An internet connection that is reliable and strong at home is essential these days, particularly with the increase in remote work seems to be keeping around despite coronavirus restrictions. It’s now more important than ever that you understand the best internet service providers and their internet service available to you and choose the right provider for your job.
Finding an ISP that is right for you can be difficult. This is especially important if you live in rural areas with few options to get online. We spent months evaluating the best internet providers in America, including big names like Comcast and Verizon as well as smaller guys like rising Broadband or WideOpenWest.We aim to sort through the sales pitches and claims to place each provider in context to give you all the information. You need to choose which internet provider is the best to plan for your home.
We’ve reviewed over 20 ISPs to date. You can expect us to continue our coverage of the category through the holiday season in 2022. Here are the top internet service providers that we recommend.
List of Best Internet Service Providers
1. AT&T – Best fiber provider
We like to compare the cost per megabit per sec of download speed as a measure of value. A lower cost per megabit per second of download speed is a good indicator of value. With AT&T’s fiber internet plans the average cost per gigabit per second is only 10 cents. This includes equipment rental.
You can compare this to the average fiber internet plan from Verizon, which will run you 12 cents per megabit. A fiber plan from CenturyLink, on the other hand, will run you 17 cents each megabit. Typically, cable internet plans with names such as Spectrum or Comcast Xfinity will cost at least 25 cents per Mbps. maybe more.
All this is to say that AT&T fiber plans are an excellent value, especially as they don’t come with data caps or contracts. AT&T has been ranked first in customer satisfaction by J.D. Power. Its DSL and fixed-wire plans are less impressive than those of the telecom giant. But if AT&T fiber can be found at your address, you should consider yourself lucky, Because there is no reason to think of anything else.
2. Charter Spectrum – Best cable internet provider
You will get more bang for your buck when you use the best fiber internet service providers such as AT&T. But if fiber is not an option, a Cable connection is the best thing. Spectrum is my favorite and best internet service provider of cable internet service.
Although Spectrum is not the most well-known name in cable internet, that would be Comcast Xfinity, it offers service to more than 100 million Americans thanks to Charter’s purchase of Time Warner’s internet infrastructure in 2016. Spectrum does not impose a data cap like Cox or its main rival, Comcast, but it will not tie you down to any long-term contract.
Spectrum’s pricing and terms are simple, understandable, and easy to live by. The average Spectrum plan has a lower cost per Mbps than either Comcast or Cox. Although it isn’t the most value in cable, Spectrum is the best choice for home cable internet, but you can get into the details.
3. Rise Broadband – Best rural internet provider
You may find it difficult to find an internet plan that suits your needs in rural areas. This is because the majority of the best infrastructure in the country is located in densely populated cities and the suburbs surrounding them. If your home isn’t wired to fiber or cable, it may not be wired at all. You’ll have to accept slower, less reliable, and more expensive technologies, You’ll probably have fewer choices for the best internet service providers.
With any rural ISP, you will need to accept the negatives. However, Rise Broadband is our top choice for getting online when the slower cable or fiber plans are not an option. Rise Broadband, a fixed wireless provider that covers most of the country’s middle, beams an internet signal directly from your home to an antenna outside, allowing for download speeds up to 50Mbps. This is twice the speed of a satellite internet service from HughesNet and much faster than many DSL plans that often struggle to exceed double-digit download speeds. Rise’s 250GB data limit is significantly more than what you will get with rural internet plans. Plans with unlimited data are only $10 per month.
4. Verizon – Best customer care
AT&T tied Verizon in 2021 for the top spot on the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s ranking of internet providers. But Verizon had held that position for many years and has been one of J.D.’s strongest finishers. The power for many years.
What are people most impressed by Verizon? First, Verizon’s DSL service doesn’t offer anything extraordinary, but most customers in its eight-state coverage area in the northeast have access to Verizon Fios fiber service that can deliver gigabit speeds and uploads as fast as downloads. Verizon plans do not come with data caps or contracts, and your price will not automatically increase after a year as it does with other providers.
In 2022, Verizon made headlines by expanding its 5G Home Internet service providers available to around 900 cities. This is a positive development for consumers considering the need for better internet options in the country.
5. WideOpenWest – Best value
WideOpenWest, or WOW, is a small provider that provides services in nine states. However, it enjoys the exclamation mark it uses to keep its branding intact by offering cable internet plans at some of the most affordable prices anywhere in the US. This includes a 100Mbps entry-level plan starting at $20 per month ($40 per month after the first year) and a gigabit high-speed plan starting at $65 per month. Even though the plan’s price jumps to $75 per month in year 2, it still costs only 8 cents per Mbps, which is unprecedented in the cable.
WOW does not impose data caps or contracts on any of its plans. It also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee upon signing up. You can cancel your account at any time without penalty if you aren’t happy with the plan. It’s as strong as ISP sales pitches can get. I only wish it had a larger footprint.
6. CenturyLink – Worth a look if fiber is available
CenturyLink offers DSL internet services in 37 states. However, roughly half the coverage area has access to CenturyLink fiber plans, known as Quantum Fiber. The “Quantum” part is meaningless. However, the plans are a great value — $50 per month for matching upload/download speeds of 200Mbps (about 25c per Mbps) or $65 for a gigabit plan with matching download speeds of 940Mbps (9 cents per Mb), which is a better deal than AT&T. These plans don’t have data caps or contracts, and prices don’t rise arbitrarily after a year.
