How to Get High Speed Internet in Rural Areas Without Cable

By Marilla Mulwane

Living in a rural area makes it difficult to get high-speed Internet service. Many cable companies do not provide service in rural areas. The only other option for high-speed Internet is through a satellite company. Satellite Internet should only be used if cable is not available. All three satellite Internet companies have a Fair Access Policy (FAP) that limits how much downloading you can do. They also cost more than cable. To get satellite Internet, compare the three satellite companies and choose the best for you. The three companies are HughesNet, Wild Blue and Starband.

Step 1

Visit the websites for each company. They list information on their services. Make note of the information. Keep in mind what is important to you in high-speed Internet and what you are willing to pay.

Step 2

Check for availability in your area. The Wild Blue website requires you to enter your zip code before they will show any prices. That way, you will know if you can get the service in your area. It is best to check availability for the other companies, as well.

Step 3

Compare the FAP of each company. If you go over the downloading limit after a specific amount of time, your Internet will be slowed or completely shut down. HughesNet monitors usage daily, with plans running from 200mb to 500mb. Wild Blue's plans are monthly, with numbers from 7500mb to 17,000mb. Starband monitors your usage weekly with plans from 750mb to 4000mb. Your choice should depend on how much downloading you do regularly, and whether you feel it is easier to watch your downloading usage daily, weekly or monthly.

Step 4

Compare the extras provided with Internet service. Each company offers incentives. For example, HughesNet and Starband offer unlimited, FAP-free downloading in the early morning hours, but only HughesNet provides a download manager automatically set for that time so you can download while you sleep. Wild Blue and Starband offer free hours of dial-up Internet access. HughesNet offers Tokens that can be used to restore your Internet if you go over your limit. Compare the extras and decide which ones matter to you.

Step 5

Compare the monthly cost of each company. The costs vary by plan for each company. The higher the download limit, the higher the monthly cost. As of 2011, the monthly cost of plans for all three companies ranges from $50 to $100. They require a contract, usually for two years, or you will pay an early termination fee. When comparing cost, look at the amount of downloading each plan offers. Compare the prices of the plans that will fit your downloading lifestyle.

Step 6

Compare the deals that each company offers. Nearly every month a satellite Internet company will offer a special deal to get you to join. Deals often include reduced monthly cost, mail-in rebates or free installation. The deals change regularly. If you are having trouble deciding between more than one satellite Internet company, looking at the deals just might help make a decision.

Step 7

Compare installation cost of satellite Internet. An installer will come to your home to set up the pole and satellite. The cost for the installation varies by company. They will let you purchase the equipment for a set fee, or rent the equipment for a monthly fee. The websites will tell you what "standard installation" will cost, but it does not include the cost for a pole or the work done to install it. Call the local satellite dealer, the people who would do the actual installation, and ask about the fees.

Step 8

Call the satellite Internet company you have chosen after making the comparisons. Be sure to ask the representatives any questions you might have. Ask them about cost, FAP and installation. This way you will hear the information from them. If they give you information that is different from the website, receive clarification before agreeing to use their services.

Tips & Warnings

  • Installation cost will be upfront, in cash. Have cash on hand before the installer arrives or the work will not be done.
  • Some information may not be available on the company website. Call a company representative for more information, but keep in mind that they are salespeople and will try to persuade you to choose their service.
  • Satellite Internet is affected by the weather. Rain, snow and/or clouds will slow down or completely cut off Internet service.