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Last updated on Sep 16, 2020

The Best Internet Providers in 2020

Seven providers that speed by the competition 鈥

Heads up: Coverage and pricing vary.

Enter your ZIP code to find providers, plans, and prices in your area.

How We Found the Best Internet Service Providers

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25 months of research

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4 connection types

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10 IT experts interviewed

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We recommend products and services based on unbiased research from our editorial team. We make money via affiliate links, which means if you click a link on our site, we may earn a commission. Any commissions we receive do not affect our recommendations; if you want to know more about how that works, read more.

The Best Internet Providers In My Area

The best internet provider (ISP) for you depends on which companies are available in your area and how you鈥檒l be using the internet connection. The unfortunate truth of internet providers is that regional monopolies and natural topography prevent providers from being available everywhere.

We鈥檝e done individual reviews of the various internet types, but if you aren鈥檛 sure what鈥檚 best for you yet, we鈥檝e rounded up our favorites in each category below to help you find the best internet service.

The 7 Best Internet Service Providers

AT&T
Best for Customer service Fiber internet Satellite internet Cheap internet Bundling Business internet Fastest Top Speed
Connection type DSL, Fiber-Optic Fiber-Optic Satellite DSL, Fiber-Optic Cable, Fiber-Optic DSL, Fiber-Optic Fiber-Optic
Prices starting at $40/mo. $40/mo. $60/mo. $28/mo. $50/mo. $50/mo. $20/mo.
Download speeds (Mbps) DSL: 0.2-100 Fiber: 100-1,000 DSL: 0.5-15 Fiber: 100-940 25 DSL: 1-115 Fiber: 50-940 Cable: 100-940 DSL: 1.5-100 Fiber: 40- 1,000 Fiber: 15-2,000
Wi-Fi hotspot access
Month-to-month option
Data cap 1 TB Unlimited Varies Unlimited Unlimited 1 TB 1 TB
ASCI Score 69/100 (2nd) 70/100 (1st) NR 55/100 (9th) 59/100 (T-6th) 59/100 (T-6th) 61/100 (4th)

Data current as of Nov. 18, 2019

Why Trust This Review?

Reviews.com has been writing, researching, testing, and reviewing internet service for years. We鈥檝e talked with countless experts and developed over 60 internet guides, reviews, and comparisons.

We make all our recommendations purely based on independent investigation done by our research and editorial team.

Internet Service Provider Resources

AT&T 鈥 Best Customer Service

Best Customer Service
AT&T

AT&T Internet

Pros

Excellent customer service
Impressive speeds
Broad coverage

Cons

Price of fiber plans

AT&T 鈥 Best Customer Service consistently tops the charts for how it interacts with its customers: The company won J.D. Power鈥檚 award for the North Central region in 2016, 2017, and 2018, however, in 2019, the company lost its top spot to Comcast (XFINITY), but still managed to earn the top position for the West and South regions.

AT&T鈥檚 fiber-optic networks deliver incredibly fast internet speeds, climbing all the way up to 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) in some cities. This connection type is awesome for larger households with heavier internet activity, especially streaming.

If you鈥檙e not in an area that鈥檚 equipped with fiber-optic network lines, AT&T鈥檚 DSL is also a solid option for lighter internet usage and smaller households, delivering speeds all the way up to 100 Mbps, by far the fastest DSL option we found.

Its data limits are generous too, with up to 1TB (1,000 GB) on all plans. With AT&T you can rest assured you鈥檒l be receiving quality customer care and reliable speeds.

AT&T Availability

AT&T offers internet service in 21 states, with the greatest coverage in California, Texas, and Florida. If you live in Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, San Antonio, San Diego, or Dallas, AT&T is likely an option for your internet service. Its fiber-optic connections are mostly available in Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, and North Carolina.

Verizon 鈥 Best Fiber Internet

Best Fiber Internet Provider
Verizon

Verizon

Pros

Fast speeds
Two-year contract discounts
Excellent customer service

Cons

Availability
Expensive DSL plans

Verizon 鈥 Best Fiber Internet fiber service offers internet speeds from 100 Mbps to 940 Mbps. And the showed that Verizon鈥檚 actual speeds average more than what the company advertises 鈥 108% of advertised speeds, to be exact. This is great news for anyone who uses the internet for more data-intensive activities like video streaming, video conferencing, and online gaming.

