- The most popular cable plan speed is 300 Mbps
- The most popular fiber plan speed is 200 Mbps
- The least popular cable plan speed is 400 Mbps and 1,000 Mbps
- The least popular fiber plan speed is 1 Gbps or higher
Internet speed trends have changed drastically as internet technology has advanced. During the early days of internet, global internet speed was shy of 1 Mbps – a speed that wouldn’t let you do much of anything today.
Now, internet activity is intertwined with all aspects of daily life, whether it’s work, entertainment or social functions. And with this increased influence comes the increase in speed necessary for the internet activities we all know and love, from gaming, streaming, browsing, social networking and more.
But what internet speeds are popular today? We’ll go over some recent internet speed trends and let you know what types of speed you need for a modern-day internet connection.
Overview of internet speeds
Internet speeds vary based on internet service providers (ISPs), technology type and plan. Speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps) and gigabits per second (Gbps). These two units tell you how fast data is transferred over your internet connection. 1,000 Mbps is equal to 1 Gbps.
Some internet technologies, like fiber, are faster than others such as satellite internet. That said, internet speed tiers can range anywhere from 25 Mbps to 8,000 Mbps and higher – it all depends on the provider you’re looking at.
Download vs. upload speed
When looking at internet speed, you’ll usually see two numbers – one representing download speed and one for upload speed. Both are important when looking for an internet plan.
Download speed refers to the speed at which the internet connection allows you to receive data (think texts, images, downloading videos, etc.). Upload speed refers to the speed at which you can send data from one device to another.
Some ISPs, particularly fiber providers, offer symmetrical download and upload speeds which provides a higher-quality internet connection.
Factors affecting internet speeds
Certain factors affect your internet speed, like network congestion, technology type and even location which could impact which plan you choose.
Think of network congestion as a traffic jam on the highway. It occurs when a network (highway) is overloaded with data (cars). There are many causes of network congestion, but too many connected devices over one network is a common one.
If you have many people using multiple devices at once and your network is not equipped to handle it, then you may experience connection timeouts and latency.
Fiber is the fastest internet technology type, with some fiber providers offering speeds as high as 10,000 Mbps. Satellite providers, on the other hand, offer much slower speeds.
Location is another factor to consider when it comes to internet speed. If you live in a rural area, it’s likely you will not have the same internet options as someone living in an urban location. Satellite internet is a common option for rural communities, providing you with slower speeds than other areas.
Location also determines fixed wireless internet speeds, like 5G internet. Your proximity to a cell tower will determine the quality of your fixed wireless internet speeds – the farther away you are, the slower your speeds will be.
Many factors go into choosing an ISP or plan speed, but keep these in mind as you consider the most popular internet plan speeds most consumers are buying.
Popular internet speed plans
According to Allconnect internal data, the most popular cable internet plan is the 300 Mbps speed tier. This is a common middle-of-the-pack speed amongst many ISPs, so you won’t have trouble finding a provider near you that offers it, or one close to it.
Some popular cable internet providers that offer plans within the 300 Mbps speed range include:
- Spectrum: 300 Mbps for $49.99/mo.
- Xfinity: 300 Mbps for $55.00/mo.
- Optimum: 300 Mbps for $40.00/mo.
- Cox: 250 Mbps for $69.99/mo.
The second most popular cable speed tier is 500 Mbps. 500 Mbps is on the higher end of the middle-ranged speed tiers and is more than enough speed for many households of 2 – 5 users.
Popular cable ISPs with speeds of or near 500 Mbps include:
Most popular fiber internet speed tiers
Our data shows the most popular fiber speed tier as less than 100 Mbps (25, 50 and 75 Mbps speed tiers). However, the most popular standalone fiber internet speed tier is 200 Mbps.
Most fiber internet providers offer much higher speeds with higher prices, but many households do not need multi-gig fiber speeds, which explains why a lower fiber speed tier is most popular. Fiber internet also offers symmetrical download and upload speeds, which will improve the connection quality regardless of the speed tier.
