Best Rural Internet Options in 2022

Rural internet might not be the fastest, but here are the best rural internet options in America that will get the job done.
Best overall
Viasat
Viasat
4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2
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    Available nationwide
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    12–100 Mbps
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    $30.00–$169.99/mo.*
Best rural DSL internet
CenturyLink
CenturyLink
4 out of 5 stars
4
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    Unlimited data
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    Up to 100 Mbps
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    $50.00/mo.**
Best rural LTE internet
Verizon
Verizon 4G LTE Home Internet
3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7
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    No contracts
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    25–50 Mbps
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    $40.00–$60.00/mo.***
Best for RV internet
Nomad Internet
Nomad Internet
2.8 out of 5 stars
2.8
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    Available in areas with cell service
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    2–150 Mbps
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    $129.00–$149.00/mo.
Best fixed wireless rural internet
Rise Broadband
Rise Broadband
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
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    Wireless (no infrastructure required)
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    25–50 Mbps
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    $35.00–$65.00/mo.

Data as of 12/21/20. *Promotional price is for the first 3 months. Regular internet rate applies after 3 months. **Paperless billing or prepay required. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. Get the fastest internet speed available at your location (max speed is up to 100 Mbps). *** Price is with paperless billing and auto pay discount applied. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.


Cara Haynes
Managing Editor
Read More
April 12, 2022

Alas, if only rural internet options were as beautiful and endless as rural America itself. Although rural internet is no reason on its own to move to the country, it’s not half bad. Here are the best rural internet options that will keep you connected to that sweet rural Wi-Fi—no matter where you are.

Our pick: Which rural internet provider is best?

The best rural internet provider is Viasat because it consistently delivers on speed and availability, which is a big deal in the rural internet community. It's also our pick for the best satellite internet provider. It’s your best bet if you need a consistent rural internet option that’s available nationwide. Viasat is definitely not the cheapest rural internet option, but it delivers faster speeds than HughesNet, CenturyLink DSL, and most fixed-wireless internet options. It’s also the only rural internet provider that’s available in all 50 states, no matter how far off the grid you live. Last year's guide provided a deeper look into where the fastest and slowest rural cities for internet were scattered across the US. 

The 5 best rural internet providers

Best rural internet options

Provider
Price
Download speeds
Data cap
Availability
Get it
ViasatViasat
$30.00–$169.99/mo.†Up to 100 MbpsUp to 300 GBNationwide
CenturyLinkCenturyLink
$50.00/mo.*Up to 100 MbpsUnlimited36 states
VerizonVerizon
$40.00–$60.00/mo.**25–50 MbpsUnlimited48 states
Nomad InternetNomad Internet
$129.00–$149.00/mo2–150 MbpsUnlimited50 states
Rise BroadbandRise Broadband
$35.00–$65.00/mo.25–50 Mbps250 GB–Unlimited16 states

Data as of 12/21/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. †Prices listed for Viasat are for the first 3 mos., then prices raise to $50–$200/mo. Data may be slowed after 12–300 GB per month, depending on your plan. *Rate requires paperless billing and excludes taxes. Additional fees apply. Speeds may not be available in your area. **Price for Verizon home internet plan is $40/mo. with a mobile phone plan or $60/mo. without other Verizon services.

Find the best rural internet providers available where you live.

What should you look for in a rural internet provider?

The best rural internet provider for you will offer rural internet access where you need it, have good download speeds, and come with data caps that are generous enough to do what you want online.

But let’s keep it real. If you’re a rural resident, we don’t need to tell you that rural internet options are disappointing compared to what you can get in more crowded areas, so it’s important to start your search with the right expectations. With rural internet, just know upfront that you’ll be paying more each month for less speed and less data than you would in the city. This can be particularly frustrating if you're looking for Los Angeles County internet and have few options when there's a bustling metropolis with infinite internet options just miles away.

That said, it truly is amazing just how far rural internet coverage can go—especially with nationwide providers like Viasat and HughesNet. And finding the best rural internet provider for you can make your life possible, whether you want to work remotely from your farm in Montana or travel the country in your RV for the summer. 

Once you know which rural providers are available, the next step is finding a plan that’s the right balance of speed, data, and price. You don’t want to pay for more speed or data than you need to if monthly cost is an important factor for you.