Verizon Fios, in particular, excels at service for gamers: PCMag found that Verizon had faster, more consistent speeds than any of the providers on our list, and thus named the company one of the . Verizon has outranked all other providers since 2016 on the (ACSI), specifically with a 70/100 in 2019.

Unfortunately, Verizon Fios is only currently available in eight states and Washington D.C., servicing more than people in the Northeast. Granted, that鈥檚 the largest reach of any , but it still leaves out most of the country.

Verizon Availability

Verizon FiOS is only available in eight states: Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia 鈥 plus the District of Columbia. Verizon FiOS service is not available everywhere throughout these states, rather, service is mostly concentrated in highly populated urban areas and big cities.

Even its DSL service is fairly limited. If you live in a rural area outside of the East Coast, Verizon is unlikely to be an option for your internet service. You will have to provide an address in order to verify whether or not service is available in your area.

HughesNet 鈥 Best For Satellite Internet

Best Satellite Provider
HughesNet

HughesNet

Pros

Nationwide coverage
Fast speeds for satellite internet
Reasonable pricing

Cons

Data caps and speed limits
Low customer satisfaction

Though satellite is inherently slower than other types of internet, HughesNet 鈥 Best For Satellite Internet offers 25 Mbps with every plan. If that sounds low, know that Hughesnet tends to overdeliver, with a showing actual speeds close to double what the company advertises.

However, you鈥檒l have to choose your data limit. Most customers can choose from 10, 20, 30, or 50 GB of data per month. You鈥檒l need to choose wisely: Once your data allotment is up, your speeds will likely dip to 1 to 3 Mbps until the next billing cycle, too slow for anything but basic web browsing. The upside: There鈥檚 a free data zone between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. where your internet usage isn鈥檛 counted against your monthly allotment. HughesNet also offers an app to help you manage services and track how much data you鈥檝e used, so you鈥檙e never in the dark about how close you are to your cap.

HughesNet Availability

Because HughesNet is a satellite internet provider, it鈥檚 available virtually everywhere. It is available to an astounding in all 50 states, more than any other ISP in the country. No matter where you live, HughesNet is an option. It鈥檚 especially ideal for rural areas where other internet connection types aren鈥檛 available.

Frontier 鈥 Best for Cheap Internet

Best for Cheap Internet
Frontier

Frontier Communications

Pros

Affordable DSL plans
Free or low-cost equipment
Flexible contracts

Cons

Low customer satisfaction

If you鈥檙e looking for a bare-bones internet package, Frontier 鈥 Best for Cheap Internet has some of the cheapest plans we saw. For $27.99 per month, you can get the 6 Mbps plan, called Frontier Internet, which is enough to stream video and browse the web at the same time. Of course, you鈥檒l probably have issues if multiple devices are streaming at the same time, but for a smaller household, it鈥檚 a solid option and their only plan that offers a 鈥淧rice for Life鈥 option.

Frontier offers a no-contract option with all of its plans, a nice feature for anyone who might be moving or changing jobs soon. Most companies charge a hefty early termination fee or make you pay the remainder of your contract if you want to get out early. On top of that, Frontier鈥檚 no-contract plans still come with a two-year price lock, so you won鈥檛 suddenly have your rates hiked without warning.

Frontier Availability

Frontier internet can be found in . Its DSL service is particularly widespread, while its fiber-optic internet can mostly be found in the Pacific Northwest. Frontier鈥檚 strongest coverage areas are Tampa, Rochester, Saint Petersburg, Long Beach, Fort Wayne, Durham, and Lakeland. However, central states like Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, and South Dakota are dead areas for Frontier.

Spectrum 鈥 Best Cable Provider

Best Cable Internet Provider
Charter

Charter Spectrum

Pros

Fast speeds
Customer service
Generous contract buyout

Cons

Expensive internet-only plans
Short-term promotions

Spectrum 鈥 Best Cable Provider offers fasts speeds across the board: When we put in sample addresses on Spectrum鈥檚 website, we were never offered an internet plan that started at less than 60 Mbps. And with Charter Spectrum鈥檚 huge fiber coverage, many plans start at an incredibly fast 100 Mbps. That鈥檚 enough to stream 4K video on your smart TV, play 鈥淔ortnite鈥 on your PlayStation, and browse Twitter on your phone, all at the same time.

If you鈥檙e looking to leave your current internet provider, Spectrum offers an amazing contract buyout promotion for qualifying Triple Play packages (or limited double-play), covering early termination fees up to $500.

