Provider Reviews

Rosslyn Elliott

Written by Rosslyn Elliott - Pub. Mar. 8, 2024 / Updated Apr. 4, 2024

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Best Service
att Internet
Good value on fast fiber speeds
Fiber not available in all areas
Speeds: 100 Mbps - 5000 Mbps
Prices: $55 - $245
Best Coverage
viasat Internet
Wide coverage means 99% of U.S. households can get satellite internet
Slower than fiber or cable internet
Speed: 150 Mbps
Price: $99.99
Best Consistent Speed
spectrum Internet
Gigabit download speeds and a reputation for reliability
Top speeds not as fast as the top fiber plans, though new technology may change that soon
Speeds: 300 Mbps - 1000 Mbps
Prices: $49.99 - $79.99

Popular Internet Service Providers

Provider

Speeds Up To

Pricing

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100 Mbps - 5000 Mbps
$55 - $245
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100 Mbps - 2000 Mbps
$39.99 - $99.99
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500 Mbps - 8000 Mbps
$50 - $165
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100 Mbps - 940 Mbps
$50 - $75
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100 Mbps - 2000 Mbps
$49 - $99.99
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100 Mbps - 2000 Mbps
$25 - $85
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300 Mbps - 1000 Mbps
$40 - $80
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150 Mbps
$99.99
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100 Mbps - 2000 Mbps
$29.95 - $89.95
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300 Mbps - 1000 Mbps
$49.99 - $79.99
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100 Mbps - 5000 Mbps
$49.95 - $189.95
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100 Mbps - 10000 Mbps
$20 - $300
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300 Mbps - 2000 Mbps
$49.99 - $84.99
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500 Mbps - 5000 Mbps
$50 - $330
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300 Mbps - 5000 Mbps
$30 - $185
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100 Mbps - 5000 Mbps
$44.99 - $129.99
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100 Mbps - 1000 Mbps
$50 - $110
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75 Mbps - 2000 Mbps
$20 - $120
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50 Mbps - 100 Mbps
$49.99 - $94.99
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Enter your zip code to see providers and plans in your area.

What is Cable Internet?

Cable internet is very popular across the United States. Because cable internet works through the same copper cables as cable TV, 85% of American households can get a cable internet connection.

That’s good news, because cable is the second-fastest type of internet on the market, after fiber internet. Right now, major cable providers can give you download speeds up to a gigabit (1000 Mbps).

Upload speeds for cable are not nearly as fast. With most cable connections, you won’t get over 50 Mbps upload speed.

Still, good cable upload speed is satisfactory for most people, because it can handle online gaming, videoconferencing, and remote work. And most cable internet plans have either no data caps or very generous data caps, which means you can use plenty of data every month.

PROS
Gigabit download speeds Widespread coverage No data caps or generous data caps
CONS
Slower upload speeds Prices are higher than some fiber Storms can cause damage and outages

What is Fiber Internet?

Fiber internet is the most advanced internet technology on the market.

If you’re lucky enough to have fiber available in your area, you will get gigabit speeds (1000 Mbps) and perhaps even multi-gigabit speeds. Some fiber internet providers are offering speeds up to 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) of even 50 Gigs!

But fiber internet has another distinctive feature even greater than its lightning-fast speeds. Fiber speeds are symmetrical. In other words, your upload speed is just as fast as your download speed.

That’s revolutionary. All other internet types have much slower upload speeds than download speeds. For example, a fast cable internet plan might have download speeds of 1000 Mbps, but upload speeds would only be 35-50 Mbps.

For anyone who loves online gaming or works at home with large file uploads, fiber is a major advantage. It means there are no limits to the speed and smoothness of your connection. Fiber also has no data caps, so once you have fiber, you can count on the highest bandwidth and unlimited data.

There’s only one major drawback to fiber-optic internet: not everybody can get it. A recent study showed that just over 50% of U.S. households can now choose fiber internet.

PROS
Multi-gigabit speeds Only tech type with symmetrical speeds Less expensive
CONS
Only available to half of U.S. households Building fiber infrastructure is expensive Not available in rural and remote areas

What is Satellite Internet?

