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The Best Internet Service Providers: Find the Ideal Wi-Fi

We compared dozens of large internet providers across the United States to find the best provider overall, best for customer service, best for budget users, best for content creators, and best cable provider.

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Home internet is the backbone of modern society, so choosing the right provider is essential. But how do you make sure you’re getting the best internet option possible?

You’re in luck. We’ve researched equipment, fees, availability, and customer service, then ranked the top internet providers for you to choose, starting with Google Fiber.

Of course, all of this depends on where you live. Only certain ISPs (internet service providers) are available in your area, and you might not get the advertised speeds. You can enter your zip code below to see what internet providers service your area.

Quick guide to this article:

  • How we chose
  • Google Fiber : Best overall
  • AT&T Fiber : Best customer service experience
  • T-Mobile 5G Home Internet : Best for budget users
  • Verizon Fios Home Internet : Best for content creators
  • Spectrum : Best cable provider
  • What to look for
  • Internet types

Methodology

So what are the best internet providers out there right now? Let’s dig in and find out.

How we chose the best internet providers

To choose the best internet providers, we took a combination of proprietary speed tests, provider information, reviewer experience, and our own experience to pick the best internet service providers on the market.

We research and write our articles independently. Our writers may make money when readers click our links, but our partners do not read our work or approve it before it’s published.

To learn more, check out our Methodology section .

Google Fiber: Best overall

  • Gigabit and multi-gig speed options
  • Super reliable connection
  • Symmetrical upload and download speeds
  • Higher prices than some providers
  • Limited nationwide availability

If you want a stable internet connection with incredibly fast speeds, Google Fiber is the way to go.

Google Fiber offers plans that go up to a whopping 8,000Mbps (8Gbps) in both download and upload speeds. To be honest, that’s an absurd amount of bandwidth for a home internet plan—it’s like using an armored tank to pick up your groceries.

The real highlight of Google Fiber is its basic gigabit plan, which gives you ample speeds to connect a large number of smart home devices , install several high-powered security cameras , and consume and share a ridiculous amount of media in your home.

There are drawbacks, though. Google Fiber speeds are high, but so are some of the plan prices: The 8Gbps plan comes in at $150 each month. While that’s just $18.75 per Gbps, it’s still more than most families can afford for a single month of internet service.

However, the slower (for Google Fiber) plan costs aren’t a bad deal at all. Sure, the sticker price may look expensive, starting at $70. But you don’t have to pay for equipment or installation, you don’t have to sign up for an annual contract, and you don’t have data caps. When you account for the equipment rental fees and price hikes you see with other service providers, Google Fiber is actually more affordable in some cases.

AT&T Fiber: Best customer service experience

  • Excellent ACSI scores
  • Well-priced fiber plans with unlimited data
  • Option to bundle with DIRECTV
  • Limited fiber availability
  • DSL speeds can be sluggish
  • 1 TB data cap on DSL plans

Interested in excellent fiber internet speeds and the best customer service in the internet industry? Then AT&T Fiber is well worth checking out.

AT&T’s fiber internet plans start at $55 a month for 300 Mbps speeds, putting it leagues ahead of most, if not all, other fiber providers when it comes to affordable prices. You won’t be troubled with data caps, so you can use internet service all night and all day if you want. There aren’t any contracts either, so you don’t see any service termination fees if you need to cancel your plan. You might also snag one of AT&T’s sign-up promotions to lower your monthly costs: New customers get a rewards card worth up to $150 when they get speeds of 300Mbps or faster.

While internet providers aren't typically known for amazing customer service, AT&T tops the charts in the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report . For the last few years, AT&T has been one of the ACSI’s top-scoring providers in equipment and customer service. For context, the ACSI interviews thousands of actual customers each year to score internet providers. Earning a top score out of all the major internet providers is a big deal.

Can you bundle AT&T internet?

AT&T offers bundling options with DIRECTV for its fixed wireless, DSL, and fiber internet services. But these aren’t bundles in the cost-saving sense. You’re not getting a discount on your DIRECTV service—you’re just adding it to your home internet package while still paying full price.

You can get a true bundle discount if you pair AT&T Fiber with an unlimited phone plan —not to mention the convenience of having the same provider for both your phone and internet service!

Does AT&T have Wi-Fi hotspots?

Similar to Xfinity, AT&T offers Wi-Fi hotspots across the nation. So if you can’t find the Wi-Fi password posted at your favorite coffee shop, you can just  hop on an AT&T hotspot to browse Instagram or check your work email.

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet: Best for budget users

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet

  • Affordable price with no contracts
  • Extremely easy set up
  • Solid data speeds
  • Only available in areas with T-Mobile 5G coverage

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet is super affordable and easy to set up.

The service only costs $50 a month, making it a great lower-priced option for those on a budget. The wireless service doesn’t require much equipment, and it runs off the already existing infrastructure of T-Mobile’s 5G cellular network, resulting in decreased costs that T-Mobile passes on to customers. And while the speeds aren’t freaky fast by any means, the lack of data caps help you get more out of every dollar you spend on the service.

You can also save money by not locking yourself into a contract. If you’re done with the service, you can return the Gateway box to your local T-Mobile brick-and-mortar store and cancel your internet without paying any cancellation fees.

The T-Mobile 5G Home Internet setup feels like a mini-miracle. When one of our writers first got his hands on T-Mobile 5G home internet , he couldn't believe how easy it was to set up. He literally just had to plug in the T-Mobile Gateway box and within five minutes had a Wi-Fi connection in his house.

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet speeds

Most folks will get download speeds between 72-245 Mbps, which is more than enough for your usual streaming and gaming household. The speed you get with 5G home internet all depends on your proximity to a 5G tower —the closer you are, the more likely you are to get a reliable connection.

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet availability

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet is expanding around the country, but there's still plenty of spots without access (especially in rural areas). The easiest way to find out if you can get T-Mobile 5G Home Internet in your neck of the woods is by entering your ZIP code below and looking for T-Mobile 5G Home Internet to pop up:

If you live in an area of the United States where your only internet options are satellite or a slow DSL internet connection, 5G home internet can be your ticket to a much faster internet connection.

Verizon Fios Home Internet: Best for content creators

  • Symmetrical speeds for most plans
  • Reliable service
  • No annual contracts
  • Limited availability

Although anyone can benefit from Verizon’s ultrafast Fios service, it’s an especially useful internet option for content creators. With symmetrical speeds and plans that reach up to 2.3Gbps, Verizon gets you a smooth connection to handle whatever you throw at it—whether you’re uploading, streaming, or livestreaming. Perfect for a celebrated YouTube celeb or an up-and-coming TikTok star.

Symmetrical internet is a connection that gives you internet with equal upload and download speeds. This is vital when making content because you need to upload large media files efficiently, not just download them. You don’t want to lose subscribers because you’re having trouble producing videos.

Unfortunately, Verizon Fios Home Internet is still limited mostly to the East Coast, but internet users in other parts of the country can try out Verizon’s speedy and affordable 5G Home Internet service, which delivers speeds up to a gigabit while giving you a much-needed break on price hikes and extra fees. As an added plus, you can get $25 a month off one of Verizon’s internet plans when you bundle it with a qualifying unlimited cellular plan.

Verizon TV and internet combos

Verizon also offers some of the best TV and internet combos out there thanks to its mix and match system. You can pretty much pair any of its Fios Home Internet plans with any of its Fios TV packages. So no sorting through dozens of pre-built bundles to get the internet speed and channel count you want.

We cover this more in-depth in our  Verizon Fios TV and Internet combos  review if you’re the kind of person who likes a little TV with your internet.

And if you’re already a  Verizon Wireless Unlimited customer, you can combine select mobile plans with your internet plan and save $25 a month.

Verizon Fios equipment and set up: 

Verizon Fios allows you to set everything up on your own, or you can get a technician out to your house. Admittedly, setting up Verizon Fios is fairly complicated , so you'll need to make sure to follow the provided instructions from Verizon closely.

The good news is that you don't need to worry about any equipment fees with any Fios Verizon internet plan.

Does Verizon Fios Home Internet have Wi-Fi hotspots?

The only major downside to Verizon Fios we could find is that it no longer seems to offer a public Wi-Fi hotspot network. You won’t mind this much if your local haunts have a Wi-Fi wireless router and share their password.

But if all those wireless connections are hidden behind lock and key—er, password—those hotspots will be sorely missed. (If Wi-Fi hotspots are a necessity in your life, check out Xfinity or  AT&T  instead.)

Spectrum: Best cable provider

  • Spectrum has good prices for most speeds
  • There are no contracts
  • There are also no data caps
  • Download speeds that may be slower than advertised
  • Price hikes after a year

Spectrum Internet® is an internet throwback with its mostly cable network. While many internet providers are moving on to fiber, Spectrum keeps cable as a viable option (and does it well). The service also includes no contracts and no data caps. Plus, Spectrum’s prices are fairly competitive, and it services some of the less populous parts of the country, where the internet is harder to come by.

While cable isn’t as reliable or fast as fiber, it was an internet star not long ago, and it still holds up well in areas where fiber has yet to arrive. You’re better off choosing cable over DSL or satellite internet, and it also gives you a more reliable connection than 5G home internet—although 5G home internet is cheaper.

We do wish Spectrum speeds were more in line with fiber providers, but Spectrum does have a small fiber network available to some customers. 

Spectrum prices increase by $20 after a year. So either prep your budget for a sudden jump or take advantage of the lack of a contract and cut your ties in favor of another provider.

Viasat: Best for rural areas

3.8 out of 5 stars

  • More than one speed option
  • Lower price per Mbps per month than Hughesnet
  • Three-month price hike
  • Not a lot of data compared to fiber or cable
  • Limited availability for cheaper plans

Generally, we recommend fiber or cable internet providers if you can get them. But in rural areas where you can’t get these types of internet connections, satellite internet can be a saving grace. And Viasat currently offers the fastest satellite internet speeds with the most generous data caps.

Though it’s not known for blazing fast download speeds or low latency, satellite internet has come a long way. Viasat’s plans now have download speeds up to 100Mbps, which matches its competitor Hughesnet’s 50–100Mbps speeds.

Viasat gives you more data for your money, giving you high-speed data allotments of up to 500GB. Hughesnet’s data caps range from 100–200GB.

Speeds are up to and not guaranteed and will vary.

Things to know about Viasat and satellite internet

Satellite internet  is very different from DSL, cable, or fiber. If you’re used to blazing-fast internet speeds for relatively low prices, you might be in for a rude awakening with satellite.

Viasat’s prices may put you into a state of temporary sticker shock. And those prices last only for three months. About 90 days later,  your price gets bumped up . Yuck.

We should mention here that, even after the price hike, Viasat is still your best deal if you want up to 100 Mbps of download speeds and no standard data caps.

Viasat installation and equipment 

You have to lease satellite internet equipment from Viasat, but you have your choice on paying $299 upfront for your equipment or paying $9.99 monthly. If you plan on using Viasat for the next several years, you can certainly save money by paying upfront, but we'd recommend going with the monthly option in case you decide to cancel your service and switch to a different ISP.

As for getting the service installed, you'll need to sign up for the service and get a technician out to set everything up. No DIY options here.

Other satellite ISPs worth considering

Until Starlink, Project Kuiper, and other satellite internet projects offer service everywhere in the US, you might be stuck with two satellite internet providers: Viasat and Hughesnet .

We recommend Viasat for its fast speeds and more generous data caps. But if you can make do with 50 Mbps speeds and lower data caps, Hughesnet might be worth a look.

Cox: Best cable bundles

3 out of 5 stars

  • Budget-friendly plans with bundling options
  • Wide range of internet speeds to choose from
  • No-contract options for all plans
  • Not-so-great customer service

Cox offers low promotional prices on most of its plans that last for 12 months. The service offers some excellent bundling options if you want cable TV with your internet. And if you don't want to get roped into a contract, you can subscribe to Cox Internet's Go Fast internet service with speeds of up to 100 Mbps.

Cox still costs about $10 per month more than rivals like Xfinity, but having no contract and getting on promotional pricing can really sweeten the deal.

We’d like to see Cox get rid of its data caps in the future, but for now, a 1,280Mbps limit is nothing to sneeze at. Only the most avid streamers and gamers will bump up against that cap.

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Recap: The five best internet providers 2023

When it comes to the best internet providers overall, we recommend Google Fiber, AT&T Fiber, T-Mobile 5G Home Internet, Verizon Fios Home Internet, Spectrum, Viasat, and Cox. It’s always worth looking around to see if there’s a smaller local internet provider offering a great deal near you too.

Either way, searching for the best internet gives you a lot to think about.

  • Google Fiber : Best overall. Google Fiber offers stellar speeds and symmetrical internet. It’s worth every pricey penny for those who need it—but it’s not available in most areas.
  • AT&T Fiber : Best customer service experience. AT&T Fiber has sleek fiber speeds and standout customer service. The provider has received excellent rankings from the ACSI for the last few years.
  • T-Mobile 5G Home Internet : Best for budget users. If you’re on a budget, T-Mobile 5G Home Internet is the golden ticket. Those who live in an area with T-Mobile 5G coverage can get fast internet speeds for a cheap price.
  • Verizon Fios Home Internet : Best for content creators . With high, symmetrical speeds, Verizon Fios is excellent for those who frequently handle large media files for a living. The only thing it’s missing is Wi-Fi hotspots.
  • Spectrum : Best cable provider. Our favorite cable provider Spectrum Internet® comes with no contracts or data caps, and most of its prices are competitive, especially if you live in New York, Ohio, or North Carolina. But its costs increase after a year.

What to look for in an internet service provider

When choosing an internet service provider, consider the following criteria:

  • Availability
  • Customer service experience
  • Contract length
  • Type of internet service

There’s also the matter of Wi-Fi. While internet and Wi-Fi are often used interchangeably, they’re not the same. Wi-Fi is when your internet is broadcast over a wireless signal. Check and make sure any service you sign up for offers Wi-Fi (if that’s what you want).

When you sign up for an internet plan, make sure you know whether you’re automatically getting Wi-Fi service or if that will be extra.

Types of internet services

The speed and reliability of your internet service may depend on the type of internet connection you have. That might be fiber, cable, satellite, fixed wireless, 5G, 10G, or DSL.

Fiber internet:

Let's start with the crème de la crème of the internet world—fiber optic internet. These connections use hair-thin strands of glass to transmit data as pulses of light. Average download speeds? I'm not even going to pretend I understand how it all works, but the most important part is that fiber internet is the only way you'll get gigabyte-internet speeds.

Cable internet:

Next up, we have cable internet. Think of it as the reliable Honda Civic of the internet world—dependable, solid, and widely available. Cable connections transmit data over coaxial cables originally designed for—you guessed it—cable TV. They offer respectable download speeds, averaging around 25 to 100 megabits per second (Mbps). Cable internet is pretty widespread, reaching most urban and suburban areas, and is a solid choice for most households.

Satellite internet:

Satellite internet connections beam data to and from, you guessed it again, satellites orbiting the planet. But here's the catch: latency. Signals need to travel over 22,000 miles, which can cause some lag. Speeds typically range from 12 to 100 Mbps, but keep in mind that weather conditions can impact performance. The best thing about satellite internet is that it's basically available everywhere, making it a choice for those in more rural or hard-to-reach areas. For example, thanks to Starlink , we have access to the internet on Lake Powell for the first time in my life. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing.

Fixed wireless internet:

Fixed wireless tech uses an antenna and radio waves to provide internet access in a single, centralized location. Fixed wireless tends to be a slower option and is usually most common and useful in rural areas without other internet options.

5G internet:

5G home internet works by using the power of 5G wireless technology to provide high-speed internet access to your home. Instead of relying on traditional wired connections like cable or fiber, it uses radio waves to transmit data.

DSL internet:

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) internet uses copper phone lines to transmit data. Average speeds range from a modest 1 to 100 Mbps, depending on your proximity to the provider's central office. DSL is quite widespread, making it accessible to a large number of households across the US. If you can, avoid DSL internet at all costs. Unless you wish you still lived in the early 2000's.

Our team tests our own home internet networks regularly, along with reaching out to folks living in different areas to test out ISPs we don’t have access to. 

We also use thousands of Reviews.org internet speed test results from across the country to get a better idea of average performance. When users conduct speed tests on our website, we save their results in a database that includes the ISP they used in the test. After years of providing the speed test to our users, we've gained millions of data points to measure download and upload speeds from different internet providers.

We also use outside sources like the American Customer Satisfaction Index  (ACSI),  HighSpeedInternet.com , and the  Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to complete our assessment of an ISP (while remembering that FCC data is flawed and doesn’t include every ISP).

We also look at Better Business Bureau, JD Power, and Consumer Affairs comments and ratings, along with browsing Reddit or Quora threads for anecdotal insights on ISP experiences.

Long story short: We balance our own proprietary data and personal experience with research from other sources.

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Best Internet Providers Based on In-Depth Reviews

  • 200+ Hours of research
  • 30+ Sources used
  • 22 Companies vetted
  • 16 Features reviewed options
  • 10 Top Picks

big internet provider companies

  • 68 million Americans have no access to broadband or just one ISP
  • ISPs rate poorly for customer satisfaction, historically
  • Only get as much bandwidth as you need
  • Compare prices with the added fees
  • How we analyzed the best Internet Providers
  • Our Top Picks: Internet Providers Reviews

Based on the latest census map regions (4) and divisions (9), we chose to focus our reviews based on regional availability. 

  • Best in the West Region

The West Census region consists of thirteen states which are split into two subdivisions. The Pacific division includes all U.S. states bordering the Pacific Ocean— Alaska, California, Oregon, and Washington—as well as those lying in it, as in the case of Hawaii. The Mountain division includes the states which are located along the Rocky Mountains, those being Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

Despite being part of the same region, these two divisions are vastly different in a number of ways. The geography of the divisions is notably dissimilar and varied, making it difficult for most ISPs to provide service across both of them. Some of the largest ISPs in the nation do offer coverage in several states on both divisions, however.

Additionally, we decided to mention good alternatives for those living in Hawaii and Alaska, where many of the providers were entirely different to those from the mainland.

