The promise of the rollout of 5G has many anticipating it in urban and suburban areas. But many rural areas of the US still struggle with slow internet and poor infrastructure., conducted a speed test for an overview of current internet speeds in US rural areas, and discovered rural cities with both the fastest and slowest internet speeds. researched and ranked nearly 600 cities in the US, testing for fastest and slowest rural Internet speeds using A rural city was defined as having a population of less than 10,000 people and being removed geographically from an urban area. Cities with less than 50 speed test results were filtered out to ensure accuracy. Lastly, calculated average internet speeds and ranked the cities with the fastest and slowest internet speeds.

SEE: Rural America is in the midst of a mental health crisis. Tech could help some patients see a way forward. (TechRepublic cover story) | Download the free PDF version

Rural areas lag, not only behind metropolitan cities, but behind the national average internet speed, which is 43.8 Mbps , based on speed test results. In rural areas, the average internet speed is only 39.01 Mbps.

And the differences in speed,which affects all types of internet use,are dramatic, with the slowest rural city, Newcastle, CA, clocking in at a plodding 3.7 Mbps, to the fastest rural city, Hampton, GA, where the internet speed is 113.6 Mbps.

Here are rural cities with the slowest internet, based on speed tests:

  1. Newcastle, California (3.7 Mbps)

  2. Qulin, Missouri (4.3 Mbps)

  3. Spring Hills, Kansas (4.8 Mbps)

  4. Erin, Tennessee (5 Mbps)

  5. Westphalia, Michigan (5.3 Mbps)

  6. Sylva, North Carolina (5.4 Mbps)

  7. Stevensville, Montana (5.6 Mbps)

  8. Hawaiian Ocean View, Hawaii (6.2 Mbps)

  9. Trenton, Florida (6.3 Mbps)

  10. Nevada City, California (6.7 Mbps)

And the rural cities with the fastest internet, based on speed tests:

  1. Hampton, Georgia (113.6 Mbps)

  2. Haymarket, Virginia (93.1 Mbps)

  3. New Market, Maryland (89.4 Mbps)

  4. Aliquippa, Pennsylvania (82 Mbps)

  5. Warrenton, Virginia (79.6 Mbps)

  6. Downingtown, Pennsylvania (78.7 Mbps)

  7. Roanoke, Texas (77 Mbps)

  8. Harleysville, Pennsylvania (76.9 Mbps)

  9. Red Lion, Pennsylvania (74.6 Mbps)

  10. Woodbridge, Virginia (72.4 Mbps)

WalletHub conducted a comprehensive, detailed report on innovative states in 2017, and, at the time, the US states with the fastest internet speed were D.C. and Idaho. (For the record, D.C. also took No. 1 for most innovative US state).
Meanwhile, other countries boast a better Internet. AT&T was named the fastest network in the US in the 2019 Nationwide Test of Mobile Networks by Global Wireless Solutions, but the U.S. dropped to 38th. Which country was No. 1? South Korea, recording average download speeds of 97.44 Mbps. In the first month of availability in South Korea, there were 260,000 5G subscribers, while 5G availability and subscription is still spotty in the US. Average download speed stateside is 34.76 Mbps.

SEE: Special report: How 5G will transform business (free PDF) (TechRepublic Premium)

Online home rental company Spotahome examined 56 cities worldwide and the US only placed twice in the top 10 for best internet for “digital nomads.” In addition to internet speed, the study included technology growth, large number of co-working spaces, and low apartment rentals.

Here are the 10 best cities for internet users:

1. Belfast, UK
2. Lisbon, Portugal
3. Barcelona, Spain
4. Brisbane, Australia
5. Luxembourg, Luxembourg
6. Adelaide, Australia
7. Madrid, Spain
8. San Francisco, US
9. Wellington, New Zealand
10. Miami, US