It can be frustrating if you live in a remote or rural location to get a good internet service provider. In some cases, it may be near impossible. Depending on where you live, your options can become quite limited. If you live miles away from your local town many cable and phone companies are not willing to run wires out to your location. It is just not cost-effective. If you want to stream Hulu, YouTube, or Netflix you might be in luck. With the improvements in cellular and satellite technologies people living in remote areas now have an option.
Checking A Broadband Map
Your first step is to check a broadband map to see what options are in your area. This can be a help to see what internet service providers are in your area. You may be surprised to find a company that is providing broadband service that you never knew was in your area.
- National Broadband Map – Just type in your address to see the ISP in your area.
- Broadbandnow – Type in your zip code to see what services are available in your proximity.
Broadband and ISP Review Sites
These types of sites are great for seeing what ISPs (internet service providers) are in your area and the quality of their service. Users often report on their experiences and offer reviews on these sites. They also have several online tools to check the quality of your broadband connection.
- DSL Reports – is a neutral place to share ISP reviews, news & tech information.
- ISP Review Reddit– find ISP reviews and recommendations from users.
What Are Your Options?
If you have an existing phone line then this may be an option. DSL speeds vary depending on how good the infrastructure and how far you are from the central office. Some phone companies are not maintaining their lines and quality may vary, but if you live in a rural area this could be a good option.
See what DSL providers are in your area:
- AT&T DSL Map – A map to see if AT&T DSL is in your area.
- DSLExtreme – Offers DSL and high-speed internet. Check to see if they are in your area.
- Broadbandnow – Type in your zip code to see if DSL services are available in your area.
As cellular data service gets better, more providers are offering cellular plans that allow you to create a wireless hotspot or use a cellular router to broadcast a signal throughout your house to all your devices. You can get an unlimited data plan, but of late some of the providers are capping your data usage each month. If you plan on doing a lot of streaming you may want to consider monitoring your bandwidth. You can try watching your video streams at lower quality by manually selecting the option in the player. This can decrease the size of data being used to stream and save on data usage.
4G/3G Wireless Router
MOFI4500-4GXeLTE-SIM4 4G/LTE Router with Embedded SIM and Band 12
The MOFI4500 router allows you to insert a SIM card from a cell service data plan. You can then route and distribute the cellular data throughout the house. This router works with Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T plans.
Cellular High Gain Antenna
If you live very far from a cell tower, you could attach a high-gain cellular antenna to the cellular router to increase the range. These antennas come in various sizes and can be mounted outside.
Proxicast 11 3G/4G/LTE 18 dBi MIMO Yagi High Gain Fixed Mount Outdoor Directional Antenna
- The Proxicast antenna works with 2G, 3G, 4G, LTE, xLTE, AWS, UMTS, HSPA, GSM & CDMA
- Providers like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Telus, Bell Canada, Rogers, DigiCel and more
- High gain 18 dBi performance increases signal strength and data speeds in areas with marginal coverage
- Ideal for remote sites with poor cellular signal coverage
- Female N connectors with 12″ pigtail
- Outdoor weatherproof enclosure protects antenna elements
You can also set up a hotspot by tethering your phone. Some cellular providers will allow you to set up your phone as a hotspot and share the internet with other devices. Another option is to buy a hotspot device that can be set up just for this type of application. Again data plans vary and usage can add up quickly depending on what content is being viewed.
Verizon MiFi Jetpack 4620L Verizon Wireless Wi-Fi 4G LTE Hotspot
- Verizon MiFi Jetpack 4620L works with Verizon wireless only
- Connect 10 WiFi-enabled devices in 4G and 5 Devices in 3G
- Compatible with Windows, Mac OSX, Android, and iOS
- Battery life: Usage-Up to 5hrs
Check these providers for rates, hotspots, cellular routers, and plans:
If DSL, fiber, and cellular are not available then satellite might be your only option. The data rates vary and caps are sometimes put in place for data usage. Each provider has there own set of rules. By placing a dish on your roof or near your house you will be able to receive the internet. The company will come out to install the dish for you.
HughesNet offers high-speed internet in most locations. They are one of the largest internet satellite providers. They have recently upgraded their satellites using the Gen4 technology. Which provides faster download speeds. Data ranges from 5 to 50 GB depending on the plan. All the plans include bonus data from 5–50 GB, but bonus data is only available between 2:00 and 8:00 am. HughesNet also offers free standard installation or discount pricing in select locations.
DishNET also offers high-speed internet through the Dish network. DishNET high-speed internet is available almost anywhere in the continental United States, great for rural areas with limited access to broadband or DSL. You can get a standalone dishNET for around $50.00 a month.
Exede Internet Service offers high-speed internet. They are the fastest satellite internet provider for downloads and uploads. They offer a Free Zone with five hours of unmetered internet each day from 12:00–5:00 a.m. or 2:00–8:00 a.m. depending on the plan. Uploads and downloads during the Free Zone are at full speed and do not count toward your monthly data allowance. Monthly anytime data ranges from 10 to 20 GB, and free installation is available in select areas. You can also upgrade to a max download speed of 25 Mbps for an extra $10 a month. Plans start at around $60.00 a month.
Feature image courtesy of ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Living without the internet in a remote area can be frustrating. Finding an internet service provider can be even harder. I hope this guide helped to explore new options you may not have considered. So if none of these options work for you to keep the faith as technology gets better things will improve.
If you have any suggestions or tips from your experience. Please leave a comment below.