Finding reliable, fast RV internet on the road is a real doozy. You can read our saga over here. And since this isn’t our first rodeo anymore, we thought we’d give you some pointers we found to be helpful along the way.

As I disclaimed in our other internet posts, I’m not a tech aficionado – if you’re looking for someone to woo you with their tech brain, you’re in the wrong place, my friend. This is what we discovered as NIRPs – Non-IT Regular People – in our quest to find reliable internet that didn’t cost half our paycheck.

As of this writing, we are now on our 5th internet provider. This article isn’t about the providers themselves – that article’s over here. This article is to help you ask the right questions before jumping into an internet provider so you don’t find these things out the hard way, like we did.

Here are the 5 questions we learned to consistently ask of every provider.

1) How much high-speed data do you get for the price?

The most frustrating piece of every company’s “unlimited data” pitch was that while, yes, you did get as much data as you wanted – only 20GB of it (or less) was high-speed before you got throttled and your requests were pushed to the back of the line.

Low-speed makes me want to put my head through the wall, so the plans that promise unlimited data with only 20 GB of high-speed just weren’t going to cut it.

We would go through that in 3 days.

My job requires me to be on anywhere from 15-23 Zoom calls a week and we upload 25+ pieces of video content for Life with Beth and Court each week, all of which relies on the internet. It is not a fun game to be rationing every last gigabyte.

As a benchmark idea, a typical household goes through 200 GB of high-speed data each month. We found that to be pretty true for just the 2 of us – 200 GBs is even too little most months!

2) What are the startup costs?

Many companies have you pay a “setup” fee, which is kind of a joke. They send you the hardware, you charge it or plug it in, plug in whatever your data is coming from (SIM card or load it from an app), and you start using it.

Startup costs were anywhere from $150-$650 when we were looking for internet – and that’s just to get started. That doesn’t include the service itself, so it’s good to understand that before choosing a provider.

3) What network(s) does the service run off?

We looked for AT&T because they were the strongest signal with the most coverage for where we’d be traveling.

Most providers allow you to buy into the network of your choice by cleverly disguising them as – yellow network, pink network, red network, blue network 🙄

I’ll let you fill in the blanks for which network belongs to what plan.

And of course, now Starlink is in the mix, which pings off its own satellites (which are significantly closer than traditional satellite service).

For a couple internet services we tried, they actually scanned any available cellular towers to pick up the strongest signal. Whatever the case – just understand what service you’re getting.

4) Are there contracts or fine print FOR rv internet?

Some services have a massive startup fee and then if you don’t continue to pay for internet coverage every month, you pay a holding fee of sorts. $25/mo for something you don’t use is an irritating fee to pay – but if you cancel, you’d have to pay the exorbitant setup fee if you want to use it again.

It’s pretty fun for companies to say, “no contract, cancel anytime” and equally as fun for them to find ways to make you keep paying even though you technically can leave any time you want.

Make sure you find out what you pay to start the service, use the service, put the service on hold, quit the service or, in our case, if the service will cost you more simply because it’s RV internet instead of home internet.

5) Do you get to keep the equipment?

Some companies have you pay this massive fee upfront for the “equipment”…and then they own the equipment anyway. It’s very confusing for those of us logical thinkers.

Why would I pay a company for the price of a router, and yet not own the router once I pay that fee when I could just purchase the router outright for the cost?

No sense.

Other companies build in an “equipment rental” fee into their cost every month. So you pay, let’s say, $85/mo for the service and $15/mo for renting the equipment.

As you may be able to tell from the questions above, finding fast, reliable internet on the road is an annoying process. Companies love to make their services look “easy”, “no strings attached”, and “what you see is what you get”, but that’s rarely the case.

Make sure you find the right provider for you at the right price point by starting with the 5 questions above.

What internet service do you use? Any other questions you make sure to ask?