Your choice for an internet provider depends on which companies are available in your area and how you’ll be using the internet connection. There are many Internet providers in the USA, but the availability of every ISP differs from location, and internet speeds too. So it is important to know about the best high-speed internet in your area and their availability.
This review is about the details of some generally available internet service providers and maybe not suitable for you.
This review started with determining the most common priorities that subscribers have. Some of the characteristics we looked at included pricing, availability, variety of plans or packages offered, download and upload speeds, and versatility. With this criteria, we have reached a conclusion:
Best for Most People: Comcast XFINITY
Best on a Budget: Frontier
Best for Rural Areas: HughesNet
Best for Speed: Verizon Fios
Best for Flexibility: AT&T
XFINITY is the residential branch of Comcast. With cable infrastructure already in place in 40 out of 50 states, XFINITY tends to be the best option for most people who are looking for a home broadband internet service because of its wide availability, selection of plans, and overall service quality.
Comcast Xfinity serves about 111 million people in 40 states, making it the largest cable provider in the U.S. Xfinity’s top serviced areas are Houston, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, San Jose, and Denver. You’ll find Xfinity along the East and West coasts and in many Southern cities, but those who live in Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, or Nebraska will have to look at other providers.
In addition to coverage and availability, Comcast XFINITY has a wide variety of plans, allowing subscribers to pick their plans based either on speed or price. Though speeds and price can vary by region, Xfinity internet plans are generally as follows:
Performance (60 Mbps down, 2 Mbps up) for $39.99 per month
Blast (250 Mbps down, 5 Mbps up) for $59.99 per month
Extreme Pro (400 Mbps down, 10 Mbps up) for $79.99 per month
Comcast Xfinity promises the fastest internet speeds we saw in our research, going all the way up to 2,000 Mbps (2 Gbps). This is probably well beyond overkill for most households — and it’ll set you back $300 a month.
If the price is your priority, Frontier is no doubt your first choice.
Available in 38 states, Frontier is the go-to provider when all you need is basic internet. Its DSL service is particularly widespread, while its fiber-optic internet can mostly be found in the Pacific Northwest. Frontier’s strongest coverage areas are Tampa, Rochester, Saint Petersburg, Long Beach, Fort Wayne, Durham, and Plano. However, central states like Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, and South Dakota are dead areas for Frontier.
Largely a DSL provider, Frontier's internet service is served through your phone line although, fortunately, you're not required to have a landline to use it.
While this puts a pretty hard limit on the speeds available, the fact that an internet plan through Frontier can cost as little as $20 per month might make up for the lack of speed.
While Frontier's internet plans are some of the cheapest available, they may not be enough if you're even a moderate user. The base-level plan is the Internet Core plan, which offers 6 Mbps download speeds for $20 per month, which is enough to stream video and browse the web at the same time. The top-tier DSL plan - called Internet Velocity - costs $60 per month and provides download speeds of up to 115 Mbps. These speeds are substantially lower than cable and fiber optic internet, but you won't get these low prices with most other providers.
In some regions, Frontier has begun to offer fiber optic-esque download speeds via the Frontier FiOS plans. But even with these plans, you won't quite reach the speed levels available from other fiber optic providers like Verizon.
Because HughesNet is a satellite internet provider, it’s available virtually everywhere. It reaches an astounding 308.7 million people in all 50 states, more than any other ISP in the country. No matter where you live, HughesNet is an option. It’s especially ideal for rural areas where other internet connection types aren’t available.
The plans that HughesNet offers are quite different than most other internet service providers. Currently, all "Gen5" plans allow for download speeds of up to 25 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 3 Mbps. So instead of plans scaling in speed, HughesNet plans scale in the "soft caps" for data that are provided with each plan.
For the entry-level HughesNet satellite internet plan, you'll pay $59.99 per month for up to 10GB of data. The top-tier plan costs $129.99 per month and provides 50 GB of data per month. It's worth noting, though, that if you exceed the data cap, you don't lose your internet access; instead, soft data caps mean you'll see reduced speeds after you hit your monthly allotment.
You’ll have to choose your data limit. Most customers can choose from 10, 20, 30, or 50 GB of data per month. You’ll need to choose wisely: Once your data allotment is up, your speeds will dip to 1 to 3 Mbps until the next billing cycle, too slow for anything but basic web browsing.
The drawbacks to HughesNet are primarily downsides to satellite internet in general. In particular, latency continues to be an issue with HughesNet and essentially takes intensive gaming off the table. Additionally, while 25 Mbps is enough for basic web browsing, email, and social media, you may find this to be too slow for downloading files of streaming high-resolution video.
However, if HughesNet is a consideration, it's likely because providers like Comcast, Verizon, and Frontier aren't offered in your area. In this case, HughesNet satellite internet is certainly a better choice than having no internet at all in spite of the higher cost of service, equipment, and the required two-year contract.
When your goal is breakneck internet speeds no matter the cost, you want to check out Verizon Fios. Verizon's fiber service offers speeds from 50 Mbps to 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps).
Verizon's fiber-optic coverage includes certain parts of 14 states, making it a rather limited option in terms of availability.
The fiber optic plans pick up where the DSL plans leave off, which is at 75 Mbps. Currently, the entry-level Fios plan is a very reasonable $39.99 per month for 100 Mbps down/up. From there, you can choose the 300-Mbps plan for $59.99 per month or near-gigabit speeds - specifically, 940 Mbps down and 880 Mbps up - for a very reasonable $79.99 per month. There are even plans that provide well above gigabit-level speeds, but availability can vary considerably, depending on your location.
Verizon's greatest strength is arguably the company's award-winning customer service and support. Compared to certain other providers, Verizon is known for being extremely helpful and friendly.
Generally, the biggest drawback to Verizon Fios is access to the service; since only a relatively small percentage of Americans - less than 10 percent - fall within the Verizon Fios coverage area, the majority of people looking for a great internet service provider simply aren't able to subscribe to Verizon Fios, no matter how much they'd like to.
AT&T - which is most well-known as a wireless service providers but also offers home broadband as well as television through DirecTV - has just about everything you could need.
AT&T offers internet service in 21 states, with the greatest coverage in California, Texas, and Florida. If you live in Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, San Antonio, San Diego, or Dallas, AT&T is likely an option for your internet service. Its fiber-optic connections are mostly available in Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, and North Carolina.
AT&T's lowest-cost plans are the single U-Verse plan called Internet 5, which provides 5 Mbps download/upload speeds for $40 per month. This is somewhat pricey, compared to other DSL providers; for example, Frontier's entry-level DSL plan is half the cost and actually offers slightly increased data speeds.
AT&T's fiber-optic network gives subscribers much more bang for their buck. For example, the entry-level Fiber plan provides download/upload speeds of 100 Mbps for just $50 per month, which is a difference of just $10 more than AT&T's Internet 5 plan. There are also 300 Mbps and gigabit-speed Fiber plans available for $70 and $90, respectively.
Beyond the Fiber plans, another of AT&T's greatest draws is the fact that you can get several other services through AT&T, allowing you to consolidate your monthly bills. For instance, AT&T offers wireless service plans, landline service plans, and even television service plans due to the purchase of DirecTV. This makes AT&T extremely appealing to those hoping to save money by bundling or to simply cut down on the number of separate bills they're paying each month.
Due to availability and individual demands, these five generally accepted internet service providers are probably not a good choice for you. Then you can go to https://www.getprovider.com and enter your zip code to check availability about the best internet providers in your area.