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Rise Broadband Review: A Decent Option for Rural Internet

Like

  • Availability in rural areas with no direct cables to the home
  • Significantly higher data allowances than satellite
  • Advanced Wi-Fi equipment and service available
  • Growing fiber network

Don’t Like

  • Max speeds of only 100Mbps in most areas
  • Line of sight to nearby wireless tower required
  • Possible service disruptions in bad weather

In this article

Living in a rural area doesn’t have to automatically come with sacrificing quality internet service. When exploring what’s available in your area, here’s something you may want to consider: fixed wireless. 

A fixed wireless connection sends internet signals from nearby towers to a small antenna at your home. Your modem then converts the signals into the internet connection you use for streaming and browsing the web. It’s like satellite internet, only without the high latency and stiff data restrictions or the need to mount a dish. Now, take that technology, add speeds ranging from 25 to 100 megabits per second, unlimited data options and mesh Wi-Fi capabilities and you’ve got Rise Broadband.

Rise Broadband won’t blow you away with blazing speeds or super-cheap pricing, but you may find the Wi-Fi service and low latency (which, unlike satellite internet, can support online gaming) impressive. That is, if your signal isn’t affected by a thunderstorm or snow shower between your home and the wireless tower.

Suppose satellite and DSL are your only other options. In that case, I’d most likely prefer Rise Broadband due to its pricing, comparatively faster speeds and higher data allowances, though DSL can be the cheaper, faster option in some areas. On the other hand, if cable or fiber internet is available, I would look to those providers first before considering Rise Broadband. That said, Rise Broadband does also have a small but growing fiber presence capable of delivering gig speeds.

rise broadband coverage map

Rise Broadband’s fixed wireless internet service spans 16 states.


FCC/Mapbox

Rise Broadband plans and prices

Rise Broadband offers two fixed wireless home internet plans in most areas: 25Mbps and 50Mbps. Select locations may have access to faster speeds, up to 100Mbps. According to a Rise Broadband spokesperson, the provider has around “43,000 existing connected customers that are capable of getting 100Mbps speeds.” The exact speeds available at your address will vary by the infrastructure in your area and how close your home is to a nearby tower.

There’s also the fiber side of Rise Broadband — currently available in Maroa, Illinois and the Texas cities of East Bernard, Ferris and Wallis — which has an entirely different set of speeds and pricing. You’ll find plan details for both service types below.

Rise Broadband home internet plans

Plan Starting monthly price Max download speeds (Mbps) Data cap Connection type
25Mbps $25 25 250GB (add unlimited for $10) Fixed wireless
50Mbps $35 50 (100 in select locations) 250GB (add unlimited for $10) Fixed wireless
100Mbps $60 100 None Fiber
250Mbps $70 250 None Fiber
1,000Mbps $100 1,000 None Fiber

The 25Mbps and 50Mbps tiers are relatively consistent across Rise Broadband service areas, but pricing and data options may vary slightly from one market to another. For example, the 25Mbps/250GB plan may start at the promotional price of $25 in some areas, but in others the same speed tier may start at $55 and already come with unlimited data. 

Something else to remember is that with Rise, your bill may go up after the first year, probably by around $10. Rise’s introductory prices vary by location, so the exact jump might be a little more or less than that — and it might be slightly higher with some unlimited plans — but overall, the increases are smaller than you’ll see with other providers. For instance, cable internet plans from Xfinity, Spectrum and Cox will typically go up by at least $20 after the first year, if not $30 to $40.

All told, fixed wireless service from Rise isn’t the best value in home internet by any stretch, especially when compared to faster technologies like cable or fiber. Rise Broadband does, however, offer relatively strong value compared with other common rural options like satellite and DSL. 

For example, HughesNet internet starts at $50 per month (not to mention the pricey equipment and installation) for speeds up to 25Mbps, and comes with much more restrictive data caps and higher latency. Similarly, DSL service from providers like CenturyLink and Frontier can cost the same or more than Rise Broadband for slower speeds. DSL speeds vary widely by location, though, typically anywhere from 5 to 100Mbps, so DSL’s overall value and how it compares to Rise will depend on where you live.

