Cable & internet providers in 2020
This is largely due to the fact that the necessary infrastructure - coaxial cable - is already present in most households.
However, just what is cable internet? What makes it stand out from fiber-optic internet, DSL internet, or any other type of internet?
And most importantly - what's the best cable internet for you?
Take a look at our review of the best cable internet providers and we'll answer all your questions!
Best Cable Internet Provider: Spectrum
One of the cable internet providers we're sure you've heard of is Spectrum - and for a reason. Spectrum Internet offers solid coverage in a good chunk of the nation.
We've chosen Spectrum for the best cable internet provider. Here's why:
- Coverage - Check Spectrums coverage map to see if you're in one of the 24 states they cover.
- Buyout - Spectrum will buy out your old contract so you can switch to them. So if you're looking to switch and pair TV and phone with your internet Spectrum will cover your fees up to a certain amount.
- Improvements - Ever since Charter acquired Time Warner Spectrum and rebranded into Spectrum customer service has drastically improved.
- Promotions - Oftentimes Spectrum offers deals or sign-up bonuses. Just be sure to check the fine print.
But Spectrum isn't perfect. Here are some of Spectrums' downfalls.
- Bill Increases - Remember those promo deals we mentioned earlier? Oftentimes your promo price ends before your contract is up.
- Expensive - Spectrum is a pricier option than some other internet providers. So continue on if you're looking for a budget-friendly option.
Spectrum Internet Plans
|Spectrum Internet||100 Mbps||$44.99|
|Spectrum Internet Ultra||400 Mbps||$64.99|
Best Cheap Cable Internet Provider: Optimum
Optimum Internet is the choice for you if you're looking to save some dough. And that's not their only perk.
Optimum has lots to offer including:
- No Data Caps - Use your data whenever you want with their plans that are up to 400 Mbps.
- Bundling Options - Reduce your monthly bill by bundling with Optimum TV.
- Hotspots - Optimum can connect you to any of their millions of Wi-Fi hotspots so you can always be connected.
And now for the downside:
- Coverage - Optimum is only available in a small portion of the country. Check out our Optimum coverage map to see if they're available in your area.
Optimum Internet Plans
|Optimum Internet 200||200 Mbps||$44.99|
|Optimum Internet 300||300 Mbps||$54.99|
|Optimum Internet 400||400 Mbps||$64.99|
|Optimum Internet 1 GIG||1000 Mbps||$79.99|
Fastest Internet Provider: Cox
Cox cable internet is a good choice if you're looking for great speed options. With speeds up to 1000 Mbps they can cover everything from your minimal user to a small business.
Want to know more?
- Speed - Cox offers speeds up to 1000 Mbps. Crazy right?
- Plans for every budget - Cox offers basic plans that can save minimal users tons of money per year.
- Bundles - Cox takes it a step further. In addition to bundling internet, TV, and home phone you can also add a home security system with Cox.
However, there is a downside:
- Price - Cox prices are a bit high so if you want anything above their 10 Mbps you may want to compare prices to other providers in your area.
- Data Checks - Cox charges you a fee if you go over your set data limit.
Cox Internet Plans
|Cox Internet Starter 10||10 Mbps||$29.99|
|Cox Internet Essential 30||30 Mbps||$39.99|
|Cox Internet Preferred 150||150 Mbps||$59.99|
|Cox Internet Ultimate||300 Mbps||$79.99|
|Cox Internet Gigablast||940 Mbps||$99.99|
Best Internet Bundle Deal: XFINITY
They also offer:
- Speed - With speeds up to 1000 Mbps it's hard to imagine not finding a plan for you.
- X1 DVR - Access Netflix and YouTube just like you would with any smart TV.
- Availability - XFINITY covers a huge chunk of the US.
- Price - XFINITY's plans are among the most competitive in terms of price.
- Hotspots - XFINITY has millions of hotspots across the country.
It's hard to imagine a downfall to this network. There are a few things you should be aware of, however.
- Data Caps - XFINITY will charge you if you go over your allotted data.
XFINITY Internet Plans
|Xfinity Peformance Starter+ Internet||25 Mbps||$29.99|
|Xfinity Performance Select Internet||100 Mbps||$34.99|
|Xfinity Performance Pro+ Internet||200 Mbps||$49.99|
|Xfinity Blast! Pro+ Internet||300 Mbps||$64.99|
|Xfinity Extreme Pro+ Internet||600 Mbps||$74.99|
Key Considerations When Choosing a Cable Internet Provider
Internet providers frequently advertise deals and offers, however finding information in the fine print is still quite a task. Before frantically looking for the right provider it's best to figure out what you want out of your provider.
So ask yourself:
- What providers cover your area? You can use our availability checker to search for internet providers by zip code.
- What type of connection are you looking for? Are you looking for cable internet, fiber-optic, DSL or satellite internet?
- What's more important: Price or Speed? Unfortunately, oftentimes you have to choose.
Cable Internet Benefits
There are several benefits to having cable internet connectivity.
- Convenience - If you're one of the vast majority of households with existing cable service, it's fairly simple to add the internet because the wiring is already in place, for the most part. All you really need is to have a cable modem installed and your service activated.
- Connection Quality - Wired connections in general naturally offer better and more reliable quality than, say, mobile broadband or satellite internet. Environmental factors such as weather do not cause interruptions in data transmission.
- Speed - The vast majority of DSL connections max out at between 15 and 20Mbps. Satellite internet is even slower, at a maximum of 10 - 15Mbps download speed. Cable internet speed can be affected by certain factors, however, which I will cover later in this guide. No matter which plans you have, cable internet upload speeds are always significantly slower than download. Upload speeds range between under 1Mbps and 5 - 8Mbps.
High-speed internet providers are increasingly using FTTN (fiber to the node, or fiber to the neighborhood) to increase the speed of their cable internet offerings. This means they're installing fiber optics from the hub to the street, which gives you faster speeds even though the wiring to your home is still via coaxial cable.
How Does Cable Internet Compare?
With several different options for the internet available today - from dial-up to fiber optic internet - it can be difficult to decide which choice is best for your household.
If you live in an area with cable television and high-speed internet access, this type of service is no doubt a strong contender on your list of possible internet connectivity methods. Yet you may still not be sure if this option is right for you.
A lot of wireless connectivity is supported by Multimedia over Coax Alliance, otherwise known as MoCA. MoCA is an open, industry standards organization with applications in-home network. MoCA technology, established in 2004, is the fastest and most reliable in-home backbone for Wi-Fi. How does it work?
Well, MoCA technology is a protocol that allows the distribution of content over existing in-home coax TV cabling. The main function of MoCA tech is to guarantee the delivery of packets to their destination. You can learn more with the MoCA organization FAQ.
When it comes to the question of a DSL vs cable may still tip toward cable internet on certain fronts. Particularly of note is the fact that DSL internet connection data allowances are much smaller than those offered by cable internet providers.
Even though other technologies like fiber optics and G.fast Gigabit-capable DSL are gradually moving into the consumer internet landscape, cable internet isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
Don't forget to use our zip code checker to find the best internet providers in your area.
Cable Internet is fast enough for the typical household. It provides a convenient and affordable way for the whole family to enjoy their online activities. You can also check out our buyers guide to the best Internet providers.
For some tips and strategies to secure a great deal on an Internet service package, consult our How-To guide to finding the best Internet deals.