How to Get Internet in Rural Areas

Whether you live in a remote rural area or just outside a major city, this guide will help you find the best internet solution for your needs.

In 2023, having access to the internet is more important than ever, with many relying on it for work, education, communication, and entertainment. 

However, internet access is not always readily available in rural areas, where infrastructure and population density may not support traditional broadband services. Luckily, there are several ways to obtain internet access in rural areas. 

In this article, we’ll explore how to get fast internet in rural areas. Whether you live in a remote rural area or just outside a major city, this guide will help you find the best internet solution for your needs.


The digital divide: Why high-speed internet matters in rural areas

Before we get into the specific ways to get rural internet in your area, let’s talk about why high-speed internet is crucial for rural communities.

First, it can help bridge the digital divide by providing access to online educational resources, job opportunities, and telehealth services that may not be available locally. With high-speed internet, rural residents can take online courses, attend virtual meetings, and access remote job opportunities that may be unavailable nearby. 

High-speed internet also enhances the quality of life for rural residents by providing access to entertainment and social connections. With streaming services, online gaming, and social media, high-speed internet keeps rural residents connected with friends and family and gives access to a wider range of entertainment options.

For businesses in rural areas, fast internet service is essential to compete in today’s economy. With e-commerce, online marketing, and cloud-based services, businesses need reliable and fast broadband internet access to stay competitive and reach customers beyond their local area. 

Overall, high-speed internet is crucial for the economic, educational, and social development of rural areas, and helps bridge the digital divide between rural and urban areas.


Types of internet in rural areas

While rural areas don’t have as many options for internet plans as suburban or urban communities, there are still several types of accessible internet plans. Let’s go through the kinds of broadband internet typically available to rural customers.


Satellite internet

With satellite internet, your internet provider will install a satellite dish outside your home that sends and receives data from a satellite in space. It’s available virtually anywhere but can be affected by adverse weather conditions due to its reliance on clear skies. 

Although it’s more accessible than other kinds of internet, satellite internet is significantly slower than most other options. Speeds typically only reach up to 20 Mbps at the fastest, which means latency and buffering rates are much higher.

Fixed wireless internet

Fixed wireless internet uses radio waves to connect a fixed antenna on your property to a nearby wireless internet service provider (WISP). This kind of internet is generally faster and more reliable than satellite internet but requires your home or property to have a clear line of sight between your antenna and the WISP’s tower.

This kind of connection is ideal for rural or remote areas where running traditional wired lines is nearly impossible. With speeds typically reaching up to 25 Mbps, fixed wireless is a solid option for most rural customers. 

Although this kind of internet is also susceptible to weather-related disruptions, the easy setup, lower prices, and broad availability make it a popular choice for high-speed rural internet. 

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) internet

DSL internet uses existing telephone lines to provide a connection to the internet. It’s generally slower than cable or fiber internet, but it is more widely available in rural areas.

Because it uses existing infrastructure, DSL is usually more affordable and easier to set up than fiber or cable internet—all you need is a DSL modem to get connected. Plus, this kind of connection can be modified to reach comparable speeds to cable and fiber, making it a great choice for rural internet customers.

The downside of DSL is that it doesn’t support multiple users at the same time. Its signal strength and connection speed also lower with distance, meaning outlying customers might not be able to access a high-speed connection.

Fiber internet

Widely considered to be the best broadband internet currently available, fiber internet uses fiber-optic cables to transmit data at super-fast speeds. This kind of internet transfers data via light pulses sent through thin glass or plastic fibers, making multi-Gig speeds possible.

Because of its high speeds and reliability, fiber internet is a strong choice for internet wherever it’s available. 

However, fiber internet is currently mainly available in densely populated areas, so it might be tricky to get it provided to a rural place. But internet providers are constantly expanding their fiber networks, so it could be available in your area in the future if it isn’t already.


How to get high-speed internet in rural areas

Now that we’ve gone through the various kinds of internet provided in rural areas, let’s walk through how to get these broadband connections to your area. Here are some of the most common options for rural internet:

  1. Satellite internet: As mentioned earlier, satellite internet uses a satellite dish to send and receive data to and from a satellite in space. This is often the only option for those in remote areas without access to other types of internet and can be set up on your own or by your internet provider.
  2. Fixed wireless internet: This type of internet uses radio waves to connect a fixed antenna on your home or property to a nearby wireless internet service provider (WISP). 
  3. Cellular internet: This type of internet uses a cellular network to provide internet access to devices, usually through a mobile hotspot device. Many cellular providers offer plans specifically for rural areas, so check with your local providers to see if that’s an option for you.
  4. DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) internet: If you live close enough to a telephone exchange, DSL internet may be an option, since DSL uses existing telephone lines to provide a connection to the internet. 
  5. Fiber internet: While fiber internet is not yet widely available in rural areas, some providers are expanding their coverage. Keep updated on where internet providers are expanding to by visiting your preferred internet provider’s website. 

It’s important to note that not all of these options may be available in your specific rural area. It’s a good idea to check with providers in your area to see what types of internet are available to you. Additionally, the speed and reliability of each type of internet varies depending on your location and other factors, so it’s important to do your research before selecting a provider and plan.

How to make your internet better in rural areas

If the only rural internet connections available in your area are not very fast or reliable, don’t worry. There are always ways to ensure your current connection is as fast as possible.

  1. Update your equipment: If your internet is consistently slow, consider restarting or updating your router. Upgrading to a newer model can also significantly improve your connection speed.
  2. Relocate your router: It can also help to move your router closer to the Wi-Fi devices you use most frequently. Relocating your router can help reduce the amount of interference between your router and devices, resulting in faster speeds and better performance.
  3. Use a Wi-Fi extender or mesh network: If you have a large home or office, a Wi-Fi extender or mesh network helps extend the range of your Wi-Fi signal. Wi-Fi extenders and mesh networks use additional devices to amplify the signal and provide more coverage.
  4. Check for interference: Other electronic devices, such as cordless phones or baby monitors, can interfere with your Wi-Fi signal. Try moving these devices away from your router or changing the channel on your router to avoid interference.
  5. Limit the number of connected devices: If you have a lot of devices connected to your Wi-Fi network, it can slow down the overall speed of your internet connection. Try limiting the number of devices connected at one time, or consider upgrading to a plan with a higher data cap.


Brightspeed Internet rural options

Now that we’ve gone through the best broadband internet options for rural customers, you’re ready to find the best option in your area.

Brightspeed Internet provides strong and reliable internet to rural and suburban areas across the U.S. Our goal is to make high-speed internet available in all areas of the country, so our network is constantly expanding—check out the Brightspeed availability page to see the options offered in your area.


Test your internet speed

Curious to see what your current internet speed is? Test your internet speed with Brightspeed’s internet speed test.

Our speed test shows you your current upload and download speeds, as well as your latency rate so you can judge whether you need to upgrade your plan.



People who reside in remote areas have several options for rural internet access, including satellite internet, fixed wireless internet, DSL internet, and fiber internet. Every type of internet has its own benefits and drawbacks, and the availability of each option varies depending on location. 

If you’re in a rural area and looking for high-speed internet, it’s important to do your research and compare plans from different providers to find the best option for your needs. 

Additionally, there are steps you can take to improve the speed and reliability of your existing internet connection, such as upgrading your router or checking for interference. With the right internet provider and plan, residents of rural areas can enjoy the benefits of high-speed internet just like their urban counterparts.



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