Best of 2023 Internet Service Providers Companies providing fiber, cable, DSL, satellite, and fixed internet services are included in our ranking of the best Internet service providers (ISPs) for 2023.
In our ranking of the top internet service providers for 2023, AT&T and Verizon are tied for first place with Xfinity, Cox, Spectrum, Mediacom, and Astound Broadband. HughesNet, Frontier, and CenturyLink are tied for eighth place. Our list is completed by Suddenlink, Optimum, and Viasat.
To find out more about the top ISPs for 2023, keep reading.
AT&T Internet: AT&T primarily provides fixed internet, DSL, and fiber services to the Southeast, the Great Lakes areas, California, and Nevada. In our ranking of the Best Fiber ISPs of 2023, AT&T comes out on top as the Best Overall ISP. With download rates of up to 100 megabits per second, its fiber options begin at $55 per month (Mbps).
The greatest AT&T alternatives are available to those in urban regions, but its DSL and fixed internet services may be available to people in other places outside of cities. If you want to save money, bundles are available, including DirecTV. For its fiber services, AT&T no longer demands a contract and provides unlimited bandwidth.
Verizon Internet: Depending on where you reside, Verizon offers fixed mobile broadband (LTE or 5G), fiber, and DSL options. If you are in a major metropolis in the Northeast of the United States, you will probably have more options than if you reside in a more rural region, where DSL is frequently the only readily available internet option.
The popularity of Verizon’s fiber offerings allowed it to tie for second place in our ranking of the best fiber internet service providers. Prices for Verizon’s 300 Mbps plan start at $39.99; for the 500 Mbps plan, they are $64.99; and for the Gigabit Connection, they are $89.99. Internet access is unrestricted, and there are no contracts associated with the plans.
Xfinity: This year’s Best Cable ISP ranking, as well as the rankings for Fastest High-Speed ISPs and Best Prepaid ISPs, all place Xfinity at the top. The provider, which offers two fiber plans and several cable options, has affordable rates that start at $45 for prepaid plans, $29.99 per month for monthly plans, and go up to $299.95 for the best speeds.
With a few exceptions in the Northeast, Xfinity’s plans include a data cap of 1.2 terabytes (TB) for users in most states. By committing to a 12- or 24-month contract or by bundling services like TV, streaming, and home security, customers can save money.
Cox: In our ranking of the Best Internet Service Providers and Best Fiber Internet Service Providers of 2023, Cox comes in at number four. It is a flexible ISP that provides fiber, cable, and prepaid options. With Cox, you can enjoy introductory prices that could lower your internet costs if you commit to a 12-month commitment.
Prices range from $29.99 per month for download speeds up to 25 Mbps to $99.99 per month for the Gigablast, which is the fastest package and provides download speeds up to 940 Mbps. Cox has a monthly data cap of one terabyte (TB). Yet, it provides bundled services that include home security systems, technical assistance, and streaming services.
Spectrum: Except for a few Midwestern states, Hawaii, and Alaska, Spectrum offers cable internet plans to the bulk of the United States. Plans cost more for download speeds up to 940 Mbps and start at $49.99 per month for download speeds up to 200 Mbps. Its maximum upload speed, which is typical for cable connections, is 35 Mbps.
When you sign up with Spectrum, there is no restriction on the amount of data you can use. If you need additional services, you can combine them to save even more money. If you want packages, Spectrum offers TV, internet, and phone.
In our ranking of the Best Affordable ISPs of 2023, Mediacom, which offers internet subscriptions at affordable prices, is tied for first place. Three plans are provided by this cable company. The cheapest package, which is priced at $29.99 per month ($19.99 for the first year), offers download rates of up to 60 Mbps.
Since Mediacom uses cable connections, its upload speeds will be slower than its download rates. The 1 Gig package, on the other hand, offers download and upload rates of up to 50 Mbps and 1,000 Mbps, respectively. Mediacom is already among the Best Cable ISPs and Best ISPs for Gaming in 2023 thanks to these speeds. There is no commitment necessary, and its data limitations for plans range from 200 to 6,000 gigabytes.
With no commitments or bandwidth limits, Astound Broadband (previously RCN) offers cable and fiber internet options. You can save money by bundling the service with TV, phone, internet security, or smart home security systems. It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Options with download speeds of up to 250 Mbps start at $25.99 per month. Monthly fees of $44.99 for speeds up to 500 Mbps and $54.99 for speeds up to 940 Mbps, respectively. Washington, D.C., and the Northeastern United States are served by Astound.
CenturyLink: In 36 states and 19 cities, CenturyLink offers two options that include DSL or fiber internet connections. No contracts are required to use its services, and if you’re looking to save money, CenturyLink provides “Price for Life.” With CenturyLink’s Price for Life offer, your monthly fee remains the same for the duration of your service.
