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8 Best Internet Service Providers 2022
We compared dozens of large internet providers across the US to find those with the best value, best speeds, best bundles, and best customer service.
We compared prices, availability and connection types, download speeds, and customer service scores for dozens of large internet service providers (ISPs) in the US. We found Comcast Xfinity to be the best value, while Verizon Fios Home Internet was our Editor’s Choice for its excellent internet speeds.
We like CenturyLink for its promise to keep your price locked, and AT&T Fiber for its low prices and fast speeds. If you live in a remote area and you’re looking for satellite service, we recommend Viasat.
Keep in mind, most internet providers serve different areas with different speeds, prices, and connection types, so what you see may differ from our comparison.
So what are the best internet providers out there right now? Let’s dig in and find out.
We don't recommend DSL (copper) internet unless you have no other choice. But for folks that do use AT&T, Verizon, and Ziply DSL internet, here's an update for you:
These three ISPs are discontinuing their DSL service in 13 states. A majority, if not all, of their DSL service is set to be replaced by fiber or fixed wireless.
- AT&T: Ending DSL service in Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, and South Carolina by 2025.10
- Verizon: Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia.11
- Ziply: Oregon and Washington.12
- : Best Value
- : Best for the fastest fiber speeds up to 5 gigs
- : Editor's Choice
- : Best for no contracts
- : Best satellite internet speeds
- : Runner-up
- : Runner-up
- : Runner-up
|$19.99–$79.99*||50–1200 Mbps||5–35 Mbps||1.2 TB||Cable/Fiber||View Plans|
|$55–$180†||300–5000 Mbps||300–880 Mbps||Unlimited||Fiber||View Plans|
Verizon Fios Home Internet
|$39.99–$89.99‡||300–940 Mbps||300–880 Mbps||Unlimited||Fiber||View Plans|
|$17.99–$89.99^||30–1000 Mbps||10–35 Mbps||Unlimited||Cable||View Plans|
|$30–$169.99°||12–100 Mbps||3 Mbps||12–150 GB||Satellite||View Plans|
|$50–$65**||100–940 Mbps||10–940 Mbps||Unlimited||DSL/Fiber||View Plans|
|$29.99–$109.99††||25–1000 Mbps||3–35 Mbps||1.25 TB||Cable||View Plans|
Astound Broadband, powered by Grande
|$19.99–$49.99^||50–940 Mbps||5–50 Mbps||Unlimited||Cable/Fiber||View Plans|
The new Affordable Connectivity Program could give you $30 a month toward your monthly bill.
All of our best internet provider picks participate in the program. Find out more, like how to qualify and how to apply, in our Affordable Connectivity Program guide.
Check out our video on the best internet providers
Our video expert, Juan, goes over the pros and cons of our picks for the best internet service providers.
Xfinity: Best Value
We voted Comcast Xfinity as a great value internet provider thanks to its competitive prices and high marks for fast speeds. And it’s available across most of the US.
Your prices may differ based on where you live, but generally, Xfinity charges the same prices—or less—compared to similar ISPs. Here’s a snapshot of Xfinity plans and prices for the Western US:
|Connect||$19.99/mo.‡‡||Up to 50 Mbps||Cable||View Plans|
|Connect More||$39.99/mo.‡‡||Up to 100 Mbps||Cable||View Plans|
|Fast||$49.99/mo.‡‡||Up to 300 Mbps||Cable||View Plans|
|Superfast||$59.99/mo.‡‡||Up to 600 Mbps||Cable||View Plans|
|Ultrafast||$69.99/mo.‡‡||Up to 900 Mbps||Cable||View Plans|
|Gigabit||$79.99/mo.‡‡||1200 Mbps||Fiber||View Plan|
Need to upgrade your cell phone plan too? Don't forget about Xfinity Mobile for extra savings! If you sign up for Xfinity internet, you're eligible for Xfinity Mobile service too. Here's what our expert says about Xfinity Mobile:
"Because of Xfinity Mobile's bundle-only model, plan structure, and rock-bottom prices, it really is like no other mobile carrier." —Easton Smith
Learn more! Find the Xfinity internet and mobile deals in your area.
