Thu, Jan 25, 2024 11:30 PMTV
When it comes to internet providers in rural areas, the choices are limited. That's because only a few ISPs build their networks in small towns. But Xfinity, Century Link, and Viasat all offer internet connections in rural areas.
The best of the three is Xfinity because, based on our survey, it's the fastest and most reliable, plus they offer a lot of data, so you can really use the internet you are paying for.
So rural areas have only a few options when it comes to internet providers. You can use your zip code to see which internet service provider is servicing your area by going to our homepage for the list of available providers in your area. Rest assured that we do not ever keep a record or share your location information. We use it only to give you options.
Xfinity - Best Rural Cable Internet
CenturyLink - Best Rural DSL Internet
Viasat - Best Rural Satellite Internet
The above order is what we recommend for the best internet service provider in rural areas. Cable internet tends to be faster and more reliable than DSL, and satellite internet is a good backup connection.
What are the options for your connection to rural areas?
The options you have for your internet connection when you are in a rural area are listed below. However, please be advised that some of the options might not be available in your area.
Usually, the most common connections available are only cable, DSL, and satellite.
Cellular hotspot internet is pricey, but dial-up connections are still available in some rural areas.
Xfinity gives you a high-speed connection and somewhat low pricing. However, they have limited coverage in rural areas, and the signal is degraded over distance.
The best connection you can hope for in rural areas is cable, and Xfinity has the widest availability among the three. The Comcast-owned company is available in 40 states, with particularly in-depth coverage on the Rockies.
However, cable internet from any brand is rare. So if Xfinity is covering your area, we advise you to use it.
One major "but downside to every provider's cable internet is the fact that the data does not carry well for long distances. The further removed you are from a cable company's distribution point, the further the signal that ultimately reaches you is degraded. But it could be weaker and slower than advertised, even though you can get cable service.
CenturyLink's starting price is $49.00/ month, but you are not locked in a year or two-long contract. However, they have limited coverage, and the signal gets bad over distance.
CenturyLink is available in 36 states and covers a lot of rural areas in the Northwest and Midwest. Since phone lines are common if you are outside the urban areas, you will probably see more DSL than cable.
We like CenturyLink DSL, as well as its large availability, because of its relatively low monthly rates and fast download speeds. We recommend CenturyLink as one of our top-five affordable internet providers if it is available near you.
Viasat is widely available, and its download speed is really fast for a satellite connection. However, it is quite expensive and a bit spotty when it comes to performance. Satellite connection doesn't rely on a land-wired infrastructure and is readily available as long as the view is clear.
The bad news: the satellite dish-delivered internet is only capable of sub-DSL speed and reliability, although nice for TV service. Factors such as satellite distance or inclement weather may also knock the speed down or completely knock it out.
Surprisingly, the same sort of satellite dish that can transmit pristine, HD-quality TV into your home is only capable of transmitting a fraction of the internet service signal.
Of the two available internet satellite providers (Viasat and HughesNet), we suggest Viasat. It has a large range of plans and fast download rates, at least in principle. Viasat advertises up to 100 Mbps (megabytes per second) download rates, which is near the highest DSL rate, meaning you can stream shows and movies on several devices and simultaneously surf the internet.
Satellite internet can often be unreliable and sluggish, but it's at least wincingly costly just to keep it real here. In addition to monthly base rates that can run as high as $150, the equipment required by Viasat is not inexpensive, and you are contracted for two years. There is also the problem of bandwidth overages (Viasat claims its plans are "unlimited," but it will cost you in throttled speed and real dollars to go over those data figures).
A satellite internet connection should be the last option for you and Viasat is the best satellite internet connection provider out there.
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