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Internet and rural areas have not been the best of friends. In a lot of areas of the U.S. there are no broadband options. Sometimes, there’s not even a wired connection available. In those cases, it can be a real challenge to find an Internet service that works for you.

When you’re considering your options, think about what you use the Internet for. Do you binge on Netflix constantly, or do you just check your email and browse the web? Your choice of Internet service provider will hinge on your answers to those kinds of questions.

DSL/cable

A wired connection is almost always preferable to a wireless one. If there’s a company that is willing to set your house up, that would be worth looking into. There are, however, some circumstances when a wired connection is worse than than the wireless options.

If your home is way out there, it will take longer for the data traveling through the network to reach your house. This will thereby lead to reduced speeds. Sometimes you can get a wired connection, but the speed will be so low that it won’t even be worth it.

Your home could also just be too far away from a company’s Internet terminal. Thankfully, the Connect America Fund recently made deals with the top ISPs in the country to get more rural Americans connected. While the deal didn’t require the companies to use wired connections, that is most likely how the companies will choose to connect their new customers. So if you’re too far out now, have some hope; you may get connected sooner than you think.

Satellite

Satellite and Internet, those words just don’t go together. Something about it just makes me want to puke. Besides being slow, satellite Internet has quite a few other problems.

If you game online, this Internet option is not for you. The latency of the connection will make most video games unplayable online.

Worse than latency is the data caps associated with any satellite plan. Whether you go with Hughesnet, or Excede, you’ll have a really small data cap.

Let’s say you pick the largest plan with Excede (which also owns WildBlue). You would be given a whole 25gb a month. Yes, you read that right; not 250gb, but 25gb. Excede does have an unmetered time from 12:00 at night till 5:00 in the morning.

Hughesnet offers slightly more at 50gb a month. Hughesnet also gives you 50gb to use between 2:00 in the morning to 8:00 in the morning. Some of their plans offer unlimited basic browsing even after you’ve reached your data allowance.

Overall, satellite internet is pretty terrible. If you can, avoid it. If you can’t, get ready for a whole new world.

Wireless phone networks

There are some companies that resell wireless cards for home use. These companies work through cell towers that usually provide your smartphone with a data connection.

Many of these companies offer “unlimited” data and even advertise video streaming and gaming as some of the uses there product excels at.

One company you could check out is EVDO Depot. Whether these companies truly provide what they advertise, I can’t say. Although I have read a few posts from people that switched to EVDO¬†from satellite and were happy they made the switch.

Fixed Wireless

Fixed wireless connections work in the same way as the option mentioned above. Typically, the connections that you get with fixed wireless networks are much better suited for home internet than a mobile data tower is.

All you need to be able to get a fixed wireless connection is be in sight of fixed wireless tower. If your home is within sight of a tower, you can probably sign up for a plan. The only bad thing is that there aren’t a lot of companies using this kind of technology right now. But since there are millions of Americans who can’t get broadband, fixed wireless is a growing business these days.

You can check to see if there’s a fixed wireless provider in your area here.

Dial-up

Nope.