How Much Is Internet?

Overall, Americans can plan to spend an average of $72 a month on internet—but that average varies a lot depending on your connection type.

  • DSL: $41/mo.
  • Cable: $59/mo.
  • Fiber: $78/mo.
  • Satellite: $97/mo.

And while your connection type does affect how much you pay for internet, other features like data caps and speed can throw your bill for a loop too.

Let’s take a look at how the pricing breaks down to see if you’re getting a good deal on your internet.

What’s the average broadband internet bill per month?

The average broadband internet bill comes to $71.77 a month. If you’re paying less than that, kudos! And if you’re paying more than that, don’t panic.

That average takes into account a wide range of internet plans from multiple internet service providers (ISPs). Here’s a quick look at some of the features and factors that can bounce your bill above or below the average.

Info Box icon
What does “broadband” mean?
Broadband internet is defined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as any internet connection that’s 25 Mbps or faster.1

Download speed: The faster your download speed is, the more you’ll pay per month. Unless you nab a killer promotional deal, that is.

Connection type: We usually see higher prices for cable and fiber plans—but this is likely because cable and fiber offer faster speeds than DSL in general.

That’s not to say you can’t find a great deal on fiber or cable internet. Frontier, for example, offers some great deals on fiber plans, while Cox is our pick for the best value cable plans.

Promotional deals: Speaking of promos, those can drop your final bill like it’s tied to an anchor. And if your promotional period is up, you can expect your final bill to shoot up like a pack of Mentos in a Coke bottle.

Exceeding your data cap: Most ISPs come with a one terabyte data cap, which tends to be more than enough for the average user. But if you’ve gone on a Steam spending spree and downloaded a bunch of new games, you might hit that cap and get charged for extra data.

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.

How much does internet cost per month?

We mentioned that your internet bill is affected by how fast your download speed is as well as what connection type you have. Let’s dig into that a little more to find the sweet spot for DSL, cable, fiber, and satellite internet at any speed.

Plus gigabit internet (1,000 Mbps), ‘cause who doesn’t want to surf the web at 1G speeds?

How much is DSL internet service?

The average monthly bill for DSL internet is $41.44.

That makes DSL a pretty cheap option, but remember the average takes speeds under 25 Mbps into account. So if you like to stream Hulu or game online, you might want to fork over more cash for a faster plan—DSL or not.

Price and speed ranges for DSL internet
ProviderMonthly priceDownload speedsLearn more
AT&T Internet$40$50*5100 MbpsView Plans
CenturyLink Internet$45$85101000 MbpsView Plans
Frontier High Speed Internet$20$606115 MbpsView Plans
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* For the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement.
New customers only. Rate requires paperless billing and excludes taxes. Additional fees apply.
Actual speeds may vary. Installation, equipment fees, taxes & other fees apply. Services subject to availability and all applicable terms and conditions.

You might be eyeing CenturyLink’s top-end speeds and prices here, but heads-up: that’s for the ISP’s fiber plans. 

Want to learn more about DSL internet? Check out our list of the best DSL providers.

How much is cable internet?

The average bill is $58.73 a month for anyone rocking cable internet.

That’s a bit higher than the average bill for DSL internet, but cable’s speeds far outpace DSL. So we think the extra cost is worth it.

Price and speed ranges for cable internet
ProviderMonthly priceDownload speedsLearn more
Cox Internet$19.99$99.99*101000 MbpsView Plans
Optimum Internet$44.99$64.99^200400 MbpsView Plans
Spectrum Internet$44.99$104.99^100940 MbpsView Plans
Suddenlink Internet$34.99$64.99^1001000 MbpsView Plans
Xfinity Internet$39.99$299.95°602000 MbpsView Plans
Xfinity Internet$34.99$299.95°252000 MbpsView Plans
Xfinity Internet$29.99$299.95°152000 MbpsView Plans
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* For the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement.
^ For the first 12 months.
° For the first 12 months. Some packages require a 1- or 2-year contract.

(Xfinity is listed here three times to show the differences between its three regions—Northeast, Central, and West.)

Most cable plans average out to $55 a month, give or take. The exception is Spectrum, but it’s that 940 Mbps plan that skews the curve with its high price tag.

We should note, though, that this average doesn’t take into account Xfinity’s redonkulous 2,000 Mbps plans because it’s really not available everywhere.

So let’s have some fun and throw that 2 Gbps Xfinity plan into the mix.

If we run the numbers again, Xfinity’s average price soars to $88.12 a month—which tugs the overall cable internet bill average up to $65.10. Yowza.

But hey, that’s still under the overall average monthly cost of internet in general.

Cable internet has a lot to offer, including wide availability and fast speeds. Find out which cable ISPs we named “the best” in our list of the top cable internet providers.

How much is fiber internet?

A quick look at fiber internet’s average monthly price of $77.85 gives us a hint about why the average cost of internet is about $72.

