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Internet is one of the best technological inventions in the history of mankind. It has completely transformed our lifestyle and revolutionized the way we did business. No matter how far we are from our friends and family, we can easily stay connected and be a part of their lives, courtesy of the internet.

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), more than 90% of United States citizens can access internet speed up to 100 Mbps while around85% have access to250 Mbps. United States is also ranked#2 worldwide in the category of the largest e-commerce markets.

Major credit for the widespread availability of internet in America goes to the cable-based ISPs who have established an excellent infrastructure capable of delivering reliable broadband internet connections. These internet service providers now use coaxial cables in conjunction with fiber optic technology and deliver the fastest internet possible by putting DOCSIS 3.0 & 3.1 networking protocols to use.

However, millions of U.S. citizens still don’t have access to a reliable broadband internet connection. According to the 8th Broadband Progress Report from the FCC, “approx. 19 million Americans—6% of the population—lack access to a fixed broadband service at threshold speeds”. The report also indicates “in rural areas nearly one-fourth of the population—14.5 million people—lack access to this service” and “in tribal areas nearly one-third of the population lacks access”.

These statistics must have made you wonder how does such a major digital divide still exist in a country like America. Well, besides the fact that “even in areas where broadband is available, approximately 100 million Americans still do not subscribe”, the other reason is the high cost involved in setting up wired networks in rural America. This leaves behind the more pricey satellite internet option for the vast majority of inhabitants in rural regions or the traditional DSL delivered over twisted copper phone lines— the almost obsolete dialup internet which does not suffice today’s digital needs may still be a choice in some regions, but not an appealing one.

The importance of internet in our daily life underlines the urgency to diminish this digital divide between urban and rural areas in the United States. This is why we see the likes of Mediacom Cable invest in infrastructure expansion and network upgrades—enabling communities living outside the urban centers to experience broadband internet in all its glory. While providers like Charter Spectrum™ and Cox Communications run programs for low-income households in urban areas, with an aim to benefit every K-12 household with a high-speed internet connection. Cable broadband ISPs are thus investing money and effort into expanding the realm of the fastest internet both in urban and rural parts of the U.S.

If you live in a rural or remote region, and want to get a reliable rural internet service, read on. Today, we are set to discuss tips and tricks to help you enjoy the fastest internet in your rural abode.

Price Considerations

For most of us the prime factor when it comes to picking an internet service provider is the cost of the service. Unfortunately, a reliable broadband internet connection in rural areas is not only scarce, but rather expensive. Its usually a satellite service competing with nearly outdated dialup and traditionally slow DSL—making it even more difficult to enjoy a good internet connection without breaking the bank. But there are ways you can tackle this circumstance. So, if you still haven’t figured out how to buy the fastest internet by keeping the cost within the range of your budget, here are few tips to explore:

Only Buy As Much Data & Speed As You Need

If you feel tempted by internet service providers that offer unlimited data packages, we would not be surprised at all, because that’s basically all of us. But when you have a strict budget, you need to make logical decisions.

Let’s say, you only use up to 50GB data per month, but with an unlimited plan you are paying the price of 100 GB instead—it would amount to inefficient utilization of your resources. So, we’d suggest you observe your internet usage for a couple of months and choose the broadband internet connection which offers you a data plan to match your data needs.

The same holds true from the viewpoint of speed. If you do not require a connection faster than 25 Mbps, and it does the job for your family, there is no reason why you should pay for 100 Mbps. Again, we’d recommend you read up on what is a good speed for your usage level and opt for a plan in accordance with that.

Beware of Price Hikes

To start with, when you look up probable ISPs to subscribe to, make sure you read any fine print that accompanies the price. Beware of hike in price after the introductory term of an offer comes to an end. And, when your internet service provider gives you a contract to sign and finalize the deal, don’t do it without reading it thoroughly. Why so? The contract will tell you about the increase in price during the term of the agreement, following the end of the promo period. After all, you would not want to get stuck with prices that progressively increase with the passage of time, until unaffordable.

We would recommend you to go for HughesNet,CenturyLink,Frontier,or AT&T, as your internet service provider, depending on availability—all these providers carry nationwide repute, offer good internet speeds at affordable rates with other perks included. HughesNet is satellite broadband and on the pricier end. CenturyLink, Frontier and AT&T provide reliable DSL connections, which may be on the slower end of the speed spectrum but are worth your money. In fact CenturyLink DSL comes with a Price For Life guarantee. What is that? Well, it means you get to pay the same price throughout your service period without any price hike—as long as you keep the package and do not change your service address. Plus you pay on a Month-to-Month basis, which makes CenturyLink a more viable choice.

