5 Best Rural Internet Providers

We’re keeping a pulse on the latest rural broadband news, and we found Viasat, Rise Broadband, and Windstream to be great internet options for anyone out in the country.

Best Mobile 5G Internet
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet logo
T-Mobile Home Internet
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
  • pro
    Price:
    $50.00/mo.
  • pro
    Download speeds:
    72–245 Mbps
Best Download Speeds
Kinetic by Windstream
Kinetic by Windstream
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
  • pro
    Price:
    $39.99–$169.99/mo.
  • pro
    Download speeds:
    100–2,000 Mbps
Best Rural Availability
Viasat
Viasat Internet
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
  • pro
    Price:
    $59.99–$299.99/mo.
  • pro
    Download speeds:
    12–150 Mbps
Best Value
Rise Broadband
Rise Broadband
4 out of 5 stars
4
  • pro
    Price:
    $25.00–$65.00/mo.
  • pro
    Download speeds:
    25–50 Mbps
Best DSL Option
ATT
AT&T Internet
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
  • pro
    Price:
    $55.00/mo.
  • pro
    Download speeds:
    75–140 Mbps
Catherine McNally
Feb 14, 2024
Icon Time To Read8 min read

We may earn money when you click our links.

If you’re looking for rural internet options that keep your home office and streaming apps connected, you’re in the right spot. We looked into fixed wireless internet and mobile Wi-Fi hotspots, along with DSL, cable, fiber-optic, and satellite internet to uncover the pros and cons of these potential rural internet services.

You probably Googled something like "wireless internet service providers," or "WiFi offered at my address" to get to this page. To answer those questions, just enter your ZIP code below to find the fastest internet in your area. Note that some satellite internet providers, like EarthLink or Hughesnet will work just about anywhere (which is awesome).

reviews.org next zip logo
Which internet providers have service in your area? Enter your zip code below to find out.
Compare best rural internet providers
Provider
Price
Download speed
Data cap
Details
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet logo$60-$60*245-245 MbpsUnlimited
Kinetic by Windstream$39.99-$169.99100-2000 MbpsUnlimited
Viasat$69.99-$299.9912-100 MbpsUnlimited
Rise Broadband$39.95-$6525-250 Mbps250 Mbps
ATT$55-$55140-140 MbpsUnlimited
Verizon$35-$70^300-1000 MbpsUnlimited
Optimum$30-$265°300-8000 MbpsUnlimited
Earthlink$54.95-$189.95**45-5000 MbpsUnlimited
HughesNet$49.99-$79.99††50-100 MbpsUnlimited
Centurylink$50-$75‡‡100-940 MbpsUnlimited
Xfinity$19.99-$120^^75-2000 Mbps1200 Mbps
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* w/ Auto Pay. Regulatory fees included in monthly price for qualified accounts. See full terms.
With Auto Pay for 12 months
Offer available to new qualifying customers. One-time standard installation fee may be due at checkout. Minimum 24-month service term required. Equipment lease fee is $12.99/mo. Taxes apply. Service is not available in all areas. Offer may be changed or withdrawn at any time.
^ w/ Auto Pay. Available in select areas.
° Prices w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill. Terms apply. Not available in all areas.
** With a 12 month contract.
†† Service plans require a 24-month commitment. Pricing not available in all areas.
‡‡ Speed may not be available in your area. Paperless billing or prepay required. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply.
^^ Pricing for some packages are for the first 12 months. Some packages require a 1- or 2-year contract.

What to look for when buying Wi-Fi and internet for rural areas

If you’re new to rural internet, there are a few things about it that might surprise you. Here are a few things to watch out for when buying wi-fi and internet:

  • Not all internet connections are equal—our first choice is cable and fiber but for rural areas, fiber may be harder to find. Then DSL (VDSL or VDSL2), then satellite, then fixed wireless, then mobile Wi-Fi hotspots, and last, dial-up.
  • You may not get unlimited data or even 1 TB of data, so watch your data cap.
  • Your download speeds and upload speeds may be too slow for streaming Netflix, video calls, or gaming. (Check out our best internet picks for gaming if you want to learn more.)
  • Speaking of gaming, if you go with satellite internet, your latency may be too high to play first-person shooters (FPS) and other action-oriented games. Also, keep in mind that a Wi-Fi connection may not give you enough speed compared to a wired connection.
Don't forget to check for local internet providers
Light Bulb

Your town may be home to a local internet provider that offers a better deal than the rural internet services we list here.