  • Best in the Pacific Division: XFINITY from Comcast

Comcast is the largest provider of residential cable Internet by coverage area in the United States, serving 26.5 million internet customers as of July 26, 2018. Under the brand XFINITY, it operates in a total of 40 states, eight of those located in the Western region. It’s available in large parts of all three mainland Pacific states—California, Oregon, and Washington—and in four of the Mountain states, namely Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. It’s also available in a small number of areas of Idaho.

What we liked:

XFINITY internet plans start as low as $34.99/mo for up to 60 Mbps. This is only the promotional pricing for some areas, but remains relatively constant, with the same plan being offered in multiple regions for around $30–$40. This pricing is highly competitive among providers for its level of advertised bandwidth.

Comcast consistently ranks as one of the fastest internet service providers in the country. In Ookla’s 2018 Speedtest U.S. Fixed Broadband Performance Report, the company got a Speedscore of 104.67—the highest among all providers that were considered. Comcast also ranks #4 on Netflix’s ISP leaderboard among all other large providers. 

Despite common perception, the worst ISP by customer satisfaction is not Comcast. While its level of satisfaction among customers is not ideal, it actually lands somewhere near the middle of the pack, having stabilized this rate unlike other big players, which have taken hits to their numbers.

What we thought could be better:

Comcast’s renewal rates are significantly higher than those of other competitors. Consider the aforementioned $34.99 plan. That plan renews at $74.95—more than double its original rate.

Comcast’s low initial rates are somewhat offset by a substantial installation fee of $90. As far as we know, Comcast doesn’t offer options for waiving this fee, unlike other competitors who may do so for online purchases, for example.

Alternative for those living in Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming: Charter Spectrum

Comcast does not offer XFINITY internet in Nevada, Montana, or Wyoming. It also only covers very small sections of Idaho. Our provider of choice for residents in these states would be Spectrum by Charter Communications. Spectrum does not cover all of these states equally, but it is much more widely available than other competitors.

Spectrum advertises a single cable internet plan nationwide which provides up to 100 Mbps for $44.99. This plan is not associated with any data caps. Although customers can self-install, professional installation is also an option for $49.99, which is less than the average in the industry.

Spectrum is currently in second place among large providers on the Netflix ISP leaderboard, making it an ideal choice for those who use this platform for streaming. It also has a higher than average 49.9% BroadbandNow recommendation rating and 63 ACSI rating.

Alternatives for Residents of Hawaii and of Alaska

In Hawaii, both Charter Spectrum and Hawaiian Telcom would be good choices. The former offers cable internet service, whereas the latter offers DSL and fiber connections. They are both capable of providing broadband-level speeds and are available in seven of the eight major islands of the Hawaiian Archipelago: Ni’ihau, Kaua’i, O’ahu, Moloka’i, Lana’i, Maui, and Hawai’i.

In Alaska, GCI Communications is one of the most widely available ISPs offering broadband speeds. GCI mostly focuses on cable, mobile broadband, and fixed wireless connections, which it offers over large segments of Alaska.

  • Best in the Midwest Region

The Midwest Census region consists of twelve states split into two subdivisions, the West North Central and East North Central. The former encompasses the seven traditional “Farm Belt” or “Agricultural Heartland” states: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The latter includes the five states most closely associated with the Great Lakes area, that is, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Like the Western region, the Midwest displays big differences in ISP availability between its two divisions. Although both areas have access to high-speed internet, the companies that provide these are mostly confined to their own division. Thus, we decided to choose an overall best provider for each division instead of picking one for the entire region.

  • Best in the West North Central Division: Cox Communications

Cox Communications is the third-largest provider of cable internet services for residential customers in the U.S. More than 3.5 million consumers are currently subscribed to its internet service, which is available across 19 states. Six of these are located in the Midwest region and four of them in the West North Central division, namely Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. Availability in each of these states varies, with most of Cox’s service being centered in Kansas and areas along the Nebraska-Iowa border.

Cox Communications is currently ranked #3 among large providers in Netflix’s ISP leaderboards as of September 2019. It was also in third place in Ookla’s 2018 Speedtest U.S. Fixed Broadband Performance Report, where it got a score of 101.84. This shows that Cox is one of the fastest providers available in the U.S. today.

Cox plans are reasonably priced for the bandwidth they offer. Its cheapest broadband plan costs around $39.99/mo for the first year and provides speeds of up to 30 Mbps. Cox’s plans that offer higher levels of bandwidth are particularly inexpensive in comparison to the company’s competitors. Its 150 Mbps and 1000 Mbps cost $59.99 and $99.99 the first year, respectively.

Cox’s renewal rates are quite reasonable. Generally speaking, all of its plans renew at around $20–25 more than their original promotional rates. 

Although Cox does require signing a contract for its plans, they only last for a year’s time and have one of the lowest ETFs we encountered during our research. While still a hefty price to pay for canceling your service early, it’s substantially less than what many other major providers charge for doing so.

Installation is a low point for Cox. Self-installation costs $20, while having the equipment professionally installed costs $75. There is no advertised way of waving either of these fees, either.

Alternative for those living in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota: Midco (Midcontinent Communications)

Cox does not offer coverage anywhere in the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. A very strong alternative exists for these states, however: Midco. A joint venture of Midcontinent Media and Comcast, Midco offers residential cable internet to approximately 1.3 million people in the aforementioned three states, as well as in certain parts of Wisconsin and Kansas.

Midco ranks highly in Netflix’s ISP leaderboard, where it currently stands #15 among all providers, large and small. Also, its plans are considerably more affordable than what many larger providers offer. It has 500 Mbps plans starting at just $59.95/mo for the first year and renewing at $79.95. Installation is always done by professionals and costs $50—lower than the average for other providers—and its modem is $6/mo, which is less than the average of $10/mo.

Best in the East North Central Division: WideOpenWest (WOW!)

WideOpenWest (WOW!) is a cable and fiber internet service provider operating mainly in the Midwest. Within the region, their service is focused in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. It is the sixth largest cable operator in the United States by coverage area and has 807,900 customers as of December 31, 2018.

WOW! is an outlier in the industry in regard to customer satisfaction. 55.6% of the 8,435 verified user IP addresses subscribed to WOW!’s service said they would recommend it. This is remarkably higher than the national average, which currently sits at 48.2%.

WOW!’s prices are by far some of the most affordable in all of the U.S. Its most basic broadband plans start at around $29.99/mo for the first year and provide up to 100 Mbps. This price goes up steadily: first during the second year, and then once again after that. For the 100 Mbps plan, the rates increase to $49.99 first and then to $59.99.

Installation fees for WOW! Internet are already lower than average at $50. However, consumers who order their internet service online will have the price of installation and setup waived.

Although not considered individually, WOW! also ranks relatively high within the industry on the ACSI. It is grouped into the “All Others” category, which has a collective score of 64, landing in third place.

The most noticeable flaw of WOW!’s service is its early termination fees (ETFs). The cost of canceling WOW! Internet service—up to $345—is one of the highest among all providers we researched.

Although WOW! is available in most East North Central states, its coverage is focused on urban areas. Consumers living far away from metropolitan areas may not have access to the provider’s internet service.

Alternative for Wisconsin: Charter Spectrum

Wisconsin is the only East North Central state that WOW! has no coverage areas in. We recommend that Wisconsin residents opt for Charter Spectrum, which has cable internet coverage throughout nearly the entire state.

  • Best in the South Region

The South is the largest of all the U.S. Census regions. It encompasses 17 states divided into three regions: West South Central, East South Central, and Middle Atlantic. Many of the largest national ISPs are available in at least one of the three divisions, making it a region rife with competition among providers. Big states like Texas also have a large number of local ISPs that can be found throughout its cities and towns.

  • Best Overall: AT&T Internet

Despite the region covering the largest number of states, AT&T alone was able to pull through in all three sub-regions and win our category for best overall. It is the second-largest residential DSL provider in the U.S. by coverage area, according to BroadbandNow, covering nearly the entire South region with this service. AT&T also offers fiber optic services in a large number of localities, making it the third-largest provider of fiber broadband in the U.S. by coverage area.

As of September 2019, AT&T’s fiber optic internet service ranks 8th and its DSL service ranks 13th among large ISPs on the Netflix ISP leaderboard. This shows that, regardless of which type of service one chooses, customers can expect high-quality Netflix streaming performance.

The 2018-2019 ACSI Telecommunications Report consistently shows AT&T in second place for customer satisfaction. Although its score of 69 dropped to 68 in the 2018 report, it went right back up to 69 in 2019. Furthermore, JD Power named AT&T the winner of their 2018 U.S. Internet Service Provider Satisfaction Study for the South and North Central regions.

AT&T includes $50 in reward cards when their internet plans are ordered online. This partially offsets the $99 cost AT&T’s professional installation—which is required for all new customers.

Despite better displays of customer satisfaction elsewhere, AT&T shows a BroadbandNow recommendation rate of 41.10%. This is noticeably lower than the website average of 48.2%.

Alternative for Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia: XFINITY from Comcast

Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia all lie outside of AT&T’s coverage area. Our recommendation for those living in these states is to opt for XFINITY. We already recommend XFINITY for those in the West Census region for its affordable price-to-bandwidth ratio and outstanding performance.

  • Best in the Northeast Region

The Northeast Census region is the smallest by number of states and territorial extension. It consists of nine states split into two divisions: The Middle Atlantic, which includes New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania; and New England, which includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

The Northeast region is mostly uniform in terms of availability compared to the three other Census regions. Because of this, we didn’t consider it necessary to choose a provider for each division.

  • Best Overall: Verizon Fios

Verizon is currently the largest provider of fiber Internet in the nation by coverage area. It is available in nine states, five of which are located in the Northeast Census region: Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. Verizon was one of the first ISPs in the country to invest in last-mile fiber Internet infrastructure, offering true FTTH (fiber to the home) services to residential customers.

What we like:

Fiber optic internet access is usually described as lightning-fast but expensive. Yet, Verizon’s plans are remarkably affordable for what they offer. Their lowest bandwidth plans offer 100 symmetrical Mbps and start at around $39.99/mo. Even after renewal, a $54.99/mo rate for that level of bandwidth is highly competitive compared to DSL and cable providers. Moreover, the company does not impose data caps on any of its internet plans.

Verizon’s fiber optic internet is one of the best performing services in the country. It got a 102.57 score in Ookla’s 2018 Speedtest U.S. Fixed Broadband Performance Report, landing in second place among the providers that were considered. On the Netflix ISP Leaderboard, Fios is in first place among other large providers and seventh among all others. Fios is also a consistent winner of PCMag’s Fastest Internet awards, both in its region and nationwide. 

Verizon Fios has enjoyed one of the highest levels of customer satisfaction across the ISP industry for several years now. It remains at the top of the ACSI’s ISP list for another year in 2019 with a score of 70 and has a much higher than average BroadbandNow Recommendation Rate of 62.5% from a total of 28,634 verified users.

Verizon has received the highest numerical score possible from JD Power for six years in a row, being ranked as the #1 Residential Internet Service provider in the East. It has also won a PCMag Readers’ Choice Award for 14 years straight. In the magazine’s 2019 awards, it was awarded Best National ISP and reported very high satisfaction rates for nearly all aspects of its service.

Verizon waives its standard setup charge—valued at $99—when customers order online. Ordering online also gets customers a Visa® Prepaid Card of varying monetary amount, from $50 to $250.

Verizon offers to pay new customers up to $500 in credit to help new customers cover their early termination fee from a preexisting internet service contract.

Verizon Fios fees seem to be a source of contention for customers. The provider does charge slightly more than the average for leasing its equipment to customers—its modem with WiFi costs $12/mo to lease. It also has an ETF of $345 which is more costly than the average, as well.

Alternatives for Residents Outside Verizon’s Coverage Area: XFINITY from Comcast

Although Fios is an outstanding service provider, its focus is on delivering internet to urban areas, as is the nature of fiber optic technology. Our recommendation for those living outside of their coverage area, which also includes the entirety of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, is to opt for XFINITY. We already recommend XFINITY for those in the West Census region for its affordable price-to-bandwidth ratio and outstanding performance.

big internet provider companies

  • More insight into our methodology
  • Performance

In the context of internet service, performance relates not only to how fast a provider’s connection is, but also to how reliable it is. To evaluate performance, we used three main sources: the most recent (2018) Ookla Speedtest U.S. Fixed Broadband Report, the Netflix ISP leaderboard at the time of this writing (September 2019) , and PCMag’s Fastest ISPs of 2019 awards.

2018 Speedtest U.S. Fixed Broadband Performance Report by Ookla®

Ookla is an internet testing and analysis firm based in Seattle, Washington. It’s the company behind Speedtest.net, one of the Web’s most popular tools for measuring Internet speeds. In addition to its consumer performance metrics, Ookla also writes market reports for multiple target regions and countries on a yearly basis. The most recent U.S. Fixed Broadband report was conducted in the second and third quarters of 2018 (from April through September). Ookla states that during that period “24,283,160 unique devices were used to perform over 115 million consumer-initiated fixed broadband tests on Speedtest applications.” Ookla was able to determine the fastest and most consistent ISPs in the nation by analyzing those tests.

Netflix ISP Speed Index and Leaderboard (as of September 2019)

Netflix only considers how well its platform performs on any given ISP network for its Speed Index and monthly leaderboard. However, the sheer popularity of Netflix’s streaming services make it a valuable metric by which to evaluate performance. Given that over 154 million subscribers use its service, it only makes sense we take this into consideration when looking at each provider. Netflix gets its results by calculating the average bitrate of its content in Mbps streamed by members per ISP for prime time during each month.

PCMag’s Fastest ISPs of 2019

Every year since 2011, PCMag has been using its proprietary speed-testing tool to collect upload and download ‘speed’, as well as jitter, latency, location, and IP address info. It takes both speeds and runs a calculation in a spreadsheet that weighs the scores. That, in turn, generates a PCMag Speed Index (PSI) for each ISP as well by location, or by ISPs in a specific location. PCMag then determines the fastest ISP nationwide and per region among major and all ISPs, separately.

The first thing we looked at when considering cost was each company’s plans. We looked for and listed each one’s most expensive and most inexpensive plan. This helped us get an idea of the providers’ price range and the demographic(s) it might be targeting. Providers with the widest range of price in their plans scored higher with us, as did those whose plans clearly stated their actual costs.

Cost is most affected by the type of internet access that a company provides. Companies that offer fiber optic will generally have a more expensive “top” plan, for example, since fiber is the most advanced type of internet access there is today.

In addition to the basic price of a company’s plans, we also looked at the added costs that go into a customer’s final price point. Often, the price advertised by a provider on their website or over the phone is not what it seems. For starters, it’s standard in the industry to present customers with rates that only reflect their first year or two of service, after which prices may skyrocket. Furthermore, many plan prices reflect discounts that customers can get when they opt for auto-payments and paperless billing.

It’s also important for new customers to consider what a provider’s fees are. Consider installation and setup fees, for example. Does the company allow customers to install their own devices? If it doesn’t, how much do they charge for professional installation and is this charge waivable under certain conditions? Also consider early termination fees (ETFs) and how much a provider charges for leasing their equipment to you vs. buying it from them. These are all things we sought to find while conducting our company cost research.

  • Customer Satisfaction

Internet service providers don’t rank highly in customer satisfaction. But, while no ISP enjoys a stellar reputation on this front, some are noticeably better than their competitors. The large players in the industry are particularly notorious for having lower than average customer satisfaction, barring a few exceptions. Smaller, local providers score better on average.

We used several sources to get as much information on how satisfied customers were with their ISP. Some providers were represented throughout all of our sources, making for a clearer picture of how satisfied their customers were. Others were more sparsely represented, which may have led us to disregard the company for our top list of ISPs. Our four main sources of customer satisfaction information were as follows:

2018 and 2018–2019 ACSI Telecommunications Report

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) is a widely used economic indicator that annually asks consumers about their satisfaction with goods and services they have purchased. ACSI reports use data from interviews with over 300,000 customers to analyze customer satisfaction, which is rated on a scale from 0 to 100. The results from these reports have been proven to be related to several essential economic indicators, with higher ACSI scores correlating to better performance in the stock market for companies.

PCMag Readers' Choice Awards 2019: Internet Service Providers

PC Magazine (PCMag, for short) is an online computer and technology magazine. For over a decade, PCMag has carried out a yearly survey to measure how happy customers are with products and services they use. One such service is internet service. In the magazine’s surveys, respondents were asked several questions about their overall satisfaction with their product or service. PCMag’s 2019 Readers' Choice Awards for ISPs also displayed results for satisfaction with Setup, Reliability, Speed, Fees, Customer Service, Tech Support, and Repairs. It also asked respondents how likely they were to recommend their provider.

JD Power 2018 U.S. Internet Service Provider Satisfaction Study

JD Power is a marketing research company that is focused on consumer insights, data, analytics, and advisory. The company has been carrying out annual wireline studies to evaluate customer satisfaction with TV, internet, and phone service for 17 years now. The ISP study measures customer satisfaction across the following factors: network performance and reliability; cost of service; billing; communication; and customer service. It then names a winner for the East, South, North Central, and West geographical regions. The 2018 study is based on responses from 27,765 customers nationwide.

BroadbandNow Recommendation Rating

BroadbandNow is an online directory and tool for looking up ISP availability. It has a tool for testing Internet speed, does write-ups on Internet-related topics, and releases reports on the state of broadband in America. The website also collects ratings and reviews from IP address-verified users. Based on the ratings given by customers, a BroadbandNow Recommendation Rating is generated by the website that shows how likely customers are to recommend their provider.

  • Helpful information about Internet Providers

From April 1860 to October 1861, the Pony Express ran from Missouri to California, taking an average of ten days to deliver handwritten messages. At the time, it was the quickest way for a letter to travel from East to West. It was expensive and, due to raids and attacks, the letters didn’t always reach their destination.

Today, we don’t even need to wait days: we can send messages to people from across the globe in an instant. Open an email account, type a message, and click send—that’s all it takes. The number of emails sent worldwide each day—281 billion in 2018 according to Statista — is evidence of how profoundly the Internet has revolutionized human communication… and that’s not even taking into account instant messages.

One of the most significant technological breakthroughs in the history of mankind, the Internet has done more than just enhance the speed and reach of human communication. It has fundamentally changed the very way we live. So many of the things we use or even depend on in our everyday lives are a result of technological innovations which have been made possible thanks to the Internet. Digital television, GPS, satellite radio, RSS feeds, social media and online forums, 100-man battle royals—none of this would exist without the Internet.