Price and speed ranges for fiber internet
ProviderMonthly priceDownload speedsLearn more
AT&T Fiber$50$90*1001000 MbpsView Plans
CenturyLink Internet$45$85101000 MbpsView Plans
Frontier FiOS Internet$29.99$199.99**501000 MbpsView Plans
Frontier Vantage Internet$29.99$199.99251000 MbpsView Plans
Verizon Fios$39.99$79.99††100Up to 940 MbpsView Plans
Verizon Fios$39.99$194.99††100500 MbpsView Plans
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* For the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement.
New customers only. Rate requires paperless billing and excludes taxes. Additional fees apply.
** 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.
Actual speeds may vary. Installation, equipment fees, taxes & other fees apply. Services subject to availability and all applicable terms and conditions.
†† With autopay for 1 yr, plus taxes, equip. charges & other fees

(Along with listing Verizon’s regional pricing, this table shows CenturyLink’s DSL prices and speeds as well as its fiber prices and speeds, by the way.)

But why does fiber cost so much more?

Well, for starters, the cost of building out fiber infrastructure is pretty pricey. It requires internet providers to dig trenches for fiber optic cables—a cost you may end up paying with your property taxes even if you don’t subscribe to fiber internet.2

But don’t freak out about fiber costs just yet. That high price comes with some sweet perks too.

Like symmetrical download and upload speeds, meaning your upload speed matches your download speed. This is a huge boon for anyone livestreaming, video conferencing, or uploading large files to the internet.

And don’t forget fiber internet’s speed performance and reliability. Seriously, folks, we can’t say it enough: if you want download speeds for days that don’t kick the bucket during peak usage hours, fiber’s the way to go.

Surprise, surprise: both AT&T Fiber and Verizon Fios made our list of the fastest internet providers.

How much is satellite internet?

Connecting to satellite internet costs Americans $97.08 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 choice.

Price and speed ranges for satellite internet
ProviderMonthly priceDownload speedsLearn more
HughesNet Internet$59.99$149.99‡‡25 MbpsView Plans
Viasat Internet$50$150^^12100 MbpsView Plans
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
‡‡ Requires 24 month agreement.
^^ For the first 3 months.

Currently, there are only two satellite ISPs, but we’re hoping new ventures like SpaceX and Amazon’s Project Kuiper can bring satellite internet prices down to a much more competitive rate.

. . . and boost satellite internet speeds up past 100 Mbps. Yes, please!

Which of these two satellite ISPs is best? HughesNet and Viasat duke it our in our best satellite ISPs comparison.

How much is gigabit internet?

If you’re feeling the need for one-gig speed, the average bill for gigabit internet is $104.54 a month.

But while certain ISPs pushed that average into the $100 range (ahem, Frontier and Spectrum!), others offer much more affordable 1,000 Mbps plans. Here’s to you, CenturyLink, Suddenlink, Verizon Fios, and Xfinity.

Prices for gigabit internet
ServicePlanPriceDownload speedDetails
AT&T FiberInternet 1000$90/mo.*1000 MbpsView Plan
CenturyLink InternetPrice for Life 1 Gbps$85/mo.1000 MbpsView Plans
Cox InternetCox Gigablast$99.99/mo.*1000 MbpsView Plan
Frontier Internet - FiOSSimply FiOS 1G/1G$199.99/mo.°°1000 MbpsView Plan
Frontier Internet - VantageVantage Fiber Simply 1G/1G$199.99/mo.°°1000 MbpsView Plans
Spectrum InternetSpectrum Internet GIG$104.99/mo.940 MbpsView Plan
Suddenlink InternetInternet 1 Gig$64.99/mo.^1000 MbpsView Plan
Verizon Internet - Fios GigFios Gigabit Connection$79.99/mo.***Up to 940 MbpsView Plan
Xfinity Internet - NortheastGigabit$89.99/mo.^1000 MbpsView Plan
Xfinity Internet - CentralGigabit$115/mo.†††1000 MbpsView Plan
Xfinity Internet - WestGigabit$70/mo.†††1000 MbpsView Plan
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* For the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement.
°° For the first 24 months.
^ For the first 12 months.
*** w/Auto Pay + taxes, & other fees.
††† For the first 24 months with a 2-year agreement.

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.

Recap: How much should you pay for internet?

So what’s the verdict? Is your internet bill under the average of $72 a month?

If not, remember that several factors (including some that are out of your control, like location) can affect your final bill.

We found that DSL internet is the cheapest option with an average bill of $41.44 a month—but depending on how you use the internet, paying more may be a-ok.

For example, let’s say your family does a lot of video streaming on YouTube, Hulu, and HBO NOW. 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.

The best ways to cut costs on your internet bill are the following:

  1. Figure out what speed you need.
  2. Compare pricing in your location.
  3. Call your ISP to negotiate your bill when your promotional price is up.

Get started on lowering your internet bill . . .

We found the cheapest ISPs overall.

READ OUR REVIEW

Compare internet plans near you.

Methodology

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

We took a look at plans and prices for 11 different well-known ISPs available across the US: AT&T, CenturyLink, Cox, Frontier, HughesNet, Optimum, Spectrum, Suddenlink, Verizon Fios, Viasat, and Xfinity.

To get the overall average for broadband internet, we added up the prices for all the plans offering speeds of 25 Mbps and faster and divided by the number of plans.

For all others, we added up the prices for all plans based on connection type or speed, including those offering speeds under 25 Mbps. We then divided by the total number of plans to get the average.

Sources

  1. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), “2015 Broadband Progress Report
  2. Yankee Institute for Public Policy, “5 Things to Know Before Your Town Installs Fiber Optic Internet Cable