5 Best Cable Internet Providers 2020
Don’t have fiber in your area but won’t settle for DSL speeds? We feel you. Cable internet is definitely a good alternative to both—and it even comes with a range of download speeds, both fast and slow. (We’ve even seen it one-up fiber with 2,000 Mbps speeds.)
The best thing about cable internet? There’s a plan with speeds (and prices to match) out there for everyone. And here are our picks for the best cable internet providers that’ll get you the best bang for your buck.
Xfinity: Best overall
Xfinity gets mad props for delivering on the speeds they promise, and at fairly competitive prices.
It may get a bad rap for customer service, but even still, Xfinity has got it going on. It ranked in the top five for fastest internet service providers (ISPs) on HighSpeedInternet.com, which means it actually gives you the speeds you paid for—or better.1
One thing to watch out for, though, is that Xfinity’s plan names, speeds, and pricing can change depending on where you live. We’ve included a sample of its internet plans below, but be aware that the packages in your area might not be exactly the same.
|Performance Starter||$29.99||15 Mbps||View Plan|
|Performance Plus||$39.99||60 Mbps||View Plan|
|Performance Pro||$44.99||175 Mbps||View Plan|
|Blast! Pro||$59.99||275 Mbps||View Plan|
|Extreme Pro||$60||500 Mbps||View Plan|
|Gigabit||$70||1000 Mbps||View Plan|
|Gigabit Pro||$299.95||2000 Mbps||View Plan|
Yup, you’re reading that last plan’s speeds right. Though it’s fairly limited in availability (and the price is pretty steep), you can get 2,000 Mbps with Xfinity. Name a fiber provider that can top that!
Of course, most of us will max out at 1,000 Mbps, and if you ask us, that’s more than enough speed to enjoy all the internet has to offer. Plus, Xfinity’s prices are pretty reasonable compared to those of other ISPs.
Why we like Xfinity
One great thing about Xfinity is you can sometimes opt for a no-contract plan. You do end up paying a little more each month, but for some of us, that’s well worth it. (What can we say—we don’t like to be tied down.)
We also have to point out that right now, Xfinity is the only major ISP pushing 2 gig download speeds (and those come with matching 2 Gbps upload speeds too). They may not be available to everyone (for now), but we love to see an ISP push the limits and show us what it can do.
Last but not least, Xfinity offers cable TV service too. If you love to channel-flip, bundling TV and internet together can save you some cash. And that’s never a bad thing. We’re also pretty smitten with the Xfinity DVR and love that you can access your Netflix library and YouTube channels from it.
- Availability across the US
- Up to 2,000 Mbps speeds with reasonable prices
- No-contract options
- Big changes in prices and speeds by region
- 1 TB data caps on all but 2,000 Mbps plans
Who is Xfinity best for?
We think Xfinity’s high speeds and reasonable prices are a good fit for the following people:
- HD and 4K video streamers
- Online gamers
- Work-from-home professionals who do a lot of downloading
At the end of the day, Xfinity earns the top spot on our list because it has a broadband plan for everyone at every speed and at every budget level. Need we say more?
Want to know more? Get into the nitty-gritty with our full Xfinity internet review.
Recommended Xfinity plans
Best for a house full of streamers: Blast! Pro
Who it’s best for: Is there something streaming on a TV, phone, or tablet in every room of our house? (Yup, even the bathroom!) Then Blast! Pro is right up your family’s alley.
Why we picked it: The 275 Mbps download speeds that come with Blast! Pro are solid enough to keep multiple devices connected around your home. At the same time, no less. And that’s perfect for anyone with a bunch of kiddos and teens under their roof who also needs a little “me” time with The Great British Baking Show.
Best for no contract: Performance Pro No Contract
Who it’s best for: If your house is home to just you and one other who loves to stream or game, Performance Pro comes with enough juice to keep you both connected. And without a contract tying things up too.
Why we picked it: With no contract and an okay price for the speed you get, this Xfinity plan is a pretty good deal. Especially since Xfinity bumped up the download speed in 2019 from 150 Mbps to 175 Mbps. So throw up your hands and squee like you’re going downhill on a rollercoaster!
WOW! Internet: Best speeds at low prices
WOW! shows the Midwest some love with quick speeds and no data caps.
We’re really holding ourselves back from tossing around the WOW! Internet puns right now. (You can thank us later.) But what isn’t a laughing matter is WOW!’s low price for the speed—plus its complete and utter lack of data caps.
You’ll find more value in WOW!’s lower-tier packages, since its 1,000 Mbps plan is outshone by Xfinity’s lower prices for the same speed. (And if you can get fiber, you may find a better deal with a service like Frontier FiOS.)
