We found the best internet service providers (ISPs) based on price, availability and connection type, download speed, and customer service scores.
We broke it down by the type of connection (fiber, cable, DSL, and satellite) and areas served. Then we looked at internet-only provider plans. But keep in mind, most internet providers serve different areas with different speeds, prices, and connection types, so what you see may differ from our comparison.
AT&T provides solid customer support for high speed internet service, with top marks from J.D. Power in the south and west regions of the U.S. On top of that, you can take advantage of fast speeds with its fiber-optic internet plans.
Additionally, there are several other internet plans to choose from, including basic versions for households not needing such quick download speeds. The variety of packages enables customers more choices to help find the ideal plan for their needs. However, AT&T internet is only available in about 21 states across the U.S., which can be a hindrance.
✓ Best For: Excellent customer service
✗ Not For: Coverage for nationwide travelers
- Customer Service: 5/5 J.D. Power named AT&T the highest-ranking internet service provider in the South and West regions.
- Download Speed: 3/5 Depending on the internet plan you choose, you can expect download speeds ranging anywhere from 0.8 Mbps all the way up to 940 Mbps — with higher speed tiers offering sufficient speeds for multi-person streaming and gaming.
- WiFi Hotspot: 5/5. AT&T gives you free access to 30,000 WiFi hotspots nationwide.
Data Cap: 2/5 Data caps vary depending on the plan you choose, but most plans have either a 1 TB cap or none at all.
Like AT&T, Verizon Fios earned five out five stars from J.D. Power for the company’s customer service. Availability spans from New England to the mid-Atlantic region, leaving other large areas of the country without access. However, those living in eligible areas receive unlimited data use every month and some of the fastest data speeds out there.
✓ Best For: East Coast residents
✗ Not For: Hotspot users
- Customer Service: 5/5 – Verizon Fios users are pleased with the company’s customer support, according to the J.D. Power studies.
- Download Speed: 3/5 – With fiber-optic, you’ll download speed will be as fast as 940 Mbps, which is comparable to other companies.
- Wifi hotspot: 0/5 – Verizon currently doesn’t offer any wifi hotspots. If you’re traveling and need to connect, you’ll need to find another solution.
- Data Cap: 5/5 – Unlike other providers with a 1TB cap, Verizon Fios offers unlimited data each month, so you can continuously stream without interruptions or worry of fees.
CenturyLink is available in 36 states and is consistently rolling out more fiber-optic networks. While it offers standard download speeds and data caps, one downside is CenturyLink has the lowest customer service score out of all the providers we evaluated.
✓ Best For: Cheap plan options
✗ Not For: Service-focused customers
- Customer Service: 2/5 CenturyLink did not get a high score with J.D. Power, and the provider only received a one-star review from customers on ConsumerAffairs.
- Download Speed: 3/5 Like most providers, CenturyLink provides download speeds up to 940Mbps with its Fiber Gigabit internet service.
- WiFi Hotspot: 0/5 CenturyLink doesn’t provide WiFi hotspots.
- Data Cap: 3/5 CenturyLink has a 1TB monthly data cap.
Xfinity slightly edges out its competitors by offering download speeds of 1,000 Mbps compared to the standard 940 Mbps. While this isn’t a huge difference, it may be worth it for users with large families and multiple devices being used at once.
✓ Best For: Fast download speeds
✗ Not For: People looking for cheap internet
- Customer Service: 4/5. J.D. Power named Xfinity the no. 1 internet provider in the North Central region.
- Download Speed: 5/5. With download speeds up to 1,000Mbps, Xfinity edges out other providers for top speeds.
- WiFi Hotspot: 4/5. Xfinity customers have access to 1.5 million hotspots free of charge.
- Data Cap: 4/5. All internet plans come with up to 1.2 TB of data each month, higher than the average average cap. Xfinity also offers unlimited data plans for data-hungry customers.
Cox Communications Internet
Cox brings home an average customer service score from J.D. Power along with fast download speeds. It also provides a Panoramic Wifi Gateway, which securely connects all of your devices at home and you can find mobile hotspots across the country.
✓ Best For: Easy WiFi control
✗ Not For: Service-focused customers
- Customer Service: 2/5. Cox did not receive a high ranking from J.D. Power, and the provider only received a one-star rating on ConsumerAffairs.
- Download Speed: 3/5. Depending on the plan you choose, download speeds range from 10Mbps to 940Mbps. Choose a higher tier option for multi-person gaming and streaming.
- WiFi Hotspot: 5/5. Customers on any plan get access to 3 million WiFi hotspots across the country.
- Data Cap: 5/5. With Cox, you’ll get 1.25TB of data per month included with every plan, and you can pay extra for an unlimited data plan.
Guide to High Speed Internet
Most internet companies are limited in geographic scope and even more so if you’re looking for fiber-option plans. In most cases, it’s easy to find your available options by simply typing in your zip code on a carrier’s website.
Decide how much speed you need
When evaluating plan speeds, think about how frequently you stream and upload content online. However, since speeds can vary based on the amount of traffic (particularly during peak streaming hours), consider the service provider’s reputation as well. While a service provider may provide one speed in one area, its speeds may be different in another.
Most internet carriers come with additional fees on top of your monthly rate, but that doesn’t mean it’s all the same. Compare your local options and compare prices for areas like taxes, equipment, rental fees, and installation fees. Also make sure to check the expiration date on any promotional offers to ensure your savings are maximized.
Many carriers offer an attractive discount if you bundle internet with other available services, such as phone or cable television. Verizon, for example, offers bundling discounts when you pair internet with cell phone service, while you can save with AT&T when you sign up for internet and DIRECTV.