DSL vs Satellite: Choosing the Best Internet Service Provider for Rural Areas

Farmer and laptop

The remote countryside has much to offer: fresh air, lush greenery, and pulsing life wherever you look. Unfortunately, fast speed internet is not included. For most of us settled in rural areas getting internet connectivity is beyond difficult.

Finding a fast cable or fiber-optic internet connection is close to impossible. With the kind of infrastructure it requires, most providers don’t even offer the services in backwater areas. Your only real options are:

  1. DSL
  2. Satellite

Which is better?

In most cases, DSL is the winner, but depending on your location and your needs satellite internet may prove to be the better option. 

Normally, DSL is faster than the satellite connection unless your residence is far from the access point. In that case, DSL speeds might max out at 1 to 5 Mbps and you’d be better off getting a satellite connection instead. Otherwise, DSL is the way to go. With the speeds that it offers, you can watch Netflix with ease. 

This is not to say that you can’t stream on your satellite connection, but with the restrictive data caps they have, you’ll soon use it all up and be left with extremely slow internet for the rest of the month. Nobody wants that! 

Another point to keep in mind is that no matter where you are, you’ll find a satellite internet connection there. This is the biggest reason why people opt for satellite. After all, what do you do when it’s the only option? It does help you complete basic tasks though, so it’s not all bad.

Now that we’re clear on that, let’s discuss which providers are the best in each category.


DSL uses phone lines to provide the internet, so if you have a landline, you can get a DSL connection with relative ease. There are quite a few providers to choose from when it comes to DSL, including CenturyLink, AT&T, Frontier, Verizon, and Windstream. Here are our top two picks that we think offer the most value.


Their Price for Life plans really sets them apart. What this means is that once you subscribe to their package, the price you pay the first time you get your connection is the price you’ll have to pay as long as you stay subscribed. Compared to other providers, this is a great deal. Usually, providers get you to sign up with them by offering you a low monthly fee the first year, after which they jack it up. With CenturyLink, you won’t have to worry about this happening. 

All of their six plans cost $49 and the speed you get varies between 15 Mbps and 100 Mbps depending on the area where you live. The speeds are a hit or miss, but the price tag more than makes up for it. Also, unless you live in an extremely remote area you’ll get a decent speed. If you don’t, go ahead and cancel it. They don’t require that you sign a contract and you can cancel whenever you want. The only downside we found was its customer service, which is really hard to get a hold of.


AT&T is another great option to consider. Starting at the low price of $40 a month, when bundled, you get speeds up to 100 Mbps. You also get a 1TB data limit which means you can stream to your heart’s content. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about hidden fees for Wi-Fi and equipment which is great. It really is a great option, and if it is available in your area we’d recommend you sign up right away. Just head over to buytvinternetphone to get the best offers and learn what other provider offers service in your area. For all we know, you might get an even better deal.


The best thing about satellite internet is that it’s literally available everywhere; and depending on where you’re located, it could prove even faster than DSL, so you’re not really missing out. However, it all depends on which internet service provider you use. While once you had a few options to choose from, now there are only two providers that you can choose between – HughesNet and Viasat.


HughesNet gives you the best value when it comes to satellite internet. Starting at $59.99, you get download speeds of up to 25 Mbps, which is more than enough for a single user. You also get a high data cap. Depending on your needs you can choose a package with 10 GB data limit or go as high as 50 GB which can cost you up to $149.99. The best part, though, is that even when you exceed your limit, it’s not as though your connection will stop working. It’ll just get throttled, meaning you’ll get slow speed for the rest of the month. Not a bad worst-case scenario, right?

Speaking of pricing, hidden charges can really add up. In the case of HughesNet, you’d be happy to learn that you get free installation when you lease your gateway. Leasing costs $9.99 a month for the first year after which it increases to $14.99. Installation otherwise would cost you $199, so it’s a great bargain.

If you’re an avid streamer who needs a high data cap, we’d recommend that instead of subscribing to a package with a higher data limit you make the most of the Bonus Zone. During off-peak hours, from 2 am to 8 am, you get an extra 50 GB data per month with each plan. This plan works for most people, but if you want more, Viasat is the provider for you.


Compared to HughesNet, Viasat gives more speed options from as low as 12 Mbps to 100Mbps. Their packages start at $30 and go as high as $150. The cheaper options mean that you can get a connection on a budget. Then again, the low 12 Mbps speed falls below the FCC standard, and you’d do better with the higher-tier package. If you get a package that offers the higher download speeds, you can stream content in HD with ease. It is also the better choice if you have a big household as several people can connect to it at the same time. 

You also get free installation, which is great, but like HughesNet, expect to pay an equipment monthly leasing fee of $9.99. Viasat, too, offers various data limits in their plans and, if you exceed them, your internet will continue to work but it’ll be a little slow.

Final Words

There are a lot of options out there that might suit you better as each person is different and this guide only aims to highlight the best options so that you know what the market has to offer. Before you subscribe, though, just make sure to weigh the pros and cons to get the best deal. Best of luck!