Or, if you just want internet, you're in luck. Switch to Xfinity and get up to a $200 Visa® Prepaid Card!
Another perk to Xfinity is that it now offers multiple services you can bundle together: internet, TV, home security, and mobile. Bundling is a great way to save money each month, and you may also find bundle-specific Xfinity discounts.
Already have Xfinity internet or looking to change providers? Xfinity's 3 for 1 Bundle gives you unlimited internet, a free Flex 4K streaming TV box, and one Mobile Unlimited line.
With no contract requirement, a two-year price guarantee, and access to Peacock Premium, this is a pretty sweet bundle.
Xfinity Internet required. Reduced speeds after 20 GB of usage/line. Peacock Premium has a $4.99/month value. Activation required to access Peacock. © 2021 Peacock TV LLC. Peacock and related marks are trademarks of Peacock LLC. Individual programs, devices and marks are the property of their respective owners.
But aside from cable TV, Xfinity’s other home services might be a bust. Here’s what our fellow experts had to say about other Xfinity services:
Xfinity cable TV: “Xfinity might have a lot of fees, but at least you won’t be disappointed by Xfinity’s service. This cable TV company is reliable, widely available, and you’ll get most, if not all, of the channels you and your family want.” —Chantel Buchi, TV and streaming expert
If you grab an Xfinity Flex streaming box along with your internet service, you now get access to YouTube TV along with Sling TV and Hulu + Live TV.8
Xfinity Home security system: “Xfinity Home’s prices are hard to pin down, most of the equipment lags behind other brands, and its customer service (through Comcast) may be the worst we’ve ever encountered.” —Brianne Sandorf, home security expert
Xfinity Mobile: “Because of its bundle-only model, plan structure, and rock-bottom prices, it really is like no other mobile carrier... Overall a solid, cheap plan for those already in the Xfinity universe, though you have to deal with data throttling, slowdowns, and poor video streaming quality (unless you have a 5G device).” —Easton Smith, mobile expert
Does Xfinity have Wi-Fi hotspots?
Another major benefit Xfinity customers enjoy is thousands of wireless hotspots across the US. And if you’ve got Xfinity Mobile or a Performance internet plan or faster, you get hotspot access for free.
This is a huge boon if you’re on vacation and can’t find a Starbucks to siphon wireless internet off of. Not to mention access to all those Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots is a lifesaver if your home internet goes down and you’ve got an assignment due the next morning.
You can access the wireless hotspots through the Xfinity Wi-Fi app, which uses your Xfinity username and password.
Xfinity has one of the largest Wi-Fi hotspot networks thanks to its xFi Gateway modems. Most of these modems are automatically set to broadcast a Wi-Fi signal.
If you’re not keen on your own modem broadcasting a Wi-Fi signal that almost anyone can use, here’s how to turn off Xfinity Wi-Fi sharing.
AT&T Fiber: Best for the fastest fiber speeds
If you're looking for those excellent fiber internet speeds but can't get Verizon Fios Home Internet in your area, AT&T Fiber is well worth checking out.
Its 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. And even if you're running a home business and need gig speeds, the starting price for its 940 Mbps plan won't break your piggy bank.
|AT&T Internet 300||$55.00/mo.^^||300 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|AT&T Internet 500||$65.00/mo.^^||500 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|AT&T Internet 1000||$80.00/mo.°°||940 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plan|
|AT&T Internet 2000||$110.00/mo.***||Up to 2000 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|AT&T Internet 5000||$180.00/mo.†††||Up to 5000 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
AT&T has some of the best customer service
Internet providers aren't typically known for amazing customer service, but AT&T (along with Verizon) tops the charts in the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report.1
The ACSI interviewed thousands of actual customers in 2020 and 2021 to score internet providers. That's what makes it such a big deal that AT&T earned the highest score out of all other major internet providers.
