Best Off-Grid Internet Solutions

Lowest price
Verizon
Verizon LTE Home Internet
  • Icon Pros  Light
    $40-$60/mo.*
  • Icon Cons  Light
    Limited coverage area
Best availability
Best for RVs
Nomad Internet
Nomad Internet
  • Icon Pros  Light
    $149/mo.
  • Icon Cons  Light
    No roaming outside network

Data effective 5/7/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. 

*Plus taxes and fees. With Auto Pay.


Kristin Cooke
Researcher & Writer
Read More
Published on June 18, 2021

How to get internet off the grid

If your home isn’t connected to cable, phone, or even electricity, it doesn’t mean you’re cut off from the internet.

As long as you have a source of power, you can get internet service through one of the following:

Cell phone and LTE home internet

In many off-grid homes, RVs, tiny houses, and cabins, cellular service is available. Mobile phone plans can’t replace home internet because they don’t offer enough hotspot data. But if you can get cell phone service at your place, that means you can get an LTE home internet plan that’ll give you plenty of data to keep your household connected to the internet.

Lowest prices: 4G LTE home internet plans direct from carrier

The lowest-priced off-grid internet solution is getting LTE home internet from Verizon or T-Mobile. Although not available in all markets, these plans are a bargain compared to other rural internet options. Both plans give you unlimited data at decent speeds.

Here are the best LTE home internet plans in the US. These wireless internet plans give you tons of data at good speeds in rural areas. Typical download speeds average 25 Mbps, although your actual speed will depend on how close you are to a cell phone tower. As Verizon and T-Mobile build out their 5G networks, speeds will increase.

Verizon internet is $60 per month for customers without other qualifying Verizon services or $40 per month when bundled with a new or existing cell phone plan of at least $30 per month (this price includes auto-pay and paperless billing discounts). T-Mobile gives everyone the same price of $60 per month.

Provider
Verizon

Verizon LTE Home Internet

T Mobile

T-Mobile Home Internet

Price$40-$60/mo.*$60/mo.
Highlights

• Fixed location only

• Limited availability

• Unlimited data

• Unlimited data

• No equipment cost

• No contract

• Limited availability

Get it

Data as of 5/7/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. 

*Plus taxes and fees. With Auto Pay.

Best for travelers: MVNO LTE home internet plans

If you have an RV, a summer cabin, or a winter home away from the snow, you will benefit from getting a portable LTE home internet plan from an MVNO. These plans give you the option to take your internet service with you on the road, and they offer service in any location with mobile phone service.

MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) don’t own their own cell phone towers and networks. They buy data from one of the major network providers (T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T). The advantage MVNO plans offer is that MVNO plans are often portable. You can take MVNO plans with you on vacation or while working on the road. Home LTE plans from Verizon and T-Mobile, on the other hand, are tied to your home or business address and can’t be taken with you on the road.

Best MVNO LTE internet plans

Provider
Unlimitedville

Unlimitedville

Ladybug Wireless

Ladybug Wireless

Nomad Internet

Nomad Internet

UbiFi

UbiFi

Price$149.00– $249.00/mo.*$99.99–$219.99/mo.$129.00–$149.00/mo.$99.99/mo.§
Highlights

• Portable

• AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon network

• Portable

• AT&T or T-Mobile network

• Mobile phone bundling options

• Data: 350 GB–750

• Portable

• T-Mobile or Verizon network

• Unlimited data

• AT&T network

• Unlimited data

Get it

Data as of 5/7/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. See full disclaimer.

*Plus $249 One-Time Membership Fee.

†Plus 434.98 to $469.98 Start Package (includes first month of service).

Plus $149.00 One-Time Membership Fee.

§Plus $314.99 in start up costs for purchasing the MoFi SIM4 4G LTE Gateway modem/router.

All of these plans are available nationwide in most areas with cellular service. When you sign up, some of these providers allow you to choose which network you want your service through (AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile), while others work on just one network.

When choosing a 4G LTE provider, you’ll want to choose the one with the strongest network network in your area.

