The Best High Speed Internet

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Most Popular

Connection Type
DSL, Fiber Optic

States Serviced
21

Unlimited Data

Connection Type
DSL, Fiber Optic

States Serviced
9

Nationwide Fiber Availability

Connection Type
DSL, Fiber Optic

States Serviced
39

Most Speed Options

Connection Type
Cable

States Serviced
41

Best for Rural Areas

Connection Type
Satellite

States Serviced
50

Great Equipment

Connection Type
Cable

States Serviced
19

Free Equipment

Connection Type
DSL, Fiber Optic

States Serviced
32

Contract Buyout Offer

Connection Type
Cable

States Serviced
32

Convenient Scheduling

Connection Type
Cable

States Serviced
21

Summary

Our Top 9 Picks for Best High Speed Internet

Provider Max Speed Phone Number
AT&T 1,000 Mbps 855-825-6735
Verizon 940 Mbps 855-745-6576
CenturyLink 1,000 Mbps 866-390-3815
Comcast Xfinity 1,000 Mbps 844-878-0338
Hughesnet 15 Mbps 877-413-3713
Cox Communications 200 Mbps 800-481-9504
Frontier Communications 115 Mbps 877-618-5503
Charter Spectrum 100 Mbps 800-849-7859
Mediacom 60 Mbps 800-315-0546

As homes overflow with devices and binge-watching becomes a way of life, high-speed internet becomes critical. Not only are half of homes in the country subscribing to some sort of video streaming service, but also the average home has around eight connected devices. That means a majority of households are “heavy users” — and need around 50 Mbps to run multiple devices simultaneously.

If your household streams tons of HD video, regularly engages in video conferencing, and runs cloud-based services like Dropbox or Google Drive in the background, you’re probably a superuser. You’ll need at least 100 Mbps, for a lightning-fast connection. But if YouTube and Hulu aren’t in your vocabulary, there’s a good chance 25 Mbps is more than enough.

When it comes to internet, there’s no single best provider. Prices and speeds will vary by zipcode. Because most people only have access to a couple internet service providers, so we dug into the speeds, prices, equipment, and customer service ratings of the top nine.

The Best High-Speed Internet

The Best High-Speed Internet Providers

Most Popular - AT&T Internet

AT&T Internet The largest DSL provider in the US also offers gigabit-level fiber speeds in select cities.

AT&T Internet serves up blazing fast speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps in major cities across the South and Midwest. You’ll need to be in an area that’s equipped with AT&T’s fiber-optic lines to take advantage of speeds greater than 75 Mbps (less than 2 percent of the US is). But if you aren’t, AT&T also offers DSL broadband in 38 percent of the US, making it the largest DSL provider in the nation. Between its fiber and DSL lines, AT&T serves over 120 million people. (That’s over twice as many customers as CenturyLink and Mediacom Cable combined.) AT&T’s strongest coverage is in California, Texas, and Florida, but it’s available in 21 states total.

Prices range from $40 per month for 50 Mbps to $60 per month for 100 Mbps, which is enough for a small family of average video streamers. Plans with speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps are available for $80 per month if you have access. If you opt for speeds lower than 1,000 Mbps, you’ll have a data cap of 1,000GB per month. That’s enough for over 300 hours of streaming — plenty for most users.

Customer satisfaction ratings are pretty low across the industry, but AT&T managed to make the top 3, just behind Verizon and Charter Spectrum. It earned a 69 percent satisfaction rating from the ACSI and a 4 out of 5 in “overall satisfaction” from JD Power.

If you can’t get AT&T at your address, consider CenturyLink. With the exception of New York, West Virginia, and a few other northernmost states, It’s available in all the states that AT&T isn’t (38 in total). It also offers 1,000 Mbps in more cities than any other ISP. Extremely high speeds aren’t guaranteed everywhere CenturyLink is offered, but it’s a great place to start if AT&T isn’t available to you.

Unlimited Data - Verizon Fios

Verizon Fios It's the largest provider of fiber-optic internet and boasts unlimited data.

Verizon FiOS is only available in 10 states, but it’s the largest fiber-optic broadband provider in the country — and it doesn’t cap its data. It powers over 32 million people from Virginia up to Massachusetts. And in April of 2017, it started rolling out a new gigabit service that offers up to 940 Mbps for $70 per month. That’s a pretty great deal compared to Xfinity, which charged almost $80 more per month for the same speed.