Ready to give AT&T Fiber a go? Sign up for the AT&T Internet 300, 500, 1,000, 2,000, or 5,000 plan online and you'll get a $150 Visa reward card to sweeten the deal.
This deal ends on June 30, 2022.
*Data effective 4/1/2022. Limited availability. May not be available in your area.
$150 REWARD CARD OFFER: Ends 06/30/22. Online only. For new residential customers purchasing an internet plan (300M or higher) w/AT&T Fiber online at att.com. Residents of select multi-dwelling units are not eligible for this offer. Reward Card: Will be sent email or letter with redemption requirements. Redemption req’d. w/in 75 days from reward notification email or mail date. Reward Card delivered within 3-4 weeks after redemption to customers who maintain and pay for qualifying service from activation date and through reward fulfillment. Card expires at month-end 6 mos after issuance. For cardholder agreement, go to rewardcenter.att.com. The AT&T Visa Reward Card is issued by The Bancorp Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and can be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted in the United States, US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. No cash access. The Bancorp Bank; Member FDIC. The Bancorp Bank does not endorse or sponsor and is not affiliated in any way with any product or service offered by AT&T. AT&T Internet: Subj. to Internet Terms of Service at att.com/internet-terms. Offers may not be combined with certain other promotional offers on the same services and may be modified or discontinued at any time without notice. Other conditions apply to all offers.
Can you bundle AT&T internet?
AT&T doesn't seem to offer bundling options with its fiber internet service. But if you're in an area where you can get only AT&T DSL internet, you might want to look into bundling DIRECTV.
Our resident TV expert, Chantel Buchi, provides a helpful guide on which DIRECTV package is right for you. She also has this to say about DIRECTV: "DIRECTV’s satellite TV service has all the channels you want—including NFL SUNDAY TICKET and premium channels like HBO and SHOWTIME.
Although DIRECTV has a two-year contract with second-year price hikes, you’re guaranteed a great channel variety for the family, for movie buffs, and for sports addicts."
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.
Other fiber internet providers
If AT&T Fiber isn't in your area, take a look to see if smaller ISPs or even some of the following providers are available to you.
Verizon Fios Home Internet
|$39.99–$89.99‡||300–940 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|$39.95–$314.9‡‡‡||100–1000 Mbps||–||View Plans|
|$20–$300^^^||50–5000 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
Verizon Bundles general: For new eligible TV and/or Internet res. custs. Availability varies. Wired & wireless Internet speeds vary due to device limits, multiple users, network & other factors. See Verizon.com/yourspeed for more info. $15/mo. router and $99 setup charges & other taxes & terms may apply. Auto Pay & paper-free billing reqd. Subj. to credit approval & may require a deposit. Fios TV: $12/mo. STB charge may apply.
Verizon Fios Home Internet: Editor's Choice
We always recommend fiber internet if you can get it. And Verizon Fios Home internet gives you plenty more reasons to choose it over other ISPs: low prices, fast download speeds, and some of the best customer service.
Verizon Fios Home Internet is still limited mostly to the East Coast, but given its good reputation, we hope it expands its service area soon. After all, every one of our East Coast friends who uses Verizon Fios Home Internet has nothing but great things to say about it.
|Internet 300/300||$39.99/mo.‡||300 Mbps||Fiber||View Plans|
|Internet 500/500||$64.99/mo.‡||500 Mbps||Fiber||View Plans|
|Fios Gigabit Connection||$89.99/mo.°°°||Up to 940 Mbps||Fiber||View Plans|
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 up to $20 a month.
Okay, technically, it's $10 off your mobile bill and $10 off your internet bill for a total of $20. And you'll need to enroll in the Mobile + Home Rewards program through Verizon Up to land those savings. But an extra $20 each month is totally worth it in our book.
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 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.)