See all your rural internet options using our database of 1,200+ providers.

Best overall: Viasat

Best overall
Viasat
Viasat
Our Rating
4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2
Pro Bullet Price: $30.00–$169.99/mo.*
Pro Bullet Speed: 12–100 Mbps
Pro Bullet Data: Up to 300 GB/mo.
Pro Bullet Availability: Nationwide
Pro Bullet $9.99/mo. equipment fee

Data as of 12/21/20. *Promotional price is for the first 3 months. Regular internet rate applies after 3 months. Actual speeds may vary and are not guaranteed.

Pros
Pro Bullet Nationwide availability
Pro Bullet Faster speeds than HughesNet
Cons
Con Bullet High latency
Con Bullet Occasional performance issues with weather

We recommend Viasat because it has faster speeds and higher data caps than HughesNet—but both HughesNet and Viasat limit your data usage based on the plan you pay for. It’s an unfortunate fact of “unlimited” satellite internet that after you use up all your full-speed data, your speeds slow to 1 to 3 Mbps. 

So, yeah, the data situation isn’t ideal. But Viasat’s biggest advantage is availability. It’s often the only available internet connection (along with HughesNet) in many rural communities as an alternative to cable and phone lines haven’t reached yet. 

Viasat internet chugs along at a minimum of 12 Mbps, with some Viasat plans reaching up to 100 Mbps. But look out for Viasat’s price hikes after the introductory period ends. After three months, Viasat prices go up by 33%. If you prefer a lower price overall, check out HughesNet. HughesNet prices stay the same for 24 months.

As long as you have a plan with enough data for your needs, Viasat internet speeds are fast enough to work well for most online activities (barring fast-paced multiplayer gaming). One drawback to be aware of is that you may experience low performance during storms, as weather can interfere with the satellite connection.

Bullhorn
What about Starlink?

Starlink is the only satellite internet provider with totally unlimited data. But Starlink availability is highly limited. Starlink currently offers speeds of 50–500 Mbps through its Starlink Internet and Starlink Business plans. Once Starlink’s satellite constellation is fully built out, Starlink speeds could continue to increase. Read our Starlink review to decide if it’s right for you.

In the next few years, HughesNet and Viasat will also be launching new satellite systems that will deliver increased internet speeds and reduced latency to their customers, making them possibly even better alternatives than Starlink despite Elon Musk’s best efforts.

Map of US rural internet speed

Best rural DSL internet: CenturyLink

Best rural DSL internet
CenturyLink
CenturyLink
Our Rating
4 out of 5 stars
4
Pro Bullet Price: $50.00/mo.*
Pro Bullet Speeds: Up to 100 Mbps
Pro Bullet Data cap: Unlimited
Pro Bullet Availability: 36 states
*Rate requires paperless billing and excludes taxes. Additional fees apply. Speeds may not be available in your area.
Pros
Pro Bullet Decent speeds
Pro Bullet No data caps
Cons
Con Bullet Prone to slowdowns
Con Bullet Not available in all rural areas

CenturyLink is your best bet for DSL internet in a rural area, mostly due to its contract-free plans and unlimited data caps. You won’t have to pay early termination fees (ETFs) if you choose to switch providers at any point during your subscription. 

Plus, its lack of data caps means you can skip out on overage charges at the end of the month—regardless of how much data you use. This is good news for streamers and online gamers. 

DSL is an older internet technology that relies on telephone lines. So, if you live in a remote rural area where there’s no infrastructure, CenturyLink is likely not on the table for you. DSL usually tops out at 100 Mbps, which is the fastest speed you can expect from a CenturyLink DSL plan. This is enough speed for one person to do most things they want to do online easily, but things could get sluggish if multiple people are sharing the connection—especially if you experience a slowdown, which is common with DSL.

That said, for how much speed and data you get for $50 per month, CenturyLink is much cheaper than Viasat and other rural internet providers. If you live in a rural area and CenturyLink is available, we recommend you go with that over Viasat to get the most for your money.

Info
Heads up: You might see CenturyLink offering speeds up to 940 Mbps.

If you’re browsing CenturyLink’s site and stumble upon its 940 Mbps plan, don’t be shocked.

