For many living in rural areas, the only real Internet options available come in the form of satellite or dial-up internet. Many broadband internet companies with DSL, cable, or fiber-optic internet options do not serve rural areas because installing new communications lines in low-density areas is not cost effective. We will help explain the difference between dial-up and satellite internet so you can decide which connection is the right choice for you.

Dial-Up Internet

According to The Daily Dot, 2.1 million Americans still use dial-up internet. Dial-up connects your computer to the internet via your telephone line. It is extremely slow by modern standards, with speeds limited to 56 Kbps. Nowadays, you can get speeds of 50 Mbps or more with DSL, cable, or fiber-optic internet.


Source: Uncyclopedia

Despite dial-up’s slow speeds, it’s generally a cheap option and can cost as little as $10 montly, making it a great choice for those who are on a budget and don’t need a lot of speed. However, you won’t be able to stream video, so service like Netflix would be a no-go.

Satellite Internet

Satellite internet is considerably faster than dialup—you can buy packages with up to 10 Mbps from providers like DISH. Most people only need speeds of up to 5 Mbps, which can support activities like checking email and streaming movies.

Source: DISH Rural Internet Service

Unlike dial-up, satellite internet is transmitted from an actual satellite, rather than through your phone line. That means you’ll need to install a satellite dish on the roof of your house. Satellite’s pervasive technology lets you receive an internet signal anywhere in the country as long as the satellite dish is not obstructed. The downside is that satellite internet packages can cost $50 or more monthly—but while considerably more expensive, it is much faster than dial-up. Depending on your internet consumption, it may be worth the extra money.


Hopefully this has effectively cleared up the difference between dial-up and satellite internet. If you’re located in a rural area, let us know which form of internet connection you use in the comments section below.

~ Alice Williams