Other fiber internet providers worth considering
If Verizon Fios Home Internet isn’t available in your area, check out these other top fiber internet providers:
|AT&T Internet 1000||$80.00/mo.°°||940 Mbps||View Plan|
|CenturyLink Fiber Internet||$65.00/mo.****||940 Mbps||View Plan|
|Fiber Internet 1 Gig||$79.99/mo.††††||Up to 940 Mbps||View Plans|
Spectrum: Best for no contracts
Spectrum Internet comes with a few extras that you might not get from other internet providers in the same area. That includes no contracts and no data caps—plus Spectrum’s prices are fairly competitive.
We’re also keen on Spectrum because it serves much of the Midwest. While other large ISPs stick to the coasts, that can leave residents of states like Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin feeling left out.
We do wish Spectrum speeds were more in line with other cable providers like Cox and Xfinity. But at 13th out of the 284 internet providers we analyzed, it's still a great bet for getting the speed you pay for.
We're also glad to see Spectrum do away with its hefty $199.99 setup fee for the Gig plan. You'll still need to pay a $19.99 equipment upgrade fee to go from its slower plans to the Gig plan, but that's much more reasonable. (And understandable, since the Gig plan requires different equipment.)
|Spectrum Internet®||$49.99/mo. for 12 mos.‡‡‡‡||Up to 200 Mbps^^^^||Unlimited||View Plan|
|Spectrum Internet® Ultra||$69.99/mo. for 12 mos.‡‡‡‡||Up to 400 Mbps^^^^||Unlimited||View Plan|
|Spectrum Internet® Gig||$89.99/mo. for 12 mos.°°°°||Up to 1000 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plan|
Viasat: Best satellite internet speeds
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 Unlimited internet plans now go up to 100 Mbps, which blows HughesNet’s 25 Mbps speeds out of the water.
You’ll also find that Viasat gives you more data for your money, from 12 to 300 GB. HughesNet’s data caps range from 15 to 75 GB, which is not a lot. (That’s putting it lightly.) Still, we’re frustrated with only two choices for satellite internet, and we bet you are too. So, in the meantime, we’re keeping our ears to the ground for news on Starlink.
|Unlimited Bronze 12||$49.99-$69.99/mo.||12 Mbps||35 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Silver 12||$99.99/mo.||12 Mbps||45 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Gold 12||$149.99/mo.||12 Mbps||65 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Silver 25||$69.99-$99.99/mo.||25 Mbps||60 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Gold 30||$119.99/mo.||30 Mbps||100 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Gold 50||$99.99-$149.99/mo.||50 Mbps||100 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Platinum 100||$149.99-$199.99/mo.||100 Mbps||150 GB||View Plan|
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 100 Mbps download speeds and fairly large data caps (as far as satellite internet data caps go.)
And both Viasat and HughesNet, the only other satellite internet provider, suffer from high latency. That’s just the nature of the beast that is satellite internet. It likely won’t affect you—unless you enjoy fast-paced online gaming.
Does Viasat have Wi-Fi hotspots?
Viasat currently doesn’t offer wireless hotspots to its customers in the US—except for military and government personnel on Navy bases.
But it did build a wireless hotspot network in Latin America, connecting much of rural and urban Mexico to the internet.5 Here’s hoping that Viasat extends its hotspots to the US soon.
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 faster speeds and more generous data caps. But if you can make do with 25 Mbps speeds and low data caps, HughesNet might be worth a look.
|$64.99–$159.99||25 Mbps||15–75 GB||View Plans|
We’re fans of CenturyLink's commitment to the word "No." The ISP gives the big N-O to data caps, contracts, and price hikes, which means you won't need to worry about paying for more data, forking over your latest paycheck if you cancel service, or paying more and more on your monthly bill as the years go by.
Promotional prices are great . . . at least until they expire and your monthly internet bill launches into space. But CenturyLink offers the best of both worlds: pretty low prices that don’t get out of hand a couple of years down the road.