For example, my folks live in a rural part of Northern Georgia and get their internet from a local electric co-op. The price is much lower than satellite internet, and for the most part, the service holds up well.

What are internet options for rural areas?

If you have options, some rural internet providers will work better for different uses than others. In rural areas, the most widely available internet connection types are cable, DSL, and satellite. Fiber-optic is the least widely available option for internet access but it still may be an option depending on where you live. Mobile Wi-Fi hotspot internet and dial-up are also available in rural areas, although it might come at a cost. In general, here’s what we recommend.

Cable internet: Cable is our first choice for the fastest speeds and (usually) the most data at a low price. But it’s not available in a lot of remote areas, and if it is available in your area, you might pay more for it than your city slicker neighbors.

Fiber internet: Fiber-optic internet offers some of the fastest speeds and is one of the most reliable internet options. Unfortunately, it isn't as widely available as cable, DSL, or satellite may be. Luckily, most ISPs like Kinetic by Windstream are actively working on building out the infrastructure needed to bring this option to more rural towns. If it's not available where you live right now, fiber-optic internet may be an option in the future.

DSL internet: DSL may be older and slower than cable, but it’s still a solid choice thanks to lower prices and potentially higher data caps when compared to satellite internet. DSL also tends to be more widely available in rural areas, but be warned: many providers are phasing out their DSL internet service.

Satellite internet: Although it’s not our first choice thanks to its high prices and low data caps, satellite internet reaches more rural and remote areas than any other type of internet connection. So if satellite is your only option, rest assured it’s still a great internet option for the country.

Fixed wireless: Fixed wireless is a newer technology that’s still ramping up its availability. Even so, its prices tend to be a lot lower than what satellite internet providers charge, and some fixed wireless providers even offer unlimited data. Fixed wireless is not the same as 5G.

Mobile Wi-Fi hotspot: If you need a temporary internet connection for a trek into the wild, a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot might do the trick. You may even already have Wi-Fi hotspot data included with your current cell phone plan, so there’s no need to pay extra. But watch out for small data allowances and sluggish speeds once you use all your data. If you notice your phone speeds are slow, there are a few things you can do to speed up your connection.

Want to learn more about internet for rural areas?

Our resident internet expert, Juan, chats about his challenges using mobile data and rural internet while on a trip to New Mexico. Namely, how upload speeds become even more important when you're living out in the country.

Play Video

T-Mobile Home Internet: Best mobile home internet

T-Mobile’s Home Internet is well-priced and won’t charge you extra for equipment or data
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet logo
T-Mobile Home Internet
A fair price without extra charges
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Download Speed
72-245 Mbps
Data Cap
Unlimited
Technology Type Name
Fixed Wireless
$60/mo.

*Price is with auto-pay discount applied.

If you don't like any of the ISPs in your area, you can always go the 5G home internet route. T-Mobile's 5G home internet focuses on including rural areas, and the mobile provider says almost 10 million households in the T-Mobile Home Internet coverage area are out in the country.3

One huge perk to T-Mobile Home Internet is that its $50/month price is all-inclusive: you won’t pay extra for the gateway modem-router combo or fork over cash for installation. (Unlike Verizon LTE Home Internet, which charges $10 a month or $240 for the LTE Home Router.)

One thing: Don’t expect those 100+ Mbps speeds in truly remote areas.

T-Mobile Home Internet features
Provider
Availability
Monthly price
Connection type
Details
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet logo

48 states

$60-$60*Fixed Wireless
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* w/ Auto Pay. Regulatory fees included in monthly price for qualified accounts. See full terms.
reviews.org next zip logo
Look for T-Mobile Home Internet service in your area.

Kinetic by Windstream: Fastest possible download speeds

Kinetic by Windstream download speeds spike up to 2,000 Mbps and won’t cost an arm and a leg
Fastest Rural Speeds
Kinetic by Windstream
Windstream Internet
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Download Speeds
100-2000 Mbps
Data Cap
Unlimited
Technology Type Name
DSL/Fiber
Starting from
$39.99
/mo
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Kinetic by Windstream is a fixture in many rural areas—we spotted its buildings all across northern Georgia. And while its slowest speeds cap out at 100 Mbps, you might find yourself lucky enough to get 500 or even 2,000 Mbps.