But still, if you stream or download a lot, a lack of data cap makes WOW! a smart choice.
|Internet 100||$44.99||100 Mbps||View Plans|
|Internet 200||$54.99||200 Mbps||View Plans|
|Internet 500||$64.99||500 Mbps||View Plans|
|Internet 1000||$84.99||1000 Mbps||View Plans|
We do need to chat about WOW!’s availability, though. Unless you call the glacier-sculpted plains of the Midwest home, chances are you won’t find a WOW! plan in your town. (There are a few exceptions in the South, however, like Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee.)
In the grand scheme of things, though, we’re happy the Midwest gets WOW! internet. No, really. Because the region seems to be largely overlooked by fiber ISPs—at least so far.
|Internet 100||$59.99||100 Mbps||View Plans|
|Internet 200||$69.99||200 Mbps||View Plans|
|Internet 500||$79.99||500 Mbps||View Plans|
|Internet 1000||$99.99||1000 Mbps||View Plans|
Why we like WOW! Internet
WOW! Internet is showing the Midwest and the South some love with speeds up to 1,000 Mbps—and some pretty competitive prices too. All this comes with no data caps, so you can finally catch up with your friends and binge-watch all of Stranger Things season two in one go.
To top that off, WOW! offers a no contract version of each plan. You’ll pay about $15 more each month for the option to cut ties with WOW! at any time, but for some of us that’s worth it.
- No data caps
- Great value in lower-tier plans
- No-contract options
- Availability mainly limited to the Midwest and parts of the South
- Higher prices for no-contract plans
Who is WOW! Internet best for?
WOW! Internet’s download speeds and no data caps are a dream come true if any of these describe you:
- You have a family who loves to stream Netflix or Hulu on the regular.
- You enjoy online gaming with friends around the world.
- You need to download a lot of large files for your home-based business.
Want to check out more of the details? Read our in-depth WOW! Internet review.
Recommended WOW! Internet plan
Best for fast speeds on a budget: Internet 100
Who it’s best for: If your wallet is already feeling stressed over your online shopping habits, this internet plan won’t completely break the bank.
Why we picked it: WOW!’s Internet 100 plan comes in under $50 a month. And yes, it comes with a contract. But that low price is yours for two years (and with autopay set up), which is still a better deal than some we’ve seen.
Cox: Best no-frills plans
Reasonably priced plans with slower download speeds for those who just want to email and check Facebook.
Cox gets points for covering a wide range of users, including those who want to bundle TV with their broadband internet. And while it offers speeds up to 1,000 Mbps, which should cover even larger families, it still has 10 and 30 Mbps plans that hit the sweet spot for anyone who doesn’t stream or game.
That’s why we picked it as our “best no-frills plans” winner. Because if you don’t need gig speeds, unlimited data, TV, or any of that other stuff, the Internet Starter and Internet Essential plans are a match made in heaven.
|Cox Internet Starter 10||$29.99||10 Mbps||View Plan|
|Cox Internet Essential 30||$39.99||30 Mbps||View Plan|
|Cox Internet Preferred 150||$59.99||150 Mbps||View Plan|
|Cox Internet Ultimate||$79.99||300 Mbps||View Plan|
|Cox Gigablast||$99.99||1000 Mbps||View Plan|
Cox’s prices for its lower-tier plans fit the definition of reasonable. And comparatively, Xfinity’s plans can cost more in some areas and less in others, so even its Internet Preferred 150 and Internet Ultimate (300 Mbps) plans may be the better deal.
Why we like Cox
If you’d rather keep your internet bill in check while you keep tabs on your Facebook feed, Cox is one of your best bets. You won’t find 10 Mbps download speeds from many other ISPs, and cutting your speed down that far is one good way to save some money.
But if you do a little streaming or gaming on the side, not to fret. Just bump up your speed a little and nail those skill shots.
And that download speed you’re paying for? Well, chances are you’ll get it—or zoom through the internet at even faster speeds. Because Cox reliably delivers the speeds you pay for. (Imagine that!)
- Great value for lower-speed plans
- Well-rated for speed performance in the West
- One-year contract
- High prices for faster speeds
Who is Cox best for?
We think Cox will be your best internet buddy if any of these describe you:
- You don’t necessarily need a high-speed plan.
- You want to bundle internet, TV, home phone, and home security.
- You enjoy streaming and gaming.
Overall, you just aren’t likely to find slower speeds at lower prices. This makes Cox the best pick of the cable ISP bunch for those of us who’d be a-okay if the days of the AOL free internet trial CD came back.
Get to know Cox a bit better. Read our take on its internet and bundles.
Recommended Cox plan
Best for casual web surfers: Internet Starter 10
Who it’s for: If you use the internet to check email, look at the grandkids’ photos on Facebook, and do your taxes, then this budget plan is perfect.
Why we picked it: You don’t find many plans out there with slower download speeds anymore. Cox’s 10 Mbps plan is one of the hold outs, and we’re glad. After all, not everyone needs a ton of download speed.