Because we all use the Internet for different purposes, not all our needs are the same. Some of us just use it to get our news, make the occasional post on social media, and google things. For others, it’s an essential component of their professional lives: they’re sales representatives, emailing clients day in and out, freelancers streaming a movie to translate its subtitles, or streamers playing online games for a living. There are different levels of use to the Internet, and the need for things such as bandwidth, speed, and data caps will vary from user to user.

It’s a Series of Tubes! or How the Internet Actually Works

The first commercial internet service providers (ISPs) emerged in the early 90s. Before that, the Internet was used by government laboratories and universities for research purposes—commercial use was forbidden. During the late 80s, ISPs began to form; they provided email service, news, and access to regional research networks at a time were usage restrictions were being removed by Congress. This helped develop a framework for public, commercial access to the internet.

In 1989, the first commercial ISP in the United States, the World, opened for business. However, usage of the internet was still limited during the early 90s. Internet access as we know it became a reality thanks to the technology of the World Wide Web (WWW, or “the Web”). People often mistake the terms “ Internet ” and “ Web ”, using them interchangeably. It’s important to clarify the distinction between the Internet and the Web in order to truly understand how it all works—and how it relates to ISPs.

The Web is the primary tool billions of people use to interact on the Internet. Users navigate it through a web browser which identifies URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) in order to access web resources. The Web is what you use when you click on a hyperlink, conduct a Google search, or upload a PDF document. On the other hand, the Internet is a global system comprised of numerous interconnected networks, which are themselves comprised of billions of computers and other electronic devices. Essentially, the internet is a network of networks.

ISPs connect users to the internet by making them a part of their network. Providers then connect to a larger network, which grants users access to the web at large. Large ISPs often arrange exchanges in traffic as well, effectively stacking network on top of network. This is how the larger Internet is put together: connecting smaller networks to make big ones.

Providers maintain their networks by hosting large data and routing centers which manage their web traffic. While an individual could theoretically connect to the internet directly, it would require extensive negotiation with ISPs, who own the physical infrastructure required for internet connection. Assuming one got past this step, you would then need to physically install the cables and other devices that would grant you access to the Internet, as well as provide your own maintenance for them.

Types of Internet Access

How you connect to the internet depends on the technology employed by an ISP. Some types of internet access are faster, while others are slower; some are more widely available, whereas others are nearly exclusive to certain regions.

1. Dial-up (Analog 56K): Dial-up was the first type of internet access to be offered commercially. It uses a 56k modem and a phone line to create a connection to the internet. Users must connect the telephone line to the modem in their computer and then install the other end into the phone jack. Since the line is shared, both devices cannot be active at the same time. Dial-up is inexpensive when compared to modern alternatives, but its low speeds and phone line requirement have seen it fall in favor of broadband starting in the early 2000s. Dial-up is often seen in rural areas, where other types of internet access are not found, or in households with very low bandwidth usage.

2. Satellite: Internet access can be provided by geostationary communication satellites in the Earth’s orbit connecting with satellite dishes on the surface. Dishes must be positioned in such a way that they can beam signals to the satellite and receive information back, which nearly always necessitates the aid of a certified technician sent by the provider. The dish itself is connected to a modem in the home. Satellite internet is common in rural areas, where cable, fiber optic, and DSL access may not be available. Compared to dial-up, it is more expensive, has bandwidth limitations, and is more unreliable due to the possibility of minor obstructions and weather interference with the signal. It can deliver considerably higher speeds, though.

3. Mobile Broadband: Mobile broadband internet can be provided by USB wireless modems, portable modems, tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices. It comes in 3G and 4G varieties, with 5G broadband currently in early deployment stages. The greatest advantage of broadband is the portability of the devices that provide the wireless signal. Its disadvantages include restrictive data caps, lower speeds, and high latency.

4. DSL (Digital Subscriber Line): DSL uses wireless technology to transmit data over existing copper telephone lines. Being built over telephone lines means this type of internet access is widely available. Unlike dial-up, DSL works within telephone line frequencies, making it possible to make phone calls and use the internet simultaneously. Another advantage of DSL internet is that users get their own, dedicated circuit which won’t be affected by neighboring subscribers, as occurs with cable internet. On the other hand, DSL internet is somewhat slower than cable. The closer you are to the nearest telephone company facility, the stronger your connection will be.

           There are two types of DSL internet:

           - Symmetrical DSL (SDSL) offers equal bandwidth for upload and download speeds.

           - Asymmetrical DSL (ADSL) offers higher maximum download speeds than it does upload speeds. This is the most popular type of DSL connection.

              Additionally, there are two faster forms of DSL known as HDSL (High data rate Digital Subscriber Line) and VDSL (Very High data rate Digital Subscriber Line). Both provide higher-than-standard DSL speed at                   an increased price point.

5.   Cable: Cable internet is broadband technology that operates over coaxial cable TV lines. The speed of cable internet is comparable, albeit noticeably higher, to that of DSL internet. However, because this type of internet access makes use of shared cables, speeds can be considerably lower during peak Internet usage times. Like DSL, the way your connection is established allows for both surfing the Web and watching TV at the same time.

6. Fiber optic: Fiber optics technology is used to construct what is known as fiber to the x broadband architecture. Fiber optic cables are made out of thin transparent fibers of glass or plastic that are enclosed by material of a lower refractive index and that transmit light throughout their length by internal reflections. The way fiber optics work makes it possible to reach speeds unparalleled by other types of internet access—in 2014, record-breaking speeds of 1.4 terabytes per second were clocked using commercial-grade fiber optic cables. Fiber optic internet is therefore the best alternative for bandwidth-heavy activities. A big disadvantage of fiber internet is its price, however, as it’s the most expensive of all the internet access types. It is also limited in scope due to the infrastructure it demands.

Net Neutrality

The term net neutrality was coined by Tim Wu, a media law professor at Columbia University, in 2003. It stands for the idea that all internet traffic—regardless of user, content, website, platform, application, etc.—should be treated equally. Essentially, advocates of net neutrality are against ISPs blocking sites, slowing down traffic, charging extra, or otherwise making it difficult for users to access the content they want to find online.

On December 14, 2017, the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) voted to repeal net neutrality in a 3 to 2 vote. Nearly six months later, the repeal of Title II net neutrality regulations took place due to the US House of Representative’s failure to act under the CRA (Congressional Review Act) after having voted against deregulation. This was the climax of a long and lengthy process started by Ajit Varadaraj Pai, chairman of the FCC, who made his plans to repeal net neutrality known early during his time in office.

The repeal of net neutrality is a contentious topic. Studies in 2017 and 2018 showed that an overwhelming majority of voters opposed repealing net neutrality . In spite of bipartisan opposition and drawing the criticism of numerous associations, non-profits, and civil rights organizations, among other groups, the FCC still repealed these regulations. Many states are now drafting legislation to implement their own net neutrality laws.

Despite the harsh criticism directed at the repeal, opinion is still somewhat divided among experts on the topic. Many computer scientists, including co-creator of the Internet Vinton Cerf, and inventor of the Web Tim Berners-Lee, have condemned the repeal of net neutrality , calling it “rushed”, “flawed”, and “irresponsible.” Others, such as internet pioneer and former Chief Technologist for the FCC David Farber, have warned that extensive regulation could stifle innovation within the ISP industry . Some stand somewhere in the middle, such as computer programmer and creator of BitTorrent Bram Cohen, who would not want the Internet to turn into something like cable TV but believes net neutrality laws are very difficult to implement appropriately .

But how does the repeal of net neutrality impact you, the consumer? Since regulation favoring net neutrality was repealed not too long ago, we still lack sufficient evidence to say whether the effect has been positive or negative overall for consumers. There is one big issue that customers may be facing in the near issue as a result of this, however.

Net Neutrality and Monopolization

Using data from the FCC’s 2016 Broadband Progress Report, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) found that 51% of Americans are limited to single ISP choice where they live ; 10% of Americans can’t even purchase what the FCC considers “basic broadband”. These statistics dispel the common misconception that those who are unsatisfied with their internet service can “just switch” to another provider. For a large number of Americans, that is simply not a choice.

The biggest issue with repealing net neutrality in the United States is that we suffer from serious monopolization in the internet service industry . “ISPs do have too much market power, particularly the cable internet service providers who essentially operate as monopolies in most major markets”, says Rahul Jain, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at USC.

Large ISPs have carved up the country, thereby avoiding competition and resulting in stagnation within the industry. This has created an environment where providers don’t need to make an effort to better their service. Instead, they can just charge you more and more for the same amount of bandwidth. Jain went on,

“We as consumers are paying more for internet service, not less, while in most other developed countries, prices have fallen at a rapid clip. Why?”

Without net neutrality rules, individual ISPs will be able to do more than just give preferential treatment to content creators they favor. They might be able to throttle speeds and do anything they can to drive their customers away from content sponsored by other large ISPs. In a worst-case scenario, the Internet could end up a fragmented shadow of its former self.

Naturally, this is only a hypothetical aftermath. But the lack of net neutrality rules could have opened the floodgates for this kind of exploitative market practices. Some ISPs, large and small, have stated that they will not prioritize certain traffic or charge premiums to access certain content. We considered this during our research and recommend that consumers choose companies that are transparent in this area, although it might be hard to ascertain whether the company is being genuine in its efforts.

How to Choose the Best Provider in Your Area

Due to the ISP monopoly in the United States, some of us may have very little choice in what provider we pick. Unfortunately, the best ISP in one area may not be available in yours. Additionally, barring mobile broadband and satellite internet providers, most companies do not offer coverage nationwide. Because of this, we’ve written a short guide to help those who may not be covered by one of the companies that we rated as “the best” in any given category. This can also help those who want to opt for a local provider but are not sure what they should be looking for.

For Residential Customers

Review the provider’s track record with customers. One of the biggest gripes people have with providers is unreliable customer support. A company’s average customer satisfaction rate can be found on the ACSI’s yearly telecommunication report . After checking with the ACSI, make sure to look up the company on JD Power, the BBB, and other industry review aggregators. Local companies that don’t have much of a presence online are better researched through anecdotal evidence from nearby residents.

Check the provider’s prices and fees. Unless the provider clearly states what goes into its advertised prices, disregard them. Instead, try to find what is included in a plan’s price—and what isn’t. Check for how long the contract’s original price is going to last, if there are any installation fees, if they can be waived, and if opting for paperless billing can bring your final price down. Remember that taxes are added near the end of the process as well.

Verify the types of plan the provider is selling. Assuming you stay with the same provider for some time, your Internet needs could change. Subscribing to a provider with more than a single internet access type and a wider variety of plans ensures that you can upgrade or downgrade your plan, if the need arises.

For Businesses Customers

Ask other businesses about their own experience with a particular provider. Ask what kind of issues they’ve had with the company, if their technicians have done their job swiftly and efficiently, how long they’ve been serviced by the provider, and anything else that could affect your own business.

Make sure the provider can cater to your type of business. Not all ISPs cater to all sizes of business or industries. Some do, but are more experienced working with small, mid-sized, or large businesses. When looking for a provider, make sure to avoid those that advertise their business solutions as a “one-size-fits-all” alternative. Instead, try to find ISPs that have a history of working with companies your same size.

Check if the provider offers 24/7 customer support. Having tech support around the clock is essential for many businesses—especially those that are open at odd hours. Many providers have business solutions, but not all of them include 24/7 support. Of those that do, it’s not uncommon to see them charging an extra fee for it. The extra cost might seem restrictive, but generally pays off.

The term bandwidth has several meanings, but is defined as the capacity for data transfer of an electronic communications system in the field of computing. Bandwidth is generally expressed in bits per second e.g. 250Mbps (megabits per second). Bits, particularly megabits, are often confused with megabytes, but they are not the same unit of measurement. Megabytes are not usually used in residential internet plans and use the acronym MBps rather than Mbps. Basically, the more bandwidth you have, the higher your maximum rate of data transfer will be.

If this is all a bit too abstract, think of bandwidth as a pipe. Higher bandwidth is equal to a larger pipe, which means a higher material capacity (i.e. data) can be transported from one end to another.

This is why your network might be acting “slow” if multiple people are using it for streaming, gaming, and other high-bandwidth activities.

A common misconception is that bandwidth is the same as speed. “Colloquially, they mean the same thing” says Professor Shyam Parekh. He explains that part of the confusion is the word’s origin in the domain of analog technology, where it was used to express hertz. A higher amount of bandwidth does not actually make your internet connection faster —only perceptually so. Rather, the speed of your network connection depends on the type of internet access you are using, when you are using it , the state of your equipment, and how far away you are from your ISP’s nearest data hub. This likely happens because of how ISP’s market their services and plans.

How Much Speed do I Need?

Because we all use the Internet for different purposes, it stands to reason that we don’t all need to pay upwards of $80 for 1GB of bandwidth. Before you begin searching for an ISP in your area—assuming you have more than a single choice—it’s a good idea to review what you use the Internet for. After all, you wouldn’t want to get less bandwidth than what you need, either

Take long-time gamer Hector Cortez, for example. He streams liveplay of videogames on Facebook like Apex Legends and Rocket League nearly every day. When asked what type of service he would recommend to other gamers out there, he told us to “choose a company with fiber optic [technology].” He uses fiber optic himself and suggested that those living in areas with an unstable connection opt for plans with higher Mbps than they would regularly need, in order to ensure video quality.

Another example is Jorge Rodriguez, father of four. He’s been with the same provider for over a decade now, during which his family’s needs have changed. “When it was just four of us, we didn’t need a lot of bandwidth. But after having our third child and moving to the suburbs, we had to upgrade our plan.” He went on to explain how having a fourth child and moving further away from the city required a stronger plan to counteract the change in usage and the distance. “After three of our kids moved out, we were able to downgrade to a cheaper and more adequate plan for us.”

Lastly, we have Heidi Rivera, whose Internet needs lie somewhere in between high and low bandwidth. She’s an independent contractor with 10 years of experience in subtitle translation editing. She told us that “having good reliable internet is crucial to my business.” She mentioned the need for a good amount of bandwidth to stream and watch the content she edits but focused more so on the importance of good customer service. “I’ve had issues with my [internet] service, which is where good customer support came in handy… If I don’t have a service I can rely on, that means I’m losing money—and clients.”

What To Watch Out For When Dealing with ISPs

Bad bundles.

Almost every ISP that offers cable TV and phone service also has premade or customizable bundles. It’s an easy way to save money for consumers who want more than just internet. But it’s also an easy way for people to lose money if they cave into common sales tactics.

Before getting cable TV service and a phone line, ask yourself: how often will I be using these? If you aren’t keeping up to date with series currently running on TV or need the phone line for a specific reason, avoid getting swayed into bundling. Even if the cost is just a few dollars more than the internet service by itself, chances are the price of those services will also increase after the end of your payment period.

Additional Fees & Costs

When you visit a provider’s website, one of the first things you’ll see are their advertised prices. Consumers are generally shown three to four plans that the provider wants to sell the most, with any other plans lying elsewhere. Some providers opt against this, showing what their average plans offer and only revealing prices once the user inputs their location.

The plans that providers advertise to customers on their front page are more often than not purely promotional. Providers discount the standard price of their plans and offer them under contract for 12 to 24 months, after which the monthly payments may increase. These promotional plans are usually only available for new customers.

Lastly, the price you see does not take into consideration the price of renting your equipment. Most customers rent their equipment , thereby avoiding the hassle of having to learn how to install it themselves. It’s also less of an upfront investment. However, the cost of getting leased equipment from your ISP can quickly add up—especially if your provider decides to raise the monthly payment. Moreover, most companies charge a fee for the equipment’s installation, although some do waive this for new customers or online orders.

Maximum Bandwidth

Picture this: It’s been nearly a week since you changed Internet providers. You picked a plan advertising 400Mbps—a considerable upgrade compared to your previous plan of 100Mbps. You’ve been able to watch videos and play games online smoothly so far, although you can’t notice that big a difference. It’s Friday and you get a notification that the new episode of your favorite series is online, so you log in to the streaming platform... And quickly start to notice issues with your connection.  The stream is spotty, changing resolution all the time and outright stopping occasionally. After making several speed tests and resetting the router twice already, you call your provider to ask what is going on. The representative explains that your plan does not promise “speeds” of 400Mbps, but rather of up to 400Mbps.

The way ISPs advertise their plans can often be confusing. Consumers may automatically assume that the bandwidth being offered to them is exactly what they are going to get. This is problematic for two reasons. The first is the common misconception that we discussed regarding bandwidth and speed, two things which are not quite the same. The second is the large number of variables that affect Internet connections.

Consumers should never expect to get the exact bandwidth that is being advertised to them by an ISP. Professor Shyam Parekh explains that “The line that goes to your home might have a capacity of 1Gbps, but you are not going to get 1Gbps.” The time of day, the number of users online, your distance from the ISP, and end-user hardware issues, among many other factors, may be at play for your lower-than-expected bandwidth.

Providers could also be throttling your bandwidth for various reasons . This can be checked for through repeated use of free Internet speed testing software, such as Speedtest’s and HighSpeedInternet.com’s . Keep in mind that testing for speed throttling is hard, though, and there is no guarantee that a provider will change what they are doing when presented with evidence to support your claims.

  • FAQs about Internet Providers

What technology provides the fastest internet speed?

What is the best type of service for gaming, what is the difference between bandwidth and speed, what is the difference between wi-fi and the internet, can i get internet service without a phone line, can i use my own equipment with a new isp.

  • ISP Glossary

Web browser: Users can “surf” the web through the use of software applications or programs known as web browsers. Browsers allow users to reach a web page, access it, and display its content. Example of web browsers are Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Microsoft Edge.

URL: Uniform resource locators are used to identify web resources. They function as an address for these online resources.

Web resource: Anything that can be retrieved from the Web—digital, physical, or abstract—is identified as a web resource. E.g. emails, web software and services, html, videos, online quizzes, and surveys.

Peering: ISPs often arrange for traffic exchange with larger other ISPs that have a larger backbone network. By peering, ISPs can reduce total latency and congestion. They can also more easily manage internet traffic, reducing overhead costs.

Backbone network: Backbone networks are transmission lines that carry data gathered from smaller lines that interconnect with it.

