, and customer satisfaction, here is our take on the top rural internet options.

 

CenturyLink―Top Rural DSL Internet Option

Top Rural Cable Internet Option: Xfinity from Comcast

Xfinity is a leading name in the cable industry, delivering services to over 112 million customers. The Comcast-owned company covers 35 states with a particularly expansive footprint in California, Florida and Illinois, making it the largest cable provider in the US.

Xfinity Internet has limited presence in rural America, but largely speaking it does cover more rural communities than other cable service providers―and where available, it’s no less than a Godsend. Albeit, over long “last miles” which are covered by coaxial cable lines, the advantage of the Fiber-Coaxial network tends to diminish somewhat. Meaning, delivered speeds are not as fast as in regions where the “last mile” over coaxial cable is shorter. Yet, Xfinity from Comcast is a worthy option if you find offerings at your rural address.  

Xfinity Internet plans get you high-speed cable broadband alongside a few perks you’re sure to value―and the advanced xFi WiFi experience is undoubtedly a big highlight of the service.  

Xfinity Internet Plan

Max. Download Speed

What is this speed good for:

Price*

Performance Starter Plus

50 Mbps

Downloading music/photos, streaming content & video conferencing on up to 4 devices

$19.99/mo.

Performance Select

100 Mbps

Downloading music/photos, streaming content & video conferencing  on up to 5 devices

$34.99/mo.

Performance Pro Plus

 

200 Mbps

Downloading shows/large files, streaming on multiple devices on up to 8 devices

$49.99/mo.

*For 12 months with 1-Year Agreement. Includes $10/mo. automatic payments and paperless billing discount for 12 months.

 

Top Rural Satellite Internet Option: HughesNet  

The biggest advantage HughesNet gets over all other rural internet options is that of availability. Given it is satellite internet, and HughesNet is an industry leader, it is sure that you’ll be able to access the service coast-to-coast. But at the same time, not being dependent on a terrestrial network and utilizing an infrastructure which stretches from the earth to space, makes it pricey for a good reason.

With that said, if your home is in an area where a wired option is either totally inaccessible or available options do not meet the FCC benchmark for broadband―meaning all you get is slow DSL or maybe only dial up―satellite internet which delivers 25 Mbps fast download and 3 Mbps fast upload speeds is a great option.

HughesNet Gen 5 Internet plans are data based―categorized by the data allowance subscribers get with each. Unlike other ISPs the speed remains a constant across all plans. So, if you have a good idea of internet consumption in your household, you can pick one that fits your needs and wants with ease. In any case, HughesNet never disconnects you or charge an overage fee when you exceed the limit. Instead you stay connected at reduced speed until the next billing cycle.

HughesNet Internet Plans

Max. Download/Upload Speed

Promo Price

10 GB

25/3 Mbps

$39.99/mo.

20 GB

25/3 Mbps

$49.99/mo.

30 GB

25/3 Mbps

$79.99/mo.

50 GB

25/3 Mbps

$129.99/mo.

*For 6 months with a 24-month commitment.

Top Rural DSL Internet Option: CenturyLink

Unlike fiber optic or cable internet, DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) delivers internet service through existing telephone lines. DSL is therefore one of the most widely available internet service types in rural America.

Largely speaking, the evolution of DSL tech has not benefitted rural users as much as those in urban or suburban regions. Meaning the advantage of new tech has not really improved the speeds delivered outside urbanized regions. The “last mile” journey of data over copper lines is particularly long, and results in degradation of speed over longer distances. The farther you are from the provider’s hub, the more likely you are to experience slow DSL.       

With that said, CenturyLink stands out for quite a few reasons―CenturyLink Simply Unlimited Internet is one of the few DSL services which not only offer unlimited data but contract-free plans. So while you may be dependent on the capabilities of the CenturyLink network in the vicinity to deliver high speed, you can definitely take a sigh of relief with unlimited data and the a month-to-month service plan. And, if  you are geo-lucky you may as well get the top speed of 100 Mbps at your address, along with other perks.

CenturyLink services are available in 36 states, and cover rural communities in the Northwest and Midwest.   

CenturyLink Internet Plan

Download Speed Range

Data Allowance

Price

Simply Unlimited Internet

15-100 Mbps

Unlimited

$50.00/mo.

 

The Endnote

While satellite internet is the one with full-scale availability, both wireline service types i.e. DSL and Cable, it is somewhat unlikely to be available simultaneously in any given rural vicinity. Chances are you’ll have to choose between satellite and DSL or satellite and Cable.  

If you are lucky enough to have access to high-speed DSL and/or cable broadband in your area, you don’t need to ponder upon satellite internet. Just go with the wired option―which is also less costly. But, if your only wired option is a slow DSL connection which does not even meet the FCC broadband criteria, and budget is not too big an issue for you, satellite internet makes for a wiser choice―despite its inherent limitations.


With that said, at the end of the day, even a traditionally slow DSL connection can cut it for you if your needs are not extensive. So as we said earlier, if you know what you need done, it gets easier to make a choice. In any case if you find yourself perplexed, contact experts at 1-855-349-9328 for pro advice and to confirm offer availability in your rural vicinity.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which rural internet option is good for gamers?

Unfortunately most rural communities are restricted to fewer internet service options. Users are more often confronted with DSL, satellite and cable internet which is rather limited in availability. However most video game console makers recommend a minimum of 3 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload. Which means you can play light-weight games over any of the 3 available internet connection types. Albeit, latency can be a downside when you are on satellite internet.

Is 5G available in rural areas?

While the FCC is in the process of funding 5G expansion in rural America, and mobile broadband providers like T-Mobile are fast moving to spread 5G availability to rural communities across the U.S., it is not likely that 5G will be able to help bridge the digital divide anytime soon.