When you shop for an internet plan, you’ll likely run into difficulty choosing based on the service provider. You may have one provider tell you one thing while another provider tells you something else, and it can become challenging to stay focused and pick the one that offers the best deals.
But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! We’ve broken down the top internet service providers and what they offer. Whether you’re in search of your first internet plan or looking to switch, when it comes time to choose which plan to go with, your decision will be an easy one.
The internet provider Xfinity is owned by Comcast and starts with plans as low as $30 a month. They are one of the most popular internet service providers, especially when it comes to cable internet, with a whopping 55 million customers. They offer discounts and bundles for internet with TV, phone plans, and security systems for the home.
For internet service, they offer six cable internet options and two fiber internet plans. Xfinity offers one of the best internet services for a few reasons: affordability, internet options, and reliable speed.
- Affordability: Xfinity’s prices begin at $30 a month for a cable internet plan and offer 15 Mbps of download speeds and 2 Mbps of upload speeds. For more speed, $70 plans offer 600 Mbps of download speeds and 20 Mbps of upload speeds. Xfinity also offers fiber optic internet, depending on location. These plans tend to be more expensive, starting at around $300 a month for speeds up to 2 Gbps. They also offer discounts for autopay, year-long agreements, and setting the internet up yourself.
- Options: There are a total of eight plans within Xfinity. Six are for cable internet, and two are for fiber internet. Simply offering fiber internet puts Xfinity at an advantage over many other companies as it is still a newer form of internet. The amount of options Xfinity offers increases the choices you have and the chances that you’ll find what’s best for you.
- Reliable speeds: An important factor when choosing an internet provider is whether their speeds are as fast as advertised. Xfinity lives up to this quality. Studies show that speeds are within 95% as fast as they’re advertised, and most customers are very satisfied with the reliability of these speeds.
Verizon is one of the best internet service providers for fiber internet. This is specifically through Verizon Fios. Verizon Fios is affordable for the type of coverage offered and reliable. They also stress customer service and satisfaction.
Fiber internet is a new and upcoming form of internet. Its speeds are unmatched compared to other forms of internet, but the fiber market is still growing. Installing fiber internet and making it accessible is challenging, but Verizon Fios doesn’t let this stand in its way! Supplying over 15 million homes in Northeastern America, they offer fiber optic internet via their Fios network.
Let’s take a look at some reasons why Verizon Fios ranks so high up on our list.
- Affordability: Despite being one of the top fiber optic internet providers in the country, Verizon Fios has relatively low or similar costs to other fiber providers. Plans start as low as $40 per month and increase with increased fiber speed.
- Reliability: Fiber optic internet is the fastest form of internet by far, specifically its upload speeds. While most other forms of internet, such as cable or DSL, offer respectable download speeds, most have very low upload speeds. This is where fiber internet gets some of its fame, as both download and upload speeds can be up to 1,000 Mbps.
This not only means this internet is fast, but it’s reliable, too. Fiber optic cables are made of thin tubes full of glass particles and plastic. This allows the fiber internet connection to transfer data via light instead of electricity. In fact, this eliminates electricity issues altogether. Going around bends or curves, weather, and temperature affects fiber optic cables less, so this connection is typically more reliable.
- Fiber internet availability: Simply offering fiber internet to such a large area of the country gives Verizon Fios an advantage over other internet service providers. Fiber optic internet can be difficult and costly to install and requires brand new installation systems. This deters many companies from investing, but not Verizon Fios.
AT&T is another great choice when looking for internet service providers. They have a large selection of fiber internet plans starting at affordable prices and a wide range of locations for where their service is available in the United States.
- Affordability: Starting at $35 a month and up, AT&T is relatively inexpensive, especially for offering fiber internet. For fiber internet prices that can range anywhere from $30-300, AT&T maintains affordable pricing while offering reliably fast fiber internet speeds.
- Speeds: AT&T internet speeds can be as high as 940 Mbps. These speeds are not only fast, but customers reported immense satisfaction with their speeds and connection and a total of 95% satisfaction that the same rates advertised were the rates delivered. Even during peak usage when everyone is on the internet, AT&T guarantees to be 99% reliable.
- Fiber internet selection: Similar to Verizon Fios, an advantage AT&T has over other providers is that they offer fiber internet. In fact, they offer three different plans. Their plans start with 0.8 Mbps of fiber optic internet and go to 940 Mbps.
What to know when choosing providers
When you’re shopping to see which internet service provider meets your needs and budget, there are some factors to be familiar with.
Understand the types of internet
Knowing the types of internet offered will help you know which option is best for you. Here’s a breakdown of each type of internet offered.
- Fiber: This is the fastest form of internet that has become an increasingly popular option in recent years. Fiber optic cables are slightly bigger than hairs and they use light to transport data and glass particles to move the light inside. This is not only the fastest internet, but it has the largest broadband, remarkably fast upload speeds, and the most reliable service as fiber optic cables are less fragile than cable coaxial wires.
- Cable: Cable internet is the most common form of broadband internet. It comes from the same lines that TVs use, hence the term “cable” internet. This type of connection uses electricity to transfer data. While still fast, upload speeds tend to be lower than those of fiber optic internet, and cable wires are more susceptible to weather damage and severe temperatures.
- DSL: This form of internet operates through telephone lines. DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line and may be a good option for those who live in rural areas as telephone lines can be found almost anywhere in the country. DSL offers relatively fast download and upload speeds if you purchase a symmetrical DSL plan. With an asymmetrical DSL plan, you’ll get fast upload speeds and slower download speeds. While DSL has some benefits, it is slowly being left behind due to cable and fiber-optic options.
- Satellite: This is a type of internet that uses a satellite in space to bounce signals from your provider back to you. For this connection to work, you need a satellite dish to receive the signal for your home. These plans typically offer 100 Mbps which is a respectable speed, especially if your internet needs are low.
Know how much you need
It’s important to know how much internet you need so you can pick the right plan and right service provider. Below are some guidelines for understanding your internet needs.
Depending on how many people are in your home and use the internet, how often you’re on the internet, and what activities you do, internet needs can vary. For the one or two-person household with lower internet needs, the Federal Communications Commission suggests that 3-8 Mbps is adequate.
For larger households and HD streaming, 25 Mbps will likely be adequate. Your needs may be higher or lower depending on whether you work from home as well.
The top internet service providers have reliable speeds, affordable prices, and offer the fastest and most reliable forms of internet. On top of this, their customer service and satisfaction rates rank high up in surveys and reviews. By learning the differences between what the top internet service providers offer and how to know which is best for you, you can determine which is best for you.
And if you’re still struggling to find the best plan? No worries! That’s why we created our internet comparison tool! Let us do the hard work for you, so you can focus on the things that matter.