While the internet has slowly transformed our way of living and has become an unavoidable part of our lives, there is still a disparity in its access for rural and urban populations in America. In this age of information, where the internet is the center of everything, it is almost impossible to function without it.
When it comes to the State of Illinois, the first thing that comes into people’s minds is Chicago, but there is so much more to it than that. This 6th most populated state is also the 6th most connected state, with 98% of residents having access to a broadband network with an average speed of 171.3 Mbps. Although the infrastructure is much better, the broadband coverage is mainly concentrated in northeastern counties, and while the urban areas enjoy better internet penetrations and speeds, the rural population is left with limited internet options. Currently, 353 internet service providers operate in Illinois, but we will be focusing on the high-speed internet options available in rural areas.
Internet Options in Rural Areas of Illinois
For many years, the rural population had to rely on slow dial-up internet. Nowadays, several internet services cover rural areas of Illinois, but not all of them are accessible everywhere. Many internet service providers also offer different internet services depending on the location. The services that are mostly available in rural areas are DSL, wireless, and satellite.
Satellite is a form of broadband that serves remote or sparsely populated areas that lack a network infrastructure. Sometimes it is the only available option for the rural population. Its speeds depend on several factors including the chosen provider, plan, weather, and location.
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
DSL is a wired internet service that transmits data using the already installed telephone lines. The availability and speed of the DSL connection also depend on your provider and location.
Many ISPs provide this service as an alternative for wired internet services. It uses a central tower to transmit signals to the surrounding areas and often requires a direct line of sight between the transmitter and the receiver for better speeds and connectivity.
High-Speed Internet Services in Rural Areas of Illinois
Many of our daily operations require high-speed internet and it is also critical to our economic growth. Illinoisans in rural areas should have knowledge about all the available internet options to make a wise decision. Here is a list of the best high-speed internet providers available in rural areas of Illinois:
If you live in rural areas of Illinois, you might be extremely familiar with satellite internet. Viasat boasts a high-speed internet connection compared to dial-up and even DSL. With 100% coverage, Viasat keeps you connected around the clock. If speed is your main requirement, then Viasat is an ideal satellite internet option.
- Nationwide availability
- Faster speeds
- Higher data plans
- Prick hike after promotional period
- Vulnerable to bad weather
- Data caps
Plans & Pricing
Although Viasat is expensive, it offers a wide range of speeds from 12 Mbps to 100 Mbps. It offers several plans with various speeds and data allowances. The notable thing about Viasat is that its prices get hiked by 33% after the end of the three-month promotional period. Its prices start at $30 and go all the way up to $170. Some of its best plans include:
- Unlimited Platinum 100 for $170 with 100 Mbps speed and 300 GB data cap
- Unlimited Gold 50 for $120 with 50 Mbps speed and 200 GB data cap
Data caps are an unavoidable aspect of satellite internet. It offers various data allowances in its plans and throttles your speed to 3 Mbps to 1 Mbps after you exceed that limit. You can pay an extra $10 to $95 to buy extra data, but it doesn’t translate to the following month and gets wasted if you haven’t used it all. Although, do remember that you can’t purchase extra data with Viasat’s unlimited plans.
Viasat also binds you in a contract with an ETF fee of $15 for the remaining period of your contract. You can also avoid the contract with Viasat by paying an upfront $300 fee.
Frontier is another internet option in many rural areas of Illinois. It offers both fiber and DSL services but its fiber internet is mainly available in urban areas and the rural population has to rely on its DSL internet. Depending on your location, you can access up to 115 Mbps speed.
- Affordable DSL plans
- Availability in rural areas
- Inconsistent speeds
- Limited fiber availability
Plans & Pricing
Frontier is known for its affordable DSL plans and availability in rural areas. It offers three DSL plans with various speeds and prices. The best plan for high-speed internet is Frontier Internet for $55 with 115 Mbps speed. The plans and speeds vary depending on your location, so make sure to check the availability before choosing a plan.
Frontier offers unlimited data and doesn’t enforce any data caps, so you can stream, game, and browse the internet without any extra charges.
Frontier also doesn’t enforce any contracts. So you can cancel your service at any moment without having to worry about paying an early termination fee.
Like every other state, Illinois is also taking measures to expand its broadband services to the people living in rural areas. Lack of infrastructure and expensive costs of laying everything from scratch is a major reason for the unavailability of broadband services in many rural areas of Illinois. People are mostly limited to either satellite or fixed wireless internet. Although cable and fiber internet’s situation in rural areas is still unclear, the emerging 5G and satellite technologies can play a vital role in closing the digital divide.