Have you ever purchased a home to find that you cannot get Internet service? This painful realization for would-be buyers relocating to the suburbs or rural areas can come a little too late! Below we share some tips for buying an Internet-ready home to help you avoid the same mistake.


My home is in a Mountainous Area – What service options are available to me?

Not every Internet Service Provider is available in all areas. Many of us have grown up spoiled by countless options in the city, but when you move to the suburbs or rural areas, the well dries up and reality shows its ugly face. Ouch!

So what if my current provider does not offer service in my new neighborhood?

In every state, you can find a list of service providers for your area at websites like Broadband Now, which displays pricing and vendors by zip code. But, buyer beware: just because it lists local Internet providers, that doesn’t always mean that they can provide service to your desired home.


DSL Internet – Service provided through your phone line; prevalent in major cities and also available in some rural communities.

Consumer Tip:  Call your local provider to see if service is available at your new location. No matter what you hear, verify service availability by having them come out to confirm this.

Cable Internet– In telecommunications, cable Internet access, shortened to cable Internet, is a form of broadband Internet access which uses the same infrastructure as a cable television. Also principally located in metropolitan areas, cable Internet may or may not be an option.

Consumer Tip: Call your local cable provider to see if service is available in your new area to transfer your service. No matter what you hear, verify serviceability by having them come out to confirm this.


Fixed Wireless – Fixed wireless is the operation of wireless devices or systems used to connect two fixed locations (e.g., building to building or tower to a building) with a radio or other wireless link.

Consumer Tip: Wireless Internet providers require line-of-sight to fulfill service. Some areas may require custom installations for clients with challenging terrain. Custom installs may cost buyers more upfront fees but can provide homeowners options when all else fails. Fixed wireless providers offer service in both metropolitan and rural areas as a “last mile” where other telcos are not available.

Satellite Internet – Satellite Internet access is Internet access provided through communications satellites. Modern consumer-grade satellite Internet providers serve individual consumers through geostationary satellites that can offer data speeds ranging from two to eighteen megabits per second.

Consumer Tip:  Often confused with Fixed Wireless, Satellite can provide service to nearly any area. However, at 22,000 miles above the earth and using the law of physics, ping on Satellite Internet will average around 625 milliseconds. This type of Internet service ends up being the last resort after finding Fixed Wireless, DSL, or Cable providers are unavailable.

What if my current provider is not available?

If you find yourself in this predicament, start looking for alternatives immediately. Research the area to see what providers offer service to your desired neighborhood. You can also ask neighbors to see who they use, check on Yelp, or see if your realtor can recommend anyone.

How to confirm service before you buy?

Remember: The seller wants you to buy their home.

If they are using a local provider that fails to impress, do your homework to look for other Internet providers that cover that area. Make sure you ask the seller if they can set up a free site survey with the desired Internet provider in that area to confirm serviceability. Once you have confirmation that Internet is available to that house, you still have work to do. See below for more tips.

Consumer Tip:  It is crucial that you do your due diligence to confirm if the house you want to buy has reliable Internet. Asking around is one method to get a feel for anecdotal issues. Nearby neighbors will give you the “skinny” of past tales with providers, speeds offered and performance they are getting using that service provider.

Another way to confirm services is to visit the prospective home you want to buy and explore Internet options just as you would other features of a potential new home. Some buyers focus more on the esthetics and worry about Internet later – don’t make that mistake!

Also, check for existing equipment located on the roof or property and ask the realtor for the name of the Internet Provider delivering service at that home.

Consumer Tip:  Asking the right questions will help you uncover what is real and what is not. Just because you see a telephone box does not mean you can get DSL Internet.

Once you’ve finished your preliminary investigation, call the local provider or providers to find out what speeds they provide, pricing, and learn if they serve other clients in that area as well.

Remember, it is not what you think you know; it is what you can prove.  

So there you have it, folks. Please use this as a good start to make your next home buying experience a lesson you do not have to learn the hard way. Be Internet ready! As always, thanks for listening! – Sonia

Question: Did you buy the house or did you walk away? Please share any past experiences.

Photo via Mr.TinDC