CenturyLink recently overhauled its internet plans, but even though some names have changed, it seems to still be the same deal it was before. Its Simply Unlimited Internet plan features DSL internet service that gets you speeds of 15–100 Mbps, depending on where you live. And its Fiber Internet plan gets you all the benefits of a fiber internet connection, complete with speeds up to 940 Mbps. (Though only certain cities can get this plan so far.)
If you're eyeing CenturyLink's Fiber Gigabit plan, check out this deal:
Sign up for the plan online and you'll save $299 with a free gigabit modem and installation.* That's a huge chunk off your bill.
Data effective 4/1/2022. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*Speed may not be available in your area. Prepay required. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. Modem and Install Offer: Limited time offer is available to new CenturyLink customers who sign up for a new, qualifying 940M Internet plan. Limit one offer per location during a 12-month period. Offer may not be transferable or stackable with certain promotions. CenturyLink may change or cancel offer at its sole discretion without notice. Additional restrictions apply.
|Simply Unlimited Internet 100 Mbps||$50.00/mo.||Up to 100 Mbps||DSL||View Plans|
|CenturyLink Fiber Internet||$65.00/mo.****||940 Mbps||Fiber||View Plan|
CenturyLink internet benefits
CenturyLink internet comes with the following perks that make it a good deal:
- No contract
- No data caps
- No price hikes
You'll want to make sure you set your account up for paperless billing in order to get all the benefits as well. And if you swap internet plans or move, be aware that your monthly bill may change at that time. Otherwise, these CenturyLink deals are pretty straightforward and easy to get.
Does CenturyLink have Wi-Fi hotspots?
One of our frustrations with CenturyLink is that it doesn’t offer a Wi-Fi hotspot network to its current subscribers.
So if hopping from hotspot to hotspot is a must-have for you, we think Xfinity or AT&T are better Wi-Fi companies. Both of these ISPs let you access hotspots as long as you’re paying for a home internet plan—no extra cash required.
Other DSL internet providers worth considering
DSL is older internet technology, but it’s also more widely available across the US. Especially in rural areas.
If you’re looking for top-notch DSL internet, these other providers are worth a look:
|$55†||75–100 Mbps||DSL||View Plans|
|$49.95–$149.95||3–1000 Mbps||DSL/Fiber||View Plans|
|$39.99–$69.99^||50–1000 Mbps||DSL/Fiber||View Plans|
Cox offers low promotional prices on most of its plans that last for a whopping three years. Plus, if you subscribe to its internet service with speeds of 50 Mbps or faster, you don’t get roped into a contract.
And while Cox’s 500 and 940 Mbps plans start out at a higher price than competing ISPs like Xfinity, you’ll end up paying a better price in the long run. That’s because Cox internet prices stay the same for three years, while Xfinity’s prices go up after one year.
On top of all that, Cox performed fairly well in our latest speed report and offers some excellent bundling options if you want cable TV with your internet.
|Cox Internet Starter 25||$29.99/mo.||25 Mbps||1.25 TB||View Plans|
|Cox Internet Essential 50||$39.99/mo.||50 Mbps||1.25 TB||View Plans|
|Cox Internet Preferred 250||$59.99/mo.||Up to 250 Mbps||1.25 TB||View Plan|
|Cox Internet Ultimate 500||$79.99/mo.||500 Mbps||1.25 TB||View Plans|
|Cox Gigablast||$99.99/mo.||Up to 1000 Mbps||1.25 TB||View Plan|
Astound Broadband, Powered by Grande: Runner-up
Even though it’s limited to parts of Texas, we had to mention Astound Broadband, powered by Grande here because of its low prices and exceptional internet speeds. And really, Astound does internet right with its no contracts and unlimited data too.
Grande Communications just got a name change, and now it's called Astound Broadband, powered by Grande.
Grande service should remain the same, and we'll keep this review plus our full-length Astound Broadband, powered by Grande review updated if any more changes roll through.
