5 Best Fiber Internet Providers 2021
Looking for fast internet that doesn’t sputter out or disconnect when you need it the most?
Aren’t we all! Thankfully, fiber-optic internet gets you both fast speeds and superb reliability. And while you might think fiber internet in your area or within your price range is still a dream, we assure you, it’s not. Many internet service providers (ISPs) have expanded their fiber footprints to bring speedy internet to much of the US–and at pretty reasonable prices.
But which of these fiber ISPs deserves your money? Let’s take a look at our top five fiber providers based on plans and prices, internet speed, and reliability.
|Verizon Internet - Fios Gig||Internet 200/200||$39.99/mo.*||200 Mbps||View Plan|
|Verizon Internet - Fios Gig||Internet 400/400||$59.99/mo.*||400 Mbps||View Plan|
|Verizon Internet - Fios Gig||Fios Gigabit Connection||$79.99/mo.†||Up to 940 Mbps||View Plan|
|AT&T Fiber||AT&T Internet 1000||$60/mo.‡||940 Mbps||View Plan|
|Frontier Internet - FiberOptic||FiberOptic 50 Mbps Internet||$49.99^||50 Mbps||View Plan|
|Frontier Internet - FiberOptic||FiberOptic 500 Mbps Internet||$59.99^||500 Mbps||View Plan|
|Frontier Internet - FiberOptic||FiberOptic Gig Service||$79.99°||940 Mbps||View Plan|
|CenturyLink Internet||CenturyLink Fiber Internet||$65**||940 Mbps||View Plan|
|Windstream Internet||Kinetic Gig||$57††||1000 Mbps||View Plan|
What is “FTTH”?
There are a few different types of fiber connections, with fiber to the home (FTTH) being the best kind. We hate to break it to you, but just getting a fiber internet connection may not be enough to get those gigabit speeds.
Some fiber connections still rely on copper DSL or cable lines to connect to your home, and both DSL and cable connections can slow down your internet speed–even if the rest of your connection is fiber.
Here’s a quick look at what these abbreviations mean in terms of your fiber internet, and if you want to get technical, check out our fiber-optic internet guide.
Fiber to the home (FTTH)
Also called fiber to the premises (FTTP), this connection is optimal because the fiber-optic line goes straight into your home. That means your internet connection won’t slow down because it has to travel over a cable or DSL line to get to your house.
Fiber to the curb (FTTC)
In this situation, the fiber connection ends at the nearest utility pole or box (not an actual sidewalk curb). To get the signal the rest of the way to your house, your internet service provider (ISP) uses coaxial cables.
The distance your internet signal has to travel over coaxial wires is likely short, so you shouldn’t see significantly slower speeds than a true FTTH connection. But this type of connection is still slower than a full-fiber connection.
Fiber to the neighborhood (FTTN)
This setup builds a fiber connection to a neighborhood and serves hundreds of customers by running DSL or cable lines to each home.
If you live close to the node, you probably won’t experience slower internet speed. But if you get unlucky and live on the other side of the neighborhood from the node, your internet connection will likely slow down quite a bit as it travels over those cable or DSL lines.
Verizon Fios Home Internet: Editor’s choice
Verizon Fios Home Internet ticks all the boxes for reliably fast fiber internet at a good price.
Verizon Fios Home Internet earned our pick as the top fiber internet provider thanks to its FTTH connection, competitive prices, and high scores for internet speed and customer satisfaction.
|Fiber connection type||FTTH3|
|Speed score1||2nd out of 38|
|Customer satisfaction score2||2nd overall|
Verizon Fios Home Internet prices and plans
Any Verizon Fios Home Internet plan you get comes with full-throttle FTTH fiber internet service. And even if you don’t need near-gigabit speeds, you can choose between its well-priced Internet 200/200 and Internet 400/400 plans.
|Internet 200/200||$39.99/mo.*||200 Mbps||View Plan|
|Internet 400/400||$59.99/mo.*||400 Mbps||View Plan|
|Fios Gigabit Connection||$79.99/mo.†||Up to 940 Mbps||View Plan|
Each of Verizon’s fiber internet plans offers more than enough speed for a large family to stream and game while other devices, like home security and smart home systems, stay connected to the internet.
On top of that, there’s no need to sign a contract with Verizon Fios Home Internet. That’s a big win in our books.
Learn more in our Verizon Fios Home Internet review.
If you’re after near-gigabit speeds, the Fios Gigabit Connection plan is one of the best-priced plans out there with that kind of speed.
But most likely, you won’t need that much internet speed to enjoy binge-watching British TV shows on Netflix. (Who, us?)
So instead, we recommend the Internet 200/200 plan. It comes at a stellar price, and 200 Mbps is enough speed for most families who love to stream movies and TV shows or conquer raid bosses in online games.
Verizon Fios Home Internet speed and reliability
Verizon Fios Home Internet is what all other ISPs should aspire to be. It earned second place in our analysis of the fastest internet providers in the US.
But what good is a fast internet if you experience outages all the time? Luckily, Verizon Fios Internet also claimed first place for customer satisfaction in its reliability, according to HighSpeedInternet.com.2 That means, Verizon Fios customers are pretty darn happy with the ISP’s ability to keep them online any time of day or night.
AT&T Fiber: Best gigabit internet on a budget
You won’t find a lower price for gigabit speeds.
If you’re looking for a gigabit fiber internet plan on a budget, it’s going to be hard to beat the price AT&T Fiber offers for its Internet 1,000 plan.
Granted, this plan could come with an FTTN connection. That means your internet speed might not reach the advertised 940 Mbps speeds if you live far away from the main fiber node. But at that price, getting close to gig speeds is still a deal.
|Fiber connection type||FTTH, FTTN4|
|Speed score1||15th out of 38|
|Customer satisfaction score2||6th overall|
AT&T Fiber prices and plans
AT&T Fiber internet is limited to large cities and some suburbs in 21 states. So if you’re lucky enough to get it where you live, here are the promotional prices you’ll see:
|AT&T Internet 300||$35/mo.||300 Mbps||View Plan|
|AT&T Internet 500||$45/mo.||500 Mbps||View Plan|
|AT&T Internet 1000||$60/mo.‡||940 Mbps||View Plan|
Just keep in mind that your AT&T Fiber plan may come with an FTTN connection instead of an FTTH connection. That’s not optimal.
On the plus side, though, AT&T gives you unlimited data with its fiber plan. That’s perfect for any heavy internet users or large families who do a lot of file sharing, downloading, or working from home.
You can find out more about its fiber and DSL internet service in our in-depth AT&T internet review.
The AT&T Fiber Internet 1,000 plan comes with quite a few perks: 940 Mbps internet speeds, unlimited data, and no contract. And did we mention the absolute deal of a monthly price?
AT&T Fiber speed and reliability
AT&T earned a rank of 15th in our look at the fastest internet providers in the US,1 but that score also takes into account its DSL services. We have a strong feeling its fiber internet service would rank much higher. Plus, AT&T also did fairly well in terms of customer satisfaction with its speed and reliability.
HighSpeedInternet.com reported that AT&T earned fifth place for customer satisfaction with internet speed and sixth place for reliability.2 So we expect you’ll get the internet speed you were promised. Hooray for fewer disruptions to your normally scheduled Avatar: The Last Airbender binge session!
Frontier FiberOptic: Best for unlimited data
Frontier FiberOptic is a great alternative if you can’t get Verizon or AT&T–and it comes with all the data you want.
Frontier recently declared bankruptcy, and as a result, its fiber internet service area shrunk.5 But if Frontier FiberOptic is available in your area, take a look at what it has to offer.
Its three fiber internet plans come with decent price tags–though we think the Simply FiberOptic 50/50 plan is the weakest of the pack.