Rise Broadband equipment and fees

Regardless of your service area and the plan you choose, a $10 equipment fee may be required. I say “may” because some locations, about 20% of Rise Broadband’s customer base, will luck out and get their equipment included at no extra cost. Either way, the equipment in question here is just your antenna and the modem. If you want Wi-Fi service, you can rent a router from Rise Broadband for an additional $5 per month per device, or supply your own. 

deco m4 mesh router rise broadband

If you aren’t using your own router, you can rent a TP-Link Deco M4 mesh system from Rise Broadband for $5 per month per device. The three-piece setup seen here would add $15 to your monthly bill.


TP-Link

Renting your Wi-Fi router

Renting your Wi-Fi router will cost you $5 to $15 per month, depending on the level of Wi-Fi service you choose. It’s an added expense, but you may find it to be well worth it, particularly if you’re interested in trying out a mesh router. At just $5 per Deco M4 device, Rise Broadband’s router rental fees are lower than most providers, and you do have the option to use your own and avoid renting a router at all. 

One Deco M4 should be enough for small homes and apartments, but you might want to try adding a second or third device as an extender if the primary signal isn’t reaching far enough into your home.

A Rise Broadband technician will install and configure your router(s) during the initial installation, even if you supply your own, which is nice. That means if you provide your own, you’ll need the router you intend to use at the time of installation. Rise Broadband’s installation fee for new service is steep at $150, but that fee is often waived when you sign up.

Data caps, contracts and added fees

While some Rise Broadband plans have unlimited data, others have a 250GB cap. Now, 250GB is a decent amount of data, but you’ll want to be mindful of your usage, as the average US household used over 536GB per month in the fourth quarter of 2021, per OpenVault.

Exceeding your monthly data cap will result in a $5 charge for each 10GB block required to accommodate your overage. So, for example, if you had a 250GB cap and used the same amount as the average household from OpenVault’s data, you’d be more than double over the limit and hit with a sizable fee. However, the unlimited data plans are only $10 to $20 more per month, so it’s a worthwhile investment if you’re at risk of regularly breaking the cap.

It is pretty simple to monitor your monthly data usage online, and the company will send you a notification each time it charges a $5 data fee. Still, to be safe, I’d recommend just choosing a plan with unlimited data. You’ll want to opt for the unlimited data plan ahead of time if you go that route, as upgrading your plan while under contract comes with a $150 Service Upgrade Fee per occurrence. That’s a bit stingy — internet providers should never punish their customers for seeking an upgrade. 

The good news is that Rise Broadband is primarily a month-to-month service, so you shouldn’t have to worry about early termination fees or that senseless upgrade fee. However, some locations and promotions may require a contract (with ETFs up to $125 on one-year contracts and up to $250 on two-year agreements)  , so be sure to ask if your service comes with one when signing up.

A competitive option for rural internet

Rise Broadband has greater availability and faster speeds than other fixed wireless providers, though pricing is somewhat higher, especially when considering the added fees. It’s not likely that you’ll have the choice of Rise Broadband and other fixed wireless providers, however. 

Rise Broadband vs. satellite internet

If your internet connection comes down to Rise Broadband and satellite from either HughesNet or Viasat, Rise Broadband will be the better value. Compared to satellite internet, Rise Broadband comes with lower pricing, latency low enough to support online gaming, and much more data. Both internet connection types are susceptible to service disruptions from rain, snow and even the wind, but fixed wireless connections pose less of a risk than satellite. This is because the signal has a shorter distance to travel and therefore is less likely to encounter bad weather along the way.

Rise Broadband vs. 5G home internet

Cellular internet providers, such as Verizon 5G Home Internet and T-Mobile Home Internet, may be cheaper and faster than Rise Broadband in select areas. Verizon offers speeds between 300 and 940Mbps and unlimited data starting at $70 a month, but service is not widely available in rural areas. T-Mobile offers a bit more coverage and also has a single, $50-a-month unlimited plan but max speeds ranging from only 35 to 115Mbps. 

As 5G service from these providers and others becomes more widely available, cellular internet may become even more enticing, but the lack of availability is an issue for now. You’re likely to get better equipment and service reliability with Rise Broadband over cellular internet, but that may not last long as 5G home internet continues to expand.