Like we said, the biggest catch is that you can’t get Astound (formerly Grande) internet service outside of Texas. That’s a real shame, because it not only advertises fast speeds, it actually gives them to you.
Aside from limited availability, the only other thing about Astound Broadband that makes us frown is that its promotional prices last only 12 months.
|50 Mbps Internet||$19.99/mo.||Up to 50 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|300 Mbps Internet||$25.99/mo.||Up to 300 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|600 Mbps Internet||$39.99/mo.||Up to 600 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|940 Mbps Internet||$49.99/mo.||Up to 940 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
Recap: The 8 best internet providers 2022
When it comes to the best internet providers overall, we recommend Xfinity, Verizon Fios Home Internet, CenturyLink, AT&T Fiber, and Viasat, while Cox, Spectrum, and Astound Broadband, powered by Grande are worth a look as runners-up. 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. We recommend running through our guide on how to find the right internet plan before you start shopping.
- Xfinity: Best Value. Available basically nationwide, Xfinity offers stellar prices and speeds. It scored high on our list of the fastest ISPs, and regularly offers limited-time deals. Plus, you can save more money by bundling your internet with its TV, home security, and mobile services.
- AT&T Fiber: Best for low fiber prices. It's hard to find fiber internet prices lower than AT&T's. That makes it a stand-out deal for gamers, streamers, and anyone who works from home.
- Verizon Fios Home Internet: Editor's Choice. We always recommend fiber internet if you can get it, and Verizon Fios Home Internet comes with top-notch fiber speeds and customer service we’ve heard nothing but good things about. The only thing it’s missing is Wi-Fi hotspots.
- Spectrum: Best for no contracts. Spectrum Internet comes with no contracts or data caps, and most of its prices are competitive. But you may not get the internet speeds you pay for.
- Viasat: Best satellite internet speeds. With the fastest speeds satellite can provide, Viasat is our pick for anyone who can’t get cable or DSL service in their area. It may even be a better value than the competing satellite provider, HughesNet, if you’re looking for speeds around 100 Mbps.
- CenturyLink: Runner-up. Look no further than CenturyLink if you’re after reasonable prices that don't skyrocket a year later. It also offers a fiber internet plan for those that need gig speeds. But if you need a wireless network while you’re out of town, look elsewhere.
- Cox: Runner-up. Cox saves you money with low promo prices that last for three years. And it doesn’t require a contract for most of its plans. We only hope it improves its internet speeds and raises its data cap to unlimited in the future.
- Astound Broadband, powered by Grande: Runner-up. Astound (formerly Grande) gets a gold star for no contracts, unlimited data, fast internet speeds, and good value. But it’s available only in Texas—and your promo prices last for only 12 months.
We selected these five internet providers as the best after looking at the following criteria:
- Speed scores2
- Customer service scores1,3
- Connection type
After comparing the criteria, we sought to diversify our recommendations to include ISPs operating in underserved areas, such as Suddenlink in small towns and Viasat in remote areas.
How to choose the best internet provider
Ever wondered how you can find the best internet-only plans on your own? There are so many broadband providers and so many plans that it might seem impossible to pick one.
We’ll let you in on our not-so-secret methods for analyzing and comparing home internet options.
1. Find out which internet plans are available in your area.
Not only do you need to take a look at the ISPs in your area, but also which plans they offer. Some providers, like Xfinity, offer service across the US or in multiple states, but the internet plans you can get vary a lot depending on where you live.
The easiest way to get an eagle-eye view of what’s in your area is with our ZIP checker. Just put in your ZIP code and we’ll pull up all the internet providers and plans near you.
2. Determine your monthly budget.
What’s the maximum you can afford to spend on internet each month?
This is always a good place to start because no one wants to spend more than they need to on anything.
But if you find that the home internet plan you want doesn’t match your wallet’s reality, don’t panic just yet. We’ve got a few tips on how you can lower your internet bill.
3. Figure out how much download speed you need
You can start narrowing down your internet-only plan choices by figuring out how much speed you need.