Spectrum: Best no-contract plans
No data caps and no contracts? We’ve never liked hearing the word “No” so much.
If you’re all about download speed but don’t want to re-enact Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom when it comes time to end your contract, Spectrum is where it’s at.
Yup, the shackles are coming off: no data caps, annoying overage charges, or speed throttling. You can use your internet freely.
|Spectrum Internet||$49.99||100 Mbps||View Plan|
|Spectrum Internet Ultra||$69.99||400 Mbps||View Plan|
|Spectrum Internet GIG||$104.99||940 Mbps||View Plan|
Why we like Spectrum
Contracts? Data caps? Just say no.
You don’t have to deal with any of these annoyances with Spectrum.
When we compared prices, Spectrum’s prices for its 100 and 400 Mbps plans are a little on the high end. But remember, that higher price comes with unlimited data and no-contract perks that are hard to beat.
- No contracts
- No data caps
- Pricey 940 Mbps plan
Who is Spectrum best for?
Spectrum is a good pick if this describes you:
- You have a small- to medium-sized family that can get the most out of a 100 or 400 Mbps plan.
- You hate dealing with contracts or data overage charges.
- You don’t want to buy a modem or pay for leasing one.
Get the whole story in our full-length Spectrum internet review.
Recommended Spectrum plan
Best for streaming 4K on every TV: Spectrum Internet Ultra
Who it’s for: Are you a cinephile? Do you feel the need to ogle Chris Hemsworth’s or Kaley Cuoco’s abs in extreme high def? Yup, this plan’s for you.
Why we picked it: 400 Mbps is nothing to scoff at. And while Spectrum’s price is a tad high for the speed you get, it also comes with unlimited data and no contract. That’s perfect for downloading every single award-winning title out there.
Suddenlink: Best small-town coverage
Suddenlink keeps those living out past the suburbs connected, and at a fair price.
If you live in a small town, normally what you see is what you get with internet access. There are no other options, so if you don’t like the service, well, you’re outta luck.
That’s why we get a little giddy when we hear about ISPs like Suddenlink that make it a point to get internet service out past where the city water lines end. Suddenlink serves a majority of states in the South, plus a few in the West as well.
And while big cities like San Francisco do show up on its list (though you can get only cable there), it’s focused on smaller towns like Eureka, CA (population 27,177) or Ansted, WV (population 1,404).2
|Internet 200||$44.99||200 Mbps||View Plan|
|Internet 400||$54.99||400 Mbps||View Plan|
|Internet 1 Gig||$84.99||1000 Mbps||View Plan|
Suddenlink’s price points are still lower than similar plans from other ISPs like Xfinity. And now all of its plans come with unlimited pow—we mean, unlimited data. So, Suddenlink should hold you over each month as long as you’re not streaming in 4K or downloading lots of online game files on Steam.
Why we like Suddenlink
We know, we know. We’ve been foaming at the mouth about Suddenlink’s presence in small-town America. But did we also mention it comes with no contracts and unlimited data on three out of its four plans? Winning.
- No contracts
- Unlimited data
- Availability focused on small towns
- High price for gig plan
Who is Suddenlink best for?
We think Suddenlink is a good pick if you meet any of these criteria:
- You live in a rural area and want high-speed internet.
- You need hefty download speeds and lots of data for streaming or gaming.
- You want speedy internet without breaking the bank.
Get to know Suddenlink a little more. Check out our Suddenlink Internet review.
Recommended Suddenlink plan
Best for gaming in the country: Internet 400
Who it’s for: Rural folks have been left out of the high-speed internet fun for years, but not anymore. Suddenlink’s focused on bringing all the Mbps to small towns and it’s not skimping on speed either. If you’re a gamer who calls the country home, this is great news for you.
Why we picked it: For just $10 more a month, you get double the speed of Suddenlink’s lowest-tier plan. That’s not a bad deal. And 400 Mbps is perfect for combining your gaming sessions with “let’s play” videos on YouTube or catching up on all the Star Wars action before Rise of Skywalker debuts. Yasss!
Recap: which cable internet provider is best?
There you have it, folks: our top five picks for cable internet. And in case you skimmed through, here they are again.
- Xfinity delivers high-speed internet to most of the US, plus it can get you a great deal if you bundle TV with your internet. And hey, it offers no-contract plans too.
- WOW! Internet is our pick for fast internet at the best prices. Look to it for value-packed plans and no data caps. Plus no-contract options too.
- Cox is a great choice for anyone who wants internet without all the extras. It offers 10 and 30 Mbps plans at pretty fair prices.
- Spectrum internet comes with no contracts and no data caps. Who could say no?
- Suddenlink is on the move in rural America, and it brings with it well-priced plans at speeds that go up to 1,000 Mbps.
Of course, the best cable ISP for you depends on where you live, so it’s always best to check which internet providers are operating in your area.