How Much Do Internet and Wi-Fi Cost?

We sifted through internet prices for 20+ large providers and found that Americans can expect to shell out about $61 a month for internet.

Catherine McNally
Editorial Lead, Internet & Gaming
Read More
Published on January 19, 2022
9 min read

On average, Americans can expect to spend around $61 on internet each month—but that number varies a lot depending on your connection type and location.

Aside from connection type and location, other features like data caps and download speeds can throw your bill for a loop too. That means you need to consider all of the following items when you buy an internet plan:

  • Connection type (DSL, cable, fiber, satellite, fixed wireless, or cellular)
  • Your location
  • Data caps
  • Download speeds

Let’s take a look at how the pricing breaks down to see if you’re getting a good deal on your internet—and what to do if you’re not.

See all the internet prices and plans available in your area.

How much does internet cost per month?

We compared prices across 22 different internet providers and found the average internet plan costs around $61 per month. If that seems high, it’s not just you. That average cost is up from $57 a month in December 2020.

If you don’t need the fastest service, you might be able to save some cash. We tallied up the average cost for internet plans with download speeds of 3–50 Mbps and found that slower plans will likely cost you about $55 a month.

Going for a DSL or cable internet plan instead of fiber (or instead of satellite) can also save you some cash. Prices for cable and DSL internet didn’t change much over the past year and ring in at an average of $51 a month.

Here’s what the average monthly cost looks like when you break it down by all connection types:

Average internet cost per month by connection type
Connection type
Average monthly cost in 2021
Average monthly cost in 2020
Average monthly cost in 2019
Download speed range
DSL$51$50$4325–1,000 Mbps
Cable$51$52$583–500 Mbps
Fiber$64$59$5630–2,000 Mbps
Satellite$86$123$9112–100 Mbps
All connection types$61$57$723–2,000 Mbps

How much does Wi-Fi cost?

Technically, you don’t need to pay for Wi-Fi since that’s just how you access your internet wirelessly. But some ISPs charge an extra fee for Wi-Fi enabled modems and routers, usually $5–$15 a month. Generally, your cost won’t change if you decide to hop on the Wi-Fi network or not since you need a modem and router to use your internet anyway.

If you prefer to skip the equipment rental fee, you can grab a Wi-Fi enabled modem or router for fairly cheap. These cost anywhere from $50–$200, depending on the features you’re looking for.

So the cost of Wi-Fi is your equipment rental fee or purchase price on top of your monthly subscription fee.

How much is high-speed internet?

We found that in October 2021, high-speed internet costs an average of $56 per month.

That’s excluding any internet plans with speeds below 25 Mbps, since high-speed internet comes with 25 Mbps or more of download speed. And just to be clear, speeds of 25 Mbps are likely fine for one person, but if you have multiple people in your house all watching HD shows at the same time, you’ll need to double, triple, or even quadruple that speed.

That said, don’t pay extra for speed you don’t need. You don’t have to pay for one of those lightning-fast gigabit plans if all you really do is browse Facebook. But if you have nine kids and they all want to watch Hulu at the same time, gigabit internet might be worth the cost versus listening to complaints 24/7.

How much is DSL internet service?

The average monthly bill for DSL internet is $50.57. The minimum cost out of the 39 different DSL plans we analyzed was $27 a month, and the max cost was $75 a month.

As DSL infrastructures age, we won’t be surprised to see DSL internet costs increase as providers (hopefully) upgrade their networks.

Some of the biggest DSL providers in the US are AT&T, CenturyLink, Earthlink, Frontier, Windstream, and Verizon. Here’s how DSL internet prices range for each of those providers.

