Having the right internet service provider can make life just a little bit easier. Finding the company that has the right combination of technology, price, and customer service will let you rest easy knowing that your connections will stay solid and that you'll be able to accomplish all of your online goals.
With so many services out there, it can be hard to figure out which will be the right service for your needs. That's why it's important to look at both the pros and cons of seven of the leading internet service providers before you sign a contract. Something else to keep in mind is that some of these companies offer either free or cheap Wifi modems with a contract.
OUR TOP PICK
If you're looking for a satellite option, HughesNet has you covered. As the leading satellite internet provider in the United States, it has a good mix of coverage availability and speed, giving you an outstanding experience for what you're asked to pay. It's not a perfect option, of course, and you'll still be stymied by the limitations of satellite internet coverage. For those without access to broadband lines or who need satellite coverage for another reason, though, HughesNet will give you what you need. Beyond availability, though, it's a good idea to think about the company's strengths and flaws.
The good news for those who need satellite internet coverage is that HughesNet does about as much with the technology as one could ask. It provides a 25MBps speed for all of its plans, giving you something that's very usable even if it's only a fraction of what you'd get from a wired service. This is one of the most reliable, fast services out there when it comes to satellite service, allowing you to have a few devices connected and comfortably browsing at one time. The speed and stability are enough to let you stream films in HD, which can't be said about every satellite connection.
The other major selling point is cost. While HughesNet won't give you quite the competitive cost you'd get from a broadband company, it's much more reasonable than the competition. Satellite providers know that they're working for a niche market and that they can afford to charge more, so it's nice to see HughesNet taking care of its customers. The plans aren't cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but you're going to get a lot more for far less than what you'd get from the company's major competitor. The pricing structure here actually makes satellite connections seem reasonable.
There are some drawbacks, of course. Satellite connections are never ideal and it doesn't make sense to use one if you have the option to get broadband. There are also some issues with data caps, something that becomes very problematic when you see how they interact with your internet speed. That 25MBps only arrives when you're below the cap, and you'll be throttled to a small percentage of that speed if you use too much data. This has led to low customer satisfaction rates and a host of consumers wishing that there were more options in the field of satellite internet providers.
Comcast is probably one of the best-known names in both cable and internet service and for good reason. It has an incredibly long reach, providing services for much of the country and even hold a near-monopoly in some areas. While many do subscribe to Comcast as their only option, there are plenty of people who choose Comcast due to the sheer number of service packages that the company offers. Those who prize speed and utility above all else will generally be well served by the offerings from one of the nation's largest internet service providers.
Comcast has almost every other service beat when it comes to providing options. It's possible to get a low-tier service that's nearly as cheap as the least-expensive options out there, but it's just as easy to get an enterprise-class service that will allow you to get enough speed to power an entire company. Comcast provides enough different solutions that a customer can easily stay with the company for a lifetime, moving up and down the list of packages as his or her needs change. It's very hard to find another company that offers the same level of variety.
Comcast also tends to be near the top of the pack when it comes to speed. If you're willing to pay for the service, you can get up to 2GBps, a speed that far outstrips the needs of all but the most dedicated internet consumers. This is the kind of connection that you get when you're playing competitive eSports, doing online research, and streaming movies at the same time. Fortunately, Comcast has managed to pair that speed with a great deal of reliability, shedding its former reputation as a company that was prone to significant downtime. If you've got an Xfinity connection, you can expect to get the internet service for which you have paid.
The big issues with Comcast tend to be related to price and speed. Not only does Comcast have a tendency to charge more than many of its competitors, it also has a tendency to charge a significant number of fees. You'll even be charged for the opportunity to have your equipment installed, something that most other companies have phased out. Unfortunately, you won't get very far when you work with customer service, either – despite a company-wide push, the company still has incredibly low customer service rankings across the board.
AT&T is one of the biggest names in telecommunications, so it makes sense that the company would invest in broadband internet connections. Leveraging its burgeoning stake in the cable arena, AT&T has managed to become a leading provider of both fiber and DSL connections. Much like its cellular arm, AT&T is known for being a little ahead of the curve. Just like that other part of the company, though, AT&T is known to charge some fairly steep prices in order to stay at the head of the pack. Fortunately, those higher prices do tend to come with an overall higher level of service.
People who use AT&T's internet service tend to love it. They're not just happy with how fast it is or how reliable it is, but they're happy with how well AT&T handles their problems. The company tends to hire knowledgable support staff and ensure that they'll have techs out to deal with problems in a reasonable time frame. AT&T also tends to succeed because it doesn't tend to nickel-and-dime customers, allowing them to feel like they're getting the service they've paid for without being asked to pay more just to solve common problems.
