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HOW TO GET INTERNET IN RURAL AREAS

You may have more rural internet options than you think. Learn how rural internet providers provide service to locations across America.

INTERNET FOR RURAL AREAS:
CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS

When you try to order high-speed internet in the country, you get used to hearing “no.” That’s because most internet providers have to build expensive physical infrastructure to offer service in certain areas, and the fewer customers they sign per mile, the more money they lose installing the network.

Many internet service providers decide that internet for rural areas isn’t worth their resources, creating a digital divide between Americans that can and can’t get internet service at home.

But the divide may not be as wide as it seems. In 2008, the FCC pushed for faster, more reliable internet options for rural areas. And in 2018, the USDA introduced the ReConnect Program, which invested over $1 billion to expand the internet for rural areas and tribal lands. Rural internet providers today answer the call with five primary technologies: dial-up, satellite, DSL, WISP, and cellular broadband. In this guide, we’ll explore the strengths and weaknesses of each rural internet option and help you find providers.

RURAL HIGH-SPEED INTERNET FROM DISH PARTNERS

We understand the struggle for rural service, and that’s why we partner with DSL and satellite internet providers. We’ll show you how to get high-speed internet in rural areas.

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Frontier Fiber

Frontier Fiber Internet offers high-speed internet using fiber optic cables to maximize the quality of streaming, downloading, and gaming.

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Frontier

Using a DSL connection, Frontier Internet converts existing phone lines into a high-quality internet experience for those out in the country.

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Viasat

Viasat Internet uses satellite technology to bring satellite internet to rural areas across America, allowing people to stream their favorite programs.

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WHAT TYPE OF INTERNET IS BEST FOR RURAL AREAS?

Not all internet is created equal, but based on your location, some rural internet options may be better than others. Check out the following rural internet options for more details!
  • Dial-up
  • DSL
  • Sattelite
  • WISP
  • Cellular broadband
Dial-up

Dial-up operates on existing telephone lines. The oldest form of internet available, dial-up works by using a modem to “call” your ISP and redirect the signal to your Ethernet wall port instead of your phone line.

Pros

  • Affordable because it’s cheap for telecom companies to maintain
  • Available almost everywhere

Cons

  • Takes a few minutes to log on
  • Can’t use with your landline phone at the same time
  • Per-minute rates instead of a flat fee
  • Speeds <1 Mbps make it impossible to stream or share files
DSL

A Digital Subscriber Line, more commonly known as DSL, also operates on existing phone lines. It works by sending internet signals on a different frequency than voice signals so the two don’t interfere.

Pros

  • Always-on internet for out in the country
  • OK to use phone and internet together
  • Generally affordable, since it uses existing infrastructure

Cons

  • Not always available in rural communities
  • Speeds fluctuate with large call volumes
  • Slow uploads make sharing and video chat difficult
  • The farther you live from the provider, the slower your speeds
Satellite

With satellite internet, ISPs send satellites to outer space, and receiver dishes, usually placed on or near a home, receive signals from the satellites to provide high-speed internet.

Pros

  • Available in rural areas
  • Faster than dial-up
  • Quick upload and download speeds
  • More reliable than DSL and dial-up

Cons

  • Data restrictions
  • Weather can negatively impact your service
  • Not ideal for gaming due to high latency
WISP

A wireless internet service provider, or WISP, uses centrally located towers to broadcast a wireless internet signal. You connect to the signal by installing the provider’s app on your computer or phone.

Pros

  • Faster internet speeds than dial-up and DSL
  • Connect to available hotspots even if you’re not at home

Cons

  • Not always available in the country
  • Requires large equipment with a clear line of sight to the tower
  • Poor weather can interfere with internet connectivity
Cellular broadband

Cellular internet broadcasts signal from cell towers to a mobile hotspot in your home. These hotspot receivers are made for home internet use, so you don’t have to use your phone for everything.

Pros

  • Speed and reliability, especially on a 5G network
  • Unlimited data plans often available

Cons

  • Spotty coverage happens everywhere, including in rural areas
  • Often more expensive per GB of data
  • Connected devices can experience poor battery life

CHOOSING YOUR RURAL INTERNET PLAN SPEED

Most rural internet providers offer enough speed for daily tasks like paying bills online, chatting with friends, or checking your inbox for today’s deals. Take a look at the guidelines below to choose a plan speed, or for help deciding, call and talk through your family’s internet use with one of our specialists.

25 MBPS

Email, chat, shopping, banking, podcasts, radio, voice calls

1–2 devices

50 MBPS

Streaming, video calls, telecommuting, learning platforms

3–5 devices

CALL FOR AVAILABLE SPEEDS
100 MBPS

4K streaming, gaming, videoconferencing

6+ devices

father and daughter watching tv

WATCH DISH ANYWHERE WITH
AN INTERNET CONNECTION

Smart TV? Great! No smart TV? No problem! As long as you have an internet connection, you can watch your favorite shows on DISH. With DISH Anywhere, grab your favorite mobile or streaming device and watch DISH whenever and wherever you want.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of internet is best for rural areas?

Depending on your location, there are many internet options you can get in a rural location. What’s best for you might not be best for your neighbor miles down the road. From dial-up to DSL, the best internet for rural areas depends on your location.

What is the best way to get internet in rural areas?

The best way to get internet in rural areas is to find out what’s available to you first. Are there wireless internet service provider towers near you? Do you have open space where satellites can send signals? Whatever your rural layout is, the corresponding internet provider will give you the best reception.

How do you get internet in remote areas?

Living in a remote area can seem like an internet wasteland. Satellites get internet signals into your remotely located home with clear skies and little to no physical obstructions.

How do rural communities get internet?

There are five different ways rural communities get internet:

  • dial-up
  • DSL
  • satellite
  • wireless internet service provider (WISP)
  • cellular broadband
How can I get internet where there is none?

There may be a shortage in cable and fiber lines in some rural areas. While the internet infrastructure tries to catch up, there are alternatives to getting internet in your home. Satellites and cellular broadband can provide the much-needed online experience you need. You can also use your existing phone lines for dial-up and DSL, though they may not provide the high-speed internet you’re looking for.

How can I get faster internet in rural areas?

The fastest internet speeds in rural areas come from satellite internet providers and wireless internet service providers (WISP). These two options offer the fastest speeds for email, streaming, and surfing, as long as weather permits for satellites and there are wireless towers near your location for WISP.

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