Their fiber service has download rates of up to 940 Mbps and costs $65 per month. That contrasts with its DSL service, which costs $50 a month and provides much slower download speeds of up to 100 Mbps. While CenturyLink’s DSL service has a monthly data cap of 1 TB, its fiber plan offers unlimited bandwidth. Both plans include available internet and phone bundles. Parental restrictions and capacity are both features of its modem.
Because of its low latency, Frontier is ranked as the best ISP for gaming in 2023. (amount of time it takes to relay data from one point to another). It offers fiber and DSL internet connections in 25 states, tying for eighth place overall. Prices for DSL plans start at $49.99 per month and go up to $79.99 for the 1 Gig package, which offers download and upload speeds of 1,000 Mbps. Two additional fiber options have been released by the company: 2 Gig for $109.99/month and 5 Gig for $164.99/month. At sign-up, there is no obligation, and unlimited data is included in all plans.
Someone who lives in a more rural location has the option of HughesNet, a satellite internet service provider. The company ranks first in both our list of the Best Satellite Internet Service Providers of 2023 and our list of the Best Internet Providers for Rural Areas of 2023.
If your residence has a clear view of the southern sky, you may probably obtain a satellite internet connection, offering it an alternative for homes outside of cities that cannot connect to terrestrial DSL, cable, or fiber internet providers.
Optimum: Optimum provides a selection of internet services as well as a number of extra add-ons, such as a monthly lease for a modem or router. Its service region is constrained, and it’s only offered in four Northeastern states, which is a drawback. It offers hybrid-fiber coaxial services with download and upload speeds of up to 10 Mbps and 1 Mbps, respectively, starting at $24.95 per month. The company’s highest set plan is 1 Gig, however in some areas, Optimum is now launching a 5 Gig upgrade.
There are no contracts necessary for the service, and data is unlimited. For even more savings, you can combine streaming service bundles with mobile phone plans.
Viasat: Viasat is ranked No. 2 in our list of the Top Satellite Internet Service Providers, No. 5 in our list of the Top Internet Service Providers for Rural Regions, and tied for 12th overall. Off the main road yet seeking inexpensive internet options? Viasat’s Basic 12 plan starts at $39.99 per month. Although this ISP requires a commitment, plans include unlimited data. The range of download speeds is 12 Mbps to 100 Mbps.
The maximum upload speed is 3 Mbps. Plans from Viasat can cost up to $149.99 per month, however, bundles of Viasat Voice, Viasat Shield (internet security), and EasyCare, an improved customer service option, may result in discounts. Together with your internet service, you can also get dish satellite TV.
Suddenlink: Due to its low-cost plans without a contract, Suddenlink is the Cheapest ISP of 2023. It ranks in our rankings for the best fibre and cable and serves 17 states in the South, Midwest, and West Coast. If your home is eligible for help, the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program, in which Suddenlink participates, may offer a reduction of $30 to $75 per month.
Hybrid-fiber coaxial connections are available from Suddenlink at a fee that varies from $20 to $75 per month. You may download at up to 940 Mbps and upload at up to 50 Mbps at this top tier. Just the highest two plans, though, offer unlimited data. The ISP provides a number of bundled packages, including TV, streaming, and mobile phone plans.
The Best Ways to Choose an Internet Service Provider
Some factors, like price, are simple to compare while looking for internet service. Some factors, such as customer service, are more difficult to evaluate absent first-hand knowledge of the business. The following are some of the most crucial things to consider while looking for a new internet provider:
Prices for internet service providers and connection types vary greatly. The cheapest package offers download speeds of 30 megabits per second for roughly $15 per month (Mbps). However, there can be certain limitations on eligibility. This is sufficient for basic online browsing, streaming HD video, and other high-bandwidth activities. An ultra-fast gigabit connection, on the other hand, often costs at least $65 to $80 per month.
The FCC has implemented an Emergency Broadband Benefit to assist those who cannot afford internet access in connecting their homes to the internet. The initiative helps low-income households who are having trouble getting online because of the COVID-19 outbreak. A family that qualifies can get a one-time reduction on the cost of a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet, as well as a monthly discount on an internet subscription.
The cost of internet connectivity in the United States is still generally high. According to the 2019 telecoms report from the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, “most ISPs are still falling short of offering decent service at an affordable price.” On the good side, internet service providers are spending a lot of money expanding their networks to make them faster for more users. Performance and dependability have also increased over time, according to Ian Greenblatt, head of J.D. Power’s Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Intelligence division. This shows that ISPs’ ongoing technology investments are definitely paying off for customers.
Even if you might not require the highest speeds, your internet connection should be quick enough for your online activities. It could be a good idea to switch to a faster plan if you frequently experience latency or buffering. See our article What is a Decent Internet Speed? for more details. It may also be beneficial to switch from one connection type to another, such as from DSL to cable. View our breakdown of the many internet service types below.
Check out our ranking of the Fastest High-Speed Internet Providers to see which Internet service providers have the quickest speeds.
When you want to accomplish something online, especially something important, and discover that your internet service is down, it can be really annoying. Greenblatt adds that the two factors that have the biggest impact on consumer happiness are an internet service provider’s speed and dependability. It must only function, says Greenblatt. You must be there for me when I need you.
