Everyone needs to access the internet these days, whether just to send emails or to connect multiple PCs, tablets and TVs in the household for gaming and live TV streaming. When selecting an internet service provider, your choices involve more than speed alone. Internet providers also offer a wide range of the best internet deals which, might be compelling enough to convince you to switch providers.
What kinds of internet deals should you look for? The answer depends on your needs. Telecommuters, gamers, occasional web users and rural residents each benefit from different types of internet deals, for instance. A telecommuter working from multiple locations is more likely to benefit from free WiFi hotspots than a gamer whose main requirement is super high bandwidth at home. Free installation may be more advantageous to a rural resident putting in a complex satellite setup than to an occasional web user who only requires a low-speed DSL modem running over standard phone lines.
To help you decide when going to Google looking for “internet deals in my area,” here’s a quick glimpse at some of the internet deals you can find, together with examples of deals offered by various companies.
Best internet deals
- Bundling; Bundling is one of the many types of internet deals that can save you money. Customers get discounts on services by combining (or “bundling”) internet service with phone and/or TV service from the same provider.
- Free equipment: Free equipment is another common internet deal, with the type of equipment varying according to the type of internet service. Cable providers sometimes offer free cable modems.
- Free installation: A cable provider might offer a free self-install kit, whereas a satellite internet provider might send out a specialized service technician free of charge.
- Contract-free plans: Many internet service plans require you to sign a one or two-year contract in order to get service, and to pay an early termination fee if you end service before the contract is up. Other plans, however, are contract-free, letting you pay on a month-to-month basis and quit the plan with no financial penalty.
- Sign-on deals: One typical sign-on deal is to offer a discounted rate for internet service if you do agree to a contract. Providers also run “limited time” specials that entitle you to pricing discounts or other perks only if you sign up before the promotion ends.
- ‘No data cap’ plans: Some providers charge you extra fees, or “throttle” (slow) your service, if you exceed a company-imposed monthly limit on data. Others, though, don’t place any caps on the amount of data your household can use.
- WiFi hotspots: Some internet service providers operate networks of WiFi hotspots, and offer these to their users. Subscribers needing WiFi connectivity while away from home can access these hotspots via laptops and other mobile devices from wherever they are situated.
- Antivirus protection: It’s crucially important to protect your devices from viruses, malware and other kinds of cyberattacks. In another type of internet deal, the internet provider lets you download antivirus protection and other security software free of charge.
Best home internet deals
|Provider||Type of Internet||Best For||Availability|
|DSL, fiber, fixed wireless||Bundles||21 states|
|Charter Spectrum||Cable||Telecommuters||41 states|
|Xfinity||Cable||Gaming and home entertainment||39 states, plus District of Columbia|
|HughesNet||Satellite||Rural residents||50 states|
|Optimum||Cable, fiber||Seniors and low-income families||4 states|
The availability of these and other Internet providers varies according to location. To see internet deals in your area, use the ISP.com zip code finder
Compare internet deals
One of the largest telecommunications companies in the US, AT&T began in 2014 to deploy super high-speed fiber services at up to 1 Gbps in dozens of cities across the US. AT&T’s internet customer base remains much larger, though, for DSL. Only about 40 percent of AT&T’s DSL customer base achieves speeds of 100 Mbps, with the remainder receiving lower rates of 4 Mbps or 25 Mbps. All AT&T customers get free access to the company’s huge network of WiFi hotspots.
Whether you’re interested in lower-speed DSL or ultra-fast fiber, AT&T is great for bundling deals. On the downside, though, the terms of these deals can be complicated, and you need to look at the fine print. As of January 28, 2020, AT&T offers a bundle combining internet service with its DirecTV service for $79.99 monthly (plus taxes and an internet equipment fee) for 12 months, with 24-month TV and 12-month internet contracts and a combined bill.
What’s more, customers placing online orders with internet or either DirecTV or AT&T’s other TV service, Uverse, get $350 in reward cards for use with retail stores, restaurants, and online ecommerce sites. AT&T recommends internet speeds of at least 25 Mbps for TV service.
Charter Communications became the second-largest broadband provider and third-biggest pay provider in the US through a 2016 merger withTime-Warner and Bright House Networks. Available to over 30 percent of the US population, Charter’s Spectrum cable service includes more than 28 million signed-up residential and business customers across portions of 42 states.