Need For Speed PCMag rated Verizon FiOS one of the the top gaming ISPs of 2017. After collecting latency and jitter data from over 1,000 registered readers, it found that Verizon had faster, most consistent speeds than any of the providers on our list.

Plans start at 50 Mbps ($40 per month), and since fiber infrastructure is far more capable than DSL or cable, you get 50 Mbps upload speeds as well. In the cities we were quoted prices from AT&T, the 50 Mbps cost the same per month, but upload speeds were limited limited 6 Mbps.

Verizon has the highest customer satisfaction rating from the ACSI that we saw: 71 percent of customers say they’re satisfied. It’s also the only ISP that was awarded a perfect overall satisfaction score from JD Power (5 out of 5 power circles).

CenturyLink If you can't get AT&T or Verizon at your address, CenturyLink is your next best option for fiber-optic internet.

CenturyLink’s fiber plan offers gigabit speeds for around $80 per month. Population-wise, Verizon FiOs is the largest fiber-optic internet provider, but if you don’t live in the Northeast, there’s a good chance CenturyLink will be one of your fastest options. It offers fiber-optic connections in more cities across the US than Verizon or AT&T.

But be warned: Unless you purchase 1,000 Mbps or faster, it enforces monthly data caps of 600GB. That’s plenty for most users.

If you have no use speeds that fast, DSL is your next option. In the cities we received quotes from, its DSL plans max out around 40 Mbps for $30 per month. That’s enough if you only have a couple of devices running in your home at any given time, and you’re not streaming a lot of data.

According to the ACSI, just over half of CenturyLink customers are happy with their service (59 percent, which is down from 2016). That’s not exactly encouraging, but it’s right on par with the rest of the ISPs we reviewed. JD Power was a similar story: CenturyLink only received 2 out of 5 power circles for overall satisfaction and performance.

Most Speed Options - Comcast Xfinity

Comcast Xfinity If you don't need lightning-fast fiber speeds, start with Xfinity. Its plans are cheaper than most.

After comparing the max speed available in 41 different locations, we found that Xfinity had the most consistent speeds from area to area of all the ISPs we reviewed. Speeds of 25, 75, and 150 Mbps and beyond are available to a majority of its customers, and it has the largest selection of options out there.

Xfinity is available almost everywhere — it covers 40 states, with the strongest coverage in Maryland, Illinois, and Utah. Verizon FiOS was a close runner-up in terms of consistency, but its small bubble of coverage only runs from New York down to Virginia.

It may have the most consistent speeds, but its prices are all over the place. We were quoted $67 per month for 25 Mbps for an address in Miami, but the exact same speed in Houston ran only $30 per month. Pricing from our other top picks remained far more consistent when looking at speeds of 25 Mbps and up. We also found several promotions for pro-rated pricing on a two- or three-year agreement.

Xfinity is a cable broadband provider only, so prepare to be upsold on TV bundles. And if you’re shopping online, the bevy of TV-focused landing pages can be hard to navigate — we recommend calling a salesperson to confirm the internet-only options in your area. Still, Xfinity isn’t the worst when it comes to customer satisfaction: a 60 percent satisfaction rating from the ACSI and 3 out of 5 power circles from JD Power. That’s better than HughesNet (which was the worst), but not quite as exemplary as AT&T or Verizon.

Best for Rural Areas - Hughesnet

Hughesnet Its satellite speeds barely reach 25 Mbps in most cities. But if you live somewhere remote, it might be your best (and only) option.

Since HughesNet beams broadband down from space via satellite, it has the widest reach of any provider: a whopping 308 million people. That also makes it the largest broadband provider in the nation. But because the internet has to travel so far, its speeds are much slower than cable or DSL.

ACSI didn’t include HughesNet in its survey, but take a quick read through over 2,000 complaints on Consumer Affairs and you’ll find plenty of customers with measly 2.5 Mbps connections, even in areas that advertise 25 Mbps or more. However, if you live in an extremely rural area, there’s a good chance HughesNet might be your only option.

Instead of paying for a certain speed, plans are designed around data caps. In Houston, (one of HughesNet’s strongest areas) 10GB costs $50 per month and it goes up to 50GB for $100. To put that in perspective, over half your data would be used up after five hours of streaming. But it’s more than enough for someone who primarily uses the internet for online shopping and email.

