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How can you find internet service providers in your area?
Many Americans don’t have a whole lot of choice in their internet — around 1 in 4 can only access broadband through one provider — so most of us just go with whichever provider is in our area. But if you’re lucky enough to have options, we’ve analyzed all the nationwide players, comparing speeds, customer service ratings and pricing to discover which deserve the title of best internet providers.
Top 8 recommended internet providers of 2021
Where to find the best internet providers
When shopping for a new internet service provider, it’s likely you’ll discover internet options you previously didn’t know were available. It’s just as likely, however, that some ISPs you thought were (or hoped would be) available are not. Broadband access can vary significantly even in a single community, where one side of a street has access to fiber optic, for instance, and the other side does not.
If fiber optic internet is available in your area, it will almost always give you the fastest, most reliable speeds for the best value. If you can’t get fiber, your next best option is cable internet, but DSL may be a better choice if you’re looking for the cheapest plans. Lastly, satellite internet is a common go-to service in rural areas where fiber and cable are not available. Residents of rural areas may want to consider fixed wireless providers since they often have lower latency and higher data allowances than satellite providers.
Internet availability and service areas
Xfinity – Available in 39 states. Primary internet service areas include the Northwest, Great Lakes region and eastern U.S.
Spectrum – Available in 41 states. Primary internet service areas include the South, Midwest and West Coast.
AT&T – Available in 21 states. Primary internet service areas include the South, Midwest and parts of the West Coast.
Verizon – Available in eight states. Primary internet service areas include the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.
Cox – Available in 19 states. Primary internet service areas include the Southwest, Central U.S. and the Northeast.
CenturyLink – Available in 35 states. Primary internet service areas include the Northwest, Southwest and Midwest.
Frontier – Available in 25 states. Primary internet service areas include the Midwest, Northeast, parts of the South and Texas.
HughesNet – Available in all 50 states. Primary internet service areas include rural areas across the U.S.
Source: FCC Fixed Broadband Deployment
Don’t see your local home internet provider?
The service providers listed above cover most of the U.S. population, but there are hundreds of smaller, regional providers. These providers extend internet coverage to areas where the largest providers do not reach or provide some often much-needed competition in areas where there is already a major internet provider established.
We’ve listed some of the top regional providers and their service areas below, but there may be other internet options in your area.
Top regional internet service providers and service areas
- Atlantic Broadband – Available in 10 states. Primary service areas include eastern Connecticut, Maryland and Virginia, central Pennsylvania and New Hampshire and the Aiken, South Carolina area.
- Mediacom – Available in 22 states. Primary service areas include the Midwest, South and communities along the Atlantic coast in Delaware and North Carolina.
- Optimum – Available in four states. Primary service areas include Brooklyn, NY and the greater New York City region.
- RCN – Available in five states. Primary service areas include Chicago, IL; Boston, MA; Manhattan and Queens, NY; Allentown and western Philadelphia, PA and Washington D.C.
- Sonic – Available in California. Primary service areas include the greater Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose and Santa Rosa areas.
- Starry Internet – Available in four states. Primary service areas include Los Angeles, CA; Denver, CO; Boston, MA; New York, NY and Washington, D.C.
- Suddenlink – Available in 14 states. Primary service areas include select rural and suburban parts of Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia.
- Windstream – Available in 18 states. Primary service areas include rural and suburban parts of the Eastern, Midwest, Southern and Southwestern U.S.
- Ziply Fiber – Available in four states. Primary service areas include regions in the Pacific Northwest formerly served by Frontier.
Find internet providers near you
Whether you’re shopping for cheap internet, a faster plan or an all-around better internet provider, we can help you find the service that’s right for you.
