Comparing rural internet providers


United Stated based internet provider that uses low earth orbit satellites to provide internet connectivity throughout the world. 

LW Rural Stacked White

Hamilton based provider that beams fast internet directly to rural properties from fixed wireless towers located on hilltops across the Waikato and Bay of Plenty.

Lightwire vs Starlink at a glance

Low Earth Orbit technology is cool, but here’s why Lightwire is a better solution for rural families in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty.


Both providers will provide sufficient speeds to have multiple family members streaming Netflix, playing online games, and working from home with ease.

Performance ComparisonLightwireStarlink
Connection type: 
Fixed wireless
Low earth orbit satellite
Stream multiple devices in 4k resolution:
Work from home:
Online gaming:
Whole Home WiFi Guarantee
24/7 Fault Monitoring & Response:
If your service is down for more than 5 minutes, a support request is lodged and a real person will look into the issue.
Notification in app when there’s an issue with your service.
Data Equity
Your access to data means just as much as the next person. You won’t be throttled during peak hours. In rare cases this could apply, but a customer would be phoned directly and consulted beforehand in case malware is chewing through your data. Read our Terms and Conditions if you’re keen to know more.
Starlink offers a “deprioritised” data plan. This means that your data is the first to be throttled/reduced. The plan provides deprioritised access to data against the “standard” plan. That standard plan is also deprioritised against the “priority” (and up) plans. If you are using excess data during peak hours, network management will mitigate your usage, as per the Fair Use Policy.

Wherever you are at home, you need to be able to do your thing. And that’s where Lightwire’s Whole Home WiFi Guarantee comes in.

Dallin Gisa
Previously with Starlink
Read More
The speeds were great (with Starlink) but that was IF we could connect. I am tech savvy so I always kept firmware up to date and made sure the router and satellite dish were in optimal positions and yet I still had issues.

After having 3 days in a row with no net I lodged a ticket with their support system. After another week of no reply (except an automated one) and also after talking to a neighbour that was with Lightwire we decided to sign up.

Talking with a sales support member (Josh) was so refreshing after zero contact from Starlink. To be heard and acknowledged instead of being held in limbo. We had signed up, dish installed and connected online with Lightwire before Starlink actually got back to me and "dealt" with my issue which still did not resolve my initial issue.

We're a family of 6 and have multiple gaming devices/consoles, PC's, laptops and a 4k TV with no issues. The Internet has become an essential utility these days and having a reliable internet provider is crucial. It's awesome knowing that there is an actual person at the end of the phone ready to help if any issues arise.

Fixed Wireless Reliability

Lightwire’s fixed wireless towers are fed by business-grade internet connections and we directly beam that to your property’s dish. 


The towers are built for Kiwi conditions with backup powerplants to manage any storm or extreme weather event like the recent cyclone. 


Because there are no moving parts in getting internet to your place the connection is extremely reliable. 



Average Tower Uptime

(last 30 days – all towers)