Analyze the Cost of Equipment

Some internet service providers come with costly installations and equipment rental fees, while there are others that may provide these services for free—often as part of a promotion. Prepare a comparison of extra costs of equipment associated with each available internet service. This will help you in making the right decision and enjoy maximum benefit at minimum cost. And, if you are a new buyer, don’t forget to ask for promotional offers when you get to subscribing—you never know it may just be your lucky day!

The Speed Factor

As we said a little earlier, it is important you analyze your internet speed needs, and then buy the plan that best suits your needs. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), your internet speeds depends upon your internet usage—that is the kind of online activities you run. Here is what it suggests:

Type of Online Activity Required Speed
Web browsing, Emails, Social Media 1 Mbps
Online gaming 3 – 4 Mbps
Online Video Streaming (standard) 3 – 4 Mbps
Online Video Streaming (HD) 5 – 8 Mbps
Online Video Streaming (4K) 25 Mbps

An important thing to remember here is these internet speeds are also affected by the total number of devices/users connected to the network. So, when judging your speed requirement, make sure to keep this in perspective.

Data Limits

If streaming is how you watch TV, and Amazon Prime, Netflix or Hulu is where you land for entertainment, you might need unlimited data plans. Unfortunately, the internet in rural areas usually comes with data limitations—whether satellite or DSL. However, the likes of CenturyLink and AT&T are generous with their data caps, offering 1TB data allowance, which may amount to virtually unlimited even for modest streamers. While, internet service providers like HughesNet offer data-based plans with a twist—the provider gives you FREE additional 50GB per month with each plan—you can utilize this bonus data during off-peak hours.

Availability

There is no denying the fact internet for remote areas is still a big problem. If you are a resident of rural America, there is high probability you are well aware of the difficulties in choosing the right broadband internet connection—given the availability factor. And, this is where HughesNet becomes a top contender—it is a satellite connection that is not dependent on landline wired networks—anywhere in the U.S. that you can get a clear view of the southern sky, you are sure to have access to HughesNet Gen5 Internet. DSL options are also pretty widespread since this connection type makes use of twisted copper phone lines already in place in most rural regions. Last but not least, with the advent of mobile and fixed wireless networks, you can now also access reliable rural internet service, that is wireless in nature, if available.

So, Which is the Best Broadband Type in Rural Areas?

By now you would have guessed the types of broadband connection that could provide reliable internet in rural areas. Let’s sum these up categorically:

Fixed Wireless Internet

It is quite widely available and is slowly coming to replace traditional DSL.

Mobile Wireless internet

It allows users to enjoy 4G LTE speeds, and availability is growing with the passage of time.

DSL Internet

If your area has access to a landline phone service, you can easily choose this connection type.

Satellite Internet

No matter where you live, you can enjoy satellite broadband internet in rural areas of the U.S.

Dial-up Internet

Just like DSL, you can enjoy this service if your area has access to a landline phone service. However the slowest of all available options, is fast becoming obsolete with other types on the rural horizon.

Will 5G Work in Rural Areas?

5G is set to roll out in 34 cities of the U.S. and it is anticipated rural America too will get to benefit from this revolutionary step ahead. Albeit, in regions other than the dense urban parts of the U.S., 5G service will be provided via the sub-6GHz band, delivering speeds only slightly higher than 4G networks. In any case, it is expected in rural areas 5G will function differently. It might result in introducing use of new and unique ways of living and harvesting for instance, more than becoming a source for residents to enjoy high-speed internet for browsing and streaming.

Bottom Line

It is not easy to close the digital gap and connect rural and remote areas in the U.S. to high-speed broadband internet connections. But we hope the tips and tricks we have suggested, and the information about rural internet providers we have shared, helps you choose a worthwhile rural internet option that best matches your needs and budget.

Before we go, here is a list of top 5 rural cities where residents get to experience the fastest internet speeds available in rural America:

City Internet Speed
Hampton, GA 113.6 Mbps
Haymarket, VA 93.1 Mbps
New Market, MD 89.4 Mbps
Aliquippa, PA 82 Mbps
Warrenton, VA 79.6 Mbps

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I get unlimited data in rural areas?

CenturyLink and AT&T are offering 1TB data allowance, which may translate to unlimited data for gaming, streaming, browsing and much more!

Is Satellite internet available in rural areas?

Satellite broadband offers 100% coverage across 50 states making it a widely available option in rural areas of the U.S.