How Much Is Internet?

Catherine McNally
Editorial Lead, Internet & Gaming
Read More
Published on December 08, 2020
6 min read

On average, Americans can expect to spend around $57 on internet each month—but that number varies a lot depending on your connection type.

That's down from $72 a month on average in November 2019. Here's what the average monthly cost looks like when you break it down by connection type:

  • DSL: $50/mo. ($43/mo. in 2019)
  • Cable: $52/mo. ($58/mo. in 2019)
  • Fiber: $59/mo. ($56/mo. in 2019)
  • Satellite: $123/mo. ($91/mo. in 2019)

And while your connection type does affect how much you pay for internet, other features like data caps and download speeds can throw your bill for a loop too. Not to mention your location.

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 $57.25 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.

What does “broadband” mean?
Info Box

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 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: 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 1 TB data cap or thereabouts, 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 1 Gbps speeds?

How much is DSL internet service?

The average monthly bill for DSL internet is $49.50.

That's not a huge jump in average price, but as DSL infrastructures age, we wouldn't be surprised to see DSL internet cost more. Some ISPs, like AT&T, are even discontinuing their DSL internet service. That's unfortunate, because many of us still have DSL as our only internet option.

DSL internet providers in the US
Provider
Monthly price
Download speeds
Connection Type
CenturyLink Internet$50$65*100940 MbpsDSL/Fiber
Earthlink Internet$49.95$99.9531000 MbpsDSL/Fiber
Frontier High Speed Internet$32.996 MbpsDSL
Windstream Internet$27$85^251000 MbpsDSL/Fiber
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* New customers only. Rate requires paperless billing and excludes taxes. Additional fees apply.
With a 12 month contract.
Actual speeds may vary. Installation, equipment fees, taxes & other fees apply. Services subject to availability and all applicable terms and conditions.
^ For the first 12 months.

You might be eyeing CenturyLink’s, EarthLink's, and Windstream's top-end speeds and prices here, but heads-up: those are for their fiber plans. And remember, we didn't include prices for any internet plans that fall below the 25 Mbps threshold in our averages.

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 $52.34 a month 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.

Cable internet providers
Provider
Monthly price
Download speeds
Connection Type
Buckeye Internet$19.99$99.99°25400 MbpsCable
Cox Internet$19.99$109.99**25940 MbpsCable
Grande Cable Internet$24.99$54.99^50940 MbpsCable/Fiber
Mediacom Internet$49.99$99.99^1001000 MbpsCable
Optimum Internet$29.99$79.99††100940 MbpsCable
RCN Internet$19.99$59.99^501000 MbpsCable
Sparklight Internet$39$125‡‡1001000 MbpsCable
Spectrum Internet®$49.99$109.99^2001000 MbpsCable
Suddenlink Internet$24.99$74.99††75940 MbpsCable
WOW! Internet$19.99$99.99^^1001000 MbpsCable
Xfinity Internet$19.99$94.99°°501200 MbpsCable/Fiber
Data as of 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Data effective 11/19/18. 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 plans average out between $55 to $60 a month, give or take. The exception is Spectrum, Sparklight, and Cox's gig plans that skew the curve with high price tags.

We should note, too, that this average doesn’t take into account Xfinity’s redonkulous 2,000 Mbps plans because it’s really not available everywhere. And it excludes any cable internet plans that don't meet the 25 Mbps minimum speed for broadband internet.

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?

Fiber internet costs average out to $58.71 a month. That's pretty close to the monthly average cost of cable internet, which we're happy to hear. Now we just need fiber networks to expand across the US so everyone can enjoy its benefits.

