Rural Internet Options in the Middle of Nowhere

Rural Internet Options When You Live in the Middle of Nowhere

If you have ever lived in the country, then you probably remember the pain of antennas for your TV and dial-up internet. Although telecommunications has come a long way, there are still issues with rural internet options. Over the last few months, here’s what we’ve learned about getting internet access when you live in the middle of nowhere.

The Challenges of Rural Internet Providers

My husband and I live in a large city in the Midwest, but we both come from rural backgrounds. He still has family in his hometown and the responsibility of the family farm as well. So, we go back frequently since we have tons of projects waiting for attention. And for the last year, we have been working to fix up the lake cabin to make it more comfortable on longer trips. Now that it’s nearly done, we’re excited to start planning extended stays. At least we were until we ran into a serious problem…we both work remotely and this cabin is as remote as it gets.

Even cell phone reception here is spotty at best. But if we ever want to have the option to work from here, we will have to figure out an internet connection. However, this is proving more difficult and much more expensive than I had anticipated. Living in rural Nebraska means there aren’t many internet providers in the area. And after shopping around, I’m not sure it’s worth the expense.

Internet Options in Rural Areas

When you live in sparsely populated areas, you are really at the mercy of whatever service providers are in the area. Unfortunately for us, high-speed internet isn’t available through any of them. So as we compare our rural internet options, it comes down to three choices: satellite, DSL, or upgrading to an unlimited mobile plan.

After hours of research and phone calls, these were the best deals I could find.


HughesNet is one of the most popular satellite providers around. With a download speed of 25 Mbps and an upload speed of 3 Mbps, its plans can support multiple devices for remote work. Some of the best features of their plans include no hard data limits and a bonus of 50 GB per month during their off-peak hours (2-8 am). And even if you do exceed your limits, they reduce speed and adjust your data rates automatically.

Right now, they are also offering a $25 online discount for the first 6 months of service. After the offer period, the rates would increase.

    • You can purchase 30 GB for $49.99/month which they claim is enough to handle emails, online shopping, music apps, and browsing social media.
    • The next option is 100 GB for $64.99/month which supports file sharing, videos, and access for multiple devices.
    • The top-tier plan provides 200 GB for $124.99/month which is the best household plan.


Viasat is another satellite provider available to us. Its services offer download speeds of up to 100 Mbps and unlimited standard data after using all the high-speed data in your plan. Once you surpass the data cap, you will still have internet access but at reduced speeds. Many customers use it for built-in wifi. However, their service requires a 2-year contract and an installation fee.

Like HughesNet, they also have an online discount. But, Viasat only offers a discount for the first 3 months.

    • With the Unlimited Bronze package, you get 35 GB for $99.99, discounted to $69.99/month during the introductory offer.
    • The Unlimited Silver gives you 45 GB for $149.99, reduced to $99.99/month.
    • The Unlimited Gold comes with 65 GB for $199.99, but you will get a discount of $149.99 when you sign up.


The next option isn’t available yet, but they recently took over a regional company. After speaking with their sales team, I learned that they will soon be offering satellite internet. And it’s truly unlimited with no data caps.

Their rates are competitive and vary by download speeds:

    • $49.95/month for up to 25/5 Mbps
    • $63.95/month for up to 50/10 Mbps
    • $79.95/month for up to 100/20 Mbps
    • $99.95/month for up to 500/100 Mbps


IspMint is the only DSL provider available at our address. They offer no contracts, unlimited high-speed internet, and decent speed. Although they claim download speeds of up to 100 Mbps, the sales department confirmed it is closer to 20-50 Mbps where we are located.

And for only $20 to ship the equipment, you can get hooked up right away. However, they charge $199 to buy the equipment and $119/month for unlimited access. If you lease the equipment, the rate goes up to $149/month.


When there are no other options, I often use my phone as a hotspot for internet access. Unfortunately, there is no reception with my service at the cabin. However, Verizon gets a decent signal to support 4G LTE and 5G.

  • We could upgrade to the unlimited data plan for $55 per month. This would include 5G coverage with 50 GB premium network access, 25 GB mobile hotspot data, and unlimited low-speed data. Plus, it also comes with memberships for Hulu, Disney+, Espn+, Apple Arcade, and Google Play Pass.
  • The other option is to upgrade to unlimited network access for $65. This has all the same features as the previous plan. But, it comes with 50GB of premium mobile hotspot data, access to Apple Music, and 600 GB in Verizon Cloud.

Either one of these plans would be enough to handle streaming services on a few devices and fast enough speeds to support most communication apps. But, we would have to purchase a signal booster to improve the connection. Verizon sells theirs for $250, but you can find them cheaper on Amazon as well. Despite my initial thoughts, this seems to be the easiest and most cost-effective solution.

What to Look for with Rural Internet Service Providers

Although you may be limited by rural internet providers, you should still do your research and be selective. As you compare, pay attention to more than just the price. Before you go through all the trouble, make sure they have service in your area. You should also look for good download speeds and data caps so you don’t incur additional fees. It’s also a good idea to read their customer reviews to see if the benefits of their service outweigh the negatives. And in the end, you have to be realistic with your expectations. When you choose life out in the country, it comes with communication challenges. But like most things in life, you will get what you pay for.

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