Rural Internet in the US
Rural Internet in the United States
Rural internet customers face a few challenges when it comes to the internet. The most prominent issues are slow internet speeds and a lack of options compared to urban and suburban homes. Internet connections are often less reliable, too, with weather-impacted options like satellite internet. Rural customers often pay more for lower speeds and face more data restrictions because of bandwidth constraints of satellite and mobile broadband internet.
Internet Options in Rural Areas
Dial-up and DSL
DSL is available in rural areas with access to landline phones. It is usually the fastest and cheapest wired internet type available in rural America. Dial-up also provides internet access through landlines, but at much slower speeds.
Fixed Wireless Internet
Using radio waves, fixed wireless internet offers consistent, low-latency speeds to rural customers. You can expect similar speeds from fixed wireless and satellite internet, but it is not as available as satellite for rural customers.
Satellite Internet for Rural Homes
Satellite internet offers the most widespread coverage for rural residents. Your internet will travel from a satellite in orbit to a dish installed on the roof of your home. While its speeds are fast in some areas, satellite internet has tight data caps that can limit how often you’re able to get online.
Rural Americans in areas with good cell signal can use mobile broadband to connect their home. Like fixed wireless, mobile broadband uses radio waves from cell towers to deliver service.
Rural Internet Data Caps
Data caps are common with rural internet providers, but they’re much smaller, often providing 250 GB or less each month. There are unlimited data plans available for rural customers, but not all of them are truly unlimited. Instead, providers like Viasat offer “priority data” plans. Once that data is used, your internet speed will decrease significantly. This is the alternative to paying overage fees or losing internet access after reaching your data cap; however, it is not preferred as rural internet speeds are already limited.
While they may cost more, rural Americans can find unlimited data plans with mobile broadband providers, as well as some fixed wireless and DSL providers. Be sure to check each plan’s details as some providers call their plans unlimited when, in fact, they have a “priority data” cap.
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