Latency: The time that it takes for data to travel from one point to another and back is called latency. Often confused for bandwidth, it is the combination of both that determines how “fast” any given internet connection is.

Terabit: A unit of measurement. One terabit is equivalent to 1000 gigabits.

Megabit: The most common unit of measurement for residential ISPs. It is equivalent to 1,000,000 bits and is expressed by the acronym Mbps.

Megabyte : A megabyte is composed of 8 megabits; expressed by the acronym MBps.

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Best Cable Internet Providers of 2024

With an increasingly digital world, having a strong internet connection is essential for conducting work, keeping up on social relationships, and finding entertainment. Available to most of the US, cable internet is a popular way to stay connected, and finding a fast, reliable provider doesn’t have to break the bank.

Find Internet Providers Near You

Why Trust U.S. News

At U.S. News & World Report, we take an unbiased approach to our ratings. We adhere to strict editorial guidelines, maintain a separate business team, and provide transparency on our methodology.

Table of Contents

  • Compare Internet Providers
  • Rating Details
  • Cable Internet Service Availability

With an increasingly digital world, having a strong internet connection is essential for conducting work, keeping up on social relationships, and finding entertainment. Available to most of the U.S., cable internet is a popular way to stay connected, and finding a fast, reliable provider doesn’t have to break the bank.

Our Best Cable Internet Provider Rating

  • Xfinity Internet
  • Cox Internet
  • Spectrum Internet
  • Mediacom Internet
  • Astound Broadband
  • Optimum Internet

Suddenlink Internet

Compare the Best Cable Internet Providers of 2024

To create this guide, we’ve used this year’s ratings of the Best Internet Service Providers and narrowed it down to just the options with cable connections. Factors to consider when choosing a provider include monthly costs, fees, speeds, data caps, latency, consistency, connection types, and availability.

Read our full methodology at the end of this guide for a detailed description of how our ratings are determined.

Best Cable Internet Providers of 2023

Best Cable Internet Providers in Detail

Xfinity ».

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Shoppers who want to bundle internet, TV, phone, and home security service into a single bill

People who prioritize fast downloads

Users who consistently stay at or under a terabyte of data a month

Not recommended for:

Users looking for fast uploads

People who will use a great deal of data

Buyers not in the market for a TV bundle

SEE FULL REVIEW »

Cox »

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On-the-go internet users who can take advantage of hotspots

People who prefer to prepay for their internet plans

People who don't live in one of the 19 covered states

Users who don’t want data caps

***Cox Internet is powered by fiber and connected to the premises via coaxial connection

Spectrum »

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People who don’t want to worry about a data cap

Customers looking for a traditional bundle of internet and TV service

Shoppers looking for a provider with some of the widest possible coverage

Users who require fast upload speeds

Budget-minded shoppers who don’t need especially fast downloads

Spectrum Internet promotion price is $49.99/mo for 12 months with autopay. Wireless speeds may vary.

Mediacom »

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Those who want consistently fast speeds

People on a budget

Households that want mesh Wi-Fi

Those who don’t want a data cap

Customers who don’t want to pay higher prices after a year

Astound Broadband »

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Astound Broadband is best for:

Those on a budget

Customers interested in the latest technology

People who want to use their own equipment

Astound Broadband is not recommended for:

Consumers who need true gigabit speeds

Optimum »

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Customers on a budget

Residents of the greater New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut area

People who want straightforward, simple plans and pricing

Users who live outside of New York and a few other select locations

Suddenlink »

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Suddenlink is best for:

Budget-conscious shoppers

Those looking to customize their internet plan

Suddenlink is not recommended for:

People looking for consistent pricing

Those who want a lower-priced plan without data caps

Which Cable Internet Service Is Near Me?

Available in:

  • Connecticut
  • District Of Columbia
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • West Virginia

Find the cable internet service near you by exploring our cable ISP availability map above. You also can enter your address on the FCC’s Fixed Broadband Deployment website. A third option is to plug your address into the ISP’s website to see if service is offered in your ZIP code.

Our Best Cable Internet Providers of 2024 offer varying degrees of coverage in the U.S. Astound Broadband (formerly RCN) is available in six major metropolitan areas: Chicago, Boston, Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. Xfinity provides service to 39 states and Washington, D.C. Spectrum operates in 41 states, while Cox is available in 19. Mediacom is available in 22 states around the U.S.

According to the FCC, nearly 89% of the U.S. population has access to one or more cable internet providers, but only 55% of people living in rural areas can make this same claim.

If cable internet is limited where you live, consider other services like DSL, satellite, or fiber optic internet. Learn about your high-speed internet options in our Internet Providers Guide .

Check out our best local internet service providers by city .

How Fast Is Cable Internet?

Internet speed of fiber vs. dsl vs. cable vs. satellite.

Cable internet typically provides speeds of between 10 Mbps and 500 Mbps, and in some cases reaches as fast as 2 gigabits per second (Gbps), or 2,000 Mbps. It is among the fastest internet connections available and has been getting faster, with an overall increase in speed of 83% since 2017, according to an FCC report measuring fixed broadband. Cable also delivers consistently fast speeds, often providing more than the advertised speeds to over 80% of users for 80% of the time. Additionally, cable has much lower latency than DSL and only slightly higher latency than fiber, with a range of 13 to 27 milliseconds (ms). Latency affects how smooth any real-time online activities are, such as multiplayer online gaming and videoconferencing.

Cable internet speeds can be slowed down due to congestion. Cable internet is very widely available; almost 90% of the country has access to it because it uses the same infrastructure as cable TV service. This means you most likely share your cable bandwidth with your whole neighborhood, so at peak times – say around 8 p.m. when many people turn on their streaming service of choice – your internet will slow down.

How Much Is Cable Internet?

Internet is an important part of keeping connected in a digital world, but it can also be pricey. According to a report from the Pew Research Center , over one-third of low-income home internet users experienced difficulties paying for their subscriptions during the outbreak of COVID-19, so finding an affordable provider is paramount for many home internet users.

Fortunately, even for consumers on a budget, there is a wide range of prices available within the cable internet space. The cheapest options can start as low as $20 per month, and you can find savings by bundling services, taking advantage of promotional pricing, and even doing things like setting up paperless billing.

If you’re willing to splurge on your internet service, top speeds are available at a premium from many cable providers. In addition, you may pay more if you cancel contracts early, need to rent connection equipment, or live in an area with limited provider options.

For extra-fast cable speeds, top-rated Xfinity offers download speeds up to 800 Mbps, but its cheapest plans start at $29.99 per month for the first year and go up from there. It’s available in many states across the country and is one of the most popular providers on the market.

Cox offers a variety of bundles that can help make your overall cost cheaper, so you can get home automation and security, phone, and TV bundled with your internet. Cox internet starts at $29.99 per month for the first year and is available in 19 states.

Spectrum, which is available in 42 states, offers a hybrid-fiber coax connection. It services many rural customers and has plans starting at $49.99 per month, with download speeds ranging from 200 Mbps to 940 Mbps depending on the plan.

One of the fastest providers on our list, Mediacom delivers download speeds between 60 Mbps and 1,000 Mbps, with prices starting at $29.99, also making it one of the cheap cable options. Prices start at $19.99 but generally increase after the first year.

Astound Broadband (formerly RCN) uses fiber and cable to provide service, with packages starting at $25.99 per month. Download speeds run from 250 Mbps to 940 Mbps, and you can save money by using your own equipment or bundling with other services.

Optimum only covers three states but remains one of the largest cable internet providers in the country. Residents of Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York can enjoy download speeds between 10 Mbps and 5 Gbps, depending on plan, with options starting at $24.95 per month and equipment rentals available at an additional cost.

Available in 17 states, Suddenlink (now merged with Optimum) and Mediacom tie for the some of the cheaper options on our list, with rates starting at about $20 per month. Hybrid-fiber coax and cable connections provide download speeds up to 940 and 1,000 Mbps, respectively. However, not all Suddenlink plans include unlimited data, and rates often rise after the first year.

What Are Cable and Internet Bundles?

A recent Gallup poll showed that around 45% of white-collar employees in the U.S. work from home all or part of the time , and being able to sustain a strong internet connection is essential for keeping on top of a virtual workday. That makes finding a reliable internet provider more important than ever for many consumers. However, work is only part of the equation. For many internet users, other services, such as phone, TV, and security systems, can add convenience to their connected home.

Consumers can save money by bundling extra services, such as TV, phone, and home security, with their internet. Each company has different fees and features for add-on services, so you will want to see what pricing is available in your location. Be sure to read the fine print when selecting your bundle to avoid any surprises. For example, some providers, such as Spectrum and Xfinity, do not include fees for some options, like local stations and regional sports networks surcharges, in their advertised prices.

Xfinity offers internet, TV, and phone services, and depending on the package you select, the options will vary. Some of the internet plans also allow Xfinity Home Security to be included in the bundle.

Cox offers internet and TV bundles that vary in price based on your location. Phone and cable TV bundles are available too. For an additional $20 per month, Homelife, which includes automation and home security options, can be added, and professional 24/7 security monitoring can also be added for an additional fee. Extras, such as tech support, gamer upgrades, and a streaming box for watching Netflix can also be added to your bundles for additional fees.

Spectrum offers bundles, including TV and phone, with its internet services. It tends to include TV with many of its internet options and offers a variety of streaming apps, with bundles starting at $49.99 for internet and TV for the first 12 months. Add Voice, their phone option, and packages start at $114.97. Rates increase after the first year.

Mediacom offers bundle pricing when you add TV or phone service to its internet packages. Internet and local TV packages start at $29.99, while rates for bundles, including internet, cable TV, and phone range, start at $99.99 per month, depending on which TV package you select and the internet speed chosen. Another option for homes needing faster coverage is its Xtream WiFi360 pro package, which adds six mesh Wi-Fi routers to your home for $10 a month.

Astound Broadband (formerly RCN) offers bundles which include cable TV and phone options, though pricing varies depending on location. If your home is large or has spots where there is not a good Wi-Fi signal, you may consider a mesh router Wi-Fi system for an additional $9.95 per month. An antivirus software security service is also available for an extra $9.99 per month.

Optimum offers multiple TV bundles and add-ons to its packages. By adding a TV option, customers save $10 per month on the bundled services. Phone packages are also available to add on and allow different options of data usage and speeds.

Bundles with TV start at an additional $30 per month. Phone options with Suddenlink (now merged with Optimum) may cost more. There are multiple TV plans available to meet your needs, including two options that allow you to record programming and watch later. This Cloud DVR Plus option is available in two add-on options.

How Do I Get Cable Internet?

  • Identify Internet Providers: Find local providers in your market. See which of our Best Internet Services are in your area by checking out our map.
  • Choose Your Speed: The number of internet users in your household and the activities they undertake (email, web browsing, gaming, HD video streaming) will determine the plan speed you need.
  • Get Informed: Before signing up for service, scrutinize offer details and ask about other factors, like data caps, taxes, fees, and surcharges so you’re not surprised later on.
  • Get Equipment: You’ll need a cable modem and a Wi-Fi router. Learn more here in our What Do I Need for Cable Internet Service? section. Then read our Should I Buy or Rent Equipment for Cable Internet Service? section.
  • Set Up: Install and set up the equipment yourself or have a professional do it. We help you decide the best route in our How Do I Install Equipment for Cable Internet Service? section below.
  • Connect Devices: Plug your computer into the modem and connect wireless devices like smartphones, virtual assistants, and thermostats to the home Wi-Fi network.
  • Download the apps: Many internet providers offer apps to easily control your home modem, though this typically requires renting the company’s equipment. Other apps grant access to a network of Wi-Fi hotspots to use when away from home, if available with your plan.

What Do I Need for Cable Internet Service?

  • DOCSIS Modem: A modem communicates with the internet. Document Over Cable Service Interface Specification, or DOCSIS, is the technology standard that permits high-bandwidth data transfer. Match modem capabilities to your plan speed. If bundling home phone service, you need a modem with a voice or telephony port.
  • Wi-Fi Router: A router uses radio waves to create a wireless network in the home, so you can use smartphones, tablets, laptop computers, and other devices on the internet.
  • Wiring: Ethernet cables connect the modem to your router or computer. They should meet Cat6E standards or higher. Cat5E ethernet cable may hinder internet speeds over 100 Mbps.
  • Adapters: An ethernet adapter may be needed to plug your laptop directly into the modem. Older laptops may need a wireless adapter to connect to Wi-Fi.
  • Other Equipment: If you bundle internet with cable TV, you’ll need a TV receiver (a cable set-top box) or DVR for on-demand video and a digital remote. Home automation and security services require internet-connected devices, like thermostats, video cameras, and appliances.

Should I Buy or Rent Equipment for Cable Internet Service?

Buying Equipment - Cable Internet Service

You pay less in the long run

It’s easier to change ISPs

You can buy higher-quality equipment

If it doesn’t work, you have to replace it

You are the tech support

It can become outdated

Renting Equipment - Cable Internet Service

It’s convenient

You get tech support

You get the most compatible technology

Rental fees could increase

You’ll be charged a fee for not returning equipment

You pay more in the long run

You should buy equipment for cable internet service if you want to save money over time, buy different or better equipment than what the ISP offers, and for ease of switching providers. But technical support is limited and if equipment breaks, no longer supports your internet speed, or is no longer compatible with your provider, you have to buy new.

You should rent equipment for cable internet service if you want convenience, free technical support, and the most up-to-date, compatible technology. The company steps in if the device breaks or needs updating to accommodate a faster internet speed. Of course, you’ll spend more long term paying the monthly rental fee, which could increase. If you terminate service and don’t turn in rented equipment, you will be charged for it.

Mark Lubow, a veteran cable and telecom expert, recommends renting equipment. “Carriers often reward customer longevity with free equipment upgrades to make sure you’re getting the best experience they have to offer, although you usually need to ask for it,” he says.

How to Get Internet Without Cable

Cable internet is widely available in most areas of the U.S. Today, there are 78 million cable broadband subscribers, according to industry organization the NCTA . You don’t have to get cable TV in order to get cable internet. If you want both, however, you may save money by bundling these services together.

For high-speed internet access, cable is only one of several broadband technologies. Other types of broadband connections are DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), which transmits data over copper telephone lines; satellite, which transmits data wirelessly from space; and fiber, which transmits data via fiber optic cable made of super-thin strands of glass.

If cable is not available in your service area or you just don’t want cable internet, you have other options.

Learn more about the different types of internet service in our Internet Providers Guide .

Cable Internet vs. DS L

Cable is good for:

Heavy internet use

Households with multiple, simultaneous internet users and connected devices

Streaming HD video, file sharing, online gaming, and telecommuting

DSL is good for:

Light to moderate internet use

Households with fewer people using the internet at the same time

Web browsing, emailing, online gaming, and watching video

Areas where cable internet isn’t available

For most, cable is a better choice than DSL. It has faster download and upload speeds, higher service consistency, and lower latency (delay). It supports households with multiple active internet users who simultaneously stream high-definition video, play real-time multiplayer games, and have numerous connected devices, from smartphones to home security cameras.

DSL is slower, less consistent, and has higher latency. It is best for light to moderate internet use and for households with fewer internet users who don’t use high-demand applications at the same time. Because DSL is a dedicated connection, it does not slow down during peak use times like cable internet, which uses a shared connection. DSL is also available in a higher percentage of rural areas, according to the FCC .

Cable Internet vs. Fiber

Multiple internet users and connected devices

People who don’t have fiber internet available

Fiber is good for:

Online gaming and videoconferencing

Users that upload lots of data

Cable and fiber internet are fast, reliable, and can handle multiple people who simultaneously use high-demand applications. But fiber internet has the edge when it comes to faster upload speeds. These are important for sending the large data files used in videoconferencing and video chatting. Fiber also has lower latency, which means real-time first-person games are more responsive and have less “ping.”

Fiber is a dedicated connection, and unlike a shared cable connection, it doesn’t slow down during peak use times. Cable, however, is more widely available than fiber internet.

Best Internet Service Providers

  • AT&T Internet
  • CenturyLink Internet
  • EarthLink Internet
  • Frontier Internet
  • Google Fiber
  • HughesNet Internet
  • Sonic Internet
  • Starlink Internet
  • T-Mobile 5G Home Internet
  • Viasat Internet
  • Verizon 5G Home Internet
  • Verizon Fios Internet

To learn more about Internet Service Providers, visit our guides:

  • Find Internet In Your Area
  • The Best Internet Service Providers
  • The Cheapest Internet Service Providers
  • The Best Fiber Internet Providers
  • The Best Cable Internet Providers
  • The Best 5G Home Internet Providers
  • The Best DSL Internet Providers
  • The Best Satellite Internet Providers
  • The Best Internet Providers for Gaming
  • Best Prepaid Internet Service Providers
  • Best Internet Service Providers for Rural Areas
  • Fastest High Speed Internet
  • 5 Ways To Increase Your Internet Speed
  • What Is an ISP?
  • What Is a Good Internet Speed?
  • Spectrum vs. AT&T
  • Xfinity vs. AT&T
  • Verizon vs. Spectrum
  • Viasat vs. HughesNet
  • Frontier vs. Spectrum
  • Verizon Fios vs. Optimum
  • CenturyLink vs. Xfinity
  • CenturyLink vs. Cox
  • AT&T vs. Cox
  • Fios vs. Xfinity

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Our 360 methodology for internet service providers, wh y you can trust us: 25 internet service providers researched, 1. we researched the companies and products people care most about., 2. we created objective 360 overall ratings based on an analysis of third-party reviews..

  • Professional Ratings and Reviews . Many independent internet service provider evaluating sources have published their assessments of internet service provider companies and their products online. We consider several of these third-party reviews to be reputable and well researched. However, professional reviewers often make recommendations that contradict one another. Rather than relying on a single source, U.S. News believes consumers benefit most when these opinions and recommendations are considered and analyzed collectively with an objective, consensus-based methodology.
  • Consumer Ratings and Reviews . U.S. News also reviewed published consumer ratings and reviews of internet service providers. Sources with a sufficient number of quality consumer ratings and reviews were included in our scoring model.
  • Calculating the Z-Score: The Z-Score represents a data point's relation to the mean measurement of the data set. The Z-Score is negative when the data point is below the mean and positive when it's above the mean; a Z-Score of 0 means it's equal to the mean. To determine the Z-Score for each third-party rating of a company, we calculated the mean of the ratings across all companies evaluated by that third-party source. We then subtracted the mean from the company’s rating and divided it by the standard deviation to produce the Z-Score.
  • Calculating the T-Score: We used a T-Score calculation to convert the Z-Score to a 0-100 scale by multiplying the Z-Score by 10. To ensure that the mean was equal across all data points, we added our desired scoring mean (between 0 and 10) to the T-Score to create an adjusted T-Score.
  • Calculating the common-scale rating: We divided the adjusted T-Score, which is on a 100-point scale, by 20 to convert the third-party rating to a common 0-5 point system.