Search providers by address:Check availability
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Compare the best home internet providers
Comparing providers head-to-head is one of the best ways to avoid overpaying for internet service or signing up for a plan that doesn’t fit your needs. Not all providers will be available in your area, but you can use this list to see how the largest ones compare to what’s available near you.
|Provider||Monthly price range*||Download speed range|
|AT&T||$35.00 – $60.00||10 – 940 Mbps|
|CenturyLink||$50.00 – $65.00||20 – 940 Mbps|
|Cox||$29.99 – $99.99||25 – 940 Mbps|
|Frontier FiberOptic||$37.99 – $74.99||50 – 940 Mbps|
|HughesNet||$59.99 – $149.99||Up to 25 Mbps|
|Mediacom||$19.99 – $79.99||60 – 1,000 Mbps|
|Optimum||$35.00 – $55.00||300 – 940 Mbps|
|RCN||$19.99 – $59.99||10 – 1,000 Mbps|
|Spectrum||$49.99 – $109.99||200 – 1,000 Mbps**|
|Starry Internet||$50.00||Up to 200 Mbps|
|Suddenlink||$30.00 – $70.00||200 – 940 Mbps|
|Verizon Fios||$39.99 – $84.99||200 – 940 Mbps|
|Viasat||$99.99 – $299.99||12 – 30 Mbps|
|Kinetic by Windstream||$37.00 – $67.00||15 – 1,000 Mbps|
|WOW!||$19.99 – $64.99||100 – 1,000 Mbps|
|Xfinity||$19.99 – $299.95||25 – 2,000 Mbps|
|Ziply Fiber||$20.00 – $60.00||30 – 1,000 Mbps|
*Pricing per month plus taxes for length of contract. Additional fees and terms may apply. Pricing varies by location and availability. All prices subject to change at any time. May or may not be available based on service address. Speeds may vary. As of 10/09/21.
**Wireless speeds may vary.
Internet shopping tips from our experts
How much should I pay for internet? What’s a good internet speed? After 20+ years of helping people find the best internet service for their homes, we’ve become experts at answering internet questions like these and ones you may not know you had.
Speed is one of the most important considerations when choosing an internet service. The average household in the U.S. gets around 200 Mbps of download speed, but many people can get by with less. Discover what speeds you need and take our speed test to see what you’re currently getting.
Finding affordable internet goes beyond comparing plan pricing. Look for hidden fees, price increases and data caps and cancelling service to get an idea of the true cost of internet. Also, be mindful of ways you can save, like switching providers or buying your own modem and router.
How to choose the best home internet service
Chances are, you don’t have a ton of providers to choose from when picking internet service. But even if you’re picking from a small pool, there are still a ton of questions you have to answer to make the best decision. Here’s what you should consider:
- Decide how much speed you need. The average household in the U.S. gets around 200 Mbps of download speed, but many people can get by with less.
- See what’s available in your area. If fiber optic internet is available in your area, it will almost always give you the fastest, most reliable speeds for the best value. If you can’t get fiber, your next best option is cable internet, but DSL may be a better choice if you’re looking for the cheapest plans. Lastly, satellite is a common go-to internet service in rural areas where fiber and cable are not available. Residents of rural areas may want to consider fixed wireless providers since they often have lower latency and higher data allowances than satellite internet.
- Read the fine print. Almost all providers charge extra fees for equipment rental and installation, but many also raise prices after the first year. It’s also worth comparing data caps and contracts between providers.
- Consider buying your own equipment. Most providers charge $10-15/mo. for equipment, but you can almost always use your own to avoid that fee. Buying your own modem and router typically costs around $100.
- Look at promotions for new customers. You can often find perks like rewards cards or free streaming subscriptions when you activate service. Factor in the dollar value for these extras before you make your final decision.
Internet technology types
Not all internet connections are the same. Each internet type and provider presents specific advantages and potential disadvantages.
Available to 89% of U.S. households and can offer gigabit speeds.
Low upload speeds and slowed speeds during peak usage times can be an issue.
DSL availability spans 89% of the U.S. and is known for relatively cheap plans.
Available speeds max out at around 100 Mbps with DSL service.
With fast and reliable download and upload speeds, fiber is a popular internet choice.
Fiber is unfortunately one of the least available internet types, covering only 40% of the U.S.
Available throughout all 50 states, satellite internet is ideal for rural areas.
Plans are likely to come with low data allowances and high latency.
Fixed wirelessWireless providers
Fixed wireless is also ideal for rural areas and does not have the high latency of satellite internet.
Low speeds and data caps are downsides of fixed wireless internet.
Fast speeds and high availability make 5G Home Internet comparable to cable and fiber.
5G Home Internet isