What Is High-Speed Internet?

Chyelle Dvorak
May 09, 2024
Icon Time To Read3 min read

If you try Googling what is high-speed internet, you’ll likely come across the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) definition right away: anything above 25 Mbps. If you stopped to question that, you’re not alone.

Here’s something to keep in mind: the FCC came out with that definition back in 2015. As technology continues to grow, internet speeds easily reach new heights (anywhere between 100 and 1 Gbps). We’ll answer your questions about what high-speed internet is and how it works.

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Quick look: The 5 fastest large internet providers in the US

Monthly price
Download speeds
Learn more
Google Fiber$70-$150*1000-8000 Mbps
Verizon Fios Home Internet$49.99-$89.99300-2300 Mbps
MetroNet$29.95-$69.9100-1000 Mbps
Xfinity Internet$19.99-$120^75-2000 Mbps
Optimum Internet$30-$265°20-8000 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 per month with Auto Pay & without select 5G mobile plans. Fios plan prices include taxes & fees
Offers available to new residential customers only and may not be combined with other offers. MetroNet reserves the right to revoke or modify offers at any time. Taxes, fees, and other terms apply.
^ Pricing for some packages are for the first 12 months. Some packages require a 1- or 2-year contract.
° Prices w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill. Terms apply. Not available in all areas.

What is high-speed internet?

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High-speed internet is really as simple as it sounds: super-fast Wi-Fi. Right now, internet speed is more important than ever before. The average American spends six hours and 58 minutes per day online, and with so many people still working from home, that number is steadily increasing. A normal internet speed ranges between 12Mbps and 25Mbps. The faster the internet is, the higher the Mbps. High-speed internet is considered to be anything higher than 25Mbps.

High-speed internet doesn't mean greater bandwidth

But before you start thinking, the faster the internet, the easier the connection; here’s one clarification: faster internet just means that your device responds faster to your commands. When you click a link, the page is more likely to load, and you won’t sit staring at the spinning circle of doom for minutes on end.

Faster internet does not mean that more devices can connect to the Wi-Fi at once. If you want to connect your tablet, phone, laptop, thermostat, and refrigerator, then you’ll want greater bandwidth. Bandwidth is what allows you to have more devices working at the same time.

Do I need high-speed internet?

Typically, an internet speed of 100 to 200 Mbps and above is really good, especially for gamers and streaming videos. You’ll still be able to play Call of Duty: War Zone (with several people in the same house) without any issues.

If you’re working from home and spending a few hours in Zoom or Microsoft Teams meetings, fast internet is a huge plus. You’re less likely to run into quality issues. Ever experience a meeting when the video itself lags but you still hear the audio from the call? It’s usually due to a slow internet connection.

If you have multiple people or multiple devices using your internet, it's a good idea to consider high-speed internet.

Here’s a chart for what you can do at various connection speeds, and we’ve got more recommendations in our guide to how much internet speed you need.

The speeds you need for online activities


50–100 Mbps

Streaming HD and 4K video, streaming music, gaming, working from home, using home security devices

100–200 Mbps

Streaming 4K video, gaming, running a home office, using home security and smart home devices

200 Mbps and above

Running a home office or creative profession, streaming in 4K, gaming, using home security and smart home devices

When choosing the best Wi-Fi speed for you, think about how you use your connection. Someone who only checks email at home won’t need ultra-fast speed like the professional gamer. Narrow down what you use the internet for.

Keep in mind that whether you’re using 400 Mbps or 900 Mbps, most people in a normal home setting won’t notice a difference. Once you get above 200 to 300 Mbps, your Wi-Fi should be fast enough for every device in your house. However, it is likely you’ll notice a change when you go from using 50 Mbps to 200 Mbps.

How much does high-speed internet cost?

There are tons of internet service providers (ISPs) around, and they all offer different high-speed internet plans. Usually, the higher the speed, the more expensive the plan. Here’s a chart of a few common ISPs and their prices:

Prices for the 5 best internet providers in the US

Monthly price
Download speeds
Connection Type
Learn more
Xfinity Internet$19.99-$120^75-2000 MbpsCable/Fiber
Verizon Fios Home Internet$49.99-$89.99300-2300 MbpsFiber
CenturyLink Internet$50-$75**100-940 MbpsDSL/Fiber
AT&T Fiber$55-$225††300-5000 MbpsFiber
Viasat Internet$69.99-$299.99‡‡12-100 MbpsSatellite
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
^ Pricing for some packages are for the first 12 months. Some packages require a 1- or 2-year contract.
Price per month with Auto Pay & without select 5G mobile plans. Fios plan prices include taxes & fees
** Speed may not be available in your area. Paperless billing or prepay required. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply.
†† Price after $5/mo Autopay & Paperless bill discount (w/in 2 bills). Plus taxes $ fees. Limited availability. May not be available in your area.
‡‡ 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 $12.99/mo. Taxes apply. Service is not available in all areas. Offer may be changed or withdrawn at any time.

It’s important to pay attention to the connection type. That lets you know what kind of internet you’re using. Satellite, cable, DSL, and others are all considered high-speed internet. Cable internet is usually not as expensive as satellite internet. You can also learn more about the fastest internet providers available. 

What hardware do I need for high speed internet?

The equipment really depends on the type of web connection you have. Remember, high-speed internet comes in all different forms (satellite, DSL, cable, etc.). If you have cable, then you need to have a DOCSIS modem. For satellite connection, there’s a dish receiver. Long story short, there’s no one-size-fits-all for high speed internet. It really depends on your connection type.

If you want to know more about what high-speed connections are available, check out this article about the best internet service providers. If you’d like to check individual reviews for Spectrum internet, Xfinity, or Verizon Fios Home Internet, we’ve got more info on those as well.

Now that you know about high-speed internet, check these out next.
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Chyelle Dvorak
Written by
Chyelle Dvorak
Chyelle works as a freelance writer for The Daily Beast and edited articles for Forbes, Inc.com, Fox News and other review sites. Chyelle tests, writes, and researches products and services related to internet consumption. She found her passion for public speaking and writing in her childhood when she won the Voice of Democracy speech and essay competition. Chyelle has a degree in International Relations from Crown College, Minnesota. Outside of work, Chyelle loves to spend time reading, kayaking, and running.

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