Your Guide to Finding the Best Rural Internet Service
Nearly 90% of Americans use the internet. It’s a nearly essential part of being alive in the 21st century.
And that goes for everyone, even those who live far away from our tech-fueled cities.
If you live in a rural area, internet might be more difficult to come by, but it’s not out of reach. You can and should stay connected no matter where you live.
In the following article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know in order to find the perfect rural internet service for you and your family.
Overview of Options
The first step toward choosing the best rural internet service is understanding your options. The internet can arrive at your house in a variety of ways, and each offers its own advantages and disadvantages.
Unfortunately, if you live in a rural area, you probably won’t have access to all of the following options. It depends on where you are. More on that below.
But first, let’s break down the different types of internet service
You remember dial-up internet. This is the type of internet you had back when you couldn’t talk on the phone and browse the web at the same time, and your router produced a cacophony of awful noises every time you turned it on.
Needless to say, you should avoid this type of internet at all costs. It’s slow and inconvenient. But if you live in a rural area, you need to consider all your options.
All the options from here on are what are known as “broadband.” Broadband services provide faster internet than dial-up, and they’re always connected(unlike dial-up in which you have to connect and disconnect).
Like dial-up, DSL services deliver internet via your phone line. But unlike dial-up, DSL uses a different frequency than your phone calls, so you can surf the web and call your friends at the same time.
DSL is the slowest of the broadband options but also the cheapest. It becomes even slower when it’s used far from the provider’s location (usually in a city), making it an even worse option for your rural internet connection.
Cable internet is significantly faster than DSL, and though more expensive, not that much more expensive. It has the additional advantage of not slowing down over long distances.
If cable internet is available in your area, it’s probably your best choice.
Fiber Optic Internet
Fiber optic internet is also delivered via underground cables, but the cables transmit information via light. That’s right; it’s internet via light beam. But if you live in a rural area, you almost definitely don’t have fiber optics, so we won’t waste your time talking about it.
Satellite internet wins points for availability. Its reach is global. No matter where you live, it’s is an option for you.
Currently, it’s slower and more expensive than the other broadband internet technologies, but that will likely change over time.
Cell Phone Based Internet
This type of internet service is divided into two categories: hotspot wi-fi and mobile broadband.
With the first category, you use your phone’s ability to generate a wi-fi hotspot to provide internet to your house. The internet is actually coming from a 3G or 4G network and being rebroadcast through your phone. This is obviously one of the more expensive options.
The second category, mobile broadband, is a service offered by certain wireless carriers in which they provide broadband via cell phone towers. Wireless broadband comes with bandwidth limits (just like a cell plan).
Find out What Types of Internet Are Available in Your Area
You understand the options, but the real question is: what types of internet are available in your area?
Start by visiting an online service that shows you what’s available in your area.
Once you know your options, you’ll want to compare them carefully. Consider what you want out of your rural internet service.
Start with bandwidth. If you just want to browse basic sites and check your email, you can get away with a service as slow as 1 MBps. If you want to be able to stream medium-quality video you’ll need at least 3MBps. And if you want to stream at HD quality, 5 MBps is your lower limit.
Read the terms of service carefully. Are there data limits? Data limits are a pain, but if you don’t use the internet much, they can be a good way to save money.
Consider every aspect of the service: customer service, reliability, duration of the contract, etc.
And of course, balance all the above considerations with the price.
When choosing your rural internet service, you probably won’t have many options. In fact, there are 19 million Americans who don’t have any internet option other than satellite. Unfortunately, this often means that the quality of the service is worse, so it’s even more important that you make a careful, well-informed decision.
Improve the Speed of Your Rural Internet Service
When using rural internet, you have to make the best of what you have. Luckily, there are ways you can improve your rural internet connection.
Make sure your router is in a central location and away from any walls. Make sure your devices aren’t loaded down with too much software. And make sure your internet equipment is up-to-date.
Make the Most of Your Rural Internet Service
You have all the information you need to find your perfect rural internet service. Once you’ve decided on a service, start putting it to good use.
You’re rural internet service will be paying for itself in no time.