Good customer service wouldn't mean much if the product itself wasn't good, but AT&T does manager to deliver on that front as well. The company has great fiber speeds, helping customers in major cities to better connections than they'd ever really need without much effort. Even if you're not in a fiber-connected area, you'll still get great performance. In fact, AT&T boasts some of the most impressive DSL speeds that can be found on the market, all while still providing a wide coverage area that encompasses even those areas where this is relatively little internet competition.
Where AT&T tends to fall apart is with pricing. While most of its general broadband prices are competitive with the other names on this list, it charges much more for fiber connections than one might expect. This isn't going to impact consumers who are looking at the lower end of the performance spectrum, but those who are looking to get more are going to have to deal with significant price increases. Despite the great customer service and the excellent up-time, this factor can turn off many customers who are generally willing to pay a bit extra in order to get top-tier performance from an internet service provider.
4. Charter Spectrum
When it comes to sheer size, Charter Spectrum is very hard to beat. It's one of the largest internet providers in the country and, after its acquisition of both Time Warn Cable and Bright House, it's available in more households than most of the other services on this list combined. Surprisingly, though, the large size of the company hasn't impacted its reputation in the same way that tends to occur with other major companies. Spectrum is not only generally well-regarded among its customers. Not only that, but it also tends to offer some of the best high-speed packages on the market.
While Charter's highest speeds don't quite top the list, it has some of the best average speeds out there. All of its plans start out at over 100MBps, with a significant number of plans starting at over 200MBps. This is more than enough speed for not only the average household, but for those who tend to be internet power users. Given that the speeds actually apply to the low and mid-tier plans as well as the top tier, it's easier to see a major jump in internet speed with this company without having to pay as much for the privilege.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Charter, though, is its customer service. You usually don't hear great things about the customer service from a company that's this big, but most users report that it's not only easy to get help, but that the help they receive is usually quite useful. This means that you can expect to talk to a real person on the phone line when you have a problem and get a quick resolution. This might seem like it's fairly basic when it comes to customer service, but it's honestly much more than most customers tend to get from their internet service providers.
The problem with Charter Spectrum tends to be two-fold. On one hand, the company's prices aren't terribly great if you only want an internet connection. Charter absolutely wants to sell its cable and phone connections, so the prices for an internet-only service can be punitive. The prices get worse in time, too, as the promo prices tend to be fairly brief and rise significantly higher than some expect. It's a shame, though, because the company otherwise seems to be very customer-focused and also seems to want to create an excellent user experience.
5. Frontier Communications
Frontier Communications isn't known for having the best internet connections or the best overall service, but it's definitely known for being among the cheapest options out there. If you live in an area that has Frontier service, you've probably seen advertisements about how the company charges less for more service features. In truth, Frontier is a little more complicated than its ads would have you believe. It is, however, very good at offering low prices to new customers. What it does beyond that, though, takes a little more exploration. Fortunately, it does wind up work well for many consumers.
The most important thing to know, of course, is that Frontier really isn't lying when it talks about its commitment to low-cost alternatives. The cheapest plan from the company doesn't quite get you up to broadband speed, but it gets close enough to allow you to stream movies and music. You don't even have to pay for the equipment you use when you choose Frontier, helping you to cut out one of the major additional costs that tend to be tacked on to the average internet bill. Frontier has less expensive plans, of course, but the real sweet spot for the company involves those lower-tier offerings.
Another really nice selling point from the company is its no-contract options. While there are definitely faster options out there, there are very few companies that are going to let you choose a low-tier plan without some kind of contract. You can come and go from Frontier at your leisure, allowing you to figure out if you really want to use the service. Despite the fact that the company won't lock you into a contract, it will lock down your price – it's guaranteed not to change for two years, which gives you a nice cushion for your budget planning.
As you might imagine, you're going to be trading away quite a bit in order to get those low prices. Customer satisfaction is very low for this company, though most users do still like the price that comes with the service. You're simply not going to get the same kind of speed or reliability that you'd find with a more expensive service here, though that may be worthwhile if your goal is saving money. Frontier continues to be the best choice for those who are looking to spend as little on their internet service as possible.
Most of the major broadband providers have divisions that work with consumers and divisions that work with businesses. While it's the former that tends to get most of the press, it's the latter that tends to be the most important for CenturyLink. While the company does offer service to individuals, it's the business side that gets most of the attention. Instead of focusing on the bells and whistles that tend to make individual consumers most excited, the company has moved forward with a plan that makes it far more attractive to businesses that are looking for enterprise-level internet solutions.