DSL internet prices and providers in the US
Provider
Monthly price range
Download speed range
Details
AT&T Internet$55*75100 Mbps
CenturyLink Internet$50.00Up to 100 Mbps
Earthlink Internet$49.95–$69.953–60 Mbps
Frontier High Speed Internet$32.99–$39.99Up to 6–Up to 25 Mbps
Windstream Internet$27.00–$75.0025–500 Mbps
Verizon High Speed Internet$70.00**0.5–1 Mbps, 1.1–3 Mbps, 3.1–7 Mbps, 7.1–15 Mbps
Data effective 01/14/22. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* For the first 12 months plus taxes and equip. fee.

**For 1 year plus taxes, equip. charges & other fees. Verizon home phone service required.

How much is cable internet?

The average bill is $50.94 a month a month for anyone rocking cable internet.

That’s a tad-bit higher than the average bill for DSL internet, but cable’s speeds generally outpace DSL. So cable is likely the better value.

There are also dozens more cable internet providers to choose from compared to DSL providers. These include the following:

Cable internet prices and providers in the US
Provider
Monthly price range
Download speed range
Details
Buckeye Internet$19.99$99.9925400 Mbps
Cox Internet$29.99$109.99251000 Mbps
Astound Broadband, powered by Grande Internet$24.99$54.99^50940 Mbps
Mediacom Internet$49.99$99.99^1001000 Mbps
Optimum Internet$29.99$49.99°100940 Mbps
Astound Broadband, powered by RCN Internet$25.99$54.99^100940 Mbps
Sparklight Internet$39$125**1001000 Mbps
Spectrum Internet®$69.99$109.99^4001000 Mbps
Suddenlink Internet$24.99$54.99°75940 Mbps
WOW! Internet$19.99$99.99††1001000 Mbps
Xfinity Internet$19.99$94.99‡‡501200 Mbps
Data as of 10/26/20. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Data effective 10/26/20. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
For the first 6 months.
For the first 12 months with a 1-year term agreement.
^ For the first 12 months.
° Plus taxes, fees, and other charges. Price for Life. Customer must remain in good standing and up to date on bill payments to remain on Price For Life.
** Equipment, taxes, surcharges and fees are not included in above rate.
†† For the first 24 months with a 2-year agreement.
‡‡ For the first 12 months. Some packages require a 1- or 2-year contract.

Most cable internet plans cost $100 or less, but there are a few exceptions: Cox, Sparklight, and Spectrum all offer gig plans with steep monthly prices over $100.

How much is fiber internet?

Fiber internet costs average out to $63.78 a month. That’s more than you’ll pay, on average, for DSL or cable internet. But fiber might be worth it thanks to its ability to deliver faster download and upload speeds.

Here’s a look at some of the top US fiber internet providers’ price ranges:

Fiber internet prices and providers in the US
Provider
Monthly price range
Download speed range
Details
AT&T Fiber$45$180*3005000 Mbps
CenturyLink Internet$65.00940 Mbps
Earthlink Internet$69.95–$99.9550–1,000 Mbps
Frontier FiberOptic Internet$49.99$74.99^^500940 Mbps
Google Fiber$70$100°°10002000 Mbps
Astound Broadband, powered by Grande Internet$24.99$54.99^50940 Mbps
MetroNet$25.7$168.49***1001000 Mbps
Optimum Internet$29.99$49.99°100940 Mbps
Starry Internet$50200 Mbps
Verizon Fios Home Internet$39.99$89.99†††200940 Mbps
Windstream Internet$27$85^251000 Mbps
Xfinity Internet$79.99–$94.991,000–1,200 Mbps
Ziply Fiber$20$60‡‡‡301000 Mbps
Data effective 11/11/21. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* For the first 12 months plus taxes and equip. fee.
^^ for 24 months with 2-year agreement. Actual speeds may vary. Installation, equipment fees, Internet Infrastructure Surcharge, early term, taxes & other fees apply. Services subject to availability and all applicable terms and conditions.
°° Plus taxes and fees. Service not available in all areas.
^ For the first 12 months.
*** Plus taxes and fees.
° Plus taxes, fees, and other charges. Price for Life. Customer must remain in good standing and up to date on bill payments to remain on Price For Life.
††† w/ Auto Pay + taxes & equip. charges.
‡‡‡ For 12 months.
Heads Up
Some fiber internet plans might not be fully fiber

Many providers, like CenturyLink, Windstream, and Comcast Xfinity, use a fiber-hybrid type of connection that uses existing cable or DSL networks and enhances them with fiber-optics.1 These lines are still able to get you those fiber-optic download speeds, but might be lacking when it comes to upload speeds.