That Triple Play package also promises a free installation (normally $35), free DVR service ($13 per month), and free WiFi setup (typically $10). But Spectrum really wants you to bundle internet with TV service and phone service: It鈥檚 actually cheaper to sign up for all three, and you still get the same speeds.

Spectrum Availability

Spectrum is the second-largest cable internet provider, with high-speed internet service in . Spectrum鈥檚 coverage area greatly expanded after its merger with Time Warner Cable in 2016. Top areas served include Los Angeles, New York, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Saint Louis, and Orlando.

CenturyLink 鈥 Best For Businesses

Purchasing business internet comes with some unique considerations, most notably a Service Level Agreement (SLA). This contract ensures compensation and solutions for times when your internet goes down. For businesses, loss of internet can mean serious money and productivity loss, so an SLA should state satisfactory solutions for when the technology fails.

CenturyLink 鈥 Best For Businesses offers one of the most transparent SLA, detailing generous compensation for downtimes. For every 30 minutes your service is down, CenturyLink will credit you with one full day of internet service 鈥 that鈥檚 double the compensation of most other companies. CenturyLink offers two options for its contracts: either a two-year agreement (better for established businesses) or a month-to-month plan (better for growing businesses). You can also choose to bundle your service with TV, phone, voice, or home security 鈥 a one-stop-shop to outfit your office.

CenturyLink Availability

CenturyLink currently services . Unlike most of the other providers we feature, CenturyLink has a focus on the West Coast and North Central regions. Its most serviced areas are Las Vegas, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Denver, Tucson, Seattle, and Saint Paul. CenturyLink is also known for its presence in more rural areas, offering an additional DSL option to less populated places.

Comcast Xfinity 鈥 Fastest Max Speeds

Fastest Max Speeds
Comcast

Xfinity Internet

Pros

Reliably fast speeds
Wide range of plans
Generous data caps

Cons

Installation fees
Poor customer service

Comcast Xfinity 鈥 Fastest Max Speeds promises the fastest internet speeds we saw in our research, going all the way up to 2,000 Mbps (2 Gbps). This is probably well beyond overkill for most households 鈥 and it鈥檒l set you back $300 a month 鈥 but even if you opt for a more reasonable plan, Comcast has proven that it will meet whatever speeds you choose. Both and rated it one of the fastest internet service providers in their most recent rounds of testing.

Xfinity also has a ton of options for both its internet and cable TV packages. Cable internet plans start at 15 Mbps (usually for around $50), which is great for users who just need their connection for email and web browsing. Plans scale up to 2,000 Mbps, and most allow you to add basic cable for just $5. Just look out for extra fees: Like a lot of internet providers, Xfinity charges you an activation fee. The difference with Xfinity is that you鈥檙e the one doing the installing. You鈥檒l have to pay $15 for self-installation, which is seriously off-putting. The only way to have the fee waived is to bundle your TV and internet packages together.

Xfinity Availability

Comcast Xfinity serves about 111 million people in 39 states(plus Washington D.C.), making it the It tends to frequent urban areas and suburbs near cities. Xfinity鈥檚 top serviced areas are Houston, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, San Jose, and Denver. You鈥檒l find Xfinity along the East and West coasts and in many Southern cities, but those who live in Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, or Nebraska will have to look at other providers.

How We Chose the Best ISPs

The best high-speed internet service can be pretty objective, depending on what you prioritize. Your household’s internet needs and budget could dictate which provider you choose. We evaluated the most popular nationwide internet companies for a few key features.

  • Coverage. You might not have much of a choice when shopping for internet service. The reports that 129 million Americans (39% of the country) have access to only one broadband internet provider. We focused on the largest nationwide providers that are likely available to your address.
  • Speed. The has a minimum benchmark of 25 Mbps download speeds. We cut any company that didn鈥檛 offer speeds of at least 25 Mbps, enough for several people to be browsing at once. We generally favored providers with a variety of speed options for consumers.
  • Customer service. Internet providers generally have a reputation for poor customer service 鈥 frustrating phone calls, billing disputes, and service interruptions. The best provider will have a track record of keeping its customers happy. We used scoring metrics from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) and J.D. Power to measure a provider鈥檚 likelihood of offering high-quality customer service.