CenturyLink does a few things that most internet providers won't do. The big one is the fact that CenturyLink actually compensates businesses for downtime. This doesn't just mean that it's willing to pay out money, though – it means that the company is confident enough in its own network that it's willing to pay out of pocket if something goes wrong. In fact, CenturyLink seems determined to make itself as attractive to businesses as possible by providing more services and more flexibility than most of its competitors. It's easy to create your own bundle or set the terms of your service, something that's important to any business watching its bottom line.
The business-friendly nature of the company extends to how it deals with contracts. CenturyLink's contracts are in remarkably plain language, something that helps businesses figure out quite a bit about the level of security they are provided and what they are owed in terms of performance. This really isn't something that's going to impact the average user, but it is something that can be very important for compliance reasons. Having this kind of open communication makes CenturyLink an obvious choice for any business.
Because CenturyLink is largely a business provider, it doesn't do quite as well with many of the aspects of customer service that would make consumers happy. Users don't exactly dread calling in, but they aren't always happy with how their problems are handled. One of the most common problems tends to be related to speed – the company's posted speed numbers aren't really what they deliver to customers, which can frustrate those who are paying for higher tiers of service. As you might imagine, the general service towards businesses is a bit better and the overall reception of most of the company's business products tends to garner fewer complaints.
Much like AT&T, Verizon has its roots in the telephone business. Unlike AT&T, though, Verizon seems to have put the bulk of its work into serving the power users of the internet. Though it does provide lower-tier broadband services for those who just want to browse the web, it's the fiber side of the company that is the most impressive. It's very hard to find any fiber service that can come anywhere close to Verizon, a key factor that helps Verizon to stand out in an otherwise crowded market.
Verizon's fiber service is really the most impressive thing about the company. It was one of the early leaders in offering this type of service to consumers and it has spent the intervening years really improving its ability to offer high speeds at competitive prices. While most fiber services tend to be marketed towards power users, Verizon has managed to pitch its higher tiers of service as something that's fit for family use. The solid service combined with reasonable prices has made it highly sought after in many markets.
Verizon also ranks highly among its customers when it comes to service. It's good about solving individual problems as well as system-wide disruptions, helping to keep most of its customers online even when things aren't going well. It also tends to reward customers who stick around by offering discounts for signing a longer contract and by keeping its promo prices going longer for those who sign up for two years of service. It might not have the cheapest rates on the market, but Verizon does tend to make things a little easier on those customers who stay loyal to the company.
That's not to say that Verizon is perfect, of course. The company charges much more for DSL service than you would otherwise expect, which is a shame considering the relatively low speeds offered by that service. The biggest problem by far, though, is that Verizon's fiber service just isn't available in that many areas. If you don't live in a large city, there's virtually no chance that you'll get the company's top tier of service. Getting great fiber service is actually tough in many areas, so the fact that Verizon comes up a bit short here really is not all that surprising even if it is a little disappointing.
Understanding Internet Service Providers
Many people aren’t aware of everything that comes with an internet service provider and how to use their services. The following answers important questions regarding internet service providers, your IP address and their availability. Check it out.
What is an ISP internet service provider?
An Internet service provider is an organization that offers services for accessing or using the Internet. Internet service providers typically provide Internet access, Internet transit, web hosting and domain name registration.
How to check if your internet provider is down?
There are multiple ways to check if your internet provider is down. You can look at your router or modem, which usually indicates your connection. You can also contact your ISP or check your provider’s status page through your phone.
How do internet service providers work?
When you connect to your internet service provider, you become a part of their network. The ISP then joins a larger network and it all become interconnected. Simply put, the Internet is just a network of networks and your ISP is one of them.
Who is my internet service provider?
Your Internet service provider is the organization that gives you access to the Internet. You can visit the website whoismyisp.org to find out who is your current internet service provider.
Does DISH Network have internet service?
Yes, DISH Network does offer Wi-Fi packages. The price for this package starts at $49.99 a month. If you’d like, you can bundle your Internet service with your DISH Network cable service.
Do you need internet service for a tablet?
No, a tablet is a wireless device. If you can access a Wi-Fi signal that has an Internet connection, you can get online with your tablet. Most tablets have a Wi-Fi chip and don’t allow you to connect to a cellular network.
Does T-Mobile offer internet service?
T-Mobile currently offers cellular phone service. However, the company has recently started an invitation-only pilot for in-home internet service on LTE. It’s offering this service in rural and underserved areas in the nation.
Does Dish Network offer internet and phone service?