Despite the high prices for fiber internet, if you want download speeds for days that don’t kick the bucket during peak usage hours and fast upload speeds to match, fiber’s the way to go. It goes without saying that, if you have a choice, fiber internet is the créme de la créme for livestreamers, YouTubers, and WFH hustlers.

How much is satellite internet?

Connecting to satellite internet costs Americans $86.33 a month on average. That’s a pretty steep price, but when you’re out in the country and your city hasn’t even run water lines to your home, you may not have much of a choice.

Satellite internet prices and providers in the US
Provider
Monthly price range
Download speed range
Details
HughesNet Internet$59.99$149.99^^^25 Mbps
Viasat Internet$30$169.99°°°12100 Mbps
Data effective 11/11/21. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
^^^ Requires 24 month agreement.
°°° For the first 3 months.
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Wait, what about Starlink prices?

Right now, Starlink satellite internet is still in beta. So we’ve opted to leave out its $99-a-month cost from our report in case the price increases when the service goes fully live.

How much is gigabit internet?

If you’re feeling the need for one-gig speed, the average bill for gigabit internet is $73.39 a month. That’s about the same average monthly price as it was in December 2020.

Still, we’re seeing more affordable gig and near-gig speeds across the board, which is great news as working and learning from home becomes more of the norm.

Some of our favorite ISPs that offer fast speeds at low prices include AT&T Fiber, CenturyLink, Astound Broadband, powered by RCN, and Xfinity.

Gigabit internet prices and providers in the US
Provider
Plan
Monthly price range
Download speed range
Details
AT&T FiberAT&T Internet 1000$80/mo.****940 Mbps
CenturyLink InternetCenturyLink Fiber Internet$65††††940 Mbps
Cox InternetCox Gigablast$99.99‡‡‡‡Up to 1000 Mbps
Frontier Internet - FiberOpticFiberOptic Gig Service$74.99^^^^940 Mbps
Astound Broadband, powered by GrandeInternet 940$54.99^940 Mbps
Optimum InternetOptimum 1 Gig$49.99/mo.°°°°940 Mbps
Optimum InternetFiber Internet 1 Gig$49.99/mo.Up to 940 Mbps
Astound Broadband, powered by RCNGig Internet$49.99–$57.00 940 Mbps
Earthlink Internet1 Gig Internet$99.951000 Mbps
Google FiberGoogle Fiber 1000$701000 Mbps
Mediacom Internet1Gig$79.991000 Mbps
MetroNet1Gb/1Gb$69.951000 Mbps
Sparklight InternetGigaONE Plus$1251000 Mbps
Spectrum InternetSpectrum Internet® Gig$109.99/mo for 12 mos.Up to 1000 Mbps
Suddenlink InternetInternet 1 Gig$49.99/mo°°°°Up to 940 Mbps
Verizon Fios Home InternetFios Gigabit Connection$89.99/mo.Up to 940 Mbps
Windstream InternetKinetic Gig$57.00–$85.001000 Mbps
WOW! InternetInternet 1 Gig$64.991000 Mbps
Xfinity Internet - WestUltrafast$69.99Up to 900 Mbps
Ziply FiberInternet Gig$601000 Mbps
Data as of 10/26/20. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Data effective 10/26/20. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
**** Price after $5/mo Autopay & Paperless bill discount (w/in 2 bills). Plus taxes & fees. Internet speed claims represent maximum network service capability speeds and based on wired connection to gateway. 1GIG speeds avail. to new customers with the latest router ("BGW320") and recommended setup. Actual customer speeds may vary based on a number of factros and are not guaranteed.
†††† Rate requires paperless billing. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. Speeds may not be available in your area. Maximum download/upload speed of up to 940 Mbps via a wired connection.
‡‡‡‡ for 12 months with 1-yr. term agreement
^^^^ per month for 36 mos. Max wired speed 940/880 Mbps. One-time charges apply. Maximum speeds are wired speeds. Wi-Fi, actual and average speeds vary. Service performance details at frontier.com/internetdisclosures.
^ For the first 12 months.
°°°° w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill plus taxes & equip. charges. Terms apply. Not available in all areas.
w/ Auto Pay & Paperless Bill plus taxes,fees & charges.
with a 12 month contract.
Terms and Conditions: Plus taxes and fees. Service not available in all areas. If you live in an apartment or condo, Google Fibers ability to construct and provide Fiber is subject to the continued agreement between Google Fiber and the property owner. 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
For the first 12 months. Plus, activation, installation and monthly modem rental fees.
For 6 months. Offers available to new residential customers only and may not be combined with other offers. The $59.95 offer is based on discounted Gigabit/Gigabit Internet. After 6 months, rate will increase to $69.95 for 12 months. After the 18th month, regular rate of $89.95 will apply. Offers do not include taxes and fees. Additional installation fees may also apply. Regular rates apply upon service suspension, cancellation, or downgrades.
$10 charge for each add'l 100GB; Up to $50/mo.
Speed based on wired connection. Available Internet speeds may vary by address. Gig capable modem required for Gig speed. For a list of Gig capable modems, visit Spectrum.net/modem.
w/ Auto Pay + taxes.
With enrollment in AutoPay & paperless billing. Equipment & speed availability vary by area. $10 off for 12 months on regular rate of $74.99.
For the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement. Includes $10/mo automatic payments and paperless billing discount.
For 12 months