By augmenting the DSL line with a fiber connection, many ISPs—CenturyLink included—can offer gigabit speeds. Don’t get your hopes up just yet though. If you live in a rural area, it’s quite likely you won’t get these fiber-based speeds. Bummer, we know. Still, it’s always worth checking.

Best 4G LTE internet

Best rural 4G LTE internet
Verizon
Verizon 4G LTE Home Internet
Our Rating
3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7
Pro Bullet Price: $40.00–$60.00/mo.
Pro Bullet Speeds: 25–50 Mbps
Pro Bullet Data: Unlimited
Pro Bullet Availability: 39 states
Pros
Pro Bullet Unlimited data
Pro Bullet Good speeds
Cons
Con Bullet Only available in areas with cell phone service
Con Bullet Patchy coverage in some rural areas

We chose Verizon as our top pick for home internet from a mobile carrier, mainly due to its high marks for coverage from OpenSignal and RootMetrics. For folks who live away from cable and fiber infrastructure but within cell phone coverage areas, 4G LTE internet from Verizon is an excellent option. It gives you average download speeds of 25 to 50 Mbps and that blessed unlimited data. 

But where things really start to get good is if you already have Verizon cell service. If you add Verizon 4G LTE Home Internet to a qualifying mobile phone plan, it’s just $40 per month (with paperless billing, autopay, and not including taxes and fees). If you get Verizon Home Internet without bundling it with a cell phone plan, it’s $60 per month. Just a heads up though: you’ll need to buy Verizon’s $240 modem/router up front. Also, even though the service is provided through mobile data, Verizon LTE Home Internet service is tied to your location, so it isn’t portable.

Best for RV internet: Nomad Internet

Best for RV internet
Nomad Internet
Nomad Internet
Our Rating
2.8 out of 5 stars
2.8
Pro Bullet Price: $129.00–$149.00/mo.
Pro Bullet Speeds: 2–150 Mbps
Pro Bullet Data: Unlimited
Pro Bullet Availability: 48 states
Pros
Pro Bullet Portable and works nationwide
Pro Bullet Really fast speeds if you’re close to the tower
Cons
Con Bullet Expensive monthly price
Con Bullet Speeds can slow drastically depending on area

Nomad Internet is another LTE internet option that you can take with you on trips in RVs. Nomad Internet is available nationwide, so you’ll get coverage all the way from Florida to California. However, your speeds will increase or decrease depending on your proximity to the nearest cell tower.

Nomad Internet operates on AT&T and T-Mobile towers. MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) LTE home internet plans cost more than getting a home internet plan directly from T-Mobile or Verizon. But the benefit of providers like Nomad is that they’re available almost everywhere, are fully portable, and you can take them with you anywhere there’s cell service. You can also get one of these plans and use it as an unlimited mobile hotspot.

Nomad Internet also offers two different types of equipment: there’s a stationary router that requires being plugged into your power supply and there’s a portable router that has a 4–5 hour battery life. So you’re covered with internet service whether you want to stick around the RV or venture out to blog from the beach.

Pricetag
Save money by signing up for paperless billing and autopay.

Many internet providers offer you monthly discounts if you sign up for paperless billing and autopay. Usually it’s to the tune of $5–$10 per month, which adds up fast.

Best fixed wireless rural internet: Rise Broadband

Best fixed wireless rural internet
Rise Broadband
Rise Broadband
Our Rating
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Pro Bullet Prices: $35.00–$65.00/mo.*
Pro Bullet Speeds: 25–50 Mbps
Pro Bullet Data cap: 250 GB–Unlimited
Pro Bullet Availability: 16 states

*Speeds and prices may vary and are subject to change. Prices are with a 12-mo. agreement, plus taxes & equip fees

Pros
Pro Bullet Cheaper than satellite internet
Pro Bullet Lower latency
Cons
Con Bullet Prone to slowdowns
Con Bullet Unavailable in some rural areas
Con Bullet Low data caps on cheaper plans

Rise Broadband offers speeds up to 50 Mbps. That’s not bad, considering we’ve seen DSL speeds of about 2 Mbps while visiting family in rural Wisconsin.

Fixed wireless internet service is slowly replacing DSL in rural America, which is a good thing. It’s more widely available, doesn’t require a phone line, and offers faster speeds than DSL in many cases.