Two things to note about Kinetic by Windstream prices, though: they change based on where you live, and they go up after your first year. (But that kind of promotional pricing is normal when it comes to internet land.) Here’s a quick peek at some of Kinetic by Windstream’s pricing:

Kinetic by Windstream internet prices and plans
Plan
Price
Download speed
Data cap
Details
Kinetic Internet by Windstream Up to 100 Mbps$39.99/mo.°°Up to 100 MbpsUnlimited
Kinetic Internet by Windstream Up to 500 Mbps$39.99/mo.°°Up to 500 MbpsUnlimited
Kinetic Internet by Windstream 1 Gig$69.99/mo.***1000 MbpsUnlimited
Kinetic Internet by Windstream 2 Gig$169.99/mo.†††2000 MbpsUnlimited
°° With Auto Pay for 12 months.
*** With Auto Pay for 12 months. Limited-time, non-transferable offer for residential customers that may not be combined with other promotions. Credit restrictions may apply. Subject to availability
††† With Autopay for 12 months. Limited-time, non-transferable offer for residential customers that may not be combined with other promotions. Credit restrictions may apply. Subject to availability.

If Kinetic by Windstream’s gig speeds aren’t in your hometown yet, they might be coming soon. The ISP is building out its fiber gigabit service over the next few years.

Kinetic by Windstream internet features
Provider
Availability
Monthly price
Connection type
Details
Kinetic by Windstream

18 states

$39.99-$169.99DSL/Fiber
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
With Auto Pay for 12 months
reviews.org next zip logo
Find out what Kinetic by Windstream internet speeds are available in your area.

Viasat: Best rural internet coverage

Viasat offers the best satellite internet speeds and data caps
Best for Rural Availability
Viasat
Viasat Internet
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Download Speeds
12-100 Mbps
Data Cap
Unlimited
Technology Type Name
Satellite
Starting from
$69.99
/mo
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Viasat earned our pick for the top satellite internet provider thanks to its fast maximum download speeds and generous (at least for satellite internet) data caps.

By comparison, your other widely available satellite internet provider, Hughesnet, offers 50–100 Mbps download speeds and only 100–200 GB of data.

Viasat satellite internet prices and plans
Plan
Price
Download speed
Data cap
Details
Choice 12 Mbps/60 GB
$69.99/mo.
‡‡‡
12 MbpsUnlimited
Choice 25 Mbps/100 GB
$99.99/mo.
^^^
Up to 25 MbpsUnlimited
Choice 30 Mbps/150 GB
$149.99/mo.
°°°
Up to 30 MbpsUp to Unlimited
Choice 30 Mbps/300 GB
$199.99/mo.
****
Up to 30 MbpsUp to Unlimited
Choice 30 Mbps/500 GB
$299.99/mo.
††††
Up to 30 MbpsUp to Unlimited
Choice 25 Mbps/60 GB
$69.99/mo.
^^^
Up to 25 MbpsUp to Unlimited
Choice 50 Mbps/100 GB
$99.99/mo.
^^^
Up to 50 MbpsUp to Unlimited
Choice 75 Mbps/150 GB
$149.99/mo.
°°°
Up to 75 MbpsUnlimited
Choice 100 Mbps/300 GB
$199.99/mo.
****
Up to 100 MbpsUnlimited
Choice 100 Mbps/500 GB
$299.99/mo.
††††
Up to 100 MbpsUnlimited
‡‡‡ Prices and availability vary by location. Installation fees, monthly equipment lease fees, and taxes may apply. After 60 GB of High-Speed Data usage, you still have unlimited access to Standard Data, which may result in slower speed.
^^^ Prices and availability vary by location. Installation fees, monthly equipment lease fees, and taxes may apply. After 100 GB of High-Speed Data usage, you still have unlimited access to Standard Data, which may result in slower speed.
°°° Prices and availability vary by location. Installation fees, monthly equipment lease fees, and taxes may apply. After 150 GB of High-Speed Data usage, you still have unlimited access to Standard Data, which may result in slower speed.
**** Prices and availability vary by location. Installation fees, monthly equipment lease fees, and taxes may apply. After 300 GB of High-Speed Data usage, you still have unlimited access to Standard Data, which may result in slower speed.
†††† Prices and availability vary by location. Installation fees, monthly equipment lease fees, and taxes may apply. After 500 GB of High-Speed Data usage, you still have unlimited access to Standard Data, which may result in slower speed.
Speeds are up to and not guaranteed and will vary.

Still, Viasat tops the satellite internet charts with up to 100 Mbps speeds and unlimited data on all of its plans. The biggest drawback? Viasat jacks up your price by $15–$50 after three months. So keep an eye on your bill and get your wallet ready.