While some internet bills are simple to grasp, others might be nearly impossible to understand. Have you ever been charged more than you anticipated with little to no justification? selecting a web provider that sends bills that are simple to read. Moreover, search for an ISP that enables you to pay using your preferred methods, such as a paper check or Apple Pay.
When enrolling with an ISP, research reputable customer reviews because it can be difficult to evaluate many of these criteria. Utilize our Best Internet Service Providers ranking to find out which businesses receive excellent marks from reputable, objective sources. In addition, your friends and neighbors might be able to advise you against utilizing their existing internet service provider.
Internet Service Types
Broadband internet connections for homes can be made using a cable, fiber optic, satellite, or DSL. You can also acquire dial-up internet access at home, however, it is too sluggish to be categorized as broadband. You may be able to access using a hotspot or wireless connection from some cell phone service providers. Nevertheless, these choices are not included in our ISP instructions.
Read our What Is an ISP? guide to find out more about the many types of internet connections that are available.
Internet through cable
Because it uses the same infrastructure as your TV, cable internet is the most widely used type of broadband connection. If you haven’t yet cut the cord and switched to streaming services, this can help you save money. There are deals that let you combine your internet and cable TV subscriptions into one to save money on both.
Because of its affordability, cable internet is another preferred choice. You may acquire a fundamental internet connection for under $40 per month, according to the plans we evaluated in Our Best Internet Providers of 2023 guide. The speeds of cable make it a popular as well. If they choose it, they can get download speeds of 175 Mbps, 275 Mbps, and 500 Mbps.
Internet via fibre
The best option for obtaining the fastest internet speed is fibre. Despite having fast download speeds, cable internet has substantially slower upload rates. The download and upload speeds on fibre are equivalent. This makes a fibre connection ideal for users that send a lot of data, such as small businesses that use the cloud for backups or individuals who enjoy sharing high-definition videos online.
For frequent internet users like online gaming, fibre internet is ideal. It offers minimal latency and little packet loss, thus there is less disruption when using it for other purposes like playing games. Similarly, while connecting through fibre, users who take part in videoconferencing and stream videos should experience fewer connection problems and a lower likelihood of frozen screens. Yet, just approximately 44% of Americans have access to fibre, according to FCC data gathered in June 2020.
Internet via satellite
Although most urban residents generally don’t think about satellite these days for high-speed internet, this is still one of the top options for most of rural America. According to the FCC, satellite internet is a broadband option available in almost all counties in the United States, including some isolated regions of Alaska and Hawaii. Comparatively, less than 20% of rural areas have access to fibre optic internet, and only 55% of rural areas can get high-speed access through a cable provider. Although satellite internet isn’t the ideal option for playing games, it nevertheless satisfies a need for internet connectivity in some of the more outlying regions.
DSL Faster, more dependable broadband services like cable and fiber internet are gradually replacing Internet DSL. Yet, many people in their localities, particularly in rural ones, have few high-speed provider options. In many areas, DSL provides significantly higher speeds than dial-up and is frequently quicker and more reliable than satellite internet. In our investigation into the Best Internet Service Providers, we discovered that DSL plans typically cost less than comparable satellite Internet rates.
DSL might be a good fit for you if you’re a light internet user who mostly uses one device at a time to browse the web or stream TV. If you live in a busy home where several people are using the internet at once, especially if two or more
WiFi Access Points, Fixed
Fixed wireless internet is a kind of internet service that connects remote and underserved locations to the internet via radio waves. Many rural or underdeveloped locations may lack the infrastructure necessary to support ground-based internet solutions like fiber, cable, or DSL. Instead, this kind of broadband connection connects to a tower within ten miles of your house via an antenna.
The weather might still have a small impact on fixed internet. Nonetheless, it has a shorter latency (the amount of time it takes for data to be relayed) than satellite internet, giving certain rural areas another option.
A 5G network
Similar to satellite internet, 5G home internet is a fixed wireless service, which means it operates without the usage of any physical connections. The reception of signals is where 5G internet differs. 5G internet provides low latency, or faster upload and download speeds, and it receives a signal from a much closer wireless hub directly to your 5G receiver.
The same network as your 5G smartphone is used by 5G home internet, however, unlike your smartphone, which can wander, a 5G home internet connection is only available in your home. It’s crucial to note that 5G home internet has the potential to provide quick speeds and more flexible plan options, but experts normally advise choosing cable or fiber (if available in your area) above these other options because they are frequently more dependable internet connections.
The businesses that made our list of the Best Internet Service Providers of 2023 provide more than simply Internet access. Many of them are also cable providers or behemoths in the telecommunications industry, and they can combine the price of an internet connection with another service they offer. Because the bundled package typically costs less than the price of each item separately, bundles can help you save money. If you choose a cable TV and internet plan from the majority of the firms on the list, you will receive a discount. Some even bundle home phone services, cell phone plans, and/or home security systems with their internet packages.