U.S. News 360 Reviews takes an unbiased approach to our recommendations. When you use our links to buy products, we may earn a commission but that in no way affects our editorial independence.

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Our comprehensive database of internet providers shows you the best internet options available in your zip code. Need help choosing? Our staff of internet experts has done the hard work of researching and reviewing providers so you can make an easy decision.

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Troubleshoot problems

Experiencing spotty Wi-Fi or frustrating slowdowns with your internet connection? We can help you figure out what’s holding you back​​—and how to get the best performance out of your internet.

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Understand your options

Fiber, cable, DSL, satellite… There are so many types of internet to choose from. Our team of internet experts can help you understand your options so you know what kind of internet to choose for your life—and what to avoid.

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Get the speed you need to keep your life running smoothly. Whether you need to upgrade your connection or tips on how to speed up the internet you already have, we have you covered.

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With our speed test app, you’re one tap away from seeing the exact internet speed you’re receiving, wherever you are.

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Explore everything internet

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How To Get Free and Low-Cost Internet

What internet providers offer free internet for your home? Browse free internet options for students, seniors, or low income households.

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Unlimited hotspot data is hard to find—here are your best options.

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We dodged traffic and stood across the street to see which router delivered good speeds.

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Read our proprietary reports, data analysis, and statistics about all things internet.

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State of the Internet in 2023: As Internet Speeds Rise, People Are More Online

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See which internet providers are available in your state. Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware District of Columbia Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming Browse by State Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware District of Columbia Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming Search for internet providers by service type

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Best Internet Providers 2024 : Plans, Prices, Deals, and More

Got a need for speed? Want to save cash on your internet plan? Find out what internet provider is best for you.

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Whether you’re looking for the absolute best internet service or the fastest home internet, we’ve got you covered. Out of our five recommendations for the best home internet providers, Verizon Fios is our top pick, but each internet service provider (ISP) below offers something special to fit your needs.

Want to get home internet service?

You can find out if any of these top providers are available in your area by entering your ZIP code below.

  • Best internet service providers
  • Head-to-head comparison
  • What to look for

What are the best internet service providers?

  • Verizon Fios —Editor’s choice
  • Ziply Fiber — Fastest
  • Google Fiber –Best in customer satisfaction
  • Spectrum —Most flexible
  • Optimum —Cheapest fiber internet

Other top internet providers

  • CenturyLink

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet

Vyve broadband, best internet service providers head to head.

Data effective as of publish date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

There are a lot of great internet options out there, from both large-scale and local internet companies. These are our picks of the best major ISPs.

If you want to love your ISP’s customer service and reliability, Verizon Fios is the way to go.

If money is no object and internet speed is the one thing that matters to you, Ziply’s 10,000 Mbps internet plan is the fastest one available for a home internet connection. If you’re fortunate enough to have Google Fiber coverage in your area, you’ll get speedy and reliable fiber internet service. Google Fiber was one of the highest-rated regional ISPs in our internet customer satisfaction survey.

For affordable fiber internet, Optimum will make every dollar count. When you want to avoid a contract, Spectrum is one of your best cable internet options.

But those aren’t the only reasons these ISPs are the ones we recommend. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of each.

Editor's Choice Small

Editor’s choice: Verizon Fios

  • High customer satisfaction
  • Matched upload and download speeds in most cases
  • Pricey DSL plans

For four years in a row, Verizon Fios has scored very high on our annual customer satisfaction survey . Its impressive scores take into account its stellar customer service, its well-priced plans, and the reliability of its 100% fiber network. (It also landed on top of our best ISPs for streaming guide .)

As with many of our top ISPs, Verizon Fios offers you unlimited data and no contracts. Verizon Fios also frequently offers internet deals that include free hardware, subscription services, and waived installation fees.

If you’re interested in TV service, consider Verizon Fios TV and internet bundles . Verizon Fios’ TV plans come with an excellent mix of channels, and you can add home VoIP phone service for an additional $20 per month.

Verizon Fios internet pricing and plans

*w/ Auto Pay + taxes & equipment charges. Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Also, video calls will look fabulous for you and the people watching you, thanks to these high upload speeds. Go ahead and treat yourself to an animated Zoom background—these speeds can handle it.

A word of caution: We’re talking about Verizon Fios, which is fiber internet, not Verizon High-Speed Internet, which is DSL internet. The latter reaches speeds only as high as 15 Mbps, but it will run you $74.99 per month. That’s not a fair shake.

One more word of caution: Verizon Fios is located in only nine eastern states.

  • Massachusetts
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington, DC

If you’re shopping for internet in one of these states, we’d recommend Verizon Fios, but if you’re elsewhere, you’ll be out of luck.

Interested in Verizon Fios?

Type your zip code below to see if Verizon Fios offers service in your area.

Fastest: Ziply Fiber

  • Unlimited data
  • Fiber plans with matching download/upload speeds
  • DSL speeds that vary by area

If you’re looking for speed, you’ll find it with Ziply Fiber. The ISP sports the fastest internet plan on the market thanks to its Fiber 10 Gig plan, which comes with ludicrous 10,000 Mbps download and upload speeds. But Ziply is hamstrung by its small regional footprint—the provider operates only in Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Idaho.

Ziply internet pricing and plans

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. For new residential customers only. No annual contract required. Prices shown are before taxes and fees and require autopay and paperless billing. *for the first 12 mos. with autopay and paperless billing

Another big plus of Ziply: their plans don’t have annual contracts, so you can leave and switch providers whenever you please.

Ziply Fiber’s internet plans get our stamp of approval with their fast speeds and affordable prices. If you’re on Ziply Fiber’s DSL internet plan, though, it’s a different story. We’ve seen download speeds as slow as 1 Mbps, which is ridiculously lethargic. Look at competitors for faster speeds if you’re in a DSL area.

Interested in Ziply Fiber?

Type your zip code below to see if Ziply offers service in your area.

Best in customer satisfaction: Google Fiber

  • Excellent fiber internet service
  • No annual price increases
  • Limited availability
  • No budget options

Google Fiber might not have the best reach—at the moment, it’s available in only 20 US cities—but when it’s available, it’s impressive. Fiber internet will always be faster and more reliable than the competition (read our fiber internet review to find out why), and with only two plans, Google makes it easy to access high speeds right away.

Google Fiber internet pricing and plans

Data effective as of publish date. Pricing and speeds are subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas. *Available in select markets only. Plus taxes and fees. Upload/download speed and device streaming claims are based on maximum wired speeds. Actual Internet speeds are not guaranteed and may vary based on factors such as hardware and software limitations, latency, packet loss, etc.

Google Fiber was one of the top performers in our 2023 internet customer satisfaction survey . An impressive 90% of respondents were extremely satisfied with Google Fiber’s speeds, and 85% of respondents were equally satisfied with Google Fiber’s service reliability. If you’re looking for high-performance fiber internet service, Google Fiber will deliver, and it won’t go down.

Google doesn’t roll out deals or price cuts very often, but its customers enjoy no data caps and the 2 Gig plan comes with a Wi-Fi 6 router and Google’s mesh Wi-Fi extender. The new 5 Gig and 8 Gig plans also come with a Wi-Fi 6 router, plus up to two of the mesh Wi-Fi extenders.

Like other internet providers, Google Fiber has an option to bundle internet and phone together, although if you’re looking for fiber TV , you won’t find it here: Google refers customers to YouTube TV instead.

Interested in Google Fiber service?

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Most flexible: Spectrum

  • Contract-free internet
  • Great TV plans
  • Expensive prices compared to competitors
  • A small price increase after 12 months

All of Spectrum’s internet plans are contract-free, so you can leave at any time without having to deal with early termination fees. Plus, if you’re searching for a deal, Spectrum’s TV and internet bundle is one of the most affordable around at only $114.98 a month. Its channel lineup isn’t enormous, but the à la carte channel add-ons are well-priced if you want more TV.

Spectrum internet pricing and plans

When it comes to performance, Spectrum’s internet plans are no slouch, either. Although the provider’s internet plans are generally pretty average when compared to competing cable internet providers, Spectrum still earned strong scores in our annual customer satisfaction survey.

Plus, Spectrum occasionally offers deals like two-year price guarantees. If your neighborhood qualifies for this promotion, you can lock in your promotional price for an extra year and won’t have to deal with a second-year price increase. For more information, head over to our Spectrum deals guide .

Want to get Spectrum TV and internet service?

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Cheapest fiber internet: Optimum

  • Wide availability
  • Fast fiber speeds
  • Middling customer service
  • A scheduled price increase

Optimum’s internet plans check off a lot of the boxes we like to see from ISPs: with it, you’ll get unlimited data, decent fiber internet availability, no contracts, and fast download speeds.

If your neighborhood has Optimum fiber internet coverage, you’ll also get some of the cheapest and fastest fiber internet plans around. Optimum Fiber Internet 300 includes 300Mbps upload and download speeds for only $40 monthly for your first year. By comparison, most competing fiber internet providers start their pricing at around $50 to $60 monthly, and you’ll have to settle for slower 100Mbps or 200Mbps speeds.

Although Optimum had lackluster marks on our customer satisfaction survey, its strong network still helped the ISP earn a spot on our best ISPs for gaming list.

Looking at Optimum?

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Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. * for 1 yr. Plus taxes, equip. charges and fees. **w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill w/mobile plans. ($40/mo. without mobile plans.) Terms apply.

Whether you’re in the sticks or the suburbs, there are ISPs for virtually any budget and situation these days. While these ISPs missed out on our best ISP rankings, they’re still worth checking out if you’re within their coverage map.

For a complete list of providers, visit our internet service provider guide , or if you’re looking for something more specific, consider our list of the best internet service providers .

If you’re looking for cheap budget internet service, you’ll find a lot to like with Xfinity. Xfinity’s one of the few major ISPs with internet plans that cost less than $40 per month.

Granted, these plans (75 Mbps and 200 Mbps) don’t have the fastest download speeds, and they come with short one-year price guarantees. But considering most ISPs have made $50 the de facto starting price for internet plans, we’ll always shout out ISPs that offer affordable pricing.

Xfinity internet (Central) pricing and plans

*For 24 months. No term contract. Taxes and equipment not included. Includes $10/mo automatic payments and paperless billing discount. **No term contract. Taxes not included. Includes $10/mo automatic payments and paperless billing discount. Data effective as of publish date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

But even if you’re buying the more expensive packages, there’s still a lot to like from Xfinity’s internet plans. Xfinity is widely available nationwide and if Xfinity’s in your neighborhood, you’ll have guaranteed cable internet service and download speeds. On providers like AT&T and CenturyLink, fiber internet availability can vary widely depending on where you live.

We’re not the biggest fans of Xfinity’s contracts and scheduled price increases, especially since competitors like Verizon and AT&T have moved to flat-rate monthly pricing. But Xfinity still earned its spot here thanks to its excellent scores in our annual customer satisfaction survey.

Xfinity also has strong TV and phone services if you’re interested in an Xfinity bundle . Xfinity’s cable TV add-ons include its stellar X1 cable box .

Visit our Xfinity internet review to learn more about Xfinity’s exact internet plans in your area.

Looking at Xfinity?

Enter your zip code to find out if Xfinity offers service in your neighborhood.

CenturyLink has some excellent fiber plans that are bookended with a serviceable—but aging—DSL network.

We’d recommend CenturyLink’s fiber internet plans if your neighborhood has CenturyLink fiber coverage. Along with excellent download and upload speeds, you’ll also get unlimited data and won’t have to worry about a contract or second-year price increase.

But if your address isn’t covered by CenturyLink fiber, you’ll have to settle for its DSL Simply Unlimited Internet plan. As with most DSL networks, your maximum speed depends on CenturyLink’s DSL service in your area. Depending on your location, your home might get 100 Mbps service or be saddled with a meager 10 Mbps connection. Still, CenturyLink’s straightforward DSL pricing makes the provider a great fit if you’re looking for rural internet service .

CenturyLink doesn’t offer TV service, but you can still bundle CenturyLink phone service with your internet plan (although you won’t get a bundle discount).

CenturyLink internet pricing and plans

Data effective as of publish date. Pricing and speeds are subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas. * Speed may not be available in your area. Paperless billing required. Taxes and fees apply. Online ONLY. Free Modem. † Speed may not be available in your area. Maximum download/upload speed of up to 940 Mbps via a wired connection. Paperless billing required. Taxes and fees apply. Offer details. Offer includes professional installation at customer’s eligible location. ‡ Paperless billing or prepaid required. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. Get the fastest Internet speed available at your location (max speed is up to 100 Mbps.)

AT&T’s 5 Gig Internet plan is one of the fastest gig plans out there. Whether you’re working from home or gaming online, internet speeds like that let you run rampant on the ole information highway. We always recommend getting fiber internet if it’s in your neighborhood because you’ll get the best internet performance and it’ll be much better than cable or DSL internet.

As of August 2023, AT&T no longer offers their DSL plans. However, for those in rural areas or who are interested in AT&T’s now-defunct 75Mbps or 100Mbps plans, check out AT&T Internet Air . It costs the same as AT&T’s old DSL plan ($55.00 per month) and offers nearly the same download and upload speeds. We think Internet Air is a solid alternative to DSL, but you’ll quickly hit its performance ceiling if you need more than just the basics from your internet connection.

AT&T internet pricing and plans

Data effective as of publish date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. †Price after $5/mo Autopay & Paperless bill discount (w/in 2 bills). Plus taxes & fees. Monthly State Cost Recovery Charge in TX, OH, NV applies. One time install chrg may apply. Ltd. avail/areas. Call or go to www.fiber.att.com to see if you qualify. ‡Price after $5/mo Autopay & Paperless bill discount (w/in 2 bills). Plus taxes & fees. Monthly State Cost Recovery Charge in TX, OH, NV applies. One time install chrg may apply. Ltd. avail/areas. Call or go to www.fiber.att.com to see if you qualify.

But there’s light at the end of the tunnel. AT&T offers plans without annual contracts, so you can tuck and roll out of a plan whenever you want without paying extra fees. AT&T also offers some internet, TV, and phone service bundles .

Despite having a network that only runs across parts of 14 states, MetroNet has some of the most affordable fiber internet plans we’ve seen on the market. Customers can get fiber internet plans with download and upload speeds between 100 Mbps and 1,000 Mbps with plans starting at $39.95 per month.

MetroNet customers also found a lot to like about MetroNet service. MetroNet was the fourth-best ISP in our 2023 internet customer satisfaction survey, beating out larger competitors like Xfinity, Spectrum, and CenturyLink.

Cox’s internet prices aren’t the greatest compared to competitors like Xfinity, but its StraightUp Internet offers decent performance and value for prepaid internet service. Cox’s starting 100 Mbps plan earned a spot on our list of the best cheap internet plans , and the ISP also had decent marks on our annual customer satisfaction survey .

T-Mobile

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet offers great prices and decent download speeds for customers interested in a cable internet alternative. T-Mobile cell phone customers can also get a $20 discount on T-Mobile home internet. But with T-Mobile’s city-by-city rollout approach, its availability in your area can be hit or miss.

Rural and small-town broadband can be a hit-or-miss experience, but Vyve Broadband fills in more gaps than we’d typically expect from a regional provider. Vyve’s availability can be unpredictable, but if you’re in a rural area with Vyve coverage, you’ll thankfully have an alternative between slow DSL service and expensive satellite internet.

WOW! is a great option for a no-contract internet—if it’s available near you. Unfortunately, WOW! is only available in nine states in the eastern half of the US. If you are lucky enough to have WOW! service near you, their fast, inexpensive internet plans are solid choices, even when competing with larger ISPs like Xfinity or Spectrum.

*Prices and availability vary by location. Installation fees, monthly equipment lease fees, and taxes may apply. After 100 GB of High-Speed Data usage, you still have unlimited access to Standard Data, which may result in slower speed.

If you live in a rural area, you might not have many options for internet service. For that, you’ll probably want satellite internet . However, this service often comes with a catch: slower upload speeds, slower download speeds, and low data caps. Viasat’s plans slow down once you’ve reached your limit, so if you’re able to, pick a plan with a lot of data like Choice 100.

As satellite internet goes, Viasat isn’t bad. Read more about its strengths and weaknesses and how it compares against its main competitor in our Viasat vs. Hughesnet face-off.

*Equipment, taxes, fees, and any applicable surcharge extra. $10 charge for each add’l 100GB; Up to $30/mo Internet Gig: Equipment, taxes, fees, and any applicable surcharge extra. Actual speeds vary and are subject to equipment limitations. Wi-Fi speeds will be substantially lower. Up to $30/mo.

If you’re an internet user that just occasionally checks email and social media, Sparklight, formerly called Cable ONE, is an acceptable option. However, if you want to stream, video call, or even just upload photos to social media, you may face issues with Sparklights data caps and overage fees—you might even get moved to a more expensive plan without consent if you go over your data cap.

Hughesnet

If you’re in a rural area and looking for speed, you probably shouldn’t go with Hughesnet. It has much lower speeds than competitors—but you can’t beat its low prices if you just want something cheap that lets you check emails and read the news.

For anything more than light web surfing, look elsewhere. Hughesnet’s plans technically have unlimited data, but you only get between 100 to 200 GB of Priority data before you’re bumped down to Standard data, which they warn could be slower than other traffic during high-traffic periods. The exception? Hughesnet offers a “Bonus Zone” period that gives you an extra 50 GB of data between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. RIP to your sleep schedule after that.

For more about internet service in rural areas, head over to our rural internet guide .

What’s the fastest internet service provider?

If speed is your number one concern, check out our fastest internet providers guide to learn more about ISPs with the best download speeds.

