Rural Internet Options – What’s Available To You?
Rural living certainly has its benefits. Fresh air, quietness, spacious land, and brightly shining stars just to name a few, but to many, one aspect of life has been lagging – internet options.
As modern Internet companies such as Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and CenturyLink look for new markets to enter, they primarily look at one thing – population density. With rural locations having such low population, it would not be profitable for these companies to expand their network because deploying the infrastructure over long distances is very costly.
Fortunately, as technology has evolved, internet can be delivered in other methods meaning rural homes are no longer left in the dark! Lets explore these options.
Satellite providers can bring internet to your home by pointing a mounted receiver (dish) to a satellite 22,000 miles in outer space. The receiver and satellite are able to bounce requests back and forth and then process the website or request to display on your computer or smart device. By providing internet through beams and not through a fixed line, satellite service can be delivered to nearly every rural home.
Satellite internet speeds are very fast as providers are able to offer download speeds of up to 25 Mbps with plans of up to 100 GBs of total monthly data. The monthly cost of satellite internet ranges from $49.99 to $129.99 for the plan plus an equipment charge. Equipment can generally be purchased outright or leased from the provider.
Satellite Internet is a great solution for any rural home as it provides a reliable service with great speeds. It does have monthly data allowances, but by using the right tools and getting the best plan for your needs you should have no problem staying within. The largest providers of satellite Internet are HughesNet, Excede, and dishNET.
Mobile broadband delivers internet to your home by creating a hotspot that runs off of the same towers that mobile phones do. Like a mobile plan, you will have 2G, 3G, or 4G service available to you along with a monthly data package.
Packages provide anywhere from 1 to 14 monthly GB’s, and range in price of $25 – $100. The largest players in the market are Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.
Mobile broadband can deliver fair speeds – downloads peak at 10-15Mbps, but your proximity to your networks mobile tower greatly affects your overall performance. Like a mobile plan goes in and out of service depending on your location, mobile broadband will have a weak or non-existent signal if too far from a tower. Because of this restriction, not every home is a good candidate for this internet option.
Dial-Up establishes a connection to the internet by dialing a telephone number over your phone line. Common in the 80’s and 90’s, dial-up was primarily the only option for most residential homes.
Once famous for its screechy connection and slow download speeds (max of 56kbps), dial-up has turned into more of an ancient solution and is not suitable for any moderate to heavy internet users.
Dial-up service is available to nearly every home in the US and has a relatively low cost of $5 to $25 a month. Currently, the largest dial-up providers are NetZero, AOL, and Earthlink.