Satellite internet is a lifesaver that connects many people across the world who would otherwise lack any internet access. Sometimes, it literally saves lives, when first responders or the military use it for vital communications during disasters.

Satellite internet covers over 99% of U.S. households. If you have a clear view of the southern sky, you can get a satellite connection.

With recent advances in satellite technology, people who live in very remote areas can now stay in touch with loved ones and take classes online. You can even run an international business from a mountain or an island.

The most recent benefit of satellite internet has come with the rise of telemedicine. Now, even people who have trouble with transportation can visit their doctor virtually with their home internet connection.

PROS
Available to 99% of U.S. households Reliable even after natural disasters New technology is improving performance
CONS
Slower speeds than cable or fiber Prices are higher than other internet types High latency

What is DSL Internet?

DSL internet is the oldest technology still in common use across America.

In the 1990s, DSL was the latest and greatest innovation in internet speed. It replaced dial-up internet, which was maddeningly slow.

But times change, and now most DSL is far slower than cable or fiber.

The very highest DSL speeds are about 100 Mbps download/10 Mbps upload. And that is unusual. The fact is that a large number of DSL customers have speeds under 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload. Technically, speeds below that line mean that you don’t have high-speed internet.

But DSL internet does have wider coverage than fiber, and in some areas, DSL will be your only wired internet choice. In that case, you will have to look at the relative speeds and pricing for DSL vs. satellite internet.

PROS
Available in some areas without fiber or cable More reliable than wireless internet during rain or snow Some DSL reaches reasonable speeds up to 100 Mbps
CONS
Usually much slower speeds, often below 20 Mbps Prices are higher than fiber or cable for the performance delivered Speeds slow down with greater distance from central office

What is Fixed Wireless Internet?

Fixed wireless internet is often confused with mobile service because of the word “wireless.” But a fixed wireless network will give you a different experience than your cell phone’s mobile internet connection.

Fixed wireless is also known as 4G LTE or 5G.

The main difference between your cell phone’s internet access and a fixed wireless connection is that fixed wireless is home internet. Though your internet signal is broadcast from a tower, like a cell phone signal, it travels from one “fixed” point to another. So, for example, there could be a wireless tower three miles from your home. Your signal will travel from that fixed point to a fixed antenna-receiver at your home.

In this way, fixed wireless is much like satellite service, because it does not require any cables to reach you. It’s not too surprising, then, that fixed wireless is known for a similar set of pros and cons as satellite internet.

PROS
Availability without wired infrastructure Lower latency than satellite Scalability – easily expanded for more users
CONS
More limited speeds than cable or fiber Data caps Weather interference

Comparing connection types: which is best for you?

The five major internet technologies offer many ways for you to connect to fast, reliable internet. Digital opportunity is crucial for jobs and education, so it’s a real positive that internet access is improving across the U.S.

Which provider and tech type you choose will depend on what is available in your area. You can find out easily what providers and plans are available in your area by entering your zip code here at CompareInternet.com

Here is a quick overview of what you should expect from each of the internet types.

Internet type Pros Cons
Fiber
Pros
Blazing-fast speeds
Lowest monthly prices
Cons
Limited availability
More complex installation
Cable
Pros
Gigabit download speeds
Widespread coverage
Cons
Slower upload speeds
Higher prices than fiber
Satellite
Pros
99% availability
Survives natural disasters
Cons
Higher prices and data caps
High latency connection
DSL
Pros
Wide availability
More reliable than wireless
Cons
Slow to very slow speeds
Weak for high-data tasks
Fixed Wireless
Pros
Lower latency than satellite
Faster speeds on way with 5G
Cons
4G LTE still has slow speeds
Data caps

Resources

Our site has lots of handy pages that give you key info about internet speed. See which of these quick overviews will help you get up to speed!

Get the best available price
Learn to negotiate your internet bill
Explore senior discounts
Find the providers who offer special rates
Switch internet providers
Get tips for a smooth changeover
Choose your best speed
Discover all internet speed options
Save money on your bill
Learn all the tricks to help your monthly budget
Make an informed choice
Know the 7 essentials when choosing an internet provider

Internet Service Provider

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What is the average internet speed for residential users?

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