High-speed internet isn’t a necessity for everybody, and sometimes high-speeds just aren’t available in certain areas. Many people can get by with satellite or mobile hotspots for basic web browsing, but for those of you who need it, fiber and cable internet provide more reliable connections, download speeds of 25 Mbps or faster and more capabilities for internet use without interruption. This speed and reliability are must-haves for online gamers, movie or television streamers and for those who are running their business or side-hustle from home.
Whether you’ve just moved and are looking to see what providers are out there, or you’re just fed up with inadequate service, read on to find the best high-speed internet providers out there right now.
What high-speed internet providers are available in 2020?
Whether internet service providers (ISPs) in your area are familiar names or companies that are newer to the scene, there’s a lot to consider when deciding which one offers the best internet options for you. Here are our top five choices from all of the major providers.
AT&T is a well-known name across the U.S. and is pretty widely available across the country. AT&T offers internet in various capacities to 21 states across the country. AT&T also offers lightning-fast fiber-optic in many areas on the Southwest coast and in the Eastern and Midwest parts of the country.
Xfinity puts a new name to an older company. Comcast has been around as a cable provider since the 1960s, and got into the internet game in 1996. Having teamed up with a well-known name like NBC makes it top-of-mind when it comes to home entertainment. It’s got reliable, speedy internet service for most of the country.
CenturyLink is also on the fiber-optic bandwagon, offering speeds up to 940 Mbps in some areas. Its standard internet coverage extends to 36 states across the U.S. CenturyLink’s real claim to fame is its pricing and contract-free internet deals. Its “Price for Life” offer guarantees that as long as you keep your plan, the monthly charge won’t increase.
Available in 29 states across the U.S., Frontier makes waves for its lack of data caps: a real bonus for high-bandwidth internet users and big families. Because additional data charges can quickly bump monthly costs from so-so to soaring, users can rest easy with Frontier. The company currently offers both cable and fiber internet where infrastructure exists.
With gig network speeds up to 940 Mbps and cable internet available in areas where fiber connections are limited, Spectrum offers fast speeds to 46 states making it one of the most available networks around. They have no data caps and provide a free modem and antivirus software.
Let’s dive into the details on these providers…
Best fast internet service
* Pricing and availability as of 03/10/2020
Comparing the best high-speed internet providers
In select regions, AT&T will give an over 99% reliability guarantee on its fiber-optic and cable internet networks. That well-known and trusted performance is what sets AT&T apart from its competitors. Its included internet security suite and Smart Home Manager app further convince any fence-sitters of the company’s aptitude for pleasing its customers.
AT&T’s fiber packages are tiered by speed and start at 100 Mbps download for $49.99 per month. The top-level 940 Mbps also comes in at $49.99 per month. but both prices jump to $69.99 after the first year. The lower-tiered services also come with a 1 TB data cap per month, with an additional charge for usage over that amount.
High-speed internet starts at $49 per month for 20, 80 and 100 Mbps packages at CenturyLink, all depending on what’s available in your area. Fiber-optic internet at 940 Mbps costs $65 per month where it’s available.
CenturyLink’s no-contract plans are attention-grabbing since there’s nothing worse than signing on to a long-term contract and finding the service just isn’t working for you. However, as long as you stay on the service you signed up for, CenturyLink will give you the Price for Life treatment — your price will never change. The exception? Price for Life is not available with the fiber-optic internet plan.
Frontier offers a number of packages that vary in speed and price point. With fiber-optic prices starting at $29.99 per month, it’s one of the cheapest solutions for high-speed internet. That price point only gets you 50 Mbps download and upload speeds, though. Possibly the best value is the $39.99 per month package, which bumps speeds up considerably to 500 Mbps. The highest tier, 940 Mbps, comes in at $74.99 per month.
Frontier’s lack of a data cap adds icing on their low-cost cake, since overage fees can add up fast, especially during an HD binge-watching weekend marathon. Starting prices are set for a year and bundles on Frontier’s products are decent, too. Signing up online for the 50 Mbps with basic TV add-on is just $54.98.
Another company that’s offering packages with no long-term contract, Xfinity makes a play as one of the most affordable internet service providers in the game. Packages that can reach up to 100 Mbps download speed come in at only $39.99 per month with no fixed term attached, although the price bumps after the first 12 months of service. The full 1,000 Mbps service comes in at $79.99.
TV bundles sweeten the deal, with packages such 1,000 Mbps internet service and over 250 channels for $149.99, although the TV packages come with a required commitment.
As one of the most widely available providers, Spectrum offers fast speeds to many customers in the U.S. Packages start at $49.99 per month with speeds ranging from 30 Mbps to 940 Mbps for cable and fiber connections. Spectrum also provides no data caps or speed throttling (slowing speeds after a certain threshold). Spectrum also offers bundled packages with cable TV, home phone and mobile.
*Prices are accurate as of March 17, 2020. Prices for Xfinity were based on offers available in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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Choosing an internet provider is a big decision. If you’re signing up for a contract with a company, you should do your homework to be reasonably sure you’ll get the fastest internet speed and service you want and need. Check availability of these and other providers in your area and read reviews to determine the best option.