What to look for in top internet service providers

Some internet services have exciting deals and freebies that look super impressive. But when you want the best home internet, make sure the price per month, download speed, and data caps meet your standards before you sign a contract.

Price per month

Since there’s no standard for internet pricing, even 25 Mbps plans can run anywhere from $19.99 to $60.00 per month. It’s a big range, we know. Price depends a lot on your provider and location.

If you’re looking for budget-friendly internet service, we recommend trying to find a deal around $50 per month. Most providers have basic internet plans that are at or below this price point.

Incredible internet service for cheap

These best home internet providers offer download speeds between 100 Mbps and 500 Mbps for $50 per month or less.

  • Frontier Fiber

Despite the wide range between 100 Mbps and 500 Mbps, all of those speeds are superb options for most homes. Read “ Free and Low-Income Internet Plans for Families, Seniors, and Students ” to learn how to save money on your internet service.

Download speed

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines broadband—high-speed internet—as 25 Mbps download speeds and 3 Mbps upload speeds. Unless you’re in a rural area, it’s easy to find internet speeds like that nowadays.

But our internet usage is growing all the time. People stream more, game more, and telecommute more. Add to that cool smart home devices, and our bandwidth usage is higher than ever.

With that in mind, we recommend trying for faster internet speeds. Going from 25 Mbps to 50 Mbps will make a world of difference, but jumping up to 100 Mbps is the best fit for most homes.

Unless you’re a super internet user, you probably don’t need 1,000 Mbps, but if you feel like your internet connection is too slow, go ahead and kick it up a notch. Check out our internet speed guide if you need help deciding what internet plan best fits your household.

Data caps—also called data allowances—are limits on how much an ISP will let you use the internet before it charges you extra fees.

Every time you upload or download something, whether it’s clicking a link, sending a Facebook message, or streaming a show from Netflix, you’re using data.

We didn’t talk about data caps much in this article because our top five recommendations all meet our standards. That means they’re all around 1,024 GB (1 TB), which is more than plenty for the average household. ( Should you be concerned about going over 1TB of data? We’ve got the answer.)

But knowing your provider’s data caps and how much it will charge you can save you a lot of heartbreak. We broke down all the limits and fees in this data cap article , so you don’t have to dig through internet contracts to find your info.

Are the best internet providers worth it?

There are some excellent internet providers out there with stellar deals and fast internet speeds. But providers vary by area, so you’ll need to figure out your options before setting your heart on one.

Here’s what you’ll need to know about our best ISP picks:

Verizon Fios—best overall

  • Verizon Fios combines excellent fiber internet plans with superb customer service. It’s not the most widely available ISP, but if you’re in one of the nine states with Verizon Fios coverage, we’d recommend getting a plan.

Ziply Fiber—fastest

  • Ziply offers affordable gigabit internet plans up to 10,000 Mbps, the fastest on the market today.

Google Fiber—best for performance

  • Google Fiber’s fiber internet service combines stellar speeds with high reliability.

Spectrum—best no-contract internet

  • If you’re interested in a TV and internet bundle, Spectrum’s TV plans are a great deal thanks to its excellent channel lineups filled with premium channels.

Optimum—cheapest fiber internet

  • Optimum’s fiber internet is among the most affordable on the market.

Ready to shop for a new internet provider?

Enter your zip code below for a list of internet providers in your area.

Best internet providers FAQ

What company has the best internet service.

Verizon Fios offers the best home internet in the US. It has fast download and upload speeds, low latency, and unlimited data.

What is the fastest internet speed?

The fastest internet download speed you can get for your home is 10,000 Mbps. You’ll find this high-speed internet offered only by Ziply.

What is the fastest internet service?

Ziply Fiber is the fastest internet provider in the USA thanks to its 10,000 Mbps home internet plan. This ridiculously expensive plan will run you $300.00 per month, and it’s not available in all areas.

But if you live in a big city, and you’ve got the cash, you could practically break the sound barrier with these download speeds. Still, 100 Mbps internet plans are fast enough for most of us, and they’re a lot more affordable.

What is the best rural internet?

Xfinity and CenturyLink offer support for many rural areas, but if you’re deep in the wilderness, satellite internet from Viasat or Hughesnet or fixed wireless internet service from providers like Rise Broadband might be your only options for internet access. Check out our article “ Best Rural Internet Providers ” to make the best choice for you.

What is the fastest satellite internet provider?

Viasat has the fastest satellite internet service , with download speeds up to 100 Mbps. Satellite internet usually costs more and has more latency than fixed wireless or wired internet services like DSL, fiber, or cable internet. But unlike cable, DSL, or fiber ISPs, Viasat is widely available and covers more cities and rural areas.

Who is the best internet provider in my area?

The best internet provider for you depends on availability in your area, but our best national provider picks offer a strong mix of value and internet performance.

  • Verizon Fios
  • Ziply Fiber
  • Google Fiber

Use our zip check tool above to see if any of our top internet provider picks are available in your area.

What’s the worst internet provider?

Our most recent internet customer satisfaction survey , which asked customers from 20 major internet providers to rate their internet experience, placed Hughesnet in last place.

As for this writer, the worst internet provider I’ve reviewed is Windstream . If you’re in an area where it offers affordable broadband internet, it’s not so bad, but it’s shockingly overpriced in many areas.

Windstream also uses outdated DSL tech, but thanks to its unlimited data and low-priced modem, it still pulls through for some folks. Just be careful when choosing Windstream—or any internet provider for that matter.

Should I choose an internet-only provider?

Almost every internet provider out there has internet-only packages, so there’s no need to avoid a provider just because it offers optional TV service.

Methodology

To find this year’s best internet providers, we spent thousands of hours analyzing each ISP’s plans based on factors including price, internet performance, and download speeds. We also relied on our annual internet customer satisfaction survey to find out how current customers felt about their ISPs.

For more information on our methodology, check out our How We Rank page.

Related articles

  • Fastest Internet Providers
  • Best Cheap Internet Packages
  • Best Internet Deals

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Cable internet is capable of matching fiber internet speeds, thanks to DOCSIS 3.0 technology. Instead of averaging 200 to 500 Mbps, cable speeds can reach as high as 1 Gbps. One key advantage for cable internet users is that the service has a large coverage area, making it accessible to many residents across the country. A cable network is also more reliable due to low latency. Below are more details about speeds, pricing, and user experience from common cable providers. For available cable providers in your area, be sure to use our ZIP search tool.

If you’re looking for additional services such as TV and phone, you’ll benefit from bundle savings when you choose cable internet. Because cable internet is capable of faster speeds now, you can stream on multiple devices, take video calls, upload large files, and play competitive online games. If you live in an area where fiber internet is hard to find, or you don’t care for lightning-fast gigabit speeds, find out if and which cable providers are near you.

Best Cable Internet Provider List

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Spectrum is a popular cable internet provider, covering 42 states. It offers gigabit speeds in select areas, though wireless speeds may vary. Its lowest-priced internet plan costs $49.99 per month for the first 12 months. Spectrum is also a big player in the bundling space, offering several packages that include internet, TV, and phone services.

Xfinity is available in 41 states and is another provider that offers robust packages that include internet, TV, and phone services. For its cheapest plan, you only need to pay $35 per month. It offers a price guarantee for new customers and doesn’t require a long-term contract. Xfinity also has over 8 million Wi-Fi hotspots across the country, allowing you to stay connected no matter where you go.

Another cable provider that has widespread coverage is Cox, which serves 19 states. Like other cable providers, Cox offers several bundles with internet, TV, and phone services. It has a wide coverage area across the country, and plans start at $49.99 per month.

These cable providers are the most well known, but that doesn’t mean it has 100 percent coverage in the U.S. Before you decide to sign up for one of these providers, see if your neighborhood has access to its cable service.

What to Know About Cable Internet

Cable internet uses existing cable TV infrastructure to deliver high-speed internet to residents. Rather than traditional copper wires like DSL and glass-threaded cables like fiber, cable internet uses coaxial copper cables, the same ones that transmit sound and video data to cable TV subscribers. Before DOCSIS 3.0 technology, cable internet was only capable of speeds up to 100 Mbps, but now it can deliver gigabit speeds.

Unlike fiber internet, its speeds are asymmetrical, meaning its upload speeds are significantly slower than its download speeds. That said, cable internet’s expansive coverage makes it an appealing choice for residents who need wired broadband service that’s faster than DSL, fixed wireless, and satellite.

If you think cable internet is the right choice for your online needs and household, make sure that there are cable providers available near you by using the ZIP search tool.

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Table of contents:.

  • Find Every Internet Provider In Your Area

Which Broadband Provider Is Best in My Area?

Who has the best internet service, who are the internet providers in my area, who is behind inmyarea.com, how inmyarea.com works, what is considered broadband, is fiber internet available in my area, who has the best cable internet service, what companies offer dsl service, is fiber, cable, or dsl internet better, what internet speed do i need to stream netflix, amazon prime, and hulu, how much data does the average person use, how much does the internet cost, what does mbps mean, how can i get the internet in my home, how do i find my current internet service provider, additional internet resources.

  • The Most Accurate list of Internet Providers

Find Every Internet Provider in Your Area

All internet service providers, including AT&T, Xfinity, Spectrum, CenturyLink, Cox, and Frontier, offer internet service in select areas. Unlike cell phone service, which is available nationwide through carriers such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint — internet connections such as DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), cable, and fiber are not as comprehensive in coverage. Many wired and wireless internet providers may be available near you, but the fastest speeds cannot always reach every home. Internet speeds depend on your chosen plan, your internet connection type, how far away from the network you live, and the performance of your Wi-Fi router.

Every internet provider varies in footprint and subscriber coverage. Even if an ISP can offer service in your area, it may be unable to connect your home to its wired network due to technical limitations on cabling distance. Although wired internet connections through fiber, DSL, and cable are best, internet service from a fixed wireless or satellite provider is also an option. Broadband internet connections degrade the farther away you live from the provider’s network. If your home is outside of the city limits or in a rural area, you might not have access to a wired internet connection. Wireless connections may be your only option. However, wireless internet service needs unobstructed views of nearby towers and satellites in space. Otherwise, performance can slow down when line-of-sight obstructions such as trees and mountains exist.

The best internet provider in each area depends on your individual needs. “Best” could mean different things depending on your priorities. You may want the cheapest, contract-free internet, or more likely, internet with the fastest download and upload speeds. Your final choice will vary based on your goal. Let's assume by “best” you mean the fastest internet provider with service to your home. Here are some tips to remember for choosing the best type of internet connection for your needs:

  • Fiber-optic connections are the fastest available broadband speeds compared to all other types of internet connections. Specifically, Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) internet will get you the best internet speeds around.
  • If FTTH or its other variants, such as Fiber to the Premises (FTTP), Fiber to the Building (FTTB), or Fiber to the Curb (FTTC), is not available near you, then cable internet is probably your best option . Cable internet is widely available, and with DOCSIS 3.1 technology on hybrid fiber coax (HFC) networks, cable internet can achieve gigabit speeds.
  • If you live in a rural area, cable and fiber internet providers may not be available. In that case, fixed wireless and 5G Home internet provide fast download speeds . Beyond being easy to install, 5G internet connections are becoming more widely available and faster each day.
  • Another wired option that can achieve decent speeds is DSL. While it may not be the fastest internet connection type, DSL is widely available for customers from all regions. If you have a telephone line at your home, you can probably get DSL internet.
  • For people living in the most remote areas of the country, satellite internet is a suitable internet solution . With the introduction of new satellite internet providers such as Starlink , satellite internet is rapidly becoming quicker and more viable as a wired internet replacement.

Internet service networks connect to homes by phone lines, coaxial cable, optical fiber, the 5G and 4G LTE cellular networks, wireless antennas, and satellite dishes. The InMyArea team analyzed data for every city in the U.S. and found that each of these cities has an average of three wired internet providers, but most homes can only get service from one or two providers. Perhaps you recently moved and need your utilities connected for the first time . Maybe you’re buying a home and want to verify your family can have a fast internet connection. Or you've had a bad experience with your current provider and are looking to change. InMyArea.com can help you find all the internet providers in your area. InMyArea.com searches through hundreds of millions of data points to show you which providers are available in your area by coverage percentage (how much they cover your surrounding area). The provider with the highest coverage percent is the most likely to be available at your address, though it may not be the fastest internet option in your neighborhood.

InMyArea.com  is a home services comparison website built by a team of designers, programmers, developers, and data scientists who are passionate about connecting people everywhere to the best services. Our team has decades of experience with internet service providers and a desire to provide users with the best possible online research experience. In 2014, we reorganized our efforts, analyzed over 10 million broadband records, and greatly improved the accuracy of our results. Since then, our data has grown to over 100 million records, and we continue to make advancements in data analysis by enhancing our system's performance. We built InMyArea.com to help our family, friends, and neighbors find the providers in their area when they move, need to save money, or want to change providers.

We analyze hundreds of millions of rows of data in real time, examine every street, city, and ZIP code in the United States, calculate how likely you are to be connected by each provider, check the speeds available, and display the results. We will show you a list of providers, plans, speeds, and prices, including fiber , cable , DSL , satellite , wireless , and cellular providers. We'll even throw in the nearby public places with free Wi-Fi for you to access the internet while you wait for the installation of your service.

You can find your internet providers by searching InMyArea.com. Enter your ZIP code , address , or share your device's location to find wired connections from fiber-optic, DSL, and cable providers. You can also check the availability of wireless providers from satellite and fixed wireless connections available in your area.

Most Popular Cities For Internet Providers In My Area

These are the top cities in the United States where people are shopping for the best internet providers

  • 1. New York, New York 16 Providers Available
  • 2. Los Angeles, California 27 Providers Available
  • 3. Houston, Texas 25 Providers Available
  • 4. Chicago, Illinois 15 Providers Available
  • 5. Miami, Florida 11 Providers Available
  • 6. San Antonio, Texas 24 Providers Available
  • 7. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 7 Providers Available
  • 8. Phoenix, Arizona 13 Providers Available
  • 9. Las Vegas, Nevada 14 Providers Available
  • 10. San Diego, California 12 Providers Available
  • 11. Dallas, Texas 19 Providers Available
  • 12. Denver, Colorado 36 Providers Available
  • 13. Cleveland, Ohio 15 Providers Available
  • 14. Baltimore, Maryland 10 Providers Available
  • 15. Fort Worth, Texas 20 Providers Available
  • 16. Minneapolis, Minnesota 16 Providers Available
  • 17. Austin, Texas 23 Providers Available
  • 18. San Jose, California 14 Providers Available
  • 19. Columbus, Ohio 20 Providers Available
  • 20. Atlanta, Georgia 10 Providers Available
  • 21. Detroit, Michigan 10 Providers Available
  • 22. Indianapolis, Indiana 20 Providers Available
  • 23. Jacksonville, Florida 11 Providers Available
  • 24. Orlando, Florida 11 Providers Available
  • 25. Tucson, Arizona 15 Providers Available
  • 26. Portland, Oregon 10 Providers Available
  • 27. Seattle, Washington 10 Providers Available
  • 28. Sacramento, California 16 Providers Available
  • 29. Milwaukee, Wisconsin 10 Providers Available
  • 30. Charlotte, North Carolina 10 Providers Available

The FCC defines broadband as a minimum download speed of 25 Mbps and 3 Mbps upload speed. That speed is the bare minimum you’ll need for modern internet use. For example, Netflix recommends a 25 Mbps (megabits per second) download speed for playing movies and TV shows at Ultra HD quality. If you have four simultaneous users sharing the connection, you need at least 100 Mbps to give each user 25 Mbps to stream, play online games, or download files. That said, we at InMyArea.com believe that 100 Mbps or higher is a better definition of broadband internet.

The fastest internet speeds are available from fiber-optic and cable connections, up to around 1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps) for cable and 10 Gbps for fiber. Ultra-fast internet speeds are rarer in less populated areas of the country, such as rural areas and small towns. Residents in these areas should expect max speeds closer to 150 Mbps.

  • Fiber: Fiber from providers such as Verizon , AT&T , and Google Fiber is available in select metro areas and offers speeds up to 10 Gbps.
  • Cable: Cable is another internet service offered by providers including Xfinity , Spectrum , and Cox , with speeds ranging from 50 Mbps to 1 Gbps. 
  • DSL: DSL technology is the most prominent internet service because of the existing copper line infrastructure across the U.S. and includes providers such as CenturyLink , Frontier , and Windstream . DSL can achieve speeds up to 115 Mbps.
  • Wireless : Wireless internet includes 5G Home, which operates via ultra-wideband 5G technology, and fixed wireless internet, which transmits wireless signals between local towers and home receivers. T-Mobile 5G Home Internet is a popular 5G Home Internet solution, while Rise Broadband is a prominent fixed wireless internet provider.
  • Satellite: Satellite internet covers nearly 100 percent of the nation and consists of high-orbit providers like Viasat or HughesNet , and low-earth-orbit providers like Starlink. Users tend to see download speeds between 25 Mbps and 220 Mbps with satellite internet.

Fiber-optic internet service is the fastest type of connection, with max speeds ranging from 1 Gbps to 5 Gbps. However, fiber is expensive for ISPs to install and deploy, and as a result, fiber has been slow to grow in remote areas. Consider yourself lucky if you live in an area with a fiber connection. That said, providers continuously deploy and expand their fiber infrastructures each day to connect with more consumers. Here are some of the fiber internet providers with the most coverage throughout the United States. 

  • 1. AT&T has Fiber coverage in 21 states, available to an estimated homes, 16.81% of the US population.
  • 2. Frontier has Fiber coverage in 21 states, available to an estimated homes, 5.00% of the US population.
  • 3. Optimum has Fiber coverage in 5 states, available to an estimated homes, 2.03% of the US population.
  • 4. CenturyLink has Fiber coverage in 20 states, available to an estimated homes, 3.76% of the US population.
  • 5. Google Fiber has Fiber coverage in 10 states, available to an estimated homes, 1.26% of the US population.
  • 6. Metronet has Fiber coverage in 10 states, available to an estimated homes, 0.96% of the US population.
  • 7. Windstream has Fiber coverage in 17 states, available to an estimated homes, 1.01% of the US population.
  • 8. Consolidated Communications has Fiber coverage in 19 states, available to an estimated homes, 0.71% of the US population.
  • 9. Quantum Fiber has Fiber coverage in state, available to an estimated homes, % of the US population.
  • 10. Ziply has Fiber coverage in 4 states, available to an estimated homes, 0.69% of the US population.
  • 11. Cincinnati Bell has Fiber coverage in 3 states, available to an estimated homes, 0.57% of the US population.
  • 12. Cox Cable has Fiber coverage in 16 states, available to an estimated homes, 0.55% of the US population.
  • 13. BendBroadband has Fiber coverage in 28 states, available to an estimated homes, 0.43% of the US population.
  • 14. Claro Internet has Fiber coverage in 1 state, available to an estimated homes, 0.34% of the US population.

