Depends where you live.
Locally you can be in the middle of nowhere, but in range of a 4G cell tower or wireless ISP relay site, and so get a pretty decent (~5mbit?) reliable connection.
Over the other side of the hill? Tough luck, no signal, and you are stuck with satellite. This works but it's not cheap / fast or super reliable.
So the answer depends on exactly where your rural area is, and it's down to 1/2 a mile can make a difference.
my parents live 20 miles away from the nearest city and there is literally nothing but satellite internet – I looked into that service for them and it was very expensive. I ended up getting them a MiFi (hotspot) from Straight Talk and they go to the store and buy a 1 GB card for $15 or a 2 GB card for $25. They rarely use the internet so it doesn't make sense to pay $60+ a month plus all the equipment and installation.
They had dial up in the past and it was horribly slow (obviously) – plus paying $40/mo for landline phone just to have dial up. DSL not available either.
I personally live in a big city and I have 100 Mb cable internet for $35/month
You'll need to check and see if there is any cable TV service for your area. That would be your best option as far as cost and signal strength. Next would be either a dish service like Direct TV that has internet service, or a landline connection to the internet.
How "rural" are we talking about?
Many cable TV services offer Internet services.
Many phone companies offer Internet services.
Some Satellite services offer Internet.
IMO: In a regional emergency, the (landline) phone company would probably be the most dependable when it comes to restoring services. Cable TV would probably give you the fastest transmission rate.
The drawback of living in a rural area as I used to is that it is quite nice, but is considered an economic wasteland by Internet companies as the investment moneywise will not give them enough profit so they give it a miss.
Have a read of this safe link;
That's about it at the moment, wait a few years and it might get better and cheaper.
Edit, if you are in the UK then Notspot might help;
Regards, ex BT Bob.
You need GPRS to improve your internet Service
Not too reliable or cheap but satellite based systems exist.
You need a GPRS connection service