The best internet providers in December
Selecting the best internet provider in your area may seem like a daunting task if you're not familiar with the features each one offers.
In addition, you may only have a choice of one or two internet providers available at your address, which means it's even more important to be able to evaluate the available packages.
As technology advances, new types of connections become available, such as fiber optic internet. In this guide to broadband internet and more, I'll give you tips and information that will help you choose the right internet service for your household.
Quickly and easily find out which internet companies operate in your area by entering your ZIP code into our convenient ZIP code checker tool. Get information on speeds, packages, and pricing, all with the click of a button.
Best cable internet provider
- 400 Mbps
- Monthly Price
Spectrum Internet Only Plans
Spectrum TV Plans
Spectrum Triple Play Bundles
Triple Play Select
Triple Play Silver
Triple Play Gold
No data caps
One-hour installation appointment window
Plenty of bundles
Mediocre customer service ratings
Pricier than some competitors
High speed wireless network away from home with wi-fi hotspots
24/7 Tech support
30 Day Money Back Guarantee
Unlimited download available
No contract required
Spectrum (formerly Charter), is well known across the country - and for good reason. Their internet plans start at 200 Mbps and they also offer fiber coverage.
We've chosen Spectrum for best internet cable provider. Here's why:
- Large Coverage - Spectrum covers 24 of the 50 states. Check our coverage map to see if they're available in your area.
- Contract Buyout - Spectrum offers an awesome contract buyout promotion for qualifying packages. That means if you're looking to pair TV and phone with your internet Spectrum will cover your fees up to a certain amount.
- Improvements - Since charter acquired Time Warner Spectrum, customer service has drastically improved.
- Promotions - Oftentimes Spectrum offers deals or sign-up bonuses that can help you out for up to a year.
You've heard the ups but we all know every provider has its downs:
- Bill Increases - Remember those promo deals we mentioned? Keep in mind that they do end and oftentimes when your contract is still in play. Additionally, customers often say that their prices increase the longer you stay with them.
- Expensive - Spectrum isn't exactly known for the best provider for consumers on a budget. While their promo deals can be tempting you'll want to make sure of what the price will be when they end and factor that into your budget.
Spectrum internet plans & prices
|Spectrum Internet||400 Mbps||$49.99|
Best fiber internet provider
- 200-940 Mbps
- Monthly Price
Verizon FiOS Internet Only Plans
Fios Internet 200 Mbps
Fios Internet 400 Mbps
Fios Gigabit Internet
Verizon FiOS TV Plans
Your Fios TV
More FIos TV
The Most Fios TV
Verizon FiOS Landline Plans
Fios Digital Voice
Verizon FiOS Triple Play Bundles
Your Fios TV + Internet 200 + Digital Voice
More Fios TV + Internet 200 + Digital Voice
The Most Fios TV + Internet 200 + Digital Voice
100% fiber network
Speed options up to Gigabit
Equal upload and download speeds
Good customer service reputation
More expensive than competitors
Service is run on 100% fiber optic network
No annual contracts
Plans with speeds up to Gigabit
Fast upload and download speeds
Live online chat support
24/7 Facebook messenger support
- FiOS has Speed - Verizon FiOS offers speed up to 940 Mbps. This works well for high-streaming households, gaming households, or even a small business.
- Customer Service - Verizon has the best customer service rating amongst all other providers.
- Discounts - Like most providers, Verizon FiOS offers promo discounts for new users. And unlike Spectrum, the longer you commit, the better the deal.
Sounds great right? Now here is the downside:
- Coverage - Verizon FiOS is only available in nine states. Check out our coverage map of Verizon FiOS to see if it's available in your area.
Verizon FiOS internet plans & prices
|Verizon FiOS Fios Internet 200 Mbps||200 Mbps||$39.99|
|Verizon FiOS Fios Internet 400 Mbps||400 Mbps||$59.99|
|Verizon FiOS Fios Gigabit Internet||940 Mbps||$79.99|
Best DSL internet provider
- 100-1,000 Mbps
- Monthly Price
AT&T Internet Only Plans
AT&T TV Plans
AT&T Triple Play Bundles
Internet + Entertainment + Phone
Internet + Choice + Phone
Internet + Ultimate + Phone
Flexible bundling options
Quickly expanding fiber network
DSL service available
Extensive rural availability
Rate hike after the first year
Fiber optic availability
30,000+ Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide
Flexible options for bundles
AT&T Smart Wi-Fi - Stay connected room to room
Combine your services with phone, TV and Internet bundles
Availability in some rural areas
24/7 Technical support
Customer service available 8am to 7pm local time
- Budgeting - AT&T DSL is great for any consumer on a budget. You'll pay far less than what you would with any cable internet or fiber-optic consumer.
- Customer Service - AT&T has you covered with their customer service. They've blown the competition away in every one of J.D. Power's Provider Satisfaction Study including performance and reliability, cost, billing, communication, and overall satisfaction.
Unfortunately, there is a downside:
- Speed - If you've got the need for speed you'll want to look elsewhere. DSL isn't exactly known for its fast download speeds.