But do you really need one full gig of eyeball-popping download speed? Chances are, no.

So before you go hog wild, get an idea of how many Mbps you really need. It’ll save you some money.

Does internet service have any hidden fees?

Just like most purchases, internet service comes with a few hidden fees. These are some of the common fees your ISP might tack on to your bill:

  • Installation fee
  • Equipment rental fee
  • Data overage fees
  • Early termination fee
  • Reconnection/reactivation fee
  • Late payment fee

Installation fees are a one-time thing and they usually cost around $50–$100. If you can get a self-install kit from your provider, that’s typically free or a lower cost than professional installation.

Some ISPs also offer free installation deals. Even if they don’t, you can ask them to waive the fee. No harm in trying, right?

An equipment rental fee is the price you pay to lease equipment (like a modem, a router, or both) from your ISP. You can get around this fee if you buy your own equipment, which may also save you money in the long run.

Data overage fees are what you might pay if you use more than your allotted data each month. Some internet plans have lower data caps but don’t make you pay fees for using too much data. For example, satellite internet providers often have soft data caps that range anywhere from 10 GB to 300 GB. If you use more data in a month, the ISP slows your download speeds—but you don’t have to pay any fees.

An early termination fee (ETF) only applies if you subscribe to an internet plan with a contract, or term of service. Usually, contracts last one to two years, and if you cancel your subscription before that time is up, you’ll need to pay an ETF.

ETFs range in cost from around $100 up to $500, depending on the provider and how much time is left on your contract. So be wary of canceling your service too early—or look into another provider that offers a contract buyout program, like Spectrum.

Reconnection or reactivation fees are charged when your internet service is suspended, either by you or by the ISP. These fees normally cost between $30–$50.

Late payment fees are fairly explanatory: If you’re late paying your bill, you’ll pay an additional fee on top of your normal bill. This usually amounts to $5–$10 per late payment, but be wary since that can add up quickly.

Pin
Having trouble paying your internet bill?

