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Best Fixed Wireless Internet Providers of 2022
We compared services like AT&T, Rise Broadband, King Street Wireless, and others based on pricing, speeds, data caps, and the size of the coverage area, to determine the best fixed wireless internet providers.
Using data like plan pricing, coverage area size and the number of customers serviced, available speeds, data caps, and installation costs, we’ve chosen the best fixed wireless internet providers for 2021.
Our pick for the best value fixed wireless internet provider is Starry Internet, but we also recommend other fixed wireless internet providers for different reasons. We like the ease of installation that AT&T provides, the variety of no-contract plans you can get with Nextlink, the speeds offered by Everywhere Wireless, and the wide coverage area that Rise Broadband services.
Although fixed wireless internet is often meant to serve rural areas where broadband internet coverage is limited or extremely expensive, the best fixed internet providers should still service a relatively large customer base. A good internet provider should also offer reasonably fast speeds at affordable prices, without huge installation fees or small data caps that limit your usage. Living in a remote area doesn’t mean you have to compromise on your internet speed or signal quality.
- : Best value
- : Best availability
- : Best no-contract
- : Best speeds
- : Best installation
|Rise Broadband||$35–$65||25–50 Mbps||$149 (may be waived or discounted depending on plan)||View Plans|
|Starry Internet||$30||50–200 Mbps||$0||View Plans|
|Nextlink||$50–$140**||10–100 Mbps||$99–$250||View Plans|
|AT&T Fixed Wireless||$59.99||25 Mbps||$99, but may vary by plan||View Plans|
|Everywhere Wireless||$29–99 starting price††||20–2,000 Mbps||Varies||View Plans|
Data effective 8/2/21. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change. Price may not include taxes
*With successful activation. Limited-time offer. May not be combined with other offers. 2-year contract required. 350 GB data. 1-year price guarantee, price increased by $10 in year
**Internet rates reflect the ability to connect to our tower with a sufficient signal. Service is limited to the coverage area of Nextlink wireless network via line of sight. Residential and Business plan speeds are burstable “Up to” the particular plan’s maximum speed.
†for 12 months plus taxes. Includes a $5/mo. discount with AutoPay and paperless billing discount. $10/mo. equipment fee applies.
††Service plans are month-to-month or yearly and are between Everywhere Wireless and individual subscribers and do not involve the building management company or owner. All applicable taxes, fees and other government-imposed charges have been included in the pricing. Restrictions may apply. Speeds and pricing are subject to property’s infrastructure.
What to look for when choosing a fixed wireless internet provider
Fixed wireless internet providers broadcast the internet wirelessly from a tower to a fixed location like your home or business. This may sound uber technical, but it’s actually pretty simple. The provider comes out, places a receiving antenna on your home, and that antenna grabs the wireless internet signal and sends it to your modem.
Unlike cable or fiber internet, which use cables (coax or fiber optic cables), or satellite internet, which requires a signal to travel a much further distance, fixed wireless internet signals typically travel short distances, and you need a good line of sight from the tower to your reception device.
When shopping for a fixed wireless provider consider:
- Installation costs
- Equipment fees
- Monthly plan costs
- Whether or not a contract is required
- Plan upload and download speeds
- Unlimited data vs. a data cap
- Extra perks (like included email addresses)
Given the personalized nature of a fixed wireless connection, installation cost is an important factor. Some fixed providers can charge high equipment and installation fees, while others may charge high monthly service fees or require lengthy contracts. Look for a provider that offers reasonable installation costs without making you pay too much each month.
It's also wise to find providers that offer fast enough upload and download speeds, and if possible, unlimited data.
You may be able to take advantage of other perks as well, like contract-free plans, free equipment, or included email accounts with your plan. All of these factors go into determining the best providers.
Alternatives to fixed wireless internet
Fixed internet works well in rural areas because it's cost effective, it can reach lower population areas that have fewer internet options, and the signal is relatively reliable. Rise Broadband, for instance, is able to provide 99.99% network reliability to enterprise customers.
One big factor for fixed wireless systems, however, is line of sight. Why does fixed wireless internet need good line of sight? The system relies on a wireless signal that goes from a tower to a reception device placed on your home. This means, you don’t need to have cable or fiber lines running all the way to your residence, as the signal transmits wirelessly from a distance. On the other hand, because of the need for direct line of sight to get a clear signal, heavily wooded areas may not get the best fixed wireless signal (sorry, remote cabin dwellers!).
- Satellite internet: Satellite internet is another option for customers in rural areas. It uses a satellite dish installed on your home to communicate with satellites in space, which in turn communicate with a station on the ground. But given the signal has to travel so far, latency can be a real issue. The cost is often relatively high for satellite internet as well.
- Mobile hotspot: A mobile hotspot takes advantage of your phone’s data plan and uses it for other devices. It’s usually not ideal as a day-to-day option, but it will work in a pinch.