If this is the first time you’re hearing about fixed wireless, you should know that it functions differently than a hotspot or satellite internet. But it’s still just as viable of an option for rural America. In a nutshell, fixed wireless providers beam your internet connection from a fixed location to an antenna installed on your roof. This signal then goes to your router, which broadcasts a home Wi-Fi network. It’s a cheaper way to bring faster internet speeds to rural areas rather than waiting on big ISPs to install expensive and labor-intensive underground cabling.

One downside to Rise Broadband and fixed wireless in general is that some plans have data caps, depending on your plan and how much you’re willing to pay. Most fixed wireless data caps are not as low or limiting as satellite internet’s data caps that start at 10 GB per month, but several fixed wireless providers do charge you extra if you hit your max, rather than just slowing you down like satellite internet does.

Our verdict: Go with Viasat unless CenturyLink is available.

We recommend Viasat as the best internet option for the most rural residents. Its nationwide availability combined with its above-average speeds (which will only continue to improve with the launch of its new satellite ViaSat-3) make it a great solution for anyone living in a rural community, from the local bar owner to a remote worker trying out cabin life. 

That said, satellite internet is inherently expensive and offers less data for the price. So if you’re someone who needs data more than speed and doesn’t want to fork out more than $50 a month for internet service, go with CenturyLink DSL. It’s often the only landline internet option available for rural residents—if it’s available at all.

Your best bet is to check all your internet options where you live first and then make your final decision from there.

Simplify your rural internet provider search with our database of over 1,200 internet providers.

Related content

FAQ about the best rural internet options

What is the fastest internet for rural areas?

The fastest internet for rural areas is Starlink or Viasat, although Viasat's rural internet speeds are more dependable. Starlink advertises internet speeds up to 500 Mbps while Viasat advertises 100 Mbps speeds. 

Why aren’t there more rural internet options?

There aren’t many rural internet options because internet infrastructure is expensive to build in rural areas. The best internet options are usually based on fiber or cable, and it takes a significant investment from internet companies to lay down the necessary infrastructure for these internet types. Usually that investment is worthwhile only if the new infrastructure can reach a lot of people in a small area, which is difficult to achieve in rural areas.

That said, unlimited internet service in rural areas has become a goal for the FCC and many politicians, who have passed the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund and proposed additional measures to expand rural internet options with unlimited data.

What is the best internet service for rural areas?

The best internet service for rural areas is satellite internet from Viasat or HughesNet, but we’d recommend Viasat because it offers faster speeds and more data. Other good rural internet options include 4G LTE home internet, DSL, and fixed wireless. Although satellite internet is often the best option, we recommend checking all your options first before signing up just in case a landline provider like CenturyLink or Xfinity happens to be available in your area.

What alternatives to satellite internet are there?

The best alternative to satellite internet is 5G/4G LTE home internet service from Verizon or T-Mobile or fixed wireless service from Rise Broadband. DSL internet is also a cheaper alternative to satellite internet. But if you live in a remote area, satellite internet might be your only (and best) option.

Should I get fixed wireless internet service?

You should get fixed wireless internet service if it’s available in your area and if you want a cheaper alternative to satellite internet. Often the prices are quite affordable in comparison to other types of rural internet service, and as long as you don’t need download speeds faster than 50 Mbps, you’re good to go on speed too.

Do Viasat or HughesNet offer unlimited satellite internet?

Yes, technically Viasat and HughesNet do offer unlimited satellite internet plans, but your speeds will be significantly slowed once you hit your data allotment. So far, Starlink is the only satellite provider promising truly unlimited data, but availability is still highly limited.

Can I use my cell phone as a hotspot for my home internet?

If you’re a very light data user, hotspotting off your mobile phone can be a solution (assuming you can get a cell phone signal at your house). But mobile phone plans usually don’t give you much hotspot data. Check out the best unlimited mobile hotspot data plans if you want more data.

Cara Haynes
Written by
Cara Haynes
Cara Haynes is the managing editor for SatelliteInternet.com. She cares deeply about helping people choose rural internet solutions that are right for them. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University, and she has over 5 years of experience researching and writing about hundreds of rural and residential internet providers. She often daydreams about living and working from a cabin in Montana, close to Glacier National Park. Although still firmly anchored to suburbia, she’s committed to researching the best ways for rural Americans to get online—no matter where they live or play.