Yes, as one of the two primary satellite television providers, DISH Network does offer internet and phone service. The network also offers cable service and provides a discount to those that bundle their services with them. You can also use your cell phone to do Wifi calling if you're trying to save on data. Also take a look at the best unlimited data plan 2020 has to offer.
How can I get cheap internet service at home?
Some of the best ways to get cheap internet service in your home is to search for the most inexpensive provider, choose a lower speed internet service, or bundle your service with others, such as cable.
Can I get Wi-Fi without internet service?
Yes, you can get WI-FI without internet service. A Wi-Fi router allows your devices to connect to it via Wi-Fi. You won’t have access to the internet if the Wi-Fi router isn’t connected. Another option is to get a portable hotspot through your cell phone company or other companies.
Can your phone provider see your internet history?
While your internet service provider can’t see the exact website you use, it does track what IP addresses you contact, which means it knows the websites you visit. Your provider can also anything you send over the internet that isn’t encrypted.
Can you have two internet providers in one house?
Technically, it is possible to have two internet providers in one home. However, some ISPs may have their own rules against multiple providers in a home. You will have to speak with both providers to see if it is available.
What is my internet provider IP address?
You can call your internet service provider to get their IP address. If you are capable, you can also find the IP address through the command prompt on your PC by typing “ipconfig/all” and find it through the list your PC provides.
What internet provider do schools use?
Schools use the internet based on the internet service provider chosen by the district office. Schools don’t have a say in the ISP it uses, but instead, are a part of a wide area network that is available to most schools and campuses in the area.
Why are there so few internet providers?
There are several reasons why there are so few internet providers. Perhaps one of the biggest reasons is how difficult it is to start an ISP. It takes millions of dollars and a lot of time to start up an Internet service.
How many internet providers in US?
There are currently 2,671 internet service providers in the United States. One of the reasons why you may have only heard of a few is because many of them are only offered in a few states.
How to pick the best internet provider?
The best way to pick an internet provider is to choose one based on what you plan to use the internet. If you are primarily using the internet for streaming, then choose a provider that offers a constant reliable connection and highspeed internet.
How to hide your IP address from internet provider?
You cannot hide your IP address from your internet service provider. However, using a VPN, you can encrypt and hide your internet activity from your ISP so it won’t find out what websites you’re browsing.
Is AOL an internet service provider?
Yes, AOL still provides dial-up services, but it is no longer considered an internet provider. AOL cannot match the speed of cable or fiber connections that many internet service providers now offer.
Does Sling TV provide internet service?
No, Sling TV does not provide internet service. Instead, Sling TV requires an internet connection in order to use it. You can use most devices that connect to the internet to use the service, such as a Roku box, Windows device or iOS and Android devices.
Can you have two different internet providers in one apartment?
Yes, you can have two different internet providers in one apartment, but it must be within the rules of both providers to allow it to happen. In addition to this, you must pay the full price for both services.
How do I find out what internet provider I have?
You can look up who your ISP is by visiting the website whoismyisp.org. The site also lists your IP address, hostname and your approximate location.
Choosing Your Internet Service Provider
When you choose an ISP, you want to make sure that it is one that will serve you best. In many cases, you won’t have a lot of options to choose from so you want to make sure that your service provider is one you will be happy with for a long time to come. Check out the answers we’ve provided on choosing the service provider that is right for you.
What is the best internet service?
Some of the best internet services include AT&T for their quality bundling service that provides cable and internet, HughesNet for their value, and Verizon for fiber. Typically, these internet services offer download speeds that range from 100 – 2000 Mbps.
What is the cheapest internet service?
Internet service providers vary in price based on several factors, such as the type of internet you choose. Some of the cheapest internet service providers are AT&T, Verizon Fios, Frontier Communications, and Comcast XFINITY.
Who has the best cable and internet service?
The best cable and internet service depends on your preference. Charter Spectrum is considered the best because there are no data caps. XFINITY is the best when it comes to plan options and Mediacom is the best when it comes to speed.
What is the fastest internet service?
Currently, based on online speed tests, the fastest internet service providers are Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Sprint. These providers have an Mbps download speed of 21.32, 20.05, and 15.8 respectively.
How to get internet without phone service?
Certain internet providers allow you to get wireless home internet service without a phone. AT&T is one such provider that offers this service. Reach out to your local ISP to find out if it offers it as well.
What is the best internet service for rural areas?
Viasat, Rise and Verizon Wireless are commonly listed as the best internet service you can get for rural areas. There may be other providers in your local area. Make sure to shop around and compare before settling on an ISP.
What are the cheapest internet providers?
The cheapest internet providers will most likely be relative to your area. Some of the commonly cheapest providers are AT&T, Verizon Fios, Frontier Communications, and Comcast.