- Cable internet: If cable internet is available in your area, it might be your best option for getting the best speeds at the lowest cost. However, it’s still best to compare the benefits and drawbacks of cable vs. a fixed provider.
- DSL: DSL internet uses phone lines, so it’s typically slower. If DSL is available in your area, it’s another option to compare and consider. However, DSL is becoming obsolete technology.
- Fiber internet: Fiber internet uses fiber optic cables, which generally provide the fastest and most reliable signal. However, fiber isn’t as readily available in lower-population areas. If you can get fiber, that’s probably the best way to go though.
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Starry: Best value
Serving millions of customers throughout New York, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Virginia, Colorado, and the District of Columbia, Starry is the most straightforward provider in terms of its pricing.
You get a heck of a lot for the $50-per-month cost—speeds of up to 200 Mbps, unlimited data, free installation, and a Wi-Fi router. The triangular-shaped touchscreen “Starry Station” router lets you control screen time, monitor internet health, request a call from the provider, and much more.
Considering its lack of fees, the included equipment, and the speed it offers for the price, Starry is by far the best value fixed internet provider. It almost seems like too good of a value considering everything you get for the cheap plan price.
Starry even receives good customer service reviews on Yelp, with four out of five stars from 85 reviewers as of August 2021.¹ Reviewers compliment the provider for its reliability, speed, and the value the brand appears to have for its customers. Starry customers are not locked into any sort of long-term contract, and a technician typically arrives to install the system at the scheduled time. Customers report that it’s easy to get in touch with a representative when you need to, and that the internet rarely goes out.
Rise Broadband: Best availability
Rise Broadband offers a variety of plans, making it a solid option for those looking for a lower-cost plan. However, unlike Starry, which doesn’t include all of those extra fees, Rise Broadband tacks on fees for things like installation, equipment rental, data overages, and a paper statement.
The lower-cost plans are subject to a data cap, and the standard installation fee is $149. Rise sometimes offers promotions that let you save on installation and even on your plan cost, but you’ll still incur a monthly equipment fee of $11, as well as a data overage fee of $5 per 10 GB if you exceed your plan’s allotted data (bummer!)
On the plus side, Rise is available in several cities across the country, and as the largest fixed wireless provider, it serves more customers than other fixed providers. Customer reviews are mixed, with some customers citing price increases and outages,² and others stating they are happy with the installation and speed.³
Nextlink: Best no-contract option
Nextlink offers all of its plans with no contract, so you can get up and running without committing. But, they’ll provide a $20 discount on most monthly plans if you agree to a 2-year contract, so you can save quite a bit of cash by signing up long term. Agreeing to a contract will also save you some cash on installation, and you’ll pay about $150 less than the traditional $250 installation fee.
Nextlink’s plans are pretty straightforward, and speeds range from 10 Mbps to 100 Mbps. There are no data caps, which is a huge plus as well. The small provider serves a large market in Texas, but they also service smaller markets in other states like Oklahoma, Nebraska, Illinois, Kansas, and Iowa. Although not nationwide, Nextlink is still one of the larger fixed providers.
Customer reviews for Nextlink are mixed, with some customers saying they’re dissatisfied with the long wait times to get a technician out to fix issues, and others complimenting the friendliness of the customer service staff.⁴
|Next 10||$60 month-to-month||10 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|Next 15||$50/mo. w/2-year contract or $70 month-to-month||15 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|Next 20||$60/mo. w/2-year contract or $80 month-to-month||20 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|Next 25||$70/mo. w/2-year contract or $90 month-to-month||25 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|Next 35||$80/mo. w/2-year contract or $100 month-to-month||35 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|Next 50||$100/mo. w/2-year contract or $120 month-to-month||50 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|Next 100||$120/mo. w/2-year contract or $140 month-to-month||100 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
Data effective 8/3/21. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Installation charge of $99 for 2-year service agreement, or $250 for month-to-month service.
Everywhere Wireless: Best speeds
Designed initially for multi-family residences and commercial buildings, Everywhere Wireless is not nationwide, which is perhaps its biggest downside. However, it still serves a wide base of customers in the state of Illinois, making it one of the larger fixed providers in the country.
Because it uses advanced elements of both fiber and fixed networks, Everywhere Wireless is able to provide fast, symmetrical speeds without a modem. The company website says it has a 99.99% uptime rate, and it offers both residential and business plans at speeds ranging from 10 Mbps all the way up to 10 Gbps or higher.
For residential plans, taxes and surcharges are included in the price and contracts are month-to-month. Their plan prices are upfront, and customers appear to be exceptionally happy with the service.
