Best Rural Internet for Streaming Video

graphic for rural internet options for streaming video

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Even if you live in a remote area, rural internet options are available to give you access to the internet speeds you need to stream your favorite content. Here’s a look at the best rural internet options for streaming video and how to optimize your internet connection type to make the most of it.

Types of Rural Internet Suitable for Streaming

Satellite Internet

While not on par with fiber internet or cable internet, satellite internet has improved in the last 5-10 years. Providers like HughesNet and Viasat have been providing decent speeds capable of streaming video content, and Starlink continues to improve its satellite network, resulting in increased speeds and better internet latency. Given that satellite internet is available nearly nationwide, it’s a particularly good option if you live in the country.

  • Fast satellite internet
  • Ideal for rural areas
  • Up to 3x faster than DSL*
  • Satellite internet
  • 2-year fixed pricing
  • No hard data caps

Fixed Wireless Internet

Fixed wireless internet is a solution that works by receiving signals from a nearby tower, similar to how cell phones work but designed for home internet. It is less common than the other types listed here, but providers like Rise Broadband and Starry offer attractive plans. Fixed wireless is effective in areas where the geographical layout might make cable infrastructure impractical and has limited elevation relief and obstructions.

  • Fast speeds in rural areas
  • Affordable prices
  • Quick installations
  • 5G Fixed Wireless Provider
  • Contract buyout up to $200
  • Pause or cancel anytime for free

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)

Although it’s one of the older technologies, DSL internet can still offer decent speeds for streaming. You’ll commonly find EarthLink, CenturyLink, and Frontier in many rural areas. Keep in mind, though, that your overall speed will decrease the further you are from the provider’s network hub.

  • Best internet protection
  • Unlimited data included
  • No credit checks
  • Simplified pricing
  • Unlimited data included
  • No annual contract required

5G Home Internet

Mobile providers are expanding and offering 5G networks in more areas every day. While 5G internet is predominantly urban, its rapid expansion and the robustness of 4G in many rural areas make this a viable option for streaming. It’s not the most ideal solution, especially if you’re not close to a tower, but it’s a reliable internet option if it’s the only one in your area.

  • Variety of plans
  • Wide availability
  • Fiber internet speeds
  • Fast symmetrical speeds
  • Fiber-optics network
  • No annual contracts

Rural Internet Considerations for Streaming Video

Ideally, streaming video works best over a high-speed, low-latency internet connection. Fiber and cable internet are ideal for these reasons but are scarce in rural areas. As you search for rural internet solutions for streaming, keep the following in mind:


Speed is of the essence. For SD quality, you’ll need at least 3 Mbps. For HD quality, 5-8 Mbps is recommended. And for ultra HD or 4K, you’ll need upwards of 25 Mbps. Always opt for a little more than the minimum to account for other devices and activities.


A stable connection is crucial. Sporadic drops or inconsistent speeds can disrupt streaming and lead to buffering. Which leads to a frustrating streaming experience. 

Data Allowance

Streaming consumes a lot of data. Some rural internet options come with data caps. For regular streamers, it’s crucial to choose a plan with a high internet data cap or ideally, unlimited data. When choosing the  best satellite internet, pay close attention to high-speed data allowances.

Optimizing Your Rural Internet Connection for Streaming Video

Wired Connection

Whenever possible, connect your streaming device directly to your WiFi router using an ethernet cable. This reduces potential interference and usually offers a more stable connection than Wi-Fi.

Optimize Wi-Fi

If you rely on Wi-Fi, ensure your router is in an optimal location. Centralized, elevated positions away from thick walls or electronic devices often give the best signal distribution. Regularly updating your router’s firmware and using WiFi extenders can boost performance.

Limit Other Activities

When streaming, especially in high definition, try to limit other high-bandwidth activities. This includes pausing large downloads, online gaming, or other streaming activities.

Adjust Streaming Quality

Most streaming platforms like Netflix or YouTube allow you to adjust the quality of the video. If you’re facing issues, consider dropping the quality a notch.

Use a Quality of Service (QoS) Setting

Some modern routers have a QoS setting that lets you prioritize certain types of traffic. By prioritizing your streaming service, you can ensure it gets a bigger slice of your bandwidth.

Regularly Monitor and Test

Periodically test your internet speed. This helps you ensure you’re getting the speeds you’re paying for and can identify potential issues.

Streaming video with rural internet can be challenging. Satellite, fixed wireless, 5G, and DSL internet are each capable internet connections capable of offering a decent streaming experience. But knowing what streaming video demands of your internet and some optimization tricks, you can make the most of your rural internet connection.

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Keith Carlson
Written By
Keith Carlson
Written By
Keith Carlson
Keith is a Contributing Writer for HighSpeedOptions with over 10 years of experience in writing and marketing. He has written for and contributed to organizations in the non-profit, financial, and enterprise internet and cable service industries. At HighSpeedOptions, Keith covers everything from broadband news to emerging technologies and how they complement different lifestyles and budgetary needs. In his free time, Keith enjoys spending time with his family, reading as many books as he can, and photography.