Rise Broadband Review – 2020

Rise Broadband is the largest fixed wireless internet service provider in the USA. It has coverage in 19 states and can offer speeds up to 1000 Mbps, although most customers get much slower speeds.
Rating:
3.5/5

Overview of Rise Broadband Internet Services

Rise Broadband is a specialist internet service provider. It operates in a niche category of internet service, which is fixed wireless.

The Rise Broadband network is particularly dense in Iowa, Illinois, and Texas. It has no coverage on either the East or West Coast.

Although you may have experienced Wi-Fi in a home or in a coffee shop, “fixed wireless” is not the same thing. Nor is it the same as the internet that you can get on your phone. Those Wi-Fi systems only cover a small area. Usually, only within a part of a property.

Typical Wi-Fi routers can’t send signals very far and they are not good at delivering the internet to homes. Usually, Wi-Fi systems that cover the inside a home connect to a cable-delivered internet service, which leads out from the home to the internet.

Mobile internet is very similar to fixed wireless internet services in some respects. In both cases, the internet signal is broadcast from a transmitter on a tower. While mobile internet systems carry the signal from tower to tower across the country, fixed wireless systems usually combined some form of wired delivery system from the ISP’s offices up to a local neighborhood transmitter. It is only wireless for the last stretch of the delivery path. The rest of the journey might be carried on telephone lines, on coaxial cable, or on a fiber optic backbone.

The transmitters that create connections through to individual homes do not operate in the same way as the transmitters used for mobile data. Whereas a mobile cell tower sends out a signal that covers an area that is like an invisible ball, the fixed wireless transmitter directs its signal footprint over a concentrated area. This is called a “point-to-multipoint network and the tower can communicate with several homes at the same time without mixing the signals. This trick is performed by using a slightly different radio frequency for each customer.

Table of Contents

Pros of Rise Broadband

  • Does not need to dig up sidewalks or gardens to delivery service
  • Can reach remote homes
  • No contracts
  • Prices with and without data caps
  • Offers bundles with internet, TV and/or telephone service

Cons of Rise Broadband

  • Slower than cabled systems
  • Can only be set up by a technician

Some Points About Rise Broadband

The wireless connection between the tower and each home is a two-way channel. The box on the tower and the box on the home can transmit and receive and so they are called “transceivers.” Rise Broadband places the customer’s transceiver outside of the house. The box needs to have a clear path to the box on the tower. This is called a “line of sight.”

Buildings, trees, or other objects between the tower and the home’s transceiver will block the signal. In urban areas, this problem is solved by siting towers on top of tall structures and placing the home transceiver on a tall metal pole. A cable leads from the home transceiver into the house, where it feeds into the back of a standard telephone socket. The customer then connects a computer with a cable directly into that socket to get internet access. More commonly, customers use a Wi-Fi router so all members of the household can use the service simultaneously.

Rise Broadband doesn’t offer any other type of internet connection, even in urban locations within its service area. This is unusual because wireless systems are usually only considered as an option in rural areas where laying a long stretch of cable to a remote home would be financially unfeasible.

Wireless systems are not able to deliver data as quickly as wired networks because data gets lost in transmission through the air and environmental interference can scramble signals. Both situations require data to be resent, which creates delays.

Rise Broadband Plans

Rise Broadband is known for offering the fastest fixed wireless service in the USA. However, its highest speeds are reserved for business customers who can afford custom delivery solutions. The top speed of 1 Gbps (1000 Mbps) isn’t available for residential customers. The best home users can expect is 50 Mbps, but most areas only get 25 Mbps. However, this is still fast enough for several people to stream video faultlessly simultaneously within the house.

 

The company usually offers only two plans for each enquirer. These will both offer the same speed but will be differentiated by a capped service or unlimited data.

 

Here is a selection of Rise Broadband plans.

 

Plan Download Speed Minimum Term Data Cap
25 with data cap 25 Mbps Month-to-month or 2 year 150 or 250 GB
25 unlimited data 25 Mbps Month-to-month or 2 year None
50 with data cap 50 Mbps Month-to-month or 2 year 150 or 250 GB
50 unlimited data 50 Mbps Month-to-month or 2 year None

The data cap is 150 GB per month on month-to-month contracts and 250 GB per month on a 2-year contract. Those who exceed the limit can carry on using the service for the rest of the month but will be charged $3.50 per 10 GB increment.

The length of contract doesn’t change the monthly price of the service, but it does influence the early termination fee (ETF). If you are on a month-to-month agreement there is no ETF. If you are on a 2-year contract, the ETF is $10 for each month remaining on the contract.

Rise Broadband Pricing Overview

Rise Broadband has a lot of hidden fees, which are mystifying. For example, there is a Carrier Cost Recovery Fee of $5.44 per month. This is a compulsory change and so effectively, the company is under-reporting its subscription rates by that amount. You only discover this mandatory monthly fee when you are on the last page of the order form for the service.

 

You also don’t get a choice of using your own equipment because the equipment fee is mandatory and cannot be removed from your bill.

 

The table below shows some of the costs of the Rise Broadband internet service plans.

 

Plan Price 1st Year Price 2nd Year Setup Cost Equipment Fee
25 with data cap $29.95/month $39.95/month $75 or $150 $10.99
25 unlimited data $49.95/month $59.95/month $75 or $150 $10.99
50 with data cap $39.95/month $49.95/month $75 or $150 $10.99
50 unlimited data $59.95/month $69.95/month $75 or $150 $10.99

The installation fee of $150 is halved to $75 if you sign up for a 2-year contract.

Other charges to watch out for include an extra $5 per month for a paper statement. Customers are charged a $10 “convenience fee” to pay a bill over the phone. There are also late payment charges and a reconnection fee if you pay late and get disconnected as a consequence.

Rise Broadband Customer Service

Customers avoid extra charges by opting for online billing and paying their bills online. Fortunately, the Rise Broadband website includes a customer portal where those facilities are available.  The Customer Assistance operators and technical support are available via a chat system at the Rise Broadband website. The live chat is available from 8am to 8 pm Monday to Sunday, Mountain Time.

Another method of contact is over the phone. The phone lines are manned for a longer period each day than the chat system. Customer Care and Technical support are available seven days a week, while sales support is available Monday through Saturday.

There is a limited FAQ section available on the website and also a troubleshooting page. Those who can’t fix a technical problem by themselves can request that a technician uses a remote control program to fix the problem over the internet. If the internet not working is the problem that you need to get fixed, then you will have to resort to the phone lines.

Rise Broadband will repair or replace broken equipment.

Choosing Rise Broadband Plans

The order process for Rise Broadband is relatively simple. However, there are a lot of shocks in the path as the mandatory additional charges are not revealed until you are in the middle of the process of signing up.

The data caps for the reduced price plans are not mentioned at all at the point where the form asks whether the unlimited data service is required. How can anyone know if they will need an unlimited data add-on without knowing the data throughput limit? Information about the data limits is very well hidden on the website. It is there, but not in the descriptions of the available plans.

The Carrier Cost Recovery Fee is unavoidable and unexplained. In reality, the prices for the plans should include that extra monthly cost of $5.44.

Fixed wireless is not the best way to get an internet service – DSL, cable, and fiber optic are much better. However, if those systems are not run to your door, fixed wireless might be your only option.