Which mobile carrier has the best service in my area?
Info

Use the Opensignal app to find out which mobile carrier has the best service and fastest speeds in your area. It will show you where the closest cell phone tower is and the download and upload speeds with each provider. Use this information to decide which network you want to get service with. 

In any area, Opensignal shows you the network strength for the three main carriers: T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T. In some places, it still lists the Sprint network (even though Sprint is technically part of T-Mobile now). 

If you are interested in 4G LTE internet service with a MVNO (a mobile virtual network operator) like Nomad Internet or Unlimitedville, you’ll want to choose a plan that offers the best service in your area. Some 4G LTE providers limit you to a single network and some allow you to choose which network you’d like when you sign up. Most don’t allow any sort of “roaming” on another network.

Best for wide-open spaces: Fixed-wireless internet services

Fixed-wireless is another remote internet option that’s sometimes available to off-grid homes. Fixed-wireless providers like AT&T and Rise Broadband take cell phone data, turn it into a radio signal, and broadcast it into rural areas with antennas.

Because fixed-wireless requires line-of-sight in most cases, it isn’t usually available in mountainous areas. Fixed-wireless can be a great option for sparsely populated towns, farms, and wide-open spaces where there’s a straight shot to the nearest cell phone tower.

You don’t need to have cable or phone lines running out to your property to get fixed-wireless internet. You do need to live in an area with service and have an antenna installed on your home by the service provider.

Best fixed-wireless internet plans

Plan
Rise Broadband

Rise Broadband

ATT

AT&T Fixed Wireless

SpeedUp to 50 MbpsUp to 25 Mbps
Data capUnlimited350 GB
Price
$54.95
/mo.*
$59.95
/mo.
Get it

* Data effective 5/7/2021 with autopay discount. Price does not include taxes. Equipment fee included in monthly pricing. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Fixed-wireless carriers tend to be small and local and they often deliver internet in areas without decent cellular coverage. There are over 1,500 fixed-wireless networks in the US. You can read more about fixed-wireless internet in our in-depth review. 

To find out if you have fixed-wireless internet service in your area, enter your zip code below.

Best availability: Satellite internet service for off-grid areas

In rural areas without mobile phone service, satellite internet is the best option. Providers like Viasat, HughesNet, or Starlink can give you steady internet service even if your residence is off the grid, remote, or unserved by utility companies. You don’t need to have cell phone service in your area to get satellite internet service. You just need a clear view of the southern sky.

Satellite internet service is available from Viasat and HughesNet almost anywhere in the US (with the exception of Hawaii and most of Alaska). Starlink has a beta service in some parts of the US, Canada, and the UK. Starlink has a more limited coverage area than HughesNet or Viasat but offers faster speeds and unlimited data. If you have Starlink (from SpaceX), expect periodic outages that could occur several times an hour for the next year or so. Once the Starlink constellation is fully built out, there won’t be interruptions in service.

Best satellite internet service plans

Plan
Viasat

Viasat Unlimited Gold 50

Viasat

Viasat Platinum 100

Starlink

Starlink (limited availability)

SpeedUp to 50 MbpsUp to 100 Mbps50-150 Mbps
Data cap200 GB/mo.300 GB/mo.Unlimited (but frequent outages occur during beta)
Price
$100
/mo.*
$150
/mo.
$99
/mo. + $499 equipment
Get it

Data as of 5/7/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. 

*$150/mo. after 3 months.

$200/mo. after 3 months.

For more information on selecting the best satellite service, check out our comparison review on Viasat vs. HughesNet.

Best for boats: Maritime satellite communications

And, finally, for the seafaring crowd, we recommend satellite internet or a satellite phone system with basic data capabilities.