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

Fiber internet providers
Provider
Monthly price
Download speeds
Connection Type
AT&T Fiber$35$60***300940 MbpsFiber
Frontier FiberOptic Internet$49.99$74.99†††500940 MbpsFiber
Google Fiber$70$100‡‡‡10002000 MbpsFiber
MetroNet$25.7$168.49^^^1001000 MbpsFiber
Verizon Fios Home Internet°°°Fiber
Ziply Fiber$20$60****301000 MbpsFiber
Data as of 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Data effective 11/19/18. 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.
^^^ Plus taxes and fees.
°°° w/Auto Pay + taxes. Equipment charges may apply.
**** For 12 months.

The average cost of fiber internet keeps dropping, and that's great news for anyone who lives in an area where fiber is available. For the rest of us, well, we hope fiber expands to other parts of the US soon.

This drop in cost is surprising, though, because 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

And we're ecstatic over a lower price for fiber because it comes with reliably fast speeds. 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 Google Fiber and Verizon Fios Home Internet topped our list of the fastest internet providers.

How much is satellite internet?

Connecting to satellite internet costs Americans $122.50 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 providers in the US
Provider
Monthly price
Download speeds
Connection Type
HughesNet Internet$59.99$149.99††††25 MbpsSatellite
Viasat Internet$30$169.99‡‡‡‡12100 MbpsSatellite
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 $72.34 a month.

We're seeing more affordable gig- and near-gig-speeds across the board, which is great news because back in November 2019, the average monthly price for launching yourself into the internet at close to 1,000 Mbps was about $100.

Some of our favorite ISPs when it comes to fast speeds at low prices include AT&T Fiber, CenturyLink, Verizon Fios Home Internet, and Xfinity.

Prices for gigabit internet
Service
Plan
Price
Download speed
Connection type
AT&T FiberAT&T Internet 1000$60/mo.^^^^940 MbpsFiber
CenturyLink InternetCenturyLink Fiber Internet$65°°°°940 MbpsFiber
Google FiberGoogle Fiber 1000$701000 MbpsFiber
Grande Cable InternetPower 1000$69.99^940 MbpsFiber
MetroNet1Gb/1Gb$69.951000 MbpsFiber
RCN Internet - ChicagoGig Internet$54.99940 MbpsCable
Verizon Internet - Fios GigFios Gigabit Connection$79.99/mo.Up to 940 MbpsFiber
Windstream InternetKinetic Gig$571000 MbpsFiber
Xfinity Internet - WestGigabit$94.991200 MbpsFiber
Ziply FiberInternet Gig$601000 MbpsFiber
Data as of 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
^^^^ Ltd. avail/areas for 12 mos, plus taxes & equip. fee. Autopay & Paperless Bill req'd. $10/mo equip. fee applies
°°°° 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.
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.
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.
*Experienced speeds may vary. *All prices exclude taxes, surcharges, fees and equipment. At the end of your promotional period, standard rates apply.
w/ Auto Pay + taxes.
For the first 12 months. Price includes $18.00 promotional credit.
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.

Recap: How much should you pay for internet?

So what’s the verdict? Is your internet bill under the average of $57 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 $49.50 a month—but depending on how you use the internet, paying more may be A-okay.

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. Along with paying only for the speed you need, we've got more tips for lowering your internet bill if yours is getting out of hand.

Now that you know more about the best ISPs in the US, check these out next.
Compare internet plans 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, Grande Communications, HughesNet, Mediacom, MetroNet, Optimum, RCN, Sparklight, Spectrum, Suddenlink, Verizon Fios Home Internet, Viasat, Windstream, WOW! Internet, Xfinity, and Ziply Fiber.

To get the overall average for broadband internet and each connection, we added up the promotional prices for all the plans offering speeds of 25 Mbps and faster and divided by the number of plans. We did not use promotional pricing for Viasat since its promotional period is so short (three months).

Sources

  1. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), “2015 Broadband Progress Report,” February 2015. Accessed December 8, 2020.
  2. Marc E. Fitch, Yankee Institute for Public Policy, “5 Things to Know Before Your Town Installs Fiber Optic Internet Cable,” August 2016. Accessed December 8, 2020.
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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