Rise Broadband vs. DSL internet

DSL internet service, another popular choice for rural internet, can vary widely by provider and location. In some areas, DSL providers such as CenturyLink and Kinetic by Windstream can deliver speeds of 100Mbps for prices comparable to Rise Broadband. However, these speeds aren’t typical with DSL, and many rural locations will only be eligible for sub-broadband download speeds (less than 25Mbps). If that’s the case in your area, you’ll probably find Rise Broadband to be the better provider.

Rise Broadband vs. cable and fiber

Cable providers, including Mediacom, Spectrum and Xfinity, are available in many Rise Broadband service areas. Some locations, such as Irving, Texas and Salt Lake City, may also have access to fiber-optic internet. Cable and fiber-optic services will almost always offer faster speeds than you can get with fixed wireless service from Rise Broadband. You’re also likely to have more plan options and better reliability since you’ll have a wired connection. In short, if cable internet or fiber-optic service is available, it’s almost certainly going to be the better option.

What do customers think of Rise Broadband?

Customer satisfaction resources like The American Customer Satisfaction Index and J.D. Power do not include Rise Broadband in their reports, so official customer satisfaction indicators are scarce. 

Turning to the Better Business Bureau, Rise Broadband has held an A-plus rating since 2015. Overall, the number of filed complaints is relatively low, with less than 60 over the last 12 months. Additionally, over 350 Rise Broadband customers who left a review gave the provider an average of 3.78 out of 5 stars, which is exceptionally high among internet service providers.

Rise Broadband customer service

When it comes to customer service, Rise Broadband is as accommodating as any provider. While its customer care line (844-816-9149) is not available on Sundays, it is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET on Saturday. On the other hand, tech support (877-910-6207) is available seven days a week — 7 a.m. to midnight ET, Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday.

Rise Broadband is also one of the few providers accessible by email, which can be convenient if you don’t have a pressing concern and don’t want to wait on hold. Other than email, there’s no practical online customer or technical support available. There’s no live online chat function on the Rise Broadband website, and there’s little to no order on the FAQ page, which could make it challenging to find the answers you need quickly.

To sum up

Rise Broadband is an excellent choice for rural internet service with 25, 50 and possibly even 100Mbps, plans available in 16 states. Unlimited data options are available, too — a rarity for rural internet — but even if you don’t choose an unlimited plan, the 250GB you get with the company’s limited plans is enough for lots of online activity. Just try to avoid going over the data cap if you have one, as doing so will add to the monthly fees.

Rise Broadband FAQs

What kind of internet is Rise Broadband?

Rise Broadband uses fixed wireless technology that can connect households to broadband internet service without the use of cable or lines run directly to the home. Instead of running cables to the home, which can be costly, fixed wireless service sends internet signals wirelessly from a nearby radio tower to a small antenna mounted at the home. 

The delivery method is ideal for rural areas. Though it’s probably not as fast as cable or fiber, Rise Broadband is likely to be faster than other popular rural internet options including satellite and DSL service. Latency is also considerably lower with Rise Broadband versus satellite internet due to the shorter distance fixed wireless signals travel to reach the home.

How fast is Rise Broadband?

Rise Broadband fixed wireless plans typically come with download speeds up to 25Mbps or 50Mbps, though some addresses will be eligible for speeds up to 100Mbps in place of the 50Mbps plan. Upload speeds are a bit slower, as is to be expected from a non-fiber connection, with Rise Broadband upload speeds of 10Mbps or higher available to only around 40% of coverage areas according to the FCC.

The fiber side of Rise Broadband is capable of delivering much faster speeds, up to 1,000Mbps. Additionally, the speeds are symmetrical, meaning max upload and download speeds are the same. 

Is Rise Broadband internet unlimited?

In most service areas, Rise Broadband fixed wireless plans come with a monthly data allowance of 250GB and the option to upgrade to unlimited data for an added monthly cost.

It’s important to note that 250GB is a generous amount of data, especially considering the typical Rise Broadband speeds of 25, 50 and 100Mbps. It likely won’t be easy to reach and exceed 250GB in a month with speeds of 25Mbps, but it is certainly possible in households that frequently stream TV or videos on social media. 

Keep an eye on your data cap, should you have one with Rise Broadband or another provider, as going over can result in added fees. If you’re concerned about going over and getting hit with added fees, consider Rise Broadband’s unlimited data plans.


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