Still, any Frontier FiberOptic plan gets you a true FTTH connection, which means you’ll cruise through the internet at high speeds. And according to our speed score analysis, Frontier’s got the creds to prove it’s one of the speediest ISPs out there.
|Fiber connection type||FTTH6|
|Speed score1||12th out of 38|
|Customer satisfaction score2||9th overall|
Frontier FiberOptic prices and plans
Frontier’s FiberOptic internet service gives you three choices for download speeds: 50, 500, or 1,000 Mbps. We think you can find a better price for speeds similar to its 50 Mbps plan, but the 500 and 1,000 Mbps plans are value-priced.
|Plan||Price||Download speed||Data cap||Details|
|FiberOptic 50 Mbps Internet||$49.99^||50 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plan|
|FiberOptic 500 Mbps Internet||$59.99^||500 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plan|
|FiberOptic Gig Service||$79.99°||940 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plan|
Another point in Frontier’s favor is that its FiberOptic service comes with unlimited data. That’s perfect if you enjoy downloading online games, sharing lots of family photos, or working out of a home office.
But all of these perks come with a two-year contract. That’s a long time to commit to an ISP–so make sure you won’t move or need to change your service during that time if you can.
We go into detail on contracts, data, and prices in our full Frontier internet review.
The FiberOptic 500/500 plan comes at a great price–and those 500 Mbps download speeds will make your time online fly by. Seriously, that’s enough juice to cover a large family as they stream and game–and then some.
Frontier FiberOptic speed and reliability
We talked up Frontier’s internet speeds, and the data backs us up. In our look at speed test results for 2019, Frontier ranked 12th out of 38 total internet providers.1 Not bad.
HighSpeedInternet.com also found that Frontier customers were pretty satisfied with its speed and reliability. It ranked ninth overall for download speeds and eleventh for keeping people connected to a reliable service.2
CenturyLink Fiber Internet: Best for no contracts
Gigabit fiber internet with no contract? Sign us up, please.
You may know CenturyLink for its DSL internet service, but did you know it also offers a fiber internet plan?
Of course, you can’t get CenturyLink fiber internet everywhere. But where it does show up, it happens to be a pretty good deal.
It comes with no contract, is a true FTTH connection, and it’s offered in many cities not covered by the big fiber internet providers. (Check out a full list of cities with CenturyLink’s fiber internet.) We’re especially happy to see more than a few Midwest cities on that list since the Midwest tends to be overlooked by the big ISPs.
|Fiber connection type||Fiber Internet plan only, FTTH7|
|Speed score1||28th out of 38|
|Customer satisfaction score2||8th overall|
CenturyLink prices and plans
The Fiber Internet plan is CenturyLink’s only fiber plan–all the rest are DSL internet. We’d love to see CenturyLink offer its Price for Life guarantee on the fiber plan just like it does for its DSL plans. But maybe that will come once it’s expanded its fiber internet service further. (Infrastructure for fiber internet is far from cheap.)
|CenturyLink Fiber Internet||$65**||940 Mbps||View Plan|
On the other hand, we’re impressed with CenturyLink’s competitive price for its fiber plan, plus the fact that it comes with no contract. The only other change we’d like to see? Unlimited data for CenturyLink fiber customers.
You can dig into more details in our CenturyLink internet review.
We bet you know which plan we’re recommending here: the CenturyLink Fiber Internet plan. Because, well, it’s the only CenturyLink fiber plan.
But even without options, rest assured you’re getting a good deal. The price CenturyLink charges for its 940 Mbps download speeds is highly competitive–not many other ISPs offer such a low price. And did we mention those 940 Mbps speeds are going to cover all your streaming, gaming, and working from home needs, and then some?
CenturyLink speed and reliability
CenturyLink earned the 28th spot out of 38 internet providers in our look at speed test scores across the US.1 But keep in mind, that score is likely lower due to the ISP’s DSL internet service, which isn’t as reliable when it comes to keeping your download speeds at max level.
Plus, CenturyLink earned tenth place for customer satisfaction with its internet speed.2 And customers also rated CenturyLink as eighth for reliability,2 which means a service outage isn’t likely to cut short your Overwatch gaming session.
So don’t discard CenturyLink’s fiber internet plan as an option just yet. You’re likely to get the internet speed you were promised–or close to it.
Windstream Kinetic Gig: Best fiber for underserved areas
Windstream aims to boost rural internet speeds–and its Kinetic Gig plan brings fiber to low-population areas.