0 +

Rural families already enjoy fast & reliable internet from Lightwire


From 230 reviews

Rated 4.5 stars by 230 rural families
Google Reviews
Sarah Alloway
Previously using Copper
Read More
I was on copper wires before this, and as a photographer, I literally was unable to send raw files over the web and it was impacting my ability to do my job. We finally decided to go to Lightwire and WOW I am so glad we did. Now I can upload multiple RAW photos at once (previously just one would fail) while watching high definition streamed videos at the same time. Totally worth it.
Russell Orr
Previously using ADSL
Read More
I am very happy with the service provided by lightwire and recommend them to anyone struggling with poor rural internet. They are very obliging and capable people indeed. I should have switched over years ago and with the copper loop being discontinued anyone still on adsl will soon be struggling even more.
Zach Muggeridge
New happy Lightwire customer
Read More
Lightwire has been very helpful with setting up our rural wifi, even when they thought they couldn’t connect to a tower they went out of their way to make it possible. Friendly helpful staff that answer all of your questions. Speeds are above expectations. Highly recommend lightwire
Michael McKenzie
Previously used Satellite internet
Read More
Moved from satellite internet, to Lightwire and the process has been faultless. Access speeds have always been above expectations, and in two months I have had no connection issues!! Customer support is also fantastic, with local support people. I highly recommend Lightwire!
Sue Burgess
"Extremely happy with Lightwire"
Read More
After months of getting the run around from other service providers saying their cell towers were full and could not provide for us i found Lightwire. A simple online form to fill out, and within a week we had the technician here setting us up. We went with Unlimited internet thats about 30$ more then what we use to pay for 120gb at our last farm so our teenager girls are over the moon. No lagging or taking forever to download or stream. We are extremely happy with Lightwire so glad we found them!!
Charlotte Bibby
"Faster than I was getting in Auckland"
Read More
Best customer service of any company I have ever experienced! Been with them for 7 years, was nervous moving to this property as they were the only internet provider who covered this area and I wasn't sure how good the internet would be, however I shouldn't have worried! Internet was faster than I was getting in Auckland, almost never had an unplanned outage, and the company has been amazing to deal with!
Rhoda Ruegg
"I only wish I had found out about Lightwire earlier"
Read More
Living rurally we thought we had to put up with the most useless internet that continually dropped out for long periods of time with no one willing to admit fault or help sort it. After finding Lightwire, we haven’t looked back and it’s never missed a beat!! We run a office from home and it’s pretty much an essential service for us to keep our business running smoothly. I only wish I had found out about Lightwire earlier to save us so many headaches!!
Ms Gaby
Previously with Spark and Vodafone
Read More
So pleased we switched to Lightwire from Vodafone. The service is great and communication is excellent - we get regular emails telling us what's going on with our internet connection and now we have unlimited data which is fantastic.

A rural internet provider who understands rural customers and the issues we have to deal with. Highly recommend if you have thought about changing providers.

There are lots of rural households in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty just like yours that already made the switch to Lightwire’s Fixed Wireless Broadband network (check out how Lightwire delivers fast internet to rural homes here).

Whole Home WiFi Coverage
Smart WiFi

Cost & Installation

You want value for money and to ensure that your monthly bills aren’t going up any time soon. Lightwire is more affordable and installs the service for you.

Cost & Installation Comparison Lightwire Starlink
Monthly plans:
$95 – $155
$79*(deprioritised data) – $199
Kit Cost:
Free for 12 month plans
$1099 (Standard price, periodic promos apply)
Free managed install for 12 month plans

Do it yourself or hire an installer for $555 ex. GST

Kirsty Steeghs
Previously with Starlink
Read More
I was a long time Lightwire customer, but switched to Starlink because it sounded like I’d be impressed by some next level internet speeds. It was a terribly lacklustre experience and I fast regretted my choice. I couldn’t get a strong signal even right next to the wifi router meaning I had to stay near it to get signal bars, and realised I’d need to install a mesh system to boost the signal around the house, or even to get my TV to stay connected as it kept dropping out of one bar to no bars of signal.

Then when I wanted to set up a wireless bridge I realised Starlink needed an ethernet adapter for anything requiring a simple ethernet connection. To get anywhere near what I already had with Lightwire, I had to complicate the system and spend more money which I was becoming loathed to do for a system that wasn’t performing.

The Starlink help system was unhelpful when I questioned whether the lack of wifi signal was a fault, but the help from Lightwire was instant. We are all again enjoying unlimited internet with a strong signal through the whole house, and the speed is excellent. Very happy to be back with Lightwire ☺️

Flexibility to change plans

Are the kids coming over and need more data or are they leaving the house?


Lightwire gives you unparalleled flexibility. Regardless of which plan you sign up to, you can upgrade or downgrade that plan at any time without penalty. This is done via your customer portal.


Upgrades take effect immediately, and plan downgrades take effect at the start of the following month.

Price drop for unlimited
Pre installed rural broadband

Everything done for you, by a pro

Within 14 days of your order, an installer will come to your house to install Lightwire.


The installer will work with you to find a suitable location for the dish and Wi-Fi router placement. Once approved the installer will install the dish, place the Wi-Fi router, and run test to ensure you’re good to go.


