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.

Best Overall
Google Fiber
Google Fiber
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Starting from
$70
/mo
Download Speeds
1000-8000 Mbps
Data Cap
Unlimited
Best Customer Service
ATT
AT&T Fiber
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
Starting from
$55
/mo
Download Speeds
300-5000 Mbps
Data Cap
Unlimited
Best for Budget Users
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet logo
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starting from
$50
/mo
Download Speed
72-245 Mbps
Data Cap
Unlimited
Bonus
$200 gift card
Best for Content Creators
Verizon
Verizon Fios Home Internet
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Starting from
$49.99
/mo
Download Speeds
300-2300 Mbps
Data Cap
Unlimited
Best Cable Provider
Spectrum
Spectrum Internet®
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starting from
$19.99
/mo
Download Speeds
30-1000 Mbps
Data Cap
Unlimited
Tyler Abbott
Brianne Sandorf
Apr 04, 2024
Icon Time To Read13 min read

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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:

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

The best internet service providers
Provider
Monthly price
Download speeds
Learn more
Google Fiber
$70-$150*1000-8000 Mbps
ATT
$55-$225300-5000 Mbps
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet
$60-$6072-245 Mbps
Verizon
$49.99-$89.99^300-2300 Mbps
Spectrum
$19.99-$89.9930-1000 Mbps°
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* 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.
Price after $5/mo Autopay & Paperless bill discount (w/in 2 bills). Plus taxes $ fees. Limited availability. May not be available in your area.
w/ Auto Pay. Regulatory fees included in monthly price for qualified accounts. See full terms.
^ Price per month with Auto Pay & without select 5G mobile plans. Fios plan prices include taxes & fees
° Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter.

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

Google Fiber
Google Fiber
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Download Speeds
1000-8000 Mbps
Technology Type Name
Fiber
Starts at
$70
/mo
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Pros
  • Gigabit and multi-gig speed options
  • Super reliable connection
  • Symmetrical upload and download speeds
Cons
  • 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.

Google Fiber plans and prices
Plan
Price
Download speed
Connection type
Details
1 Gig$70/mo.*1000 MbpsFiber
2 Gig$100/mo.*2000 MbpsFiber
5 Gig$125/mo.**5000 MbpsFiber
8 Gig$150/mo.**8000 MbpsFiber
* 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.
** 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.

AT&T Fiber: Best customer service experience

ATT
AT&T Fiber
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
Download Speeds
300-5000 Mbps
Technology Type Name
Fiber
Starts at
$55
/mo
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Pros
  • Excellent ACSI scores
  • Well-priced fiber plans with unlimited data
  • Option to bundle with DIRECTV
Cons
  • 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.

AT&T Fiber internet promotional prices
Plan
Monthly price
Download speed
Data cap
Details
AT&T Internet 300$55/mo.††300 MbpsUnlimited
AT&T Internet 500$65/mo.††500 MbpsUnlimited
AT&T Internet 1 Gig$80/mo.‡‡1000 MbpsUnlimited
AT&T Internet 2 Gig$125/mo.‡‡Up to 2000 MbpsUnlimited
AT&T Internet 5 Gig$225/mo.‡‡Up to 5000 MbpsUnlimited
†† 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. Speeds based on wired connection. Actual speeds may vary. For more info, go to www.att.com/speed101.
‡‡ 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. Ltd. availability/areas. Speeds based on wired connection. Actual speeds may vary. For more info, go to www.att.com/speed101.

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
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet
4 out of 5 stars
4
Download Speed Range
72-245 Mbps
Technology Type Name
Fixed Wireless
Starts at
$60
/mo
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Pros
  • Affordable price with no contracts
  • Extremely easy set up
  • Solid data speeds
Cons
  • 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:

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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