Cable internet connects to more homes than fiber. Even though download and upload speeds aren't as fast as fiber, cable can still reach speeds of around 1 Gbps. Cable internet speeds are much faster than DSL, have lower latency, and have higher data allowances included in plans. The largest cable companies in terms of coverage in the United States are:

  • 1. Xfinity has Cable coverage in 41 states, available to an estimated homes, 37.79% of the US population.
  • 2. Spectrum has Cable coverage in 42 states, available to an estimated homes, 34.14% of the US population.
  • 3. Cox Cable has Cable coverage in 19 states, available to an estimated homes, 7.19% of the US population.
  • 4. Optimum has Cable coverage in 21 states, available to an estimated homes, 6.36% of the US population.
  • 5. Mediacom has Cable coverage in 22 states, available to an estimated homes, 2.31% of the US population.
  • 6. Cable ONE has Cable coverage in 23 states, available to an estimated homes, 1.69% of the US population.
  • 7. RCN has Cable coverage in 9 states, available to an estimated homes, 2.91% of the US population.
  • 8. WOW! has Cable coverage in 6 states, available to an estimated homes, 1.44% of the US population.
  • 9. Breezeline has Cable coverage in 12 states, available to an estimated homes, 1.15% of the US population.
  • 10. Liberty Cablevision has Cable coverage in 1 state, available to an estimated homes, 0.63% of the US population.
  • 11. Wave Broadband has Cable coverage in 3 states, available to an estimated homes, 1.55% of the US population.
  • 12. Vyve Broadband has Cable coverage in 17 states, available to an estimated homes, 0.38% of the US population.

DSL has been around since the late 1980s when researchers found that copper phone lines could transmit both broadband signals and voice. DSL speeds can now reach up to 100 Mbps, and HDTV, internet, and voice connections can share the same lines. Since DSL can run on existing phone lines, it’s the most commonly available type of internet connection. The most available DSL providers in the United States include:

  • 1. AT&T has DSL coverage in 21 states, available to an estimated homes, 37.16% of the US population.
  • 2. CenturyLink has DSL coverage in 20 states, available to an estimated homes, 10.79% of the US population.
  • 3. Frontier has DSL coverage in 25 states, available to an estimated homes, 9.90% of the US population.
  • 4. Windstream has DSL coverage in 18 states, available to an estimated homes, 2.78% of the US population.
  • 5. Verizon has DSL coverage in 13 states, available to an estimated homes, 13.95% of the US population.
  • 6. Brightspeed has DSL coverage in state, available to an estimated homes, % of the US population.
  • 7. Claro Internet has DSL coverage in 1 state, available to an estimated homes, 1.00% of the US population.
  • 8. Ziply has DSL coverage in 4 states, available to an estimated homes, 1.04% of the US population.

Each internet connection type comes with its advantages and drawbacks. Where fiber excels in speed, it lacks in widespread availability. DSL is convenient and available, but inefficient for demanding users. Cable is versatile and fast, but can get pricey quickly. Here are some details to help you differentiate between the connection types: 

  • Cable internet is a service that offers high-speed internet through the same coaxial cable as cable television. The maximum download speeds for cable internet plans can vary from 50 Mbps to 1 Gbps. Cable internet upload speeds tend to be much lower than its download speeds.
  • DSL is an internet connection that transmits over a wired telephone line. It offers faster speeds than traditional copper lines. Download speeds vary from 3 to 100 Mbps depending on the DSL type and distance to the telephone company's central office (CO).
  • Fiber-optic connections are the fastest type of internet available to residents, with maximum download speeds ranging between 1 Gbps and 10 Gbps. Data is transmitted through optical fibers, allowing for longer distances without losing any speed. Download speeds and upload speeds with fiber are symmetrical.
  • Satellite internet receives data by installing a small satellite dish on the roof that usually faces the direction of the provider's satellite in space. It is typical for satellite internet providers to enforce a data cap for their plans. Satellite internet download speeds range from 10 to 220 Mbps.

The internet requirements for streaming content will depend on what type of resolution you use. We recommend the following minimum download speeds for streaming on one device at a time.

  • SD quality: 3 Mbps
  • HD quality: 6 Mbps
  • 4K Ultra HD quality: 25 Mbps

Depending on the type of connection available to you, you may have data caps restricting how much you can stream. Here are the download speed requirements for streaming services.

  • Amazon Prime Video: 900 Kbps for Standard Definition (SD) and 3.5 Mbps for High Definition (HD) videos
  • Netflix: 3 Mbps for SD quality, 5 Mbps for HD , and 25 Mbps for Ultra HD
  • Hulu: 1.5 Mbps for SD, 3 Mbps for 720p HD, 6 Mbps for 1080p HD, and 13 Mbps for 4k Ultra HD

The amount of data you need depends on your internet usage. Simple browsing and email take minimal data while streaming content uses the most data. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common internet tasks and the amount of data they require.

  • Streaming: Streaming six hours of high-definition video per day uses 540 GB per month, while streaming six hours of standard definition only uses 126 GB per month. 
  • Downloads: Downloading one movie every day would use 60 GB per month. Downloading new games over the internet can use 30 to 100 GB of data in one short burst, and playing online for five hours per day can use 9 GB of data per month.
  • Audio: Listening to six hours of audio each day can use up to 5 GB per month, depending on the stream quality and service. 
  • Multi-use: A family of three who streams Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime shows daily, watches movies weekly, streams music daily, and uploads photos frequently, uses 430 to 526 GB each month on average.

Based on the data we have collected, the monthly cost of internet service generally ranges from $40 to $90. It costs about $46 per month for 25 Mbps downloads and 3 Mbps uploads, about $65 for 500 Mbps downloads and 30 Mbps uploads, and roughly $70 for 1 Gbps downloads and 1 Gbps Mbps uploads. For broadband (speeds of at least 25 Mbps), the cost per month can range from $0.10 to $2.75 per megabit per second, depending on the connection type.

Mbps is the abbreviation for megabits per second and is the same as Mbits/sec. Megabits (Mb) are what internet service providers use for measuring speeds. Megabytes (MB) are used for measuring file sizes and data usage. MBps or MB/ps is megabytes per second (note the uppercase MB). To convert bits to bytes, divide the bits by 8. To convert bytes to bits, multiply the bytes by 8. Furthermore, gigabit internet achieves speeds of 1 Gbps or 1,000 Mbps. Below are those internet speed and size conversions:

  • 8 bits = 1 byte
  • 1 kilobit (Kb) = 1,000 bits (b) = 125 bytes (B)
  • 1 megabit (Mb) = 1,000 kilobits (Kb) = 125 kilobytes (KB)
  • 1 gigabit (Gb) = 1,000 megabits (Mb) = 125 megabytes (MB)

Choosing the right provider for your needs depends on your normal internet usage and what is available in your area. Your home's location plays a huge role in choosing the right provider since most internet providers differ in availability. While wireless and satellite internet providers have the most coverage, they come with data caps on usage and limits on streaming.

We recommend starting with the most available providers in your area and comparing their speed and price. You may have specific speed requirements, and one provider will stand out to you, or if you are on a fixed income, you may want to choose the cheaper option. Here are some steps to take when choosing your internet provider:

  • Check availability .  Use your ZIP code to determine which internet providers service your surrounding area. InMyArea.com will give you a list of available internet providers. (Keep in mind some providers will not offer service to all addresses within a ZIP code.) Then use your address to narrow the results even further.
  • Choose the best provider.  The best internet provider depends on the distance of wires running from the company's infrastructure to your home and the type of technology it uses for the connection. Fiber and cable connections are the best and fastest internet connections with the highest speeds and lowest latency (the time in milliseconds it takes for packets of data to reach their destination on the internet).
  • Compare plans.  If you play multiplayer games or stream Ultra HD videos, you will need a minimum of 25 Mbps or more, depending on how many people in your household are sharing your internet connection. If you are on a budget, fixed income, or only use your internet connection for news, weather, and email, consider picking the cheapest, most affordable plan to save money each month.
  • Choose a backup.  Some providers may provide internet service in your area, even on your street, but your home may not be able to get connected because of distance limitations. In the event that your first choice is unable to provide access to your home, have a backup provider in mind, such as a DSL, wireless, or satellite connection which are much more likely to be available. Homes in rural areas have difficulty getting fast internet connections from providers because the speeds degrade as you get farther away from their infrastructure. They generally only install expensive fiber-optic backbones to fix the distance limitations in densely populated cities with far more potential customers.

Your home may have already been connected to one or more ISPs by a previous owner or tenant. To find your existing ISP, look for equipment with recognizable logos or company names inside your home in closets, laundry rooms, exterior walls of your home near electrical panels, and the front yards of your neighborhood on telecommunication boxes. The telecommunication and broadband equipment can vary in design. Look for equipment similar to these examples:

Smart Panel

big internet provider companies

This smart panel is located in an interior space such as a laundry or utility room. You’ll find coaxial (cable) and telephone wires inside, but company names in these locations are rare.

Exterior Panel

big internet provider companies

These service panels tend to exist in the home's exterior adjacent to the main electrical panel. Exterior panels typically feature the ISP name on the outside. 

Wiring Boxes

big internet provider companies

These boxes are typically located in neighborhoods with underground wiring. Stickers clearly show which provider uses this box for service.

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Broadband Data Sources

  • 2021 Fourteenth Broadband Deployment Report
  • 2021 Measuring Fixed Broadband - Eleventh Report
  • FCC Fixed Broadband Deployment Map
  • BroadbandUSA Guide to Federal Funding of Broadband Projects
  • Pew Research Center on America’s Digital Divide
  • NTIA Broadband Adoption Resources
  • FCC Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF)
  • FCC National Broadband Plan

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The price you'll pay for internet service every month depends primarily on what internet speed you need. Speed matters, especially if you work from home and need the bandwidth for video conference calls and something like three browser windows open with 30 tabs each. If you share the net with family, you may need even more speed. That's likely to require broadband internet service.

A recent study provides a good benchmark as you price-shop for broadband providers and services. But first, let's make sure we're talking about the same thing.

What is broadband internet?

Broadband internet is high-speed, always-on internet access. In the early days, you'd hop on the internet using a phone line and a modem and then hop off. These days, your internet connection is always on and likely feeding all kinds of devices in your home: computers, phones, TVs — maybe even your thermostat, security system and appliances.

Think about bandwidth like a water hose. Say you need to fill a 100-gallon tank. If your garden hose puts out 5 gallons of water per minute, you'll be waiting 20 minutes to fill the tank. But a huge firehose that puts out a gallon of water every second will fill the tank in less than two minutes.

Bandwidth is like the size of the hose. The larger it is, the more data you can pull down in a given time.

Internet service can come into your home in several ways, according to the Federal Communications Commission: by telephone lines (called DSL), over a television coaxial cable, or via fiber optic technology. You can also get internet over a power line, through a wireless network or a satellite dish.

How much does internet service cost per month?

The 2023 Broadband Pricing Index, issued in October 2023 and published by industry group USTelecom, compiled data from the FCC and other public sources to find the average national pricing of broadband internet.

The index considers internet prices and speeds from the 14 largest U.S. cable and telecom providers, which account for more than 90% of all residential broadband customers in the country [0] USTelecom . 2023 Broadband Pricing Index . Accessed Feb 9, 2024. View all sources .

After adjusting for inflation 2015-23, the index shows prices for the most popular internet service packages have dropped by nearly 55% during that time, while speeds have increased by more than 141%. (Prices were measured in constant 2015 dollars to allow for an even comparison.)

Specific prices and details depend on the speed you're willing to pay for. If cost is an issue, there are government programs that help low-income families get home internet at a fraction of the cost.

The pricing index breaks prices into two groups: the most popular packages consumers buy and the highest-speed services offered.

Popular plans: For the most popular internet packages, the average price consumers paid per month in 2023 was $41.31.

The download speed provided in this top-selling category was 104 Mbps. Megabits per second, or Mbps, is a standard measure of internet speed.

Best speeds: For the highest-speed internet packages, the average price per month in 2023 was $75.48.

In this category, the service provided downloads of 306 Mbps.

What internet speed do you need?

Will you look for lower prices on popular internet service packages or spring for the fastest speeds available?

Note that the bandwidth you're allotted is shared among all devices on your connection. How much you need depends on how you use the internet.

If you've got one person downloading a video game, someone else streaming a movie and another person refreshing Instagram on his phone, you'll need enough bandwidth to keep everyone happy.

The FCC has developed a Broadband Speed Guide to help consumers determine needs based on typical online activities. The guide details the download speeds required for online tasks such as checking email (1 Mbps), working from home (5 to 25 Mbps) and downloading files (10 Mbps). To determine the overall speed that may be required, multiply each activity by the number of users in a household.

Video streaming tends to eat up the most bandwidth, so households running simultaneous streams may want to pony up for higher speeds. For example, Netflix recommends a 3 Mbps connection for a single high-definition stream (720p resolution) and 5 Mbps for a full HD stream (1020p resolution) and 15 Mbps if you want ultra HD, at 4K resolution. Multiply those by the number of simultaneous streams you want to support.

Online video games don't require much bandwidth to play. However, downloading a video game or other huge file takes lots of bandwidth.

Frequent file-sharers and downloaders might opt for higher speeds, although it's easy enough to schedule your downloads when network demand is low and more bandwidth is free, like late at night.

The FCC Household Broadband Guide also shows how adequate internet service can depend on light, moderate or high use — in addition to the number of users or devices in use at a time.

This data, along with being aware of prevailing average monthly costs, can help you find a fair price for the internet service you need.

On a similar note...

Largest internet companies by market cap

This is the list of the largest internet companies by market capitalization. Only the top internet companies are shown in this list and internet companies that are not publicly traded are excluded. The ranking and the market cap data shown on this page are updated daily.

What is the market capitalization of a company?

The market capitalization sometimes referred as Marketcap, is the value of a publicly listed company. In most cases it can be easily calculated by multiplying the share price with the amount of outstanding shares.

CompaniesMarketCap is receiving financial compensation for Delta App installs. CompaniesMarketCap is not associated in any way with CoinMarketCap.com Stock prices are delayed, the delay can range from a few minutes to several hours. Company logos are from the CompaniesLogo.com logo database and belong to their respective copyright holders. Companies Marketcap displays them for editorial purposes only.

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Money Talks News

Money Talks News

The 8 Best Internet Providers, According to Their Customers

Posted: February 14, 2024 | Last updated: February 14, 2024

AT&T Fiber, CenturyLink Fiber, Google Fiber, Verizon Fios, Frontier Fiber, T-Mobile, Xfinity Fiber, AT&T Internet, Sparklight, and Kinetic by Windstream are the top 10 internet providers according to customer satisfaction scores. Fiber optic services tend to rate higher than cable.

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Internet providers in New Jersey

Compare six providers to find the best fit for your home.

Find New Jersey internet providers by city

Moving to or within New Jersey is no small task. This small but mighty state is the most densely populated in the U.S. Find out which internet service providers are available in your part of New Jersey to get the best service available for you. 

There are several high-speed internet providers throughout New Jersey. Click on any of the NJ cities listed below to find and compare internet providers in those locations.

  • East Orange
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Select a city:

  • Asbury Park
  • Atlantic City
  • Atlantic Highlands
  • Beach Haven West
  • Beattystown
  • Bergenfield
  • Bernardsville
  • Bloomingdale
  • Bound Brook
  • Bradley Beach
  • Bradley Gardens
  • Browns Mills
  • Carneys Point
  • Cherry Hill Mall
  • Cliffside Park
  • Collingswood
  • Crestwood Village
  • East Franklin
  • East Freehold
  • East Rutherford
  • Egg Harbor City
  • Elmwood Park
  • Englewood Cliffs
  • Florham Park
  • Forked River
  • Franklin Lakes
  • Franklin Park
  • Gloucester City
  • Golden Triangle
  • Green Knoll
  • Hackettstown
  • Haddon Heights
  • Haddonfield
  • Hamilton Square
  • Hasbrouck Heights
  • High Bridge
  • Highland Park
  • Holiday City South
  • Holiday City-Berkeley
  • Kendall Park
  • Lake Mohawk
  • Lambertville
  • Laurence Harbor
  • Lawrenceville
  • Leisure Village
  • Leisure Village East
  • Leisuretowne
  • Lincoln Park
  • Little Ferry
  • Little Silver
  • Long Branch
  • Madison Park
  • Margate City
  • Martinsville
  • McGuire AFB
  • Medford Lakes
  • Midland Park
  • Moorestown-Lenola
  • Morganville
  • Morris Plains
  • Mount Arlington
  • Mount Ephraim
  • Mountain Lakes
  • Mountainside
  • Mullica Hill
  • Mystic Island
  • Neptune City
  • New Brunswick
  • New Milford
  • New Providence
  • North Arlington
  • North Caldwell
  • North Haledon
  • North Plainfield
  • North Wildwood
  • Palisades Park
  • Penns Grove
  • Perth Amboy
  • Phillipsburg
  • Pine Lake Park
  • Pleasantville
  • Point Pleasant
  • Point Pleasant Beach
  • Pompton Lakes
  • Port Monmouth
  • Port Reading
  • Princeton Meadows
  • Ridgefield Park
  • Robbinsville
  • Robertsville
  • Roselle Park
  • Short Hills
  • Silver Lake
  • Society Hill
  • South Amboy
  • South Plainfield
  • South River
  • Tinton Falls
  • Turnersville
  • Union Beach
  • Upper Montclair
  • Upper Saddle River
  • Ventnor City
  • West Long Branch
  • West New York
  • White Meadow Lake
  • Williamstown
  • Woodcliff Lake

Summary of New Jersey internet providers

Use the chart below to compare the top seven New Jersey internet providers by price, speed and availability. Interested in getting internet today? Call for more information about specific providers and plans in your area.