And if you need a hand with connecting any devices, we will be happy to help with that too.

Sustainability & Community

We all live here, we care about our community and the legacy we leave for our kids. Providing services in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way is a key focus for Lightwire.

Sustainability ComparisonLightwireStarlink
Self sustaining towers primarily powered by solar energy
Satellite crashes into earth after 5 year lifespan
Recyclable network equipment:
Hires local:
Supports local:
(Supports more than 100 schools, community groups, and not for profit organisations)

Winner of Best Rural Internet Provider

Not just once, but twice in a row has Lightwire been voted for best New Zealand rural internet provider of the year by a panel of New Zealand internet experts at the NZ compare awards.


Every year we’re putting more and more time and money in the network to ensure rural families across the Waikato and Bay of Plenty can enjoy city internet, rurally. 


Sooner or later, something is going to happen, and when it does, you will want help ASAP. Internet impacts almost every aspect of modern life, so the reliability of your connection is critical. No one wants to wait hours to get a response to a support request, and that shows when comparing service reviews

Support ComparisonLightwireStarlink
What happens when you need help?
You can call, email, or chat with a local person
You lodge a ticket and wait
Service review:
4.5/5 Google Reviews (261 reviews)
Can’t leave any Google Reviews, 2.7/5 Trustpilot
Support team location:
Hamilton based helpdesk
Phone support:
Average wait time:
<2 min for phone calls
24 – 48 hours and up to 20 working days1
Ground Support:
Local installers and technicians who can come out to your property to install and resolve any issues if they do arise
No ground support. You’ll have to engage a third party for issues that can’t be fixed remotely.
Steve Ediker
New Happy Lightwire Customer
Read More
We are very happy that we picked Lightwire for our new rural property. The service and communication has been excellent, and the network performance and been more than capable in supporting my work from home and all our online streaming.

It was a decision between Lightwire and Starlink. I had heard about weather related issues with Starlink, but one of the key factors in choosing Lightwire was having that local support, which has been great in providing a quick and reliable set up.

The community minded alternative to Starlink for rural Waikato and Bay of Plenty

you're guaranteed

A Fixed Price

Rural households are struggling. Inflation is rampant. Cost of groceries are through the roof. And let’s not even talk about the cost to service the mortgage and other loans…


You need to know that prices won’t be increasing any time soon, and when you sign up with Lightwire you’re guaranteed that your prices won’t be going up for the duration of your contract.

you're guaranteed

Minimum download speeds

Nothing is more frustrating than coming home after a hard day of working and your connection keeps dropping out making gaming, calls, and streaming unbearable.


Lightwire’s rural broadband comes with guaranteed download speeds, so that you don’t have to worry about your internet connection sh*tting the bed every time you want to to use it. 

you're guaranteed

fast service

Getting you up and running as fast as possible is our priority. We’ll get an installer to visit your place within 14 days to get you connected.


With an average call wait time below 2 mins, when you need us, you’ll get hold of our local support team quickly.


Installs may take longer if safety is at risk.

Flexible rural broadband plans

All Lightwire Rural Fixed Wireless Broadband plans are flexible, meaning you can change your plan at any time.

Easily switch between plans

Your data usage can vary, so we make sure you can switch plans, up or down, as many times as you want. Downgrades will take effect from the 1st day of the next month, upgrades will take effect immediately so that you don’t get hit with excess data charges.

Add unlimited calling

Unlimited calling to New Zealand and Australian landlines and mobiles for $19.95/month.


No more variable charges for calls to friends and family in Australia and NZ, with Lightwire’s unlimited calling offer, you can talk as much as want.


You just need to plug in your analogue phone to the router we provide.

Make the switch

Check if you're in coverage for Lightwire rural internet

Type in your address to see if you can join the 9,000 Rural households that went before you. 

Need help deciding?

give us a call

On average you’ll get a wireless broadband specialist on the phone in less than 2 minutes.


0800 12 13 14

Chat with us

Our friendly experts can answer any of your rural connectivity questions. 


Ask away

email us

Not in a rush? Shoot us an email and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.