Use caseBest in class satellite systemTop satellite phone optionBest satellite hotspotBest budget satellite phone
Product
Highlights

• Global service

• iDirect data network (Ku band)

• Download speeds up to 768 Kbps

• Expensive equipment & data

• Global VOIP and data service

• VSAT data network

• Speeds up to 5 Mbps download/2 Mbps upload

• Expensive equipment & data

• Global service

• GPS, tracking, and SOS

• Slow speeds (2.5 Kbps)

• Expensive data

• Voice and SMS text only

• Global service

• Weather, mapping, SOS, and navigation

• Very slow speeds

• Voice and text only

PriceEquipment: $34,995

Data: $249/3 GB & up

Equipment: $16,999 & up

Data: $300/GB & up

Equipment: $715

Data: $653/12-month/300 min. prepaid card

Equipment: $449.99

Data: $11.95–$64.95/mo.

  Buy prepaid data card 

*Data as of 5/7/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. See full disclaimer

These internet solutions for boating require a device purchase and an active data plan. For instance, with the Garmin inReach Explorer+Satellite Communicator, you’ll need a satellite subscription from Iridium. You can buy a monthly data plan or get a prepaid Iridium satellite SIM card and pay as you go.

The best in class satellite system for boats is the Sea Tel SAILOR 900 VSAT System, which works from almost anywhere in the world (barring the polar regions). It’s priced at about $35,000 for the satellite equipment setup. 

Our top budget pick for deep ocean cruising is the Garmin inReach Explorer+Satellite Communicator. With this maritime satellite communicator, you can send text messages, make voice calls, and access GPS and navigation systems from almost anywhere on the planet. It’s a far cry from a land-based Wi-Fi setup that lets you stream Netflix at sea, but you aren’t sailing the Mediterranean for the internet, right? The Garmin inReach Explorer+ keeps you connected anywhere in the world with Iridium satellite service (satellite subscription required).

For more tips on getting connected while out on the open water, check out our picks for the best internet for boats.

Will cellular data work in a boat?
Info

Yes, cellular data will work on many boating excursions, and it's a whole lot cheaper than satellite data. After all, not every boating excursion crosses through deep ocean waters, right? For boaters who stay closer to shore or go cruising in lakes and rivers, skip satellite and pick cellular data for the cheapest way to stay connected.

If you stay within a mile or two of the shoreline, a mobile hotspot device and a data plan will keep you connected on weekend excursions or month-long voyages. AT&T’s NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 Mobile Hotspot is a solid choice for hotspotting. Pair it with AT&T’s prepaid 100 GB data plan (an affordable $55 per month—contract free), and you’ve got an affordable solution for most boaters.

FAQ about off-grid internet

Can you get internet off the grid?

Yes, you can generally get internet off the grid as long as you have a source of power (solar, wind, or standard power service with a utility company). Satellite internet is available almost everywhere in the US, and LTE home internet (delivered with cellular data) has an expanding footprint. In addition, fixed-wireless providers help fill in coverage gaps and are a boon to people living in rural areas.

Check out your internet options by typing your zip code below.

How can I get off-grid Wi-Fi in my tiny house?

If your tiny house is in the city, you’ll have more internet options than if your property is in a rural off-grid location. City dwellers can get 5G service or cable, as long as your tiny house has cable wired to it. If you’re in a rural area, you won’t have cable internet and might not even have landline phone service. You can get satellite internet almost everywhere, although it requires a 1–2 year contract. LTE home internet service is more flexible than satellite. It’s usually contract free and is available in most locations where you can get a mobile phone signal.

Are there off-grid internet solutions for boats?

Yes, there are many off-grid internet solutions available for boaters. The cheapest way to get service on a boat is with cellular data by using a hotspot or LTE home internet plan—although this won’t work if you venture more than 10 miles from the shoreline. Satellite internet and phone are the only options if you’re traveling far from the shoreline or through international waters. For more tips on getting off-grid Wi-Fi on the water, check out our best internet options for boats.

Which mobile carrier has the best service in my area?

If you’re going to rely on cellular data—either for phone service or for a LTE home internet connection—you’ll discover that signal strength varies widely based on your exact location. In general, Verizon has the widest coverage but the reality is that in some areas AT&T or T-Mobile will outperform Verizon. You can study coverage maps, but the easiest way to find out which carrier has the best service is to use an app like Opensignal.

Amazon.com prices as of 5/7/2021 10:15 MST. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. SatelliteInternet.com utilizes paid Amazon links.