Cottage Country Wifi Update

‘I’ve got children – we need unlimited wifi”

It’s a comment we hear more often these days, and it’s a reason many guests will steer away from booking a cottage with limited or restricted wifi. Offering 10Gbs per week won’t cut it for many families and the demand for an unlimited service is the #1 criteria for most.

So in a cottage country world where getting any service was once a massive challenge, what is the state of play in 2022?

The good news is that things are improving on the Internet front in Cottage Country, with a few more options becoming available. We would always stress getting as much monthly allowance as possible, with unlimited being the preferred.

The influx of full(er) time residents to cottage country in 2020 and 2021 as a result of the pandemic encouraged providers to up their offerings and we are starting to see the results. Here is a quick summary of what is available.

Of course, not everything is available in every area and it will require a few phone calls/emails to determine what may be available to you but the research could be very worthwhile.

Bell and Rogers Rural Wireless

This is the area where we have seen the largest improvement.

While these are the vendors about whom everyone loves to complain, their market penetration and options still make them go-to solutions.

The latest offerings are tower-based unlimited plans offering 25-50 Mbps speeds for costs of $100 or $150/month. This is a little expensive compared to urban plans, but certainly a vast improvement over what we had just 2 years ago.

While availability is improving, it is not yet offered in all areas. Unfortunately, these companies are not in the habit of providing any ETA’s when it comes to telling you when it will be available in your area.

I inquired pretty much on a monthly basis for years, always getting the “we have no current availability and cannot tell you when” message until one glorious day in November 2021 when the rep called out of the blue and told me I could get it installed the following week.

The 25 Mbps plan is flawless for Zoom, Netflix, audio streaming and more. While my setup needs to support only 2 people on a full time basis, I would estimate that it would serve a family of 5 reasonably well. And to be honest, if more than 5 of you are all streaming separate audio at the same time, it’s time to consider connecting as a family again. Having said that, for larger rental groups (8 or more) the 50 Mbps plans should be sufficient for anyone, and it may be possible to “step up” to these during prime rental season and walk back to the 25 Mbps options over the winter.

Bell home internet options

Rogers internet plans


Official SpaceX Photos, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Understandably, we have a soft spot for companies that choose “link” as the latter half of their name – in this case it’s merited.

A recent entry to the market, Elon Musk’s satellite-based service for anywhere has been slowly but steadily rolling out as equipment becomes available.

While the supply-chain-related chip shortage has slowed the arrival of the required equipment, we have seen this delivered to a number of our owners thus far, with excellent results. Although there doesn’t seem to be a defined speed, reports of upwards of 100 Mbps are common, with latencies that support audio and video conferencing.

There is a heftier price tag on this one, but can be well worth it to provide a convenience to guests that puts you at a competitive advantage, especially if you require a robust connection for your own time at the cottage.

Initial outlay (more than $500) plus some possible installation challenges depending on your geography may seem a little daunting, but not compared to the entry-level of cottage ownership. If your budget can support the $130 monthly fee, this gives you city-type Internet quality. As a side note, the dish requires powered internal motors and comes with its own heating component to melt snow (Elon thought of everything) but this can add $20 to your monthly hydro cost.

Starlink Internet

Cottage Country Internet

This boutique service offers a variety of packages throughout the Muskoka region, and maybe an option for some.

Comparable plans seem to be slightly higher than for the rural wireless options mentioned above, but if that is all that is available, it could be an option.

Cottage Country Internet plans

Bell & Rogers Turbo Hubs

This option makes sense where the unlimited options are not available. The turbo hubs can also be taken anywhere, so if you have a seasonal cottage you can use take the hub with you for personal use. Additionally, it may be possible to move the plan down to a very low cost option during the low season when little rental activity is happening.

As 5G rolls out, these may become the fastest options available to cottagers. It remains to be seen how pricing will shake out – we know nothing comes free.


We’re including this here because for many years it was an excellent option, especially when the alternative was having no internet at all, and filled a much needed gap in rural areas.

During the pandemic, increases in both number of customers and usage by existing customers (remember all those people heading for extended time at the cottage) may have been the underlying factor resulting in customers reporting plummeting performance levels.

There are Facebook pages devoted to those with problems with this service and we have spoken with a number of dissatisfied customers claiming that they receive nowhere close to advertised speeds. Because service levels are largely dependent on local internet activity, however, there are spots where this may still be an option with acceptable speeds.

In fairness, we feel the company was caught off guard by the pandemic-related activity (hey, who wasn’t?) and it remains to be seen how their service levels will be adjusted to catch up. At this time, however, it is our least-recommended option and we recommend due-diligence before signing up.

Xplornet Internet packages


To summarise all this – a handy table. Of course, all fees shown are approximate at the time of writing.

OptionSet up FeeMonthly CostSpeed  (Mbps)Unlimited?
Bell Rural Wireless$60$95/15025/50Yes
Rogers Home Wireless$60$100/16025/50Yes
StarlinkAbout $700$13040-150Yes
Xplornet$4980/10025/50Yes, but speed throttled after some usage limits reached
Bell Turbo Hub$300 and up$150 for 50 GB + $3/GB4G LTENo
Rogers Turbo Hub$200 and up$120 for 50 GB + $2/GB4G LTENo
Cottage Country Internet$150-200$100-2005 to 25Yes, with additional monthly fee

While the heating component of Starlink dishes may be popular with the feline community, CLRM would like to stress that this is NOT what is meant by CAT-5 cabling

CottageLINK Rental Management
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