Windstream is no stranger to lower-population areas of the US. Yup, this ISP makes it a goal to bring faster speeds to underserved communities where other, larger ISPs don’t bother to set up shop.8
Currently, Windstream brings its DSL internet service to 18 states, and some lucky towns and cities in those states can also get its Kinetic Gig plan–with a full FTTH connection. Windstream lets you check where its Kinetic Gig plan is available by state—and you can sign up for alerts if its gig plan is headed your way.
|Fiber connection type||Kinetic Gig plan only, FTTH9|
|Speed score1||32nd out of 38|
|Customer satisfaction score2||4th overall|
Windstream prices and plans
Windstream’s Kinetic Gig plan isn’t the cheapest–and the price may go up or down based on where you live. But it’s not the most expensive gigabit fiber internet plan either. And it’s offered in more rural areas where other fiber ISPs, like AT&T and Frontier, aren’t available.
|Kinetic Gig||$57††||1000 Mbps||View Plan|
Besides, Windstream doesn’t put you on the hook with a contract or data cap. That’s a huge boon to anyone with a large family that needs those gigabit speeds to keep streaming, gaming, and working at home.
Want to learn more about the Kinetic Gig plan, contracts, and internet speed? Check out our Windstream review.
No surprises here: our recommended Windstream plan for those looking for fiber internet is its Kinetic Gig plan.
Like we mentioned, the price you’ll pay for the Kinetic Gig plan changes based on where you live. The promotional price for this 1,000 Mbps plan ranges from $59 a month to $90 a month. Even at its highest price, $90 per month, Kinetic Gig isn’t the most expensive gigabit internet plan out there. But you’ll definitely find cheaper.
That said, if you live in an area where Windstream offers 1,000 Mbps download speeds for $59 or $75 a month, you’d pay less or about the same as you would for a gigabit internet plan from another ISP.
Windstream speed and reliability
Bringing high-speed internet to rural areas is an admirable goal, but is Windstream up to the task?
Honestly, we’re not sure. Windstream earned the 32nd spot in our look at 38 internet providers’ speed test scores in 2019.1 But just like CenturyLink, Windstream also offers DSL internet plans that likely brought it’s overall score down a few notches. So, let’s take a look at it’s customer satisfaction scores to get a better idea of Windstream’s performance:
Customers ranked Windstream in seventh place for customer satisfaction with internet speed.2 And as for reliability, Windstream also earned seventh place.2 That’s good to hear since a more reliable ISP means you’re less likely to deal with frustrating service outages on the regular.
Taking all that into account, we think you’re more than likely going to get the speed you pay for with Windstream’s Kinetic Gig fiber internet plan. But keep an eye out, and if you think your download speeds are dipping, take a speed test to double-check.
Recap: The 5 best fiber internet providers 2021
If you’re looking for reliably fast download and upload speeds, you should see if Verizon Fios Home Internet, AT&T Fiber, Frontier FiberOptic, CenturyLink, or Windstream offer service in your area.
- Verizon Fios Home Internet: Editor’s pick. With no contracts, competitive prices, and high scores for customer satisfaction and internet speed, Verizon Fios Home Internet is an excellent choice if you need fiber internet and live in its service area.
- AT&T Fiber: Best budget gig plan. If you’re able to find a price cheaper than what AT&T Fiber offers for its gigabit internet plan, we’ll be impressed. AT&T Fiber customers also ranked it reasonably well for internet speed and reliability.1,2
- Frontier FiberOptic: Best for unlimited data. If you need a boatload of data to go with your fast fiber internet speeds, Frontier FiberOptic is worth checking out. We think its 500 and 1,000 Mbps plans are fairly priced, and Frontier was ranked as the 12th fastest provider in the US.1
- CenturyLink Fiber Internet plan: Best for no contracts. Don’t know how long you can commit to a fiber internet plan? CenturyLink’s Fiber Internet package won’t rope you into a contract, and it comes at one of the lowest monthly prices we’ve seen. CenturyLink customers were mostly happy with the ISPs internet speed and reliability too.1,2
- Windstream Kinetic Gig plan: Best for underserved areas. Windstream wants to bring high-speed internet to rural areas, and its Kinetic Gig plan shows it’s serious. Windstream’s Kinetic Gig plan brings speeds up to 1,000 Mbps to lower-population areas, though it is one of the costlier gig plans out there. Still, Windstream customers were pretty happy with the reliability of their internet,2 so Kinetic Gig is likely well worth it–especially if no other ISPs service your area.