Spectrum is ideal for households that don’t want to be tied down by contracts, as well as for customers such as telecommuters who are frequently on-the-go. The company offers contract-free plans and will even buy out your contract with another provider, reimbursing you for ETFs of up to $500. Spectrum customers get free access to Charter’s nationwide WiFi hotspot network. Spectrum’s speeds range from 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps, depending on location, and all cable packages come with a free cable modem and free antivirus software.
Pricing starts at $49.99 monthly with a 12-month agreement. Charter also offers Spectrum TV bundles, along with a mobile app for live TV streaming to your device no matter where you roam.
Comcast’s consumer and business cable customers amounted to more than 31 million nationally. as of the third quarter of 2019, making the company the number one provider of cable internet access in the US. Under the brand name Xfinity, the company also sells cable TV and digital phone services. In addition, Comcast owns Sky, a large European pay-TV provider, as well as NBCUniversal.
Comcast is a particularly enticing choice for customers who need supremely high bandwidth for internet gaming, or for streaming media to multiple TVs, PCs and other devices. In most of the markets it serves, Comcast offers a 2 Gbps fiber plan called Xfinity Gigabit Internet Pro, as well as a 1 Gbps plan known as Xfinity Gigabit Internet.
Some Xfinity plans are less costly. As of January 30, 2020, Comcast provides a $79.99-a-month bundle with 200 Mbps in bandwidth, TV service and unlimited voice calling “to nearly half the world,” with a two-year agreement. This internet deal also includes downloads of movies and TV shows through the Xfinity Stream app, and — as a limited time sign-on offer– a free self-installation kit otherwise valued at $59.99. Other advantages available to Xfinity customers include access to millions of hotspots nationwide, a free download of Norton Security Suite, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
HughesNet is available in every state in the US, including Hawaii. Unlike Viasat, its major satellite competitor, HughesNet offers bandwidth of up to 25 Mbps — a speed commonly accepted as adequate for video streaming — with all its plans. The company does not guarantee, however, that you will achieve this speed.
HughesNet’s services are best suited for people in remote rural locations where high-bandwidth connectivity is not available through cable or DSL. Home WiFi is included in HughesNet’s plans. Pricing is determined not by internet speed, but by amount of data used each month, HughesNet offers four price tiers, ranging from 10GB to 50GB. HughesNet imposes data caps, too, although these are “soft” rather than “hard.” If you exceed the data allowed in your plan, the company slows or “throttles” your service to almost a standstill – 1 Mbps to 3 Mbps — until the close of the current billing cycle.
Installation can be a slightly complicated process. It involves setting up and connecting a WiFi modem with a HughesNet LAN cable inside the home, as well as installing a satellite dish in the correct position on the rooftop. HughesNet does offer limited time promotions for free installation of equipment. Voice service is available, too.
Altice acquired Cablevision in 2016, after purchasing the assets of another US cable provider, Suddenlink, in 2015. The Optimum buyout included three services: Optimum Online, Optimum TV and Optimum Voice. In September of 2018, the company launched a new 1 Gbps fiber service on Long Island, known as “Optimum Gigabit,” with plans to roll out fiber throughout the Optimum and Suddenlink coverage areas and to ultimately raise speeds to 10 Gbps.
As of January 30, 2020, most Optimum Online customers have a choice of five service tiers. These range from Optimum10, providing speeds of 10 Mbps, to Optimum400, supplying 400 Mbps. Additionally, in a limited-time promotion, Optimum offers a 300 Mbps plan priced at $39.99 per month for one year, with free installation. Customers must also pay a monthly charge to lease a cable modem. On the other hand, you also get a number of free perks as an Optimum customer, including mobile hotspot access, internet security powered by McAfee and email. Optimum offers contract-free plans, with buyout offers of up to $500 from contracts with other providers. TV and phone bundling deals are available, too.
Beyond all that, many seniors and low-income families living in Optimum and Suddenlink coverage areas are eligible for an internal deal called Altice Advantage. This program provides 30 Mbps internet service at a discounted rate of $14.99 monthly. Eligible participants can also purchase an Acer laptop for $149.99. Optimum covers portions of New York State, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Suddenlink’s coverage area includes parts of nine states in the West, Southwest, and South.
Call now to learn about internet deals near your home
When you’re shopping for an internet provider, internet offers and deals are a very important part of the equation. With the right deals in place, you can save money and gain valuable free perks. To find cheap internet near you, use this zip code tool. To ask questions and get further help, call ISP.com.