Internet Options in Rural Areas

People in rural markets usually face more challenges finding a fast and reliable internet connection. Sometimes there may not be many choices available. In this article, we'll review internet options that may be available in rural areas and discuss their pros and cons.

Comparing Internet Connection Types

Let's learn more about DSL (digital subscriber line), satellite, cable internet, and fiber-optic internet connections.

DSL: Inexpensive and Reliable but Limited Speeds

DSL internet uses copper phone lines like dial-up internet, but it offers much faster speeds than dial-up. It also doesn't make your phone line busy as dial-up does. DSL plans typically start at around 1 Mbps and vary based on provider, with some offering speeds over 100 Mbps. Although the speeds are not as high as other internet connections, DSL is more affordable than most other internet connection types.

Satellite: Expensive, High Latency, but Available Almost Anywhere in the U.S.

Satellite internet is transmitted via a satellite in Earth orbit and is usually available from any U.S. location. Typically, satellite internet plans range from 25 to 150 Mbps. One downfall of satellite internet is that it usually has the highest latency because of the signal's travel distance. Additionally, satellite internet plans typically have more stringent restrictions on data caps and are generally pricey.

Cable Internet: Fast and Reliable – The Most Common Internet Connection in the U.S.

Cable internet works with a Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC) System. HFC uses a combination of fiber cables and coaxial cables. Because there is a connection running to the home, this provides a more reliable connection than satellite. Cable internet usually offers higher speeds than DSL. The plans typically start at around 15 Mbps, with some providers offering a gigabit plan with download speeds of around 940Mbps. You share bandwidth with others connected through your cable line with a cable internet connection. Internet providers strive to provide the proper bandwidth to minimize slow speeds during peak hours. Overall, cable internet offers fast speeds and a reliable connection; it is the most common internet connection in the U.S.

Fiber-Optic Internet: Faster and More Reliable but Expensive – Usually Preferred by Businesses

Fiber-optic internet is possibly the best connection type. Because the internet connection comes to your home via fiber-optic cable, it supports faster speeds and better reliability than other internet connections. Some providers may offer similar speeds as their cable internet plans, while others may offer higher speeds. Regardless of the speed, the upside is that bandwidth is not a concern with fiber-optic internet. Your speed will not go down during peak times as it would with cable internet. Because you'll have a direct fiber connection to your home, this connection is pricier. Business customers may prefer a fiber-optic internet connection because of the higher reliability, while a residential customer may be satisfied with a cable internet plan.

What Type of Internet Connection Should I Get?

If you search the Internet for "Internet near me," you'll be able to determine what options are available at your location. If you have more than one option, consider how many people will be using the internet, what devices you'll be connecting, and what activities you'll be doing online. The most common type of internet connection in the U.S. is cable internet. Many users may prefer it when available because of its fast speeds and reliability. Although fiber-optic internet may be faster and more reliable, it is also more expensive. Now, if a local provider offers fiber without the need to pay extra fees for the direct fiber connection to your home, then that's a great option. However, what works for one house, may not work for another. Focus on your own internet needs and budget to find your best choice.

What Does Sparklight Offer?

Sparklight provides both cable internet and fiber-optic internet (depending on your location) to residential customers. The broadband communications provider works diligently to offer the most reliable service by strengthening the infrastructure to provide more bandwidth for customers. Sparklight has started to build out all-fiber connections in certain areas, and in the coming years, they will have built out more all-fiber areas. Visit to find out what services are available in your area.


Building out infrastructure is costly, and because there are fewer homes to service, the profits may be lower in rural areas than in more populated areas. Even so, some companies focus on bringing connectivity to rural areas. One of those companies is Sparklight. Learn more about Sparklight at
Fiber-optic internet is usually more expensive because an internet provider must build a fiber connection to your home. Building a fiber connection is costly, and a provider usually takes years to make up for the expense they've invested in creating that fiber connection. That is why most providers generally require a contract to build a fiber connection to a location; they may even require a fee upfront. Fiber services are more commonly used by business customers, although residential customers can also subscribe. Because cable internet provides fast and reliable service for the typical residential home, a residential customer will usually use a cable internet connection to avoid the extra cost of fiber-optic internet.
In addition to offering cable and fiber-optic internet to residential customers and continuously enhancing their connectivity, Sparklight is local. Sparklight has a local presence in nearly all the areas they service. Many Sparklight associates live in the communities they serve. Sparklight is also committed to supporting the communities it serves in various ways, including through its Charitable Giving Fund.

Learn more about Sparklight business services at