5 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Rural internet Provider

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Arranging for internet access can be challenging in rural areas. Options are often limited, and standard wired broadband is almost never one of them. But there are others. From DSL to satellite and 4G wireless internet, rural residents have choices. That also means they have questions.

Blazing Hog is a Houston, TX company that offers nationwide 4G rural internet. They urge rural consumers not to settle for the first internet service they find. Rather, they recommend looking at every option and comparing them by asking the right questions. Here are five questions Blazing Hog says should be asked:

1. How does your service work?

This question may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s a fundamental question with an answer that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Different types of services work based on different technologies. Consider the following:

  • DSL – DSL provides internet access over old school telephone lines. It is certainly faster than dial-up, but exponentially slower than broadband.
  • Satellite – Satellite internet provides internet access using the same technology that makes satellite TV possible.
  • 4G Internet – A 4G internet provider offers service by way of established mobile networks.

Each of these technologies differs in terms of speed, bandwidth, and other parameters. Make sure you know what you are getting.

2. How is equipment provided?

Next up, be sure to ask how equipment is provided. Will you purchase a modem outright, or will you rent it from the ISP on a monthly basis? If renting is the initial option, will you be to purchase and use your own modem in the future? Bear in mind that renting equipment from your ISP adds to your monthly bill.

There is also something else to consider when renting – how often equipment is upgraded. Some ISPs let customers languish with the same equipment year after year. They only upgrade when a customer calls and insists on it.

3. What are your maximum and average download speeds?

Speed is a crucial factor in the modern era. Because most of the country is connected via wired broadband, web developers do what they do with a certain expectation of speed. If your ISP cannot keep up, you will not be getting an optimal internet experience.

Just bear in mind that maximum and average download speeds can vary quite a bit. You are not likely to enjoy maximum speeds most of the time.

4. Does your service require a contract?

Some internet providers insist on contracts. Others do not. You can make the case for either model. Here’s the point: you need to know ahead of time if signing up with a particular company is going to lock you into a long-term contract. You might get a particularly good deal on a contract offer, but chances are that you’ll pay dearly if you need to cancel for any reason.

5. What are your data limits?

Finally, be sure to ask about data limits. Like cell phone service, rural internet via satellite or 4G wireless may be subject to data limits based on pricing plan. The last thing you want to do is sign up for a plan that doesn’t offer enough data to meet your monthly needs. You would have to either upgrade or pay extra charges every time you went over your limit.

Good options for rural internet access are out there. But to get the best possible deal, you have to compare providers. And the best way to do that is to ask questions. Remember that there is never a dumb question. If you want to know anything about how a rural ISP operates, ask.

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