Get Connected: The Best Rural Internet Options Explained

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( — June 4, 2021) — We live in a connected world: 93 percent of Americans use the internet in 2021. However, there is a massive disparity between the quality of rural internet and urban internet. 

While the average internet speed in the US is world-leading, in some parts of the United States, dial-up is still the norm. This antiquated method of connecting to the internet leads to a frustrating and painfully slow experience.

However, thanks to recent developments, rural internet options are a bit more expansive than they used to be. It is possible to get high-speed rural internet in large chunks of the US. 

In this guide, we’re going to take a look at the different options you have if you want fast internet in rural areas, as well as their pros and cons. Are you ready to learn more? Then read on!

1. Dial-Up

Your first option is to use dial-up. While this will get you connected to the internet through your phone line, it’s a very slow way to explore the internet. It was slow on web pages that were designed for it: on today’s internet, it’s even worse.

Due to its obscurity today, you’ll also face some issues in getting set up. If you call your ISP, very few technicians will be able to help you work through your problems.

The upside of dial-up is that it’s available pretty much anywhere. If you’ve got a phone line in your home, you can get connected to the internet with dial-up. There’s also the fact that, frankly, any internet connection is better than no internet connection.

However, the downsides are many and varied. It’s slow, frustrating, and if something goes wrong, it’s hard to find answers. 

2. DSL

DSL is the most common way to get broadband internet. If you’ve ever plugged a cable from your wall into a wi-fi router (and you’re not on fiber-optic broadband), you’ve used DSL. 

If you can get DSL in your rural area, you’re in for a much better experience than you would be if you used dial-up. Pages will load a lot faster and, if something goes wrong, getting support should be very easy.

However, many people think that broadband connections are much of a muchness. That you should expect similar speeds on a rural DSL connection as you would get in a city. This is far from the truth.

Broadband refers to a type of transmission that allows for multiple different signals and types of traffic. A broadband connection can be anything from 128 Kbps to 500 Mbps. In rural areas, you’re going to lean more towards the lower end of this spectrum.

If you can get DSL, it’s definitely going to be a better option than dial-up internet. For a start, you’ll be able to take phone calls and use the internet at the same time! However, it’s still probably not going to match the speeds that you’d get in urban areas.

3. Fixed Wireless Broadband

Fixed wireless broadband is a way for you to get fast internet even in the most rural areas. You don’t even need a phone line. So, how does it work?

A fixed wireless broadband supplier erects a base station, similar to the antennas that mobile phone companies use. Then they take multiple high-speed internet connections and connect them to the base station. 

You have a smaller antenna on your house that can receive signals from the base station, so long as there’s a line of sight. Thankfully, due to the size of the base stations, their radius is quite sizable.

There’s not too much loss of speed over the wireless signal. This means that if you connect to the base station, you can get very high-speed internet without a phone line or a DSL line at your home. The small antenna on your home can be connected to a wifi router, so you can get high-speed wifi in your rural home.

The key issue with fixed wireless broadband is that its availability is fairly lackluster across the US. If you don’t have a provider in your area, then you can’t get fixed wireless broadband, it’s as simple as that. These connections can also be more expensive than a standard broadband connection.

4. Satellite Broadband

Satellite broadband is, generally, the best way to get rural internet. To connect to satellite broadband, you need a satellite dish, that’s it. You can then connect the satellite to your wifi router and get great wifi. 

Satellite broadband is available pretty much anywhere, even in the most remote areas! This means that even if you live in the deep wilderness, you can still get your Netflix fix. 

You can get great, reliable speeds with satellite broadband, too. You don’t need to share your connection with anyone else and you don’t need to pay to have a cable installed at your home. Read this to find out more about what having a satellite connection is like.

The only downside of satellite broadband is that it tends to be quite expensive, like fixed wireless broadband. You’ll need to pay to have a satellite dish attached to your home, and the monthly subscription charges tend to be pretty high, at least when compared to regular broadband that you’d find in cities.

Rural Internet Options: Which Is Best?

So, we’ve covered several rural internet options, but which is the best? Well, if you’re looking for the highest possible speeds, then you should check out either satellite broadband or fixed wireless internet. Both of these can give you urban-like speeds in remote areas, allowing you to experience the best that the internet has to offer.

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