AT&T Internet Plans & Prices
|AT&T Internet 100||100 Mbps||$35|
|AT&T Internet 300||300 Mbps||$45|
|AT&T Internet 1000||1000 Mbps||$60|
Best satellite internet provider
- 25 Mbps
- Monthly Price
No surprise mid-contract rate hikes
Clear and simple plans and pricing
Very low data caps
Only one speed option
24/7 customer service
Live online web chat
Good choice of plans
Tech support available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Satellite internet providers offer nationwide coverage, meaning you can almost certainly choose this provider. But with coverage not being an option what else do they have to offer? Lots.
- Speed - HughesNet service can support up to several devices no matter what plan you choose.
- Coverage - obviously.
- Price - Compared to ViaSat, HughesNet offers cheaper plans.
As a consumer, you should keep in mind that there's often cons that come with pros like the ones HughesNet has.
- Customer Service - HughesNet has low customer service rating with complaints from tech support to reliability.
- Speed Limitations - HughesNet has data caps that reduce your speed after you allocated billed amount.
HughesNet internet plans
|HughesNet Internet 10GB||25 Mbps||$39.99|
|HughesNet Internet 20GB||25 Mbps||$49.99|
|HughesNet Internet 30GB||25 Mbps||$79.99|
|HughesNet Internet 50GB||25 Mbps||$129.99|
Best cheap internet provider
- 50-1,000 Mbps
- Monthly Price
No data caps
Solid speeds to some rural areas
Good range of plans
TV and phone bundles available
Price lock or no-contract options
Limited service areas
Only available bundled with internet
24/7 tech support
No data caps - All plans offer unlimited data
2 year price lock guarantee
Cloud drive storage
Live online chat
30 day money back guarantee
BYO compatible modem
Wide availability - Covers 38 states
We know the internet is a "must-have" these days but let's be honest.. it comes with a price.. literally. And it's not cheap! If you're looking for internet on a budget, Frontier is your provider.
- Speed - As far as cheap internet goes, this will be your fastest provider.
- Bundle and Save - Frontier offers both TV and home phone and the more you bundle, the more you save.
- Data - Does your household require high data? You're in luck. Frontier supports streaming and gaming.
Remember what we've taught you though, there's always some sort of downside. For Frontier it's:
- Data Caps - your service will slow after you've reached the allotted amount.
Frontier internet plans & prices
Internet provider availability by ZIP code
Considerations when comparing internet providers
Here are a few factors to take into consideration:
- Speed: 25 Mbps is sufficient for email, browsing the web, watching HD videos, and playing games. Look for 100 Mbps or more if multiple people in the house stream video, download large files, and/or engage in competitive online games.
- Pricing: Watch out for the limited time promotional offers: rates typically jump significantly at the end of the promotional period. Save money by shopping cable TV and internet bundles or internet and phone bundles.
- Equipment: The most economical choice is to buy your own modem. Most large internet providers provide their customers with a list of approved equipment you can purchase. Additionally, if you want wireless internet you'll need a decent quality router.
- Contract: Commitment terms vary widely. Cheap internet providers usually require at least a one-year contract in order to get their advertised pricing. If you want to avoid a contract you may end up paying a little more per month.
- Data caps: It's frustrating to hunt down, say, the best internet for gaming, only to find that you tear through your data allotment halfway through the billing cycle. Make sure you read the terms and conditions.
- Customer service: We've all been there - the internet suddenly goes down for no apparent reason. You don't have time to sit on hold for hours, waiting for a tech to get to you. Check out the American Customer Satisfaction Index to see which companies rate the highest.
Compare Internet plans & packages
|Verizon FiOS||200-940 Mbps||$39.99-79.99|
Internet service providers FAQs
Who has the best internet service?
The best internet service varies due to where you live and what you're looking for from your internet. You can find out what providers are available in your area and compare internet plans depending on your needs.
Which is the best and fastest service provider?
Xfinity often comes up as one of the best and fastest providers on its fiber-based service.
What's the best home internet deal?
There's a large choice of internet providers, but AT&T, Verizon Fios, Spectrum, Optimum, and Xfinity are commonly voted to have the best internet deals.
Who are the best internet providers in my area?
The best depends on your budget and internet needs. Check your ZIP code to find internet providers available in your area for the best deals.
Location, location, location. That's ultimately going to be the dictating factor when it comes to choosing an internet provider. Be sure to check your area using our convenient internet provider ZIP code checker to see what is available to you.
With many great options on the table, knowing what you can actually get in your home should be the first thing you consider when shopping for an internet provider.
For urban dwellers, the fastest internet provider available will likely be one that offers cable or fiber. If you live in a rural area, far from the reach of cable internet providers, you might need to consider satellite internet.
Though it's not the fastest connection type, it can reach virtually anywhere in the U.S. For those looking for the cheapest Internet option available, DSL service will do the trick.
No matter where you live, you'll be sure to find an option that works for your household and budget.