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Available Rural Internet Service Types

For as long as it takes to bridge the digital gap between non-rural and underserved rural America, available internet options in rural areas are expected to remain limited. Fewer providers, limited coverage and capability of infrastructure, slower speeds, and capped data options, mean less choice. Rural life may not be as dependent on availability of high-speed internet as the urban lifestyle. But, in this age and time, it is still a utility that cannot be done away with.

If you are looking for a faster internet connection, here are your best rural internet options:

  • DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)
  • Satellite
  • Fixed Wireless
  • Mobile Broadband
A millennial enjoying music on a tab with reliable internet connection

Top Rural Internet Providers

For High-Speed Internet Over a DSL-Based Network

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) is a practical option for a solid internet connection in rural localities—if it meets your needs. It uses the copper telephone wires you already have inside your home to deliver the internet. Copper phone lines cover great swaths of land across the U.S. and make DSL one of the most readily available options—88.3% of the U.S. population is able to access the internet via DSL networks.

DSL internet speeds typically start from 1 Mbps and go up to 35 Mbps―with newer technologies DSL-based networks are now able to deliver 100+ Mbps for downloads. The speed available at your specific location however depends on how far you are located from your provider’s hub. If you are farther away from the backbone of the network, you are likely to get slower internet. That is why not all speeds offered by an internet provider may be available at your address.

Best High-Speed Internet Providers in Rural America

Provider Download Speed Range Data Allowance Price

View Plans
25 Mbps to 100 Mbps 1 TB or unlimited
(depending on available speed tier)
for 12 months plus taxes. Autopay & Paperless bill req’d*

*Price after $5/mo autopay & paperless bill discount (w/in 2 bills). Monthly State Cost Recovery Charge in TX, OH, NV applies. One time install chrg may apply. Ltd. avail/areas

View Plans
15 Mbps to 100 Mbps Unlimited data $50/mo.
Speed may not be available in your area. Paperless billing required. Taxes and fees apply.
Kinetic by Windstream

View Plans
25 Mbps to 200 Mbps Unlimited data $39.99/mo.
for 12 months in select markets.
After 12 months $65/mo.

Best Satellite Internet in Rural Areas

All-Inclusive Coverage, Fast Speeds & No Hard Limits

Satellite internet is the most widely available type of broadband connection in the U.S.—covering 99.92% of the country’s populace.

Satellite internet uses wireless signals from an orbiting satellite in space to transmit data. It facilitates data transfer through a satellite dish installed at your premises. This piece of equipment is responsible for the transmission of signal to and from the orbiting satellite in the space. Because data with satellite-based networks is transmitted over extremely large distances, you must keep the latency factor in mind.

In recent times providers like HughesNet have done exceptionally well at reducing latency. HughesNet Gen5 Internet utilizes fifth generation satellite networking tech and brings you stable speed that you can even use for light-weight causal gaming. If budget is not an issue, in the absence of a high-speed wireline service, HughesNet is a decent option. The data is capped, but there is no hard limit, and you never go offline. Plus you get FREE Bonus Zone data worth 50 GB to supplement what your service plan allots you.

A Quick Look at Satellite Internet Plans from HughesNet

Provider Max. Download/Upload Speed Data Allowance Options Price

View Plans
25/3 Mbps 15 GB | 30 GB | 45 GB | 75 GB or 100 GB $44.99/mo.─ $139.99/mo.
For 6 months in select markets. Requires 24-month commitment.

Best Fixed Wireless Internet in Rural Areas

Faster Speeds, Unlimited Data & Lower Latency

Fixed Wireless is a fast-growing rural internet option in the U.S.—available to an estimated 66.49% of the population.

Different providers use different technologies to deliver fixed wireless internet―but essentially this type of service utilizes a series of broadcast towers to transmit signals via radio waves. Instead of Copper or Fiber cables, Fixed Wireless uses an over-the-air microwave platform to transmit signals from the backhaul tower, until they get to the subscriber’s location. This internet service type offers rural residents faster speeds, lower latency, and unlimited data options.