Viasat satellite internet features
Provider
Availability
Price
Connection type
Details
Viasat

50 states

$69.99-$299.99Satellite
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Offer available to new qualifying customers. One-time standard installation fee may be due at checkout. Minimum 24-month service term required. Equipment lease fee is $12.99/mo. Taxes apply. Service is not available in all areas. Offer may be changed or withdrawn at any time.

Rise Broadband: Best value

Rise Broadband offers decent fixed wireless internet speeds at a reasonable price
Rise Broadband
Rise Broadband
Reasonable prices for fixed wireless internet
Download Speeds
25-250 Mbps
Data Cap
250 Mbps
Starting from
$39.95
/mo
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Rise Broadband is the 4th largest fixed wireless provider in the U.S by coverage area that offers internet service across 47 states.

If you live in Texas, Colorado, Idaho, and Illinois—we think Rise Broadband is worth a serious look.

Find more internet in Texas.

Best-Rural-Internet_Rise-Broadband-Coverage-Map
Rise Broadband fixed wireless prices and plans
Plan
Price
Download speed
Data cap
Details
Internet 50Mbps$39.95/mo.‡‡‡‡50 Mbps250 Mbps
Internet 25Mbps$55/mo.25 MbpsUnlimited
Internet 50Mbps Unlimited$65/mo.50 MbpsUnlimited
‡‡‡‡ With successful activation. Offer available to new customers only. Limited-time offer. May not be combined with other offers. All prices are with Auto-payment enabled and are $5/month more without Auto-payment. Additional fees will apply. Service not available in all areas. Call for details and availability. Restrictions apply.

Fixed wireless offers decent internet speeds for a pretty decent price—at least compared to satellite internet. The only catch is that most fixed wireless providers stick you with a pretty low data cap. Even Rise Broadband does this unless you upgrade to one of its unlimited data plans.

Rise Broadband fixed wireless internet features
Provider
Availability
Price
Connection type
Details
Rise Broadband

47 states

$39.95-$65Fixed Wireless
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
reviews.org next zip logo
Check for Rise Broadband and other fixed wireless internet plans in your area.

AT&T Internet: Best rural DSL option

DSL is phasing out, but AT&T Internet still offers decent speeds and prices
Best DSL Option
ATT
AT&T Internet
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
Download Speed Range
Up to 140 Mbps
Data Cap
Unlimited
Technology Type Name
DSL
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

AT&T doesn’t necessarily call its non-fiber internet service “DSL” anymore, but we’re sticking with this term when it comes to AT&T Internet for simplicity’s sake. (AT&T calls its connection “broadband” or “IPBB,” which includes several types of DSL connections.)

While the ISP says it no longer offers DSL internet, it does still offer internet in rural areas. If your home is pretty far off the beaten path, you could see speeds as slow as 768 Kbps—that’s less than 1 Mbps.

But for anyone closer to a city, you might get lucky with AT&T’s fiber-DSL hybrid internet connection that offers speeds up to 140 Mbps. 

AT&T Internet features
Provider
Availability
Monthly price
Connection type
Order online
ATT

21 states

$55/mo.^^^^DSL
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
^^^^ Price after $5/mo Autopay & Paperless bill discount (w/in 2 bills). Plus taxes $ fees. Limited availability. May not be available in your area.
reviews.org next zip logo
Look for AT&T DSL internet plans in your neighborhood.

Recap: How to get internet in rural areas

  • Best mobile internet: T-Mobile Home Internet. T-Mobile’s home internet service uses its cellular network. A similar option is available from Verizon, but T-Mobile won’t charge you for any equipment.
  • Fastest possible download speeds: Kinetic by Windstream. Kinetic by Windstream is actively expanding its fiber network, meaning its competitively priced 1,000 and 2,000 Mbps plan might be available in your area.
  • Best rural availability: Viasat. Viasat satellite internet is available in almost every part of the US, and it offers the largest data caps and fastest speeds compared to Hughesnet.
  • Best value: Rise Broadband. Fixed wireless is a new-ish way to get internet in the country, and Rise Broadband offers well-priced speeds and the option of unlimited data.
  • Best rural DSL internet: AT&T Internet. Though it doesn’t call it “DSL,” AT&T still offers speeds between 768 Kbps and 140 Mbps in rural areas.

When shopping for rural internet options, you may be limited. But thankfully, those options are growing as ISPs are working to provide more options. You might even be able to get internet through a local electric co-op if these more commonly known rural internet providers don’t extend their networks to your gravel driveway.