Who is the best internet provider for gaming?
When it comes to gaming, fiber is the best type of internet connection to have. Fiber is one of the most reliable internet services to have. Verizon Fios has one of the most reliable and affordable fiber services, which makes it a great option for gaming.
What is the best internet provider for streaming?
Different internet providers are best depending on the type of streaming. Overall, Xfinity works well when it comes to streaming. AT&T works well for 4k streaming and Verizon is a good service if you plan to stream yourself on a platform, such as Twitch.
What are the best satellite internet providers?
HughesNet and Viasat are the two most commonly used satellite internet providers. DISH has discontinued its satellite internet service, but you can still get the service through a third party.
What is the cheapest cable provider with internet?
The cheapest cable provider with internet depends on the type of package and service you use, but so far, the cheapest available is AT&T, Verizon Fios, DISH and XFINITY if you choose to bundle their services.
Is Cox a good internet provider?
Cox is a good internet provider and it rivals AT&T as being one of the best internet service providers. Cox is highly reviewed and many people consider it one of the top internet services to use.
What are the top internet providers?
There are multiple internet providers but not all of them are available in your area. Some of the top internet providers that you may come across are AT&T, Verizon, Spectrum, and XFINITY.
How much is internet service with DISH Network?
The cost of internet service depends on the plan you choose. At the lowest price point, DISH Network service costs $14.95 per month. However, there are plans that can go as high as $59.99 per month.
Does Sprint offer residential internet service?
No, currently Spring does not offer residential internet service. Spring does offer mobile broadband services in 48 states, but it currently has no plans to get into the in-home broadband market. However, some reports suggest that may change.
Does Verizon have tv and internet service?
Yes, through Verizon Fios, you can get internet and television service. Verizon Fios offers over 425 channels and it even has a custom TV package option. In addition to this, it offers high-speed internet.
How fast is Cox preferred internet service?
Cox preferred internet service has a download speed of up to 100 Mbps and an upload speed of up to 10 Mbps. In comparison, the Essential plan is limited to 15 Mbps and the Ultimate plan goes up to 300 Mbps.
Who has the best wireless internet service?
Based on the listed pricing, speeds and reliability, the best wireless internet services are AT&T, Verizon, HughesNet for satellite, Frontier Communications for affordability and Comcast Xfinity for fastest max speeds.
How good is DISH Network internet service?
DISH Network is good for people who are seeking a complete internet and TV package. While the speed is slower compared to broadband internet, DISH Network is a good alternative for people who live in rural areas.
How much is Xfinity internet service?
Xfinity prices range depending on the download speed you choose. The basic package, Performance Plus, costs $29.99 per month at an introductory price. Other packages can reach as high as $90.00 per month. Xfinity also made our list of the best home security system 2020 has to offer.
Internet Services Providers Available to You
In most cases, there are a few internet service providers that will be in your area. At least one or two popular service providers are available to many people unless you live in a particularly rural area. Check out the following answers regarding Internet services near you.
Does Dish provide internet in my area?
Most likely, since DISH provides multiple services, such as satellite internet, there is a chance that DISH provides internet in your area. If DISH does not, offer its services, you may be able to find another satellite provider near you.
What internet service is available in my area?
Multiple internet services are typically available for consumers. Cable and Internet are usually available with companies like Spectrum and Cox. DSL services are also available from providers like AT&T, Verizon and Frontier.
What internet providers are in my area?
You will most likely find internet providers like Spectrum, XFINITY, AT&T, and Verizon in your area. Some internet providers are only available in select areas. Make sure to shop around to get the best service available.
How can I get internet service in a rural area?
You can get internet service in a rural area from service providers near you. Some recommended internet service providers for rural areas include Viasat, CenturyLink, Rise Broadband and Verizon Wireless.
What TV and internet providers are in my area?
Most likely, the providers in your area will be XFINITY, Spectrum and Cox. Another commonly found TV and internet provider is AT&T, Frontier and Verizon. Some of these providers may not be available.
What is the best internet provider in Houston?
While no provider is considered the best, some of the largest internet providers are AT&T and XFINITY. AT&T offers DSL and fiber services and XFINITY offers download speeds that range from 15 to 2,000 Mbps.
Who provides wireless internet service in my area?
Internet service providers such as AT&T, CenturyLink, Frontier and Verizon offer wireless internet service in your area. There may be other local internet service providers that provide similar services.
Why is there only one internet provider in my area?
Due to the high costs of an internet service provider expanding to a different region, many of them are only available in certain locations. Along with certain legislation, the internet industry has evolved into what experts call a natural monopoly.