Great Equipment - Cox Communications

Cox Communications Cox's only standout feature was its two-in-one wifi extender modem. Its techs will take care of the installation, but you'll still need to pay an extra monthly fee to use it.

Cox Communications is a cable broadband provider with its strongest coverage in Nevada, Arizona, and Rhode Island, but serves over 20 million people across the country.

Cox has several speed options that do not qualify as broadband internet (5 and 15 Mbps). We recommend jumping up to the next option up: 50 Mbps ($60 per month), which is enough for four to eight connected devices and simultaneous streaming. You can go as fast as 300 Mbps for $90 per month, which is more than enough for most internet superusers. (A whole family of super users might want to consider an option with at least 500 Mbps or more if it’s available.) Those prices are pretty competitive, but you definitely get more bang for your buck opting for the higher speed.

If you have a larger home, there may be rooms where your WiFi is spotty, or completely out of range. Cox offers WiFi extender, called Panoramic WiFi, that eliminates dead zones in your home. Panoramic WiFi is available with any internet package from Cox for an additional $9 per month. It’s also installed by Cox technicians. If you’re not technologically savvy, this is one of the easiest ways to handle WiFi issues in your home.

Cox earned a 62 percent satisfaction score with the ACSI and a 3 out of 5 overall satisfaction rating from JD Power — low scores, but relatively average compared to the other ISPs on our list.

Free Equipment - Frontier Communications

Frontier Communications Frontier offers fiber-optic speeds in just seven states. On the plus side, all internet plans include a free modem and router.

Frontier is another fiber-optic broadband provider, with service spread out across seven states — none of which are covered by Verizon FiOS. It’s biggest competitors in the fiber internet are AT&T and CenturyLink, but Frontier is the only one of our top picks that offers fiber in Oregon and Washington. Fiber plans start at 50 Mbps for $40 per month and go up to 500 Mbps for $265 per month.

Be warned: All of Frontier’s listed prices are a six-month promotional offer. For example, its 75 mbps fiber-optic plan jumps from $50 to $60 after six months. It’s not a dealbreaker, but be prepared for a price increase down the road. Promotional offers can be confusing — which no doubt contributed to Frontier’s less-than-average customer service satisfaction score from JD Power. (It received only 2 out of 5 power circles for overall satisfaction.)

One perk is that Frontier doesn’t charge anything for a modem and router, nor does it charge monthly equipment rental fees. That can save you a good chunk of change down the road. For example, CenturyLink charges $10 a month to use its modem, or $100 to buy it outright.

If you can’t get Frontier FiOS, there’s a good chance its DSL service is available. It has lines in 36 states, of which Virginia and Connecticut have the strongest coverage. Its broadband DSL plans start at 50 Mbps ($40 per month) and go up to 100 Mbps ($100 per month).

Contract Buyout Offer - Charter Spectrum

Charter Spectrum If you're looking to switch providers, Charter will reimburse up to $500 of your early termination fees.

Charter Spectrum is a cable broadband provider with a presence in 28 states with the most availability in Wyoming and Montana. Charter offers 100 Mbps for $45 per month in its three largest service areas: St. Louis; Fort Worth, Texas; and Long Beach, California. Though in Flathead, Montana, we saw only 60 Mbps for the same price — you’ll have to check online for the specific offerings in your location. That’s pretty competitive with CenturyLink and Xfinity, Charter’s two biggest competitors. In certain locations, they both charged $45 for speeds of 75 Mbps or lower, but we were offered unlimited data for all those plans.

If you’re looking to switch plans before your current contract is up, Charter Spectrum is promoting a contract buyout offer. These kinds of offers are popular with cellphone carriers, but Charter’s is the only one like it for Internet Service Providers. If you want to break off an existing agreement with AT&T, Comcast, or Century Link; Charter will reimburse up to $500 in termination fees. Its plans don’t require a contract commitment. It also has the fifth-highest customer satisfaction rating from the ACSI, just above Xfinity and Cox, but below AT&T and Verizon, and a middle-of-the-road score from JD Power (3 out of 5 power circles).

Convenient Scheduling - Mediacom

Mediacom Its options are fast but limited. To schedule installation, you get to choose a 30-minute window.

