Internet on the Homestead

My satellite internet dish by my garden

Access to fast internet is becoming an important factor when buying a rural property. Some need fast internet for working from home while others would like to still watch Netflix or YouTube in some evenings.

The best case scenario is to have access to fiber from your home. This is pretty rare for rural areas, but it does not hurt to research and inquire. Ask your neighbors or google ISPs in your area and ask them if they offer fiber or at least some type of broadband internet.

Some ISPs use point to point microwave antennas to give several mbps speeds. This is not the best for HD video streaming, but it should work for at least SD streaming.

Some areas have cell service. Most companies have personal hotspot capability. As long as you do not use a ton of data, this may be your best option. Some of my neighbors use their cell carrier for their home internet with sides even streaming video. If you have 5G in your area, all the faster!

If there are no options for your area, do not give up hope yet. You can always get satellite internet. It is much better than it used to be, but for their cheapest plans, you might not be able to stream video in the evenings when many others are online. We pay $60 a month for our service and are throttled for all but one day of the month. We are fine with this, however, as we can’t afforda big enough plan to avoid throttling. The throttle speeds are still fast enough to stream video or FaceTime/Zoom during the day. Just some evenings (or most during a time like the pandemic) the speeds are sore enough that only YouTube works and even that on its lowest quality.

Downside to satellite internet are the high cost, throttling, latency (slight delay when in a video or audio call, but still usable), and the weather can sometimes affect the service. When it snows, I have to brush off the dish with a broom, and rain can sometimes stall the connection for a bit. Overall it is fairly usable though still not ideal.

SpaceX is releasing a new type of satellite internet that uses the near orbit. They advertise fiber speeds and low latency for anywhere in North America. This is supposed to come out fall of 2020. This could be a game changer if it lives up to their promises. No longer will rural areas have any slower connections than the big cities or 5G.

Best of luck finding a good ISP in your area. Though the internet is convenient and necessary for employment for some, remember that even if you cannot stream much in the evenings, you can always download from services like Netflix or Prime Video or find other activities as a family like reading a book. 🙂