Rise Broadband is one of the largest fixed wireless internet providers in the U.S. Rise services are available in 16 states―its footprint is spread throughout rural and suburban parts of the Midwest, Rocky Mountain and Southwest regions. With competitive prices and no mandatory contracts, Rise makes for a great value option. And since it is quite widely available chances are you will find yourself in the line of sight of a Rise access point.

A Quick Look at Fixed Wireless Internet Plans from Rise Broadband

Provider Download Speed Range Data Allowance Price
Rise Broadband

Call NOW!
25 Mbps - 50 Mbps Unlimited $55/mo. to $65/mo.

Best Mobile Broadband in Rural Areas

Experience Super-fast Speeds with 5G

Mobile broadband is available to nearly 100% of the U.S. population. Like Fixed Wireless, mobile broadband also uses radio waves to transmit the signal. The only difference is cellular network towers broadcast the signal in a general direction instead of point-to-point transmission.

If you are using the 4G LTE network or have access to 5G, and are in the range of a strong signal, you can easily stay connected via a good cellular wireless plan. And with AT&T Wireless available across the U.S. you are likely to grab a good bargain deal.

AT&T is the largest mobile broadband provider in the U.S. and comes forward with a variety of wireless tech to provide nationwide services—3G/4G, 4G LTE and 5G. Some AT&T wireless plans in the market limit access to certain network technologies or impose a maximum speed limit. But, other plans allow access to all available technologies and give maximum possible speed available at your location.

A Quick Look Wireless Internet Plans from AT&T

Provider Download Speed Range Data Allowance Price

View Plans
  • 13.4 - 68.6 Mbps―via 4G LTE
  • 37.7 - 120 Mbps―via 5G
Unlimited starting from
$35/mo. per line
when you get 4 lines
Req’s autopay & paperless bill. Taxes and fees extra.

Offer Details

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AT&T High-Speed Internet

$55/mo. for 12 months, plus taxes
Autopay & Paperless Bill req’d.*

*Price after $5/mo autopay & paperless bill discount (w/in 2 bills). One time install chrg may apply. Monthly State Cost Recovery Charge in TX, OH, NV applies. Ltd. avail/areas.

Offer Details

  • Download speeds up to 100 Mbps
  • Get fast Wi-Fi to work and play throughout your home
    Whole-home Wi-Fi connectivity may require AT&T Smart Wi-Fi Extender(s). add’l mo chrg may apply.
  • No Annual Contract
  • No Equipment Fees
Browse Plans

CenturyLink Simply Unlimited Internet

$50/mo. Speed may not be available in your area. Paperless billing required. Taxes and fees apply.
  • Download speeds up to 100 Mbps
  • Unlimited data & no overage fees
  • Work from home or attend class virtually
  • Save mobile data on your devices with fast in-home WiFi
Browse Plans

High-Speed Internet from Kinetic by Windstream

$39.99/mo.* For 12 months in select markets.
After 12 months $65/mo.
  • Fast download speeds up to 200 Mbps
    (Expected speeds ranging from 100 Mbps-199 Mbps)
  • Unlimited data and no overage fees
  • Best for streaming video in HD
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
Browse Plans

Satellite Internet from HughesNet

starting at $44.99/mo. in select markets. For 6 months. Requires 24-month commitment.
  • Download speeds up to 25 Mbps on every plan
    (Actual speeds may vary and are not guaranteed)
  • No Hard Data Limits
  • Latest standards & technology to deliver fast & secure Wi-Fi
  • Available where you live today
Browse Plans

Fixed Wireless from Rise Broadband

starting at $55/mo.
  • Download speeds up to 25 Mbps
  • Unlimited data
  • Connect up to 3 devices
  • Perfect for downloading music & HD movies, streaming videos, and gaming
  • No annual contract
Browse Plans

Mobile Broadband with AT&T Wireless

starting at $35/mo. per line for 4 lines Req’s AT&T Unlimited StarterSM, autopay & paperless bill. Taxes and fees extra*.
AT&T may temporarily slow data speeds if the network is busy.
*Price shown is after all discounts, which start w/in 2 bills.