CenturyLink’s DSL speeds can be slower and vary from one address to another, but at $50 per month, the pricing seems fair by DSL standards. The best part is that the DSL plans include a Price for Life guarantee. This guarantees that your rate will remain unchanged for as long you are a customer. A plan like this might be worth looking into if you don’t have any faster internet access at your location. However, CenturyLink fiber service is available in your area so signing up is a simple matter.
7. Comcast Xfinity
Comcast is the largest cable company. The company offers its Xfinity internet service, which is available to more than 100 million Americans — more than a third of the country. There are many plans and packages available to subscribers, including plans that offer download speeds up to 1,200Mbps. These plans can be used across most of the country’s extensive coverage area. J.D. consistently rates Comcast Xfinity as a top-rated provider of customer satisfaction. Power and the American Customer Satisfaction Index.
However, the best doesn’t always mean the most. The Spectrum and WOW cable internet plans offer slightly higher prices than other Comcast plans. Additionally, none of these three plans have a data cap. Comcast caps your monthly data usage at 1.5TB. Penalties will be imposed if you exceed that limit in any given month. You can live with it, but Xfinity home Internet is more of an honorable mention rather than a top pick.
8. Google Fiber
Since Google announced its intention to bring fiber internet service in select areas of the country, it has been more than a decade. It’s been a rough ride since. Google failed to expand the service beyond the initial 11 metro areas and then halted its efforts in 2016. This disappointment was felt across many cities where it had promised future fiber expansions.
Google isn’t giving up. The company continues to work to expand fiber access in select areas. Recently, plans were launched that offer speeds up to 2 gigabits/second for $100/month. These plans are available in Atlanta and Huntsville as well as Provo, Raleigh/Durham, Orange County, Provo, Nashville, Huntsville, Nashville, and Orange County. If you reside in one of these cities and Google Fiber is available at your address, you should take a look. It’s one of the best deals for such a fast connection.
9. Viasat – Best if you’re stuck with satellite
Satellite internet can be slow, glitchy, and temperamental in bad weather. I would recommend exploring all options. The problem is that too many don’t have any other options. Satellite internet from established companies like Viasat or HughesNet can be found almost anywhere.
If it comes down between these two, I would start with Viasat. Why? Hughesnet limits the maximum download speed to 25Mbps. This is the bare minimum definition of broadband. Viasat offers satellite speeds up to 100Mbps in certain regions. These speeds will improve with Viasat’s new satellite hardware. Viasat offers slightly higher data caps than HughesNet.
Viasat’s internet service provider has some aspects that are more at home on a worst than the best list. Your monthly bill will go up in 3 months. Some plans have a $50 increase. A two-year contract is required, which can lead to severe penalties if you cancel your agreement early. You should shop around for better options in your local area. However, if they aren’t available (and you can bear the high prices), Viasat may be a viable option for remote areas of the country.
10. Ziply Fiber – Off to a good start
Ziply, a relative newcomer to fiber optics after Frontier acquired fiber-optic infrastructure throughout the Pacific Northwest. The service launched last year amid the pandemic and offers relatively affordable fiber plans for customers in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington.
Ziply’s plans are currently limited, with no middle ground options between 100Mbps and 1,000Mbps speed tiers. However, Ziply offers great value and reasonable terms. Ziply doesn’t impose credit checks, data caps, contracts, or credit checks on any of its plans. Ziply currently includes whole-home Wi-Fi with up to 3 extenders in its $10 modem rental fees. This is a great deal for anyone who wants to try the benefits of a mesh network. Ziply will grow and we will keep an eye on it, but so far we are happy with what we see.
Which is the best way to get online for the lowest price?
It depends. We are not helpful for choose the best internet service providers but we know what you mean.
The government’s AffordableConnectivity Program is one of the most affordable ways to get internet service. This is a long-term subsidy that helps qualifying households to receive $30 per month (or $75 for those living on Tribal lands). Other permanent programs are available for low-income families as well as seniors, and students.
To get a lower broadband rate, you could also try negotiating with your current internet service provider. You can also keep an eye out for broadband offers and other internet promotions each month.
Which internet service provider is the fastest right now?
It’s not uncommon to find gigabit plans offered almost by all major ISPs. However, your exact location and address will determine the best internet service provider for you. Xfinity is one of the most popular providers. It offers a 1,200Mbps gigabit service, which is much faster than the 940Mbps offered by other providers. However, it does not offer a 3,000Mbps “Gigabit pro” plan. This plan is more limited and requires a site survey in order to guarantee serviceability.
Ziply Fiber just announced this January that it will be rolling out 5- and 2-gig plans for approximately 170,000 homes in Northwest. AT&T also unveiled its multi-gig tiers a week later. They are now available in more than 70 cities across the nation. This speed race between providers is just the beginning.
What internet speed is required?
Broadband speed is defined by the Federal Communications Commission as a minimum 25Mbps download speed and a maximum 3Mbps upload speed. However, this definition is outdated. Although most providers offer gigabit plans, most households won’t require that much speed.
The Q22021 report by OpenVault shows that the average American household uses 231Mbps download speed (though almost 70% of households receive less than 200Mbps) as well as 17Mbps upload. Is that a sign that you won’t need as much? Not necessarily. It all depends on how many people use the internet at your house and what activities they are doing.