Once you figure out whether you need just 25 Mbps for some relaxing Facebook surfing and email forwarding or 300 Mbps for a connected smart home full of gamers, you can pinpoint different plans that offer just the right amount of internet speed.
Another step you can take here is to find out how fast your current internet plan is by taking a speed test.
This gives you a sort of benchmark to say, “I need faster download speeds” or “I can get a plan with speeds similar to what I have now.”
4. Estimate how much data you need.
Most DSL, cable, and fiber ISPs offer either one terabyte (1 TB) of data or unlimited data. Both options should be fine for most everyone—unless you download a lot of large files for work and/or pleasure.
But be aware that both satellite internet providers, Viasat and HughesNet, have much lower data caps. HughesNet caps out at 50 GB and Viasat caps out at 150 GB.
Of course, with Viasat, HughesNet, and even non-satellite providers like Xfinity, you can add more data. You’ll just have to pay extra.
5. Look to see if you can save by bundling.
Do you want to bundle services like TV, phone, and home security with your internet? That’s probably not a bad idea. You’ll typically save some money and get extra features if you bundle.
Of course, bundling throws a wrench in what’s already a difficult price comparison to make. But to get you started, we made a list of our favorite TV, internet, and phone bundles.
6. Compare your top two or three choices.
Once you’ve narrowed your search to two or three options, take a look at our more popular direct ISP comparisons.
This can give you an idea of which provider will save you money over the long run, which provider has better customer service, and even which provider doesn’t require you to sign a contract. (If any of them have that option, which we hope they do.)
Here’s How Much You’ll Spend on Internet in Your Lifetime
Ever wondered how much internet will cost you over your lifetime? Yeah, we get a dose of morbid curiosity every now and then too.
Well, here in the US, you can expect to pay about $32,400 for internet. (That’s with the average global life expectancy of 72 years.) Compared to the top 20 countries with the most internet users across the globe, that’s . . . not great.
Here’s what else we found out about the average lifetime cost of internet over the average global life expectancy of 72 years:
- The average lifetime cost of internet across the world is $18,584.96. That’s $13,815.04 cheaper than the average lifetime internet bill in the US. Oof.
- Internet in the US costs $6,266.16 more than the next highest average internet bill: In Japan, you’d pay $26,133.84 to scroll through Instagram and read the news.
- Here in the US, we pay about $18,280.08 less than the highest average lifetime internet bill: In Nigeria, you’d pay a whopping $50,680.08 to hop online.
- Speaking of Nigeria, you’d pay 10.6x more for a lifetime of internet there than you would in the cheapest location for internet, Russia. That’s a difference of $45,917.28. *insert screaming emoji here*
- Yup, Russians pay the least for a lifetime of internet at $4,762.80. Which is lucky for them, because no one wants to go outside during Russia’s brutally cold winters.
Sure, the US isn’t the cheapest place to log on and do some web surfing. But keep in mind that, in other countries, you may have to deal with limited access (or no access to certain sites), monitoring, and limited freedom of online speech.
And, hey, there are some things you can do to trim a few bucks off your internet bill here and there. So don’t let the high cost of being a US netizen get you down. Turn that frown into a slightly smiling emoji and enjoy the connections, friendships, and knowledge that internet brings.
First up, we narrowed down our data to the top 20 countries with the most internet users by checking Internet World Stats. Then we looked at how much internet costs per month in each of those 20 countries with help from Cable.co.uk’s Worldwide Broadband Report.
We decided to look at the average lifetime cost in two ways: by global average life expectancy and by each country’s individual average life expectancy. We used the World Health Organization to gather life expectancy data, then calculated the yearly cost of internet by country and multiplied it by those average life expectancy figures. We decided to leave inflation out of our equation due to the unpredictability of what inflation might look like for 20 different countries over 70+ years.
Last but not least, we compared each country’s lifetime internet cost over average life expectancy to see which countries have the cheapest versus which have the most expensive lifetime cost of internet.