Mediacom has one of the most efficient installation programs out there. To schedule service, you select a 30-minute window whenever it’s convenient for you — including evenings and weekends. Other competitors, like Xfinity, require that you block out a two-hour window.

Mediacom services 14 different states, primarily in the Midwest. In Iowa, though, it’s a dominant force that covers almost 70 percent of the state. If you’re an Iowa resident, Mediacom may be your only option for speeds higher than 250 Mbps. Frontier and Cox are the only other major ISPs we reviewed that have a presence in the area, and they cover less than 3 percent of the state.

Without a TV bundle, you’re limited to two speed options: 60 Mbps ($50 per month) or 1,000 Mbps ($140 per month). But because Mediacom is a cable broadband provider, its upload speeds are limited to 50 Mbps — far less than the matching upload/downloads speeds you’d get with fiber-optic internet.

And if you purchase the 60 Mbps plan, your data caps at 400GB a month. That’s plenty for internet-intensive homes that regularly stream video on several devices, but much lower that the 1,000GB limits or unlimited data options popular among its competitors.

Did You Know?

The higher the speed, the faster your connection.

25 Mbps

40 Mbps

100 Mbps

1,000 Mbps

10 Songs

12 seconds
8 seconds
3.2 seconds
.32 seconds

20 High-Res Photos

26 seconds
16 seconds
6.4 seconds
.56 seconds

500MB Video Game Update

2.8 minutes
1.7 minutes
40 seconds
4 seconds

HD Video Streaming

1-second load
instant
instant
instant

Data from CenturyLink

If you have slow internet speeds, double-check your router.

If your Netflix account streams like molasses, it might not have anything to do with your Internet Service Provider. There are two different connections involved in powering your home WiFi network: the speed from your ISP to your modem and router, and the speed from your router to your devices. The latter often becomes a bottleneck due to limited bandwidth — your network’s capacity to transmit information to and from the devices in your home. Think of this way: If internet speed is water pressure, bandwidth is the size of the hole at the end of the hose.

If you’re paying for 1,000 Mbps per month, but your router only supports up to 300 Mbps (typical of most rental routers), then you effectively get less than half of what you’re paying for. Think your network is running slower than it should? Try these things before you decide to switch providers:

Test your speed.

Visit SpeedTest.net to confirm that you’re getting the speed you’re paying for. If not, call your ISP and ask for a diagnostic test. This way, you’ll know whether the problem is on your end or the service provider’s. If the test comes back clean, it’s time to re-evaluate your home network setup.

Check your router’s specs.

Dig into your router’s specs in its manual or on the manufacturer’s website (sometimes it’s even listed on the router itself) to determine whether its bandwidth lines up with your ISP speeds. To get the fastest experience, your router should support speeds equal to or greater than what you’re paying for.

Also consider the number of devices on your network. That includes security cameras, smartphones, tablets, printers, smart thermostats, laptops, and anything else that utilizes your home WiFi. Between regular usage and the applications and services running in the background (social media apps, file sharing services, etc.), it’s easy to eat up your bandwidth.

If you have more than 10 connected devices at any given time, upgrading to a dual- or triple-band router might solve your speed woes. Simply put, the more frequencies your router broadcasts on, the more room it has for wireless communication.

Online gaming is about ping, not speed.

Online gaming actually requires very little speed — about 2–10 Mbps is all it takes. The key to smooth, buffer-free gaming is ping: the amount of time it takes for a data packet to leave your device, reach the server, and return to your device (measured in milliseconds).

If your ping is less than 50ms, your network performance is in the top echelon. Anything over 150 is considered decent, but expect jitters during gameplay. You can test your network’s ping for free using SpeedTest. If your gaming experience is slower than you’d like, try using a wired Ethernet connection from your router to your console or PC — even most low-end routers support up to 100 Mbps over Ethernet.

The Best High-Speed Internet: Summed Up

High-Speed Internet
The Best
AT&T Internet
Most Popular
Verizon FiOS
Unlimited Data
CenturyLink
Nationwide Fiber Availability
Xfinity
Most Speed Options
HughesNet
Best for Rural Areas
Cox Communications
Great Equipment
Frontier
Free Equipment
Charter Spectrum
Contract Buyout Offer
Mediacom
Convenient Scheduling