Don’t wait to rack up late payment fees, contact your internet provider ASAP if you’re struggling to pay your bill. Most ISPs have assistance or payment programs, and you may also be able to downgrade your service. Many providers also offer special internet plans for low-income families.

What other features affect your internet bill?

Aside from fees, there are a few other things that might make your internet bill jump up or dip down.

Download speed: In general, the faster your download speed is, the more you’ll pay per month.

Connection type: We usually see higher prices for fiber internet and satellite plans—but this is due to the high maintenance costs of building, launching, and keeping those satellites in Earth’s orbit.

That’s not to say you can’t find a great deal on satellite internet. When it comes for the best price for the fastest speeds, we recommend Viasat. But if you can make do with 25 Mbps speeds and not a lot of data, check out HughesNet‘s 10 GB and 20 GB plans.

Promotional deals: Promotions, like limited-time offers, can drop your final bill like a hot potato. These typically offer a low starting price for your internet service that lasts for a short while—usually one year.

On the other hand, once your promotional period is up, you can expect your final bill to shoot up like a pack of Mentos in a Coke bottle.

After the promotional price, you’ll start paying what most ISPs call a “standard” price. How much the standard price differs from the promo price depends on the provider and the deal you got, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $10–$20 more per month.

Where you live: Most ISPs that are available nationwide break their pricing down by region. For example, Xfinity offers different prices and plans for the northeastern, central, and western US. Astound Broadband, powered by RCN offers internet in a small part of the Northeast, but its prices change depending on whether you’re in DC, Lehigh Valley, Boston, or another city.

Even if you can’t get service from a provider that breaks down prices by location, you’ll likely see different prices if you ever tried to compare with, say, a friend who lives on the other coast. ISPs have even been known to charge different prices on different sides of the same street, so be sure to do a thorough comparison of what’s available in your area.2

We can help you compare internet prices. Just pop your zip code into our search tool.

Recap: How much should you pay for internet?

If your internet bill is at or near $61 a month, you’re right on par with most of the country. If you’re paying more, don’t worry. We can help you lower that bill.

And hey, depending on how you use the internet, paying more than the national average might be A-okay. For example, let’s say your family does a lot of video streaming and gaming. That means you’re likely paying more for faster speeds than the elderly couple next door who just sends emails and checks their granddaughter’s photos on Facebook.

Paying less? We’re jealous. Mind sharing your tips in the comments below?

Get started on lowering your internet bill.

Compare internet prices and speeds near you.

We found the cheapest ISPs overall.

Methodology

How’d we get these averages? We’re glad you asked.

We took a look at plans and prices for 22 different well-known ISPs available across the US: AT&T, Buckeye Broadband, CenturyLink, Cox, EarthLink, Frontier, Google Fiber, Astound Broadband, powered by Grande Communications, HughesNet, Mediacom, MetroNet, Optimum, Astound Broadband, powered by RCN, Sparklight, Spectrum, Suddenlink, Verizon Fios Home Internet, Viasat, Windstream, WOW! Internet, Comcast Xfinity, and Ziply Fiber.

To get the overall average for broadband internet costs and each connection type, we added up the promotional prices for all internet plans and divided by the number of plans. If a provider also offered no-contract plans, we did not include that pricing data in our calculations.

FAQ

Still have questions about the cost of internet and Wi-Fi in the US? We can help.

The short answer is no. Wi-Fi is just the radio signal that lets you connect to the internet without hooking up a wire—it’s not an internet connection in and of itself.

Yes! Well, sometimes.

 

If you want a traditional TV service (or *gasp* a landline phone), then bundling with your internet service could save you some money. But don’t sign on for cable TV just to get the lower internet price. In the long term, bundling can cost you more than a single internet plan if you don’t actually want or need the services you’re bundling with.

Yes, but you might have to shop around. A lot of ISPs require you to sign a 1–2-year contract and charge early termination fees if you cancel early. But there are a few providers with no-contract options. (CenturyLink, Xfinity, and Spectrum are three of them.)

Sources

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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