Popular fiber internet ISPs offering plans at or near 200 Mbps include:
- Quantum Fiber: 200 Mbps for $49.00/mo.
- AT&T Fiber: 300 Mbps for $55.00/mo.
- Verizon Fios: 300 Mbps for $49.99/mo.
Another popular speed tier amongst fiber internet consumers is 500 Mbps. As we mentioned above, 500 Mbps is suitable for most medium to large households. A 500 Mbps fiber connection will provide an even better connection due to symmetrical download and upload speeds.
ISPs offering fiber internet plans with speeds of 500 Mbps include:
- Frontier Fiber: 500 Mbps for $49.99/mo.
- AT&T Fiber: 500 Mbps for $65.00/mo.
- Verizon Fios: 500 Mbps for $69.99/mo.
- Optimum: 500 Mbps for $60.00/mo.
Current internet speed trends
Our data shows that middle-tier speed ranges are the most popular for cable and fiber internet consumers. Most households do not require the extremely high speeds that some ISPs offer. For most, 300 – 500 Mbps is more than enough speed to cover multiple devices streaming, gaming, browsing and working from home.
This is also clear when looking at the least popular speed tier for both technology types: Over 1,000 Mbps. 1,000 Mbps is high for the average household, but many ISPs like Frontier, AT&T, Optimum and Xfinity now offer multi-gigabit speed tiers ranging from 5,000 – 10,000 Mbps.
Overview of global internet speeds
According to Ookla’s Speedtest Global Index, the U.S. has a median fixed broadband speed of 207 Mbps download speed and 23 Mbps of upload speed as of July 2023 – for sixth in the world.
Ookla estimates that global internet speeds went up 28% between 2021 and 2022. Singapore is ranked No. 1 with 241 Mbps, followed by Chile with 223 Mbps and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with 220 Mbps.
Why is internet speed important?
Your internet speed determines the quality of your internet experience. If you do not have enough speed for the types of activities you do and amount of devices you have, your experience will suffer.
First, consider how many people are connecting to your home network. If it’s just you and another person, you won’t need as much internet speed as a family of five or six would. But, you also need to consider the types of internet activities you will be doing.
Even if you only have one or two people connected to your home network but partake in bandwidth-heavy internet activities, like gaming, getting a plan with faster speeds to support that activity is a good idea. Otherwise, you could experience latency and lag that would impact your overall experience.
Other internet activities like working or learning from home also require enough speed to support things like video chatting, online classes, downloading data, etc. So, consider your daily internet activities when you choose your speed.
Future trends in internet speeds
The standard for internet speed will continue to increase as technology advances. If we look at the early 2000s when the global average internet speed was just shy of 1 Mbps, it’s hard to imagine today’s standard. But, back then, the technology could not support today’s fast internet speeds.
Today, gigabit and multi-gigabit internet connections are common with many providers offering over 1 Gbps. Some, like Frontier, AT&T and Xfinity offer from 4,700 – 10,000 Mbps. While you may never need that much speed, you can expect them to continue increasing as internet technology advances.
The bottom line
Your internet speed is important. It will determine whether you experience lag every time you game or take a Zoom call, have trouble downloading files or experience long load times while streaming. Popular internet speed tiers are 300 and 500 Mbps for cable internet consumers and 200 and 500 Mbps for fiber internet consumers.
Make sure you determine the right internet speed for your needs, considering the number of devices you’ll have connected to your home network and the types of internet activities you participate in every day.
If you’re looking for the right internet speed for your home, check out internet service providers available in your area.
Written by:Camryn Smith
Camryn Smith is an Associate Writer with Allconnect.com. She specializes in writing about the broadband industry and helping consumers navigate complex internet service purchasing decisions…. Read more
Edited by:Robin Layton
Editor, Broadband Content
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