*Pricing per month plus taxes for length of contract. Additional fees and terms may apply. Pricing varies by location and availability. All prices subject to change at any time. May or may not be available based on service address. Speeds may vary. As of 03/01/23.

Call for details: (844) 451-2720 (844) 451-2720

New jersey internet at a glance, internet availability in new jersey.

Internet providers in New Jersey offer a selection of speeds, prices and internet connection types. Depending on where you live in the Garden State, you may have internet options from providers such as Verizon , Xfinity and T-Mobile . 

Most widely-available providers in New Jersey

  • T-Mobile: 95% coverage. T-Mobile has one plan with no hidden fees or price hikes.
  • Verizon: 87% coverage. Verizon has no long-term contracts or data caps.
  • Xfinity: 57% coverage. Xfinity is one of the most widely-available internet providers.

Fastest internet in New Jersey 

You’ll find some of the fastest internet speeds in New Jersey from these providers, where available:

  • Xfinity: Cable/fiber hybrid network with speeds up to 6,000 Mbps.
  • Verizon: Fiber network with speeds up to 940 Mbps.
  • Optimum: Cable network with speeds up to 940 Mbps.

Cheapest internet in New Jersey

You’ll find the cheapest internet in New Jersey from the following providers:

  • Xfinity: $29.99/mo.* for up to 400 Mbps.
  • Verizon: $49.99/mo.* for up to 300 Mbps.

Quality of internet access in New Jersey

The entire state of New Jersey has access to the minimum recommended broadband speeds with a smaller percentage able to access gigabit speeds in certain areas.

  • Residents with broadband access (speeds at or over 25/3 Mbps): 100%
  • Residents with access to gigabit speeds (at or over 1000/100 Mbps): 19%
  • Average download speed in New Jersey: 145 Mbps

Sources: FCC coverage maps and data,  internal speed test results  and provider websites. 

  • Featured Why does signing up for internet service require a credit check? Lisa Iscrupe — 7 min read
  • Featured NYC and NJ boast the fastest internet speeds in the Northeast – where does your state rank? Camryn Smith — 5 min read
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The limits a provider sets on the amount of data you’re able to use while online

Download speeds

Transfers data to your home for activities like streaming, shopping and browsing social media

Mbps (Megabits per second)

A unit of measurement used to indicate download and upload speeds

Upload speeds

Transfer data from your home for activities like video calls, uploading large files, working on online documents and live gaming

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Still not covering that $2 billion-a-year Sunday Ticket deal, though —

Youtube tv is the us’s 4th-biggest cable tv provider, with 8 million subs, google's $73-a-month service is going toe-to-toe with the cable companies..

Ron Amadeo - Feb 7, 2024 8:43 pm UTC

YouTube TV is the US’s 4th-biggest cable TV provider, with 8 million subs

YouTube is still slowly dripping out stats about its subscriber base. After the announcement last week that YouTube Premium had hit 100 million subscribers, the company now says YouTube TV, its cable subscription plan, has 8 million subscribers .

Eight million subscribers might sound paltry compared to the 100 million people on Premium, but Premium is only $12. YouTube TV is one of the most expensive streaming subscriptions at $73 a month. The cable-like prices are because this is a cable-like service: a huge bundle of 100-plus channels featuring cable TV stalwarts like CNN, ESPN, and your local NBC, CBS, and ABC channels. $73 is also the base price. Like cable TV, there are additional add-on packages for premium movie channels like HBO and Showtime, 4K packages, and other sports and language add-ons. Let's also not forget NFL Sunday Ticket, which this year became a YouTube TV exclusive , as a $350-a-year add-on to the $73-a-month service (there's also a $ 450-a-year standalone package).

The subscriber numbers come from a " Letter from the YouTube CEO " blog post for 2024 from YouTube CEO Neal Mohan. With YouTube basically unable to get any bigger as the Internet's defacto video host, Mohan says the "next frontier" for YouTube is "the living room and subscriptions." Mohan wants users "watching YouTube the way we used to sit down together for traditional TV shows—on the biggest screen in the home with friends and family," and says that "viewers globally now watch more than 1 billion hours on average of YouTube content on their TVs every day."

YouTube TV's 8 million subscribers make it one of the biggest cable TV providers. Leichtman Research Group 's subscriber numbers for "Major Pay-TV Providers" (that means cable companies and their competitors) in Q3 2023 had No. 1 Comcast and No. 2 Charter both in the 14 million user range, with DirectTV in third with 11.9 million, and Dish in fourth at 6.7 million customers. Leichtman had YouTube TV in fifth, with 6.5 million users. With No. 4 Dish losing customers every quarter, YouTube TV is in fourth place now. It might be No. 3 soon. Leichtman's numbers had YouTube TV as the fastest grower of the bunch, adding 600,000 customers in Q3, while DirecTV was the biggest loser, with half a million customers dumping their satellite dishes. Q3 marked the start of NFL Sunday Ticket moving from DirecTV to YouTube TV.

Naturally, these are all US numbers, and being nationwide puts YouTube TV on the same playing field as satellite companies, a big advantage compared to regional cable TV providers. YouTube TV has bigger ambitions than just the US, though. During the January earnings call, Google said it was " looking closely at " expanding the service to more countries. YouTube TV would need to clear an expansion with every single channel partner on the service, though, so it has a lot of negotiations to work through.

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Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Join Forces for Sports Streaming Service

The move takes aim at a major issue for media companies as viewers abandon cable and prices soar for broadcast rights to sporting events.

A view from behind of two people sitting while pointing large broadcast cameras down at a football field.

By Benjamin Mullin and Kevin Draper

For years, the rising price of sports rights has been a major headache for media executives, who have watched viewers abandon traditional TV for streaming services even as their companies continue to pay up to broadcast games.

On Tuesday, Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery proposed a new offering that could keep them in business with some of those customers. The companies announced a streaming service that will feature games from the major professional leagues and college conferences, which they hope will attract sports fans who have abandoned cable.

The service will offer streaming subscribers all the channels owned by those companies that show sports, like ESPN, TNT and FS1, but also ABC and Fox. In addition to sports content, subscribers will be able to watch nonsports shows like “The Simpsons” and “The Bachelor” that are available on the channels. Subscribers will have access to 14 channels in total, as well as ESPN’s existing streaming service, ESPN+.

The price, name and executive team behind the service have not yet been determined. It is scheduled to launch in the fall.

Sports and live events, like award shows, have long been seen as a bulwark against cord cutting. Rich Greenfield, a media analyst at LightShed Partners, said in an interview that he was encouraged by the new service, which is likely to satisfy some sports viewers who are fed up with paying for traditional TV channels they don’t want. But he said the absence of companies like Paramount meant that die-hard fans still wouldn’t have access to a complete array of live sports.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” Mr. Greenfield said. “The question is: Is it enough?”

In some ways, this bundle of channels is an evolution, not a revolution. The companies already sell their channels to traditional cable distributors like Comcast and Charter, and to digital distributors, like Sling and YouTube TV. The new service is essentially just another distributor to sell channels to, though the companies collectively own it and the grouping of channels being offered to subscribers is novel.

Sports fans will find games and matches from almost every major league on the app. In addition to National Football League and National Basketball Association games, the service will offer action from Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, the PGA Tour, Grand Slam tennis, professional soccer, major college conferences and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Network contracts with leagues are usually specific about where games can be shown, and most leagues have been hesitant about allowing too many games to move off broadcast and cable channels and making a full transition to streaming. By structuring the new app in such a way that everything on the channels — sports and nonsports content alike — is available to subscribers, the companies did not need to secure permission from the leagues for the games.

While this service goes a long way toward allowing sports fans to watch a significant number of games in a single app, it does not bundle all sports together. NBC, CBS and Amazon, in particular, have major rights — like many N.F.L. games, major golf tournaments and the Olympics — that will not be a part of the service. Regional sports networks, where most fans still watch their local baseball, basketball and hockey teams, are also not included.

Live sports have been moving to streaming services already. Deep-pocketed tech companies like Apple, Netflix and Amazon have paid handsomely for sports rights, and the N.F.L. just had its first streaming-only playoff game on NBCUniversal’s Peacock. But with this new service, the traditional media partners will have an additional way to reach cable-averse sports fans.

The service, which will also be supported by advertising, will be distinct from the companies’ other streaming services. Viewers will be offered the opportunity to bundle the new app with their existing subscriptions to services like Disney’s ESPN+ and Warner Bros. Discovery’s Max.

Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery will each own a one-third stake of the new service and have equal board representation. They will license their sports content to the joint venture on a nonexclusive basis, allowing them to show games elsewhere, like on their linear networks.

For ESPN, this service is just one step in its transformation away from traditional television. Disney’s chief executive, Robert A. Iger, announced last year that the company planned to offer the flagship ESPN network as a stand-alone streaming offering by 2025. Disney is also having conversations with sports leagues about selling an equity stake in the network, and ESPN struck a $2 billion deal with Penn Entertainment last year to create ESPN Bet, an online sports betting brand.

Each company trumpeted the new service in a joint news release. Mr. Iger called it “an important step forward for the media business.” Lachlan Murdoch, the chief executive of Fox Corporation, said the service was “a new and exciting platform.” David Zaslav, the chief executive of Warner Bros. Discovery, hailed the service’s “unparalleled combination of marquee sports rights.”

This is not the first time media companies have joined together on a venture to deal with the rise of streaming. In 2007, Fox and NBCUniversal teamed up to start Hulu, a streaming service that included shows from both companies. Hulu’s ownership structure has changed over the years, including the additions of Time Warner, Disney and, when it bought NBCUniversal, Comcast. Disney is now poised to buy out Comcast’s share of Hulu and own the entirety of the service, which has more than 48 million subscribers.

Benjamin Mullin reports on the major companies behind news and entertainment. Contact Ben securely on Signal at +1 530-961-3223 or email at [email protected]. More about Benjamin Mullin

Kevin Draper writes about money, power and influence in sports, focusing on a range of topics, including workplace harassment and discrimination, sexual misconduct and doping. He can be reached at [email protected] or [email protected] . More about Kevin Draper

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Best Internet Providers in Cape Coral, Florida

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Updated Feb. 9, 2024 5:00 a.m. PT

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Our expert staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and evaluates our top picks. The order in which our top picks are presented may be impacted by partnerships, and we may get a commission if you buy through our links. How we test ISPs

What is the best internet provider in Cape Coral?

CNET's pick for the best internet service provider for most Cape Coral households is Quantum Fiber. Although this ISP doesn't offer the widest coverage -- that would be Xfinity -- Quantum Fiber's symmetrical speeds and simple service details make it an enticing option for home internet. However, if Quantum Fiber isn't available at your address, Xfinity or Verizon 5G Home Internet might be.

Xfinity offers the cheapest prices and fastest speeds for broadband in Cape Coral if those are factors you're considering when choosing a provider. For $20 per month, customers can hit download speeds up to 75 megabits per second with Xfinity Connect. The speediest plan in Cape Coral is Xfinity Gigabit X2, which costs $100 and includes equipment and unlimited data.

Our methodology

CNET considers speeds, pricing, customer service and overall value to recommend the best internet service in Cape Coral across several categories. Our evaluation includes referencing a proprietary database built over years of reviewing internet services. We validate that against provider information by spot-checking local addresses for service availability. We also do a close read of providers' terms and conditions and, when needed, will call ISPs to verify the details.

Despite our efforts to find the most recent and accurate information, our process has some limitations you should know about. Pricing and speed data are variable: certain addresses may qualify for different service tiers, and monthly costs may vary, even within a city. The best way to identify your particular options is to plug your address into a provider's website. 

Also, the prices, speed and other information listed above and in the provider cards below may differ from what we found in our research. The cards display the full range of a provider's pricing and speed across the US, according to our database of plan information provided directly by ISPs. At the same time, the text is specific to what's available in Cape Coral. The prices referenced within this article's text come from our research and include applicable discounts for setting up automatic payments each month -- a standard industry offering. Discounts and promotions might also be available for signing a term contract or bundling multiple services. 

To learn more about how we review internet providers, visit our full methodology page .

Best internet in Cape Coral, Florida, in 2024

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Quantum Fiber

Best internet provider in cape coral, fl.

Our take - Placing as an honorable mention on CNET's list of the best internet providers for 2024, Quantum Fiber offers two plans under its network: $50 for 500Mbps and $75 for 940Mbps. While it doesn't offer the cheapest or fastest service in Cape Coral, Quantum Fiber guarantees symmetrical upload and download speeds, unlimited data and no equipment fees or required contracts.

  • Fast, symmetrical upload and download speeds
  • Unlimited data and no contracts required, so no worries about cancellation fees or overage charges
  • Availability limited to select areas
  • Plan selection varies by address
  • Unlimited data on some plans
  • low price increase

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Broadest coverage in Cape Coral, FL

Our take - FCC data shows that Xfinity is available to over 98% of households, making it the most widely available ISP in Cape Coral. In addition to its coverage, Xfinity offers the cheapest and fastest plans in the area -- $20 for 75Mbps and $100 for 2,000Mbps. Just make sure to watch out for a 1.2TB data cap and a one- or two-year contract on most plans.

  • Good variety of plans
  • Some of the fastest residential plans available
  • Above average scores in almost all customer satisfaction metrics
  • Data caps for some plans
  • Contracts often required to get the lowest price
  • Steep jump from promo price to regular rates
  • Data caps on some plans
  • lots of plan options
  • solid customer satisfaction numbers

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Verizon 5G Home Internet

Best fixed wireless internet in cape coral, fl.

Our take - Although Verizon 5G Home Internet isn't an option for many Cape Coral addresses, it's worth checking to see if your location is serviceable. With Verizon 5G Home Internet, you can get speeds up to 1,000Mbps for $70 or 300Mbps for $50, with no data caps or yearly commitments. Plus, you might be able to save $15 to $25 each month if you're a qualifying mobile customer.

  • No data caps or contracts
  • Straightforward pricing
  • Faster download speeds than other fixed wireless services
  • Speeds are not guaranteed and can fluctuate
  • Home customers are second priority to mobile users on the network
  • Upload speeds are comparable to cable but fall short of fiber
  • Unlimited data
  • no contracts
  • free equipment
  • 50% discount for qualifying Verizon mobile customers

Cape Coral internet providers compared

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

What’s the cheapest internet plan in Cape Coral?

How to find internet deals and promotions in cape coral.

The best internet deals and top promotions in Cape Coral depend on what discounts are available during that period. Most deals are short-lived, but we look frequently for the latest offers. 

Cape Coral internet providers, such as Xfinity, may offer lower introductory pricing or streaming add-ons for a limited time. Others, however, such as Quantum Fiber and Verizon, run the same standard pricing year-round. 

For a more extensive list of promos, check out our guide on the best internet deals . 

Photo by Yevhen Borysov/Getty Images

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Fastest internet plans in Cape Coral

What’s a good internet speed.

Most internet connection plans can now handle basic productivity and communication tasks. If you're looking for an internet plan that can accommodate videoconferencing, streaming video or gaming, you'll have a better experience with a more robust connection. Here's an overview of the recommended minimum download speeds for various applications, according to the FCC . Note that these are only guidelines -- and that internet speed, service and performance vary by connection type, provider and address.

For more information, refer to our guide on how much internet speed you really need .

  • 0 to 5Mbps allows you to tackle the basics -- browsing the internet, sending and receiving email, streaming low-quality video.
  • 5 to 40Mbps gives you higher-quality video streaming and videoconferencing.
  • 40 to 100Mbps should give one user sufficient bandwidth to satisfy the demands of modern telecommuting, video streaming and online gaming. 
  • 100 to 500Mbps allows one to two users to simultaneously engage in high-bandwidth activities like videoconferencing, streaming and online gaming. 
  • 500 to 1,000Mbps allows three or more users to engage in high-bandwidth activities at the same time.

How CNET chose the best internet providers in Cape Coral

Internet service providers are numerous and regional. Unlike the latest smartphone , laptop , router or kitchen tool , it’s impractical to personally test every ISP in a given city. So what’s our approach? We start by researching the pricing, availability and speed information, drawing on our own historical ISP data, the provider sites and mapping information from the Federal Communications Commission at FCC.gov .

But it doesn’t end there. We go to the FCC’s website to check our data and ensure we consider every ISP that provides service in an area. We also input local addresses on provider websites to find specific options for residents. We look at sources, including the American Customer Satisfaction Index and J.D. Power, to evaluate how happy customers are with an ISP’s service. ISP plans and prices are subject to frequent changes; all information provided is accurate as of publication.

Once we have this localized information, we ask three main questions:

  • Does the provider offer access to reasonably fast internet speeds?
  • Do customers get decent value for what they’re paying?
  • Are customers happy with their service?

While the answers to those questions are often layered and complex, the providers who come closest to “yes” on all three are the ones we recommend. When selecting the cheapest internet service, we look for the plans with the lowest monthly fee, though we also factor in things like price increases, equipment fees and contracts. Choosing the fastest internet service is relatively straightforward. We look at advertised upload and download speeds and also consider real-world speed data from sources like Ookla and FCC reports .

To explore our process in more depth, visit our how we test ISPs page.

Internet providers in Cape Coral FAQs

What is the best internet service provider in Cape Coral?

In Cape Coral, Quantum Fiber offers the best internet service with symmetrical speeds, unlimited data, equipment and no contract. However, Xfinity isn't far behind with its cheap prices and fast speeds. Ultimately, it will come down to what's available at your address, but we recommend fiber connectivity over cable.

Is fiber internet available in Cape Coral?

Quantum Fiber is Cape Coral's only fiber provider. Plans start at $50 for 500Mbps and increase to $75 for 940Mbps.

What is the cheapest internet provider in Cape Coral?

Xfinity offers the cheapest plan in Cape Coral, costing $20 for speeds up to 75Mbps. You can supply your own router or rent equipment from Xfinity for $15 extra monthly.

Which internet provider in Cape Coral offers the fastest plan?

Xfinity's Gigabit X2 is the fastest service offered in Cape Coral and reaches speeds up to 2,000Mbps for $100 monthly.

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  • See what exact plans are available at your home

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