Don’t forget that a local fiber internet provider might be a good fit for you too. You can see which ISPs offer the best deals in your area with our zip code checker below.
What can you do with fiber internet?
Fiber is pretty much the gold standard for internet connections. The technology gives you more reliable download speeds–and faster upload speeds to match.
That makes fiber internet perfect for anyone who uploads lots of files or relies on a steady internet connection to work (or keep the kiddos entertained). Fiber’s reliability and fast speeds also make it a great pick for connecting your home security system–something you don’t want going offline if you can help it.
Recommended streaming service
You don’t need insanely fast download speeds to stream TV shows and movies–the max you want is 25 Mbps for 4K content.
And when it comes to 4K content, our TV expert, Chantel Buchi, recommends Netflix. It comes packed with original shows in eye-popping Ultra HD (what Netflix calls 4K). But you’ll need the Netflix Premium plan if you want to get your hands on all that digital 4K deliciousness.
We mentioned that streaming in 4K doesn’t require more than 25 Mbps download speeds. Of course, if you’ve got a lot of people using your internet, you’ll want faster speeds to keep up with all their streaming habits.
And if you’re a content creator, fiber internet’s fast upload speeds should get your latest YouTube video, high-resolution art or photography, or your Twitch livestream online in a jiffy.
In terms of speed and reliability, Verizon Fios Home Internet is king. We think its Internet 200/200 plan is a steal too.
We recommend Verizon Fios Home Internet for streaming video
Recommended home security system
We also mentioned that fiber internet comes with enough juice to power your home security system–and the reliability to make sure it’s always on.
If you’re in the market for a home security system, our home security expert Mindy Woodall is keen on Vivint. Why? Because Vivint makes all of its equipment in-house, and it comes with some stellar features like video analytics, 4K image sensors, and night vision. What’s not to love?
But you’ll need reliably fast internet to keep up with all those security cameras, sensors, and hubs. And that’s why we recommend fiber internet for top-of-the-line security systems like Vivint’s.
|Vivint||Smart Home Video||$44.99/mo.||Indoor, outdoor, doorbell||View Plan|
Of course, Vivint’s prices are steep as far as home security monitoring goes. And the way it’s installed doesn’t make it an optimal home security system for renters. Still, if you want the gold star of home security, Vivint’s your company.
All those Vivint cameras and sensors will need an internet connection to support them, and fiber’s fast speeds make sure your system can send and receive data in a snap. And, like we mentioned, fiber internet’s reliability also makes it a perfect match for a gadget-filled security system like Vivint’s.
That said, we think Verizon Fios Home Internet is a great pick–again. But if you’re not in the Verizon Fios service area, AT&T Fiber offers a gigabit internet plan with some pretty top-notch reliability as well.
We recommend AT&T Fiber for homes with a security system
- Catherine McNally, Reviews.org, “The Fastest Internet Providers 2020,” August 2020. Accessed August 21, 2020.
- HighSpeedInternet.com, “2020’s Best Internet Providers in Customer Satisfaction“
- Verizon, “Fiber-Optic Network“
- TeleCompetitor, “AT&T: Plan Is to Have 7 Million AT&T FTTH Subscribers by 2022“
- Channel Partners, “Ziply Fiber Takes Over Frontier Communications’ Northwest Operations“
- Frontier, “What is FiberOptic?“
- CenturyLink, “CenturyLink Brings Residential Gigabit Service to Select Areas in Southern N.C., Delivering Fiber-Enabled Broadband Speeds Up to 1 Gigabit“
- Broadband Technology Report, “Windstream Goosing Rural Internet Speeds“
- Lightwave, “Windstream Touts 2019 Kinetic Internet FTTP Milestones“