The 10 Fastest and Slowest Cities for Internet Speed

We looked at average download speeds for cities across the US in 2021 to identify those leading the pack and those bringing up the rear.

Catherine McNally
Editorial Lead, Internet & Gaming
Read More
May 17, 2022
3 min read

Our latest look at internet speeds in 2021 shows that average download speeds are continuing to rise across the US: 2021 saw speeds hit an average of 119 Mbps, up from 57 Mbps in 2020.

After comparing cities with at least 100 speed tests taken in 2021, we saw many metros improve the average download speeds their citizens can get. But others still lagged behind the rest of the country. This is a huge deal, especially since many of us moved to more rural areas once working from home became an option.

If you haven’t moved yet but are thinking of relocating to a quieter home, here are the top cities to consider—plus a handful you might want to avoid if you rely on the internet to get work done.

A map showing the ten fastest and slowest cities for internet

10 cities with the fastest internet speeds

We’re excited to see cities from all over the US rank in the top 10 for the fastest average download speeds. In the past, zippy download speeds seemed to be limited to the coasts.

But now, cities like Goodyear, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix (well, what Arizona city isn’t?) and Alliance, Ohio, located near Akron, lead the pack.

The best news is, each of these cities averaged download speeds of more than 200 Mbps. We typically recommend folks start with 100 Mbps download speeds and aim for faster speeds depending on how many people live in their home. Speeds of 200 Mbps are ideal for a small to mid-sized family who likes to stream, game, and work from home.

10 fastest US cities for internet speed in 2021
Rank
City and state
Fastest average download speed*
Population (2020)**
1Goodyear, AZ365 Mbps94,294
2Needham, MA337 Mbps32,091
3Norton, MA330 Mbps19,202
4Mercer Island, WA277 Mbps25,748
5Alliance, OH275 Mbps21,672
6Copperas Cove, TX255 Mbps36,670
7Stafford, TX247 Mbps17,666
8Brookfield, IL245 Mbps19,476
9Beverly Hills, CA245 Mbps32,701
10Hamburg, PA235 Mbps4,270

*Average download speeds calculated using proprietary speed test data for January 1–December 31, 2021.

**City population data retrieved from 2020 US Census reports.

10 cities with the slowest internet speeds in 2021

We’re not surprised to see most of the cities with the slowest average download speeds in 2021 have small populations. It’s no secret that building out internet infrastructure to get to folks in hard-to-reach places is expensive.

Thankfully, new technology, like fixed wireless and low-earth-orbit satellites, is building out to bring internet into rural areas where your typical cable, fiber, and DSL providers haven’t gone.

The unfortunate part is that these average download speeds are far too slow to access modern-day websites, let alone stream video, hop on Zoom calls, or take part in online learning. We hope to see these towns get more internet options with faster speeds in the near future.

10 slowest US cities for internet speed in 2021
Rank
City and state
Fastest average download speed*
Population (2020)**
1McCloud, CA4 Mbps945
2Ibapah, UT7 Mbps400†
3Iowa Park, TX10 Mbps6,535
4Capac, MI10 Mbps1,983
5Bon Aqua, TN11 Mbps1,279
6Ducket Crossing, UT12 Mbps
7Milaca, MN12 Mbps3,021
8Atlanta, MI14 Mbps720
9Roanoke, IN14 Mbps1,762
10Salem, WV14 Mbps1,529

*Average download speeds calculated using proprietary speed test data for January 1–December 31, 2021.

**City population data retrieved from 2020 US Census reports unless otherwise noted.

Ibapah, UT population retrieved from Utah Division of Indian Affairs: Confederated Tribes of the Goshutes.

10 cities with the biggest difference in fastest and slowest speeds in 2021

Big cities usually mean big download speed numbers. Internet providers tend to focus on large metro areas because there are so many potential customers—and it’s likely they’ve already got infrastructure built out in the area.

But not every part of a big city is home to speedy internet. While some of this may be due to customers choosing internet plans with slower speeds, it’s also partly due to faster speeds being offered in the most densely populated locations. So folks in the suburbs or poorer, less populated parts of town may not have an option of 500 Mbps download speeds.

Here’s some of the US’s largest metros look when you compare the slowest recorded download speed to the fastest recorded download speed.

10 cities with the biggest difference in fastest and slowest speeds
Rank
City and state
Fastest recorded download speed*
Slowest recorded download speed*
Difference in fastest vs. slowest speeds
1Olympia, WA401 Mbps115 Mbps286 Mbps
2Sacramento, CA359 Mbps76 Mbps283 Mbps
3Chicago, IL276 Mbps50 Mbps226 Mbps
4Goodyear, AZ419 Mbps209 Mbps210 Mbps
5Lincoln, NE286 Mbps91 Mbps195 Mbps
6Oakland, CA296 Mbps126 Mbps170 Mbps
7San Jose, CA229 Mbps60 Mbps169 Mbps
8Austin, TX205 Mbps38 Mbps167 Mbps
9Stafford, VA323 Mbps156 Mbps166 Mbps
10Baltimore, MD245 Mbps80 Mbps165 Mbps

*Average download speeds calculated using proprietary speed test data for January 1–December 31, 2021.