On Yelp, Everywhere Wireless has five stars from 291 reviewers (as of August 2021), and customers compliment the provider for its affordable pricing, customer support, and reliability.⁵
Data effective 8/3/21. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Service plans are month-to-month or yearly and are between Everywhere Wireless and individual subscribers and do not involve the building management company or owner. All applicable taxes, fees and other government-imposed charges have been included in the pricing. Restrictions may apply. Speeds and pricing are subject to the property's infrastructure.
AT&T Fixed Wireless: Best installation
AT&T Fixed Wireless serves a larger coverage area than most fixed providers, with coverage throughout the Southeast, Southwest, and Northern portions of the country. The cost is somewhat higher than some of the other fixed providers, but you get a familiar brand name and reliable service along with that higher cost.
AT&T also frequently offers promotions, where you can save on fixed internet when you combine it with another service. For instance, you can save about $10.00 when you bundle with another service that costs $29.99 or more (as of August 2021). You might also be able to save on the $99 installation fee by bundling with another service like DirecTV.
AT&T Internet has poor customer service scores on sites like Yelp, but many of the negative reviews are about AT&T’s fiber or DSL internet plans, as opposed to its fixed internet. Plus, as a larger provider, AT&T is included in the American Customer Satisfaction Index report (ACSI). With an overall score of 71, the ACSI report for 2020–21 ranks AT&T as one the highest ranking among internet service providers.⁶
Recap: How to get the best fixed wireless internet
- Best value: Starry. With a single $50-per-month plan that includes everything from a wireless router to fees, Starry offers straightforward pricing, speeds up to 200 Mbps, and an included Wi-Fi router.
- Best availability: Rise Broadband. Rise Broadband is the largest fixed provider, with coverage in pockets throughout the US Customers incur fees such as installation fees, equipment rental fees, and data overage fees, but since Rise Broadband is a well-known fixed provider that offers affordable pricing and service in a wide area, we recommend it for those with limited options.
- Best no-contract option: Nextlink. While it might not offer the clear cut pricing or lightning fast speeds you get with Starry, Nextlink offers plans for just about everyone. You can choose between a 2-year contract or month-to-month, and you can also choose your desired speed.
- Best speeds: Everywhere Wireless. If you live in the Chicago or Davenport area, Everywhere Wireless might just be a good option for you. This provider has blazing fast speeds at affordable prices if you live in the small service area.
- Best installation: AT&T Fixed Internet. AT&T doesn’t offer the lightning fast speeds or price perks you get with some of the smaller providers, but you do get fixed wireless internet from a well-known brand. The connection appears reliable, and AT&T receives high marks on ACSI reports.
To determine the best fixed wireless internet providers, we looked at the following factors.
- Plan prices: We factored in the cost per Mbps for the fixed wireless plan.
- Speed: We looked at whether or not the plan speeds could support internet activities like streaming and gaming.
- Data caps: Do the plans have data caps? If so, is a typical internet user likely to exceed the allotted data? Also, how much does it cost if a user exceeds the data cap, and is that cost reasonable?
- Installation costs: We think free installation is best, but if there is an installation charge, it should be relatively affordable.
- Coverage area: We evaluated the size of the fixed provider’s coverage area and the number of customers who have service.
We also considered customer reviews, but this metric is more subjective considering many internet providers have less than favorable customer service scores. We read reviews from individual subscribers, asked our colleagues for feedback in cases where they had experience with the particular service, and used customer service reports like the ACSI.
Fixed internet service isn’t as popular as some of the other connection types (like cable, DSL, or fiber), but more and more fixed providers are popping up around the country. If you’re considering fixed wireless internet for your home, check out the following FAQs below.
What is fixed wireless internet?
Fixed wireless internet comes from a wireless base tower that sends a signal to your home via an antenna that’s installed on your home or property. That antenna connects to your modem via a coax cable.
Point-to-point fixed wireless internet involves a connection between two locations, while point-to-multipoint connects a single base station to more than one location. Often, residential fixed wireless connections are point-to-multipoint.
What’s the difference between fixed wireless and broadband?
Broadband internet uses coaxial cables to bring an internet signal all the way to your modem. You need these cables run to your home to get broadband, so lower-population areas might not have cables in close enough proximity. Fixed internet doesn’t require you to have a cable line run all the way to your residence, as the signal travels wirelessly.
What’s the difference between fixed wireless and fiber internet?
As with cable internet, you need a physical line run to your home to get fiber internet. The main difference here is that fiber internet uses fiber optic cables instead of coaxial cables. Fiber networks also use an optical network terminal (ONT) instead of a traditional cable modem.
Does weather affect a fixed wireless signal?
Yes. Weather, especially severe weather, can impact a fixed wireless signal. If you have a good line of sight, this impact should usually be minor though.
Is fixed wireless internet better than satellite internet?
Often, fixed wireless internet is better than satellite in many cases because it can be more cost effective and latency rates are lower.