Another option may be a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot—or if you’re trundling across the country in your RV, there are other portable satellite internet options too. And if worse comes to worse, dial-up internet still exists. (And it’s free.)

If you keep an open mind, there’s likely a way to get connected even if you’re off the beaten path.

Methodology

The rankings are based on a combination of proprietary user data, online public databases, hands-on testing, and analysis of user experiences on Reddit. Based on our research and hands-on experience, we recommend Viasat, Rise Broadband, Kinetic by Windstream, T-Mobile 5G Home Internet, and AT&T DSL internet for folks living in more rural areas of the United States.

  1. Proprietary user data: To ensure comprehensive rankings, collecting and analyzing proprietary user data is essential. This data can include factors such as internet speed, reliability, customer satisfaction, and pricing. We collect user data through our speed test tool. When users perform speed tests on our website, we save the results, along with the internet service provider. Over time, we've gained millions of user speed tests that give us a clear picture of performance for users who live in a more rural area of the United States.
  2. Online public databases: Online public databases provide a wealth of information regarding ISP performance, coverage, and customer feedback. We leverage reputable sources such as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and BroadbandNow to access data on speed tests, coverage maps, and other relevant metrics. This information helps us evaluate the reach, consistency, and overall quality of the ISPs under consideration.

  3. Hands-on testing: To ensure the accuracy of our rankings, we conduct hands-on testing of the ISPs. This involves subscribing to the services and evaluating various performance aspects, including internet speed, latency, and reliability. We can't travel to every corner of the country and run a speed test, but we've performed tests in rural areas of Utah, Florida, California, Arizona, and New York.

  4. User experiences on Reddit: Reddit serves as an invaluable platform for real-life user experiences and insights. By examining relevant subreddits, such as r/RuralInternet and r/ISPReviews, we gain a deeper understanding of how different ISPs perform in rural areas. These firsthand accounts help us gauge customer satisfaction, reliability, and overall service quality.

Rural Internet FAQ

Still curious about how to get internet out in the country? We can help.

We think the best internet service provider for rural areas is T-Mobile Home Internet, followed by Kinetic by Windstream, Viasat, Rise Broadband, and AT&T Fixed Wireless

HughesNet, Optimum, Verizon 4G LTE Home Internet, CenturyLink, and Verizon DSL are also viable options.

But the best rural internet provider really depends on what’s available to you and where exactly you live. Likely you’ll have the option of satellite internet—but fixed wireless, DSL, and mobile internet tend to be cheaper and may offer more data and faster speeds.

Rural internet tends to be worse than city internet because most internet providers don’t focus on building out or upgrading their networks in rural areas.

It mostly comes down to cost. Rural America is home to fewer people, so there are fewer households that will purchase internet service. That means there’s less money to offset the cost of building out or upgrading an internet network.

We've seen a lot of change in the internet and telecommunications industry that could see more and better rural internet options headed our way. That includes the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (even though it has its drawbacks) and the growth of municipal internet providers across the country.

Yes, we expect 5G to eventually spread to rural areas. You might even say it’s already started to get there with T-Mobile Home Internet. But 5G in the country will look and act a lot differently than 5G in the city.

The type of 5G typically used in big cities (mmWave) has a short range and trouble penetrating objects like—you guessed it—trees, hills, and mountains. Still, rural communities should see low-band 5G technology soon, which still offers an upgrade to older technology like DSL even though it’s not as speedy as mmWave 5G.

Additional contributors

Catherine McNally
Written by
Catherine McNally
Catherine has a degree in journalism and an MBA, and has spent the last 10+ years writing everything from Okinawa travel guides to stories on Medium. She’s been online since AOL CDs were a thing and is an unapologetic PC gamer. She believes the internet is a necessity, not a luxury, and writes reviews and guides to help everyone stay connected. You can also find her on Twitter: @CMReviewsIt.

Related Articles

A man with dark hair and a beard pays bills on his laptop while lying on a couch
Best Internet Deals of March 2024
Save money with the best home internet deals this month, including Xfinity deals, AT&T deals,...
Family watching cox tv on the living room couch
Cox Cable TV Review
Cox Communications has a high price for average channel selection, but isn't without features. See...
Couple installing security camera
Cox vs. ADT Review
If you’re choosing between Cox Homelife and ADT, we’ve got some thoughts. Let’s talk about...
Verizon Fios vs Cox Internet
Verizon Fios Home Internet vs. Cox Internet Review
Two fiber internet service providers go head-to-head as we compare price, download speeds, data caps,...