10 cities with the most internet providers to choose from in 2021

Having a choice between two or more internet providers could mean the difference between ridiculous prices and slow speeds versus fair prices and fast speeds.

Many folks in the US have only one provider to choose from. This leaves them high and dry if that provider decides to charge more, offer lackluster support, or worse, eliminate network infrastructure.

That’s why we’ve taken a look at which cities have the most internet providers to choose from. Granted, larger cities may still see residents with fewer choices in certain areas, so take these numbers with a grain of salt.

Top 10 cities with the most internet providers to choose from
Rank
City and state
Number of providers
1Atlanta, GA23
2Los Angeles, CA22
3Minneapolis, MN19
4St. Paul, MN19
5New York, NY19
6Denver, CO18
7Salt Lake City, UT18
8Seattle, WA18
9Dallas, TX18
10Orlando, FL17

*Number of providers calculated using proprietary speed test data for January 1–December 31, 2021.

Methodology

To determine the US’s fastest and slowest cities in terms of internet speed, we dug into speed test results from January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021. We then narrowed down our list to cities with a minimum of 100 speed test results, then filtered out any results for business internet, cellular data, and incomplete or duplicate entries.

Next, we averaged download speeds for each city to determine the fastest and slowest cities in 2021. We also compared results for January and December to determine which cities saw the most improvement in internet speed over the year. We used 2020 US Census data to determine city population where available, unless otherwise noted.

Lastly, we tallied the number of internet providers represented in each city to see which ones offer the most ISP choices.

50 cities with the fastest and slowest internet speeds

Dig in a little deeper to see the top 25 fastest cities and bottom 25 slowest cities for internet speed.

50 fastest and slowest US cities for internet speed in 2021
Rank
City and state
Fastest average download speed*
1Goodyear, AZ365 Mbps
2"Needham, MA"337 Mbps
3"Norton, MA"330 Mbps
4"Mercer Island, WA"277 Mbps
5"Alliance, OH"275 Mbps
6"Copperas Cove, TX"255 Mbps
7"Stafford, TX"247 Mbps
8"Brookfield, IL"245 Mbps
9"Beverly Hills, CA"245 Mbps
10"Hamburg, PA"235 Mbps
11"Saugus, MA"234 Mbps
12"Closter, NJ"233 Mbps
13"Windsor, CT"230 Mbps
14"Corte Madera, CA"230 Mbps
15"Rehoboth, MA"229 Mbps
16"Rex, GA"228 Mbps
17"Inver Grove Heights, MN"227 Mbps
18"Manhasset, NY"226 Mbps
19"Steubenville, OH"225 Mbps
20"Springfield, TN"225 Mbps
21"Pearland, TX"222 Mbps
22"Evergreen Park, IL"219 Mbps
23"Santa Cruz, CA"217 Mbps
24"Centennial, CO"216 Mbps
25"Fort Campbell North, KY"210 Mbps
26"Sylva, NC"22 Mbps
27"Ville Platte, LA"21 Mbps
28"Stone Creek, OH"21 Mbps
29"Plymouth, IN"21 Mbps
30"Churubusco, IN"20 Mbps
31"Otway, OH"19 Mbps
32"Merrill, WI"19 Mbps
33"New Richmond, WI"19 Mbps
34"Pardeeville, WI"18 Mbps
35"Oreana, IL"18 Mbps
36"Grayling, MI"18 Mbps
37"Eagle River, WI"17 Mbps
38"Laingsburg, MI"16 Mbps
39"Ely, MN"16 Mbps
40"Friendship, WI"15 Mbps
41"Salem, WV"14 Mbps
42"Roanoke, IN"14 Mbps
43"Atlanta, MI"14 Mbps
44"Milaca, MN"12 Mbps
45"Ducket Crossing, UT"12 Mbps
46"Bon Aqua, TN"11 Mbps
47"Capac, MI"10 Mbps
48"Iowa Park, TX"10 Mbps
49"Ibapah, UT"7 Mbps
50"McCloud, CA"4 Mbps

*Average download speeds calculated using proprietary speed test data for January 1–December 31, 2021.

Catherine McNally
Written by
Catherine McNally
Catherine has a degree in journalism and an MBA, and has spent the last 10+ years writing everything from Okinawa travel guides to stories on Medium. She’s been online since AOL CDs were a thing and is an unapologetic PC gamer. She believes the internet is a necessity, not a luxury, and writes reviews and guides to help everyone stay connected. You can also find her on Twitter: @CMReviewsIt.

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