Verizon
Verizon Fios Home Internet
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Download Speeds
300-2300 Mbps
Technology Type Name
Fiber
Starts at
$49.99
/mo
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Pros
  • Symmetrical speeds for most plans
  • Reliable service
  • No annual contracts
Cons
  • 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 Fios Home Internet plans and prices
Plan
Price
Download speed
Connection type
Details
Internet 300/300$49.99/mo.^300 MbpsFiber
Internet 500/500$69.99/mo.^500 MbpsFiber
1 Gig without mobile plan$89.99/mo.^Up to 940 MbpsFiber
Internet 2 Gig$84.99/mo.^^Up to 2300 MbpsFiber
5G Home Internet with Mobile Plan Premium$35/mo.°°Up to 300 MbpsFixed Wireless
5G Home Internet Plus with Mobile Plan Premium$45/mo.°°Up to 1000 MbpsFixed Wireless
^ Price per month with Auto Pay & without select 5G mobile plans. Fios plan prices include taxes & fees
^^ Available in select areas only. Price per month with Auto Pay & without select 5G mobile plans. Fios plan prices include taxes & fees
°° w/ Auto Pay and select 5G mobile plans. Available in select areas.

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
Spectrum Internet®
4 out of 5 stars
4
Download Speeds
30-1000 Mbps
Technology Type Name
Cable
Starting from
$19.99
/mo
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Pros
  • Spectrum has good prices for most speeds
  • There are no contracts
  • There are also no data caps
Cons
  • Download speeds that may be slower than advertised
  • Price hikes after 1–2 years

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 or two. 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.

Spectrum Internet® prices and speeds
Plan
Price
Download speed
Data cap
Details
Spectrum Internet® $49.99/mo. for 12 mos.***Up to 300 MbpsUnlimited
Spectrum Internet Ultra$69.99/mo. for 24 mo***500 MbpsUnlimited
Spectrum Internet® Gig$79.99/mo. for 24 mos.†††Up to 1000 MbpsUnlimited
Spectrum Internet® Ultra - NC$49.99/mo. for 24 mo.‡‡‡Up to 500 MbpsUnlimited
Spectrum Internet® Gig - NC$59.99/mo. for 24 mo.†††Up to 1000 MbpsUnlimited
Spectrum Internet® Ultra - NY$59.99/mo. for 24 mo.†††Up to 500 MbpsUnlimited
Spectrum Internet® Gig - NY$69.99/mo. for 24 mo.†††Up to 1000 MbpsUnlimited
Spectrum Internet® Ultra - OH$59.99/mo. for 24 mo.†††Up to 500 MbpsUnlimited
Spectrum Internet® Gig - OH$69.99/mo. for 24 mo.†††Up to 1000 MbpsUnlimited
*** For 12 months when bundled. Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter.
††† For 24 months when bundled. Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter.
‡‡‡ For 24 months when bundled. Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter.
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Viasat: Best for rural areas

Viasat
Viasat Internet
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Download Speeds
12-100 Mbps
Technology Type
Starts at
$69.99
/mo
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Pros
  • More than one speed option
  • Lower price per Mbps per month than Hughesnet
  • Unleashed plan doesn't have price hikes or contracts
Cons
  • Three-month price hikes
  • 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 150Mbps, which gives them an edge over Hughesnet’s plans, which offer 50–100Mbps speeds.

Viasat gives you more data and download speeds for your money, giving you high-speed data allotments of up to 850GB. Hughesnet’s data caps range from 100–200GB.

Viasat unlimited satellite internet plans, prices, and speeds
Plan
Price
Download speed
Data cap
Details
Viasat Unleashed
$99.99/mo.
^^^
Up to 150 MbpsUnlimited
Unlimited Bronze 12
(Only available in Colorado)
$69.99/mo. for 3 mo
°°°
12 MbpsUnlimited
Unlimited Silver 12
(Only available in Colorado)
$99.99/mo. for 3 mo.
°°°
12 MbpsUnlimited
Unlimited Gold 12
(Only available in Colorado)
$149.99/mo. for 3 mo.
°°°
12 MbpsUnlimited
^^^ Prices, speeds and availability vary by location. Prices are subject to change. No annual contract or installation fees are required. Monthly equipment lease fees and taxes may apply.
°°° Offer available to new qualifying customers. One-time standard installation fee may be due at checkout. Minimum 24-month service term required. Equipment lease fee is $14.99/mo. Taxes apply. Speeds are “up to,” will vary and are not guaranteed. Service is not available in all areas. Offer may be changed or withdrawn at any time.

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.

Some of Viasat's plans have pretty limited availability. For example, Viasat's Bronze, Silver, and Gold packages are only available for Colorado residents. But even if they were widely available, we'd still recommend Viasat's Unleashed plan. You'll dodge price hikes, contracts, and early termination fees. Plus, you'll get the most high-speed data and download speed that Viasat can offer.

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.

Other satellite internet providers
Provider
Monthly price
Download speeds
Data cap
Learn more
HughesNet$49.99-$79.99****50–100MbpsUnlimited
Starlink$120-$500††††40-220 MbpsUnlimited
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
**** Service plans require a 24-month commitment. Pricing not available in all areas.
†††† Plus hardware, shipping & handling fees, and tax. Fully refundable. Depending on location, some orders may take 6 months or more to fulfill.

Cox: Best cable bundles

Runner-up
Cox
Cox Internet
3 out of 5 stars
3
Download Speeds
100-2000 Mbps
Technology Type Name
Cable
Starting from
$9.95
/mo
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Pros
  • Budget-friendly plans with bundling options
  • Wide range of internet speeds to choose from
  • No-contract options for all plans
Cons
  • 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.

Cox internet prices and speeds
Plan
Price
Download speed
Data cap
Details
Connect Assist$30/mo.^‡‡‡‡Up to 100 Mbps1280 Mbps
Go Fast$49.99/mo.^^^^100 Mbps1280 Mbps
Cox StraightUp Internet$50/mo.‡‡‡‡Up to 100 Mbps1280 Mbps
Go Faster$69.99/mo.^^^^250 Mbps1280 Mbps
Go Even Faster$89.99/mo.^^^^Up to 500 Mbps1280 Mbps
Go Super Fast$109.99/mo.°°°°Up to 1000 Mbps1280 Mbps
Go Beyond Fast$149.99/mo.^^^^Up to 2000 Mbps1280 Mbps
‡‡‡‡ Not available in all areas. No term agreement. Same price for 2 yrs. Pricing, packages, and policies are subject to change, including when adjusting or removing services or equipment.
^^^^ No annual contract or cancellation fees.
°°°° no annual contract for 24 months.

^Not available in all areas. No term agreement. Same price for 2 yrs. Pricing, packages, and policies are subject to change, including when adjusting or removing services or equipment.

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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.
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How we pick the best internet providers

At Reviews.org, we're constantly testing our home internet setups and reaching out to people from all over to try out ISPs that we can't test ourselves. Our writers keep things authentic by putting all that hands-on experience into context within the vast world of internet services.

To make the best internet recommendations for all kinds of users, our writers use thousands of Reviews.org internet speed test results from across the country to gauge average performance. Whenever users conduct speed tests on our website, their results, including the ISP they used, are stored in a database. Over the years of providing the speed test to our users, we've accumulated millions of data points, allowing us to measure download and upload speeds from different internet providers and, ultimately, provide the most accurate recommendations for the best internet providers.

Beyond our own research and insights gathered from everyday internet users, we also incorporate outside sources like the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), HighSpeedInternet.com, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) into our assessment of an ISP. (We also keep in mind that while the FCC data provides valuable insights, it doesn't include every ISP.) 

We also evaluate comments and ratings from sources such as the Better Business Bureau, JD Power, and Consumer Affairs. Additionally, we scour Reddit and Quora threads for anecdotal insights on ISP experiences. We want to know how an internet service performs straight from the source.

Long story short, we balance our proprietary data and personal experience with research from other businesses and on-the-ground sources.

What to look for in an internet service provider

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

  • Price
  • Speed
  • Contracts
  • Equipment
  • Fees
  • Availability
  • Customer service experience
  • Data cap
  • 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.

Tyler Abbott
Written by
Tyler Abbott
Tyler has been obsessed with watching sports as efficiently as possible since the creation of the DVR. He is always on the lookout for the best tech in TV and wireless so he can watch all the sports and still have enough time to hang out with his baby. He has written about streaming, wireless, and TV for over three years. He hopes the Lakers will eventually get better.

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