Offer Details

  • Unlimited talk, text & data
  • 5G access
  • AT&T ActiveArmorSM Advanced mobile security†―a free app with spam call blocking, public Wi-Fi protection, identity monitoring & more
  • Pick the perfect plan for every member of your family
Compatible device for 5G, and AT&T ActiveArmor app access. Download of app req’d. Some mobile security features are not avail. while roaming internationally. 5G may not be available in your area. For coverage details, see Video may be ltd. to SD. Credit card may be req’d (except MA, PA, ND). Browse Plans

Pros & Cons of Different Rural Internet Options

Pros Cons
  • Easily available in rural areas
  • Cost-effective
  • Speeds depend on your distance from the provider’s hub
  • Limited bandwidth
Satellite Internet
  • Available virtually everywhere
  • Speeds comparable to DSL or better
  • Latency can be a problem
  • Expensive
Fixed Wireless
  • Widely available
  • Cost-effective
  • Fast speeds
  • Based on line of sight technology, which can cause signal strength to drop due to interference
Mobile Broadband
  • Available virtually everywhere
  • Fast speeds
  • Signal strength and reception can be a downside depending on your location

Rural Internet Service 101

How to Get the Best Internet in Rural Areas?

Choosing the right ISP for yourself is important. But, not the easiest task. It becomes more difficult when you are living away from the hubbub of urban centers. We’d advise you to assess your needs well. And think about all factors related to the option available to you before you choose your provider and plan. Shopping for an ISP isn’t something that we do quite often. So, don’t rush the process.


Not every internet provider will be available at your address. Even when an ISP is available in your area, it is not necessary that you can access the entire variety of plans and promotions. Before finalizing your pick, make sure to confirm availability of a provider, and its plans by using your ZIP code.


The type of connection plays a huge role in internet performance. How fast can you download depends on whether the connection is satellite, fixed wireless, DSL or cellular. And latency also varies with each type. Satellite being the most vulnerable to higher latency. Make sure you match your needs with the available type of internet.

Speed & Data

Speed and data make the core of what helps you judge if an internet plan is right for you. Often speed and data are closely linked to the type of internet connection. But, providers vary in their offers too. Plus, available speeds from a provider can vary from one location to another. So make sure to well compare your available options before deciding on any.


Internet in rural areas is usually expensive than is internet in urban/suburban regions. And, some types of internet are by default more expensive because infrastructure costs a fortune to deploy. For instance satellite. If budget is a concern, compare rural internet prices and assess the value each plan gets you before you pick one.

Data Caps with Rural Internet

Here is What You Must Know

For rural communities, data caps has been a thing of routine because more often than not, high-speed internet in rural areas is offered with a data cap. While satellite internet is mostly capped, other connection types—Fixed Wireless, DSL-based high-speed internet and mobile broadband ―do offer unlimited data options.

The consumer has always called out providers for imposing data caps. Providers, on the other hand, have stood in favor of the policy. Some say data cap is imposed in order to manage network congestion. While others claim it assists with “Fair Usage Policy”.

When you are on a fixed data allowance, exceeding your data limit may result in an overage fee or throttled speeds. With that said, it is estimated a vast majority of subscribers find their allotted data sufficient for their needs. So, if you know your household’s data usage, your goal is to pay for what your unique set of needs requires. simplified interface to find best internet service providers by ZIP code.

Our Top Rural Internet Providers

Here is a Quick Recap!

Rural Internet Provider Service Features
  • Wired high-speed internet & wireless mobile broadband
  • Wired internet is available in 21 states & wireless internet can be accessed across 50 states
  • Affordable quality
  • High-speed internet
  • Available in 36 states
  • No price hike after 12 months
  • High-speed internet
  • Available in 18 states
  • Great value for money―especially with promo offers
Rise Broadband
  • Fixed wireless broadband
  • Available in 16 states
  • Flexible plans with unlimited data and no contract option
  • Satellite Broadband
  • Available coast-to-coast
  • Powered by Gen-5 satellite networking tech

Rural Internet Scenario

The Effort to Bridge the Digital Divide

The digital divide in the U.S. is at last reducing. There was a time when only the residents of urban and suburban regions could access broadband internet. In June 2016, an estimated 35.92% of rural population had access to at least one provider with speeds up to 100/10 Mbps or higher―compared to 75.97% urban population. But in December 2020, FCC data revealed 72.21% of rural population could access at least one provider―compared to 98.31% urban population. This shows how the country is working toward making broadband access ubiquitous.

The FCC Initiatives

The reduction in the digital gap is well-owed to initiatives of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). For instance, the FCC Lifeline Support program, which makes it possible for low-income households to access subsidized high-speed internet, and has played a significant role in making broadband internet more common. The Connect America Fund also focuses on funding network deployment in eligible areas across the United States, and has encouraged nationwide ISPs to upgrade and extend their network reach.

The Current Landscape of Rural Internet

Rural America is now certainly more wired than yesterday, but large swaths of rural territories still lack the infrastructure needed to deliver high-speed internet. Also, regions that do have this access, get significantly slower speeds, relative to urban and suburban neighborhoods.

Rural adults may still be less likely to adopt new technologies. And, they may still use the internet less frequently. But, 24% of them also believe getting access to high-speed internet is a major problem for their local communities. Meaning, despite the amount of effort and money invested, there is a long road ahead until the digital divide is bridged.

Want to Look Around & Shop More?

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High speed internet connection represented by a lightning bolt Find the Best Rural Home Internet Providers in Your Area

Frequently Asked Questions

To access high-speed internet in rural areas you can use Fixed Wireless, Mobile Broadband, Satellite, and even DSL internet connections. Cable broadband is available in very select rural areas from providers like Optimum by Altice and Xtream powered by Mediacom.

Internet is a vast network that connects digital devices around the world. Digital data is transferred from one point to another via standard networking protocols and equipment. On the other hand Wi-Fi is the technology that allows internet enabled devices to interface with the internet. You can think of internet as a cloud while Wi-Fi is the tech that connects you to that cloud via radio signals.

Latency is the delay that occurs between sending data from your device, and receiving a response from the destination server.

Aside from these options, you can get high-speed internet via mobile broadband in rural areas.

According to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) broadband availability map, in 2020 an estimated 72.71% of the rural population was able to access at least one provider. Albeit only 25.07% could access the service of 2 or more providers at their address.

Lower demand for ultra fast internet and lack of infrastructure are two of the biggest reasons why rural internet options remain limited.

The top two satellite internet providers in the US are HughesNet and Viasat.

You can save on rural internet by making sure you know how much speed and data you need. Also, compare available rural internet plans to see which one fits your needs and brings you the most value. A careful match of your needs with what is available can help you pay only for what you use.

Satellite internet is infamous for latency. But, with HughesNet Gen5 the latency level is well under control and you can play light online games with ease.

Fixed wireless is relatively cheaper and offers faster speed with lower latency compared to satellite internet. Plus the service gives a more generous data allowance too. Rural internet providers like Rise Broadband even offer unlimited rural internet options.

The best way you can improve your rural internet speed is by signing up for a mobile broadband plan if you are in a good location to catch a strong signal. If you are lucky you may just be covered by the latest 5G network from AT&T and T-Mobile.

For gaming, the best type of rural internet would be high-speed DSL.

DSL and Mobile Broadband are widely available rural internet services that are also cheaper than others like Satellite and Fixed Wireless. Satellite internet is the most readily available but expensive. Fixed wireless is cheaper and does not have a latency issue. Its coverage is also expanding rapidly across the U.S. Each service type has its own pros and cons. Depending on what is available at your address, you must asses which one would fulfil your needs better.

All rural internet providers offer you equipment to setup in-home Wi-Fi. Some like AT&T do not charge an added rental fee, and the wireless gateway comes included in the price. While others like Kinetic by Windstream often include the equipment FREE for a limited time. Most providers however charge a monthly rental fee for the wireless equipment on top of the service fee. To determine which rural internet providers serve your area call at 1-855-349-9328.

Rural 4G internet is the term used to refer to mobile broadband internet offered by leading service providers like AT&T via 4G or 4G LTE technologies.