Internet Providers Near Me

Your internet options will vary widely depending on where you live. While many providers are available across the nation, some have stronger presence in specific regions. Satellite providers like HughesNet are available nearly anywhere and a solid fallback for many rural areas.

Here are the most popular providers in each region:

  • South: AT&T, Comcast Xfinity, Charter Spectrum, Cox Communications, Suddenlink, Frontier Communications, CenturyLink
  • North Central: AT&T, Comcast Xfinity, Frontier Communications, Charter Spectrum, CenturyLink
  • West: Comcast Xfinity, CenturyLink, Charter Spectrum, Cox Communications, AT&T, Mediacom, Frontier Communications
  • East: Verizon, Comcast Xfinity, Cox Communications, Optimum, Charter Spectrum, Frontier Communications

Guide to Internet Service Providers

Setting up your home with internet can be a lengthy process. We can help you understand what you鈥檒l need and how to navigate the purchasing process.

  • Check availability. The first step when shopping for internet is the easiest: Simply check which providers service your address. The list is likely short, and we recommend you consider smaller regional providers too. You can enter your address directly into a company鈥檚 site, ask your neighbors who they use, or utilize online search engines.
  • Gauge the speed you鈥檒l need. Once you find the providers near you, you鈥檒l have to choose a speed package. You鈥檒l need to account for the kind of internet activity and how many people are connecting. More demanding activities like streaming video or online gaming will require higher internet speeds. If you鈥檙e just web browsing or emailing, you won鈥檛 need as much. We consulted networking experts, compared online tools from ISPs, and used HighSpeedInternet.com to build a guide that will help you find the right internet speed for your household. Determine where you are on the range of light use to very heavy use, then match that to the number of connected devices in your home.
Number of Devices Light Use Moderate Use Heavy Use Very Heavy Use
1-3 devices 5-10 Mbps 15 Mbps 25 Mbps 50 Mbps
4-8 devices 15 Mbps 25 Mbps 50 Mbps 100 Mbps
8-10 devices 25 Mbps 50 Mbps 100 Mbps 150 Mbps
10+ devices 50 Mbps 100 Mbps 150 Mbps 200+ Mbps

Light use: emails, web browsing, social media, SD video streaming

Moderate use: music streaming, occasional online gaming, streaming HD video on one or two devices.

Heavy use: multiple devices streaming HD video simultaneously, real-time gaming, video conferencing.

Very heavy use: Multiple devices streaming HD or 4K video simultaneously, large file downloading, real-time gaming, video conferencing.

  • Determine data needs. In the context of internet, data usage refers to the amount of information you upload and download. Similar to a phone plan, there are limits on that monthly usage. Data caps can range from 10 GB to unlimited data. Higher-demanding activities will use more data. Light usage like emailing or web browsing will be comfortable with 50 GB, while a larger household that frequently streams will be more comfortable with data caps closer to 250 GB or 500 GB.

To check out our full speed analysis and fee comparison, read our full Guide to Internet Service Providers.

FAQ

What is Mbps?

Mbps stands for megabits per second and they are units used to measure internet speed, not to be confused with MBps which stands for megabytes per second and measures data capacity. Mbps measure the transfer rate, or as they鈥檙e more commonly known as, the upload and download speeds. The more Mbps you have, the faster your internet will be. (Eight megabits equals one megabyte.)

Is a credit check required for internet service?

No, but there are some companies like AT&T, HughesNet, and Xfinity require a credit check for their services, however most pre-paid and month-to-month options, from options like or Frontier鈥檚 no-contract option, do not. Some companies, like Spectrum do not run credit checks at all for their internet services and some companies, like Centurylink offer you the option to put down a $100 dollar deposit instead of running your credit.

Who is the cheapest?

Among our top picks, the cheapest monthly price for internet access is offered by Frontier Internet, which offers DSL for $28 per month for 6 Mbps, however if you鈥檙e looking for a bit more speed than that, Frontier also offers 25Mbps for $35 per month. However, we suggest taking a look at Xfinity鈥檚 promotional rates, where you can get up to 100 Mbps of speed for $35 per month.

More Internet Reviews

If you鈥檙e looking for something more specific, or want more detailed information on one provider, check out one of our related reviews.

About the Authors

Danika Miller

Danika Miller Internet & Entertainment Writer

Danika Miller has been writing for Reviews.com for three years, where she specializes in streaming, internet, and TV topics. She holds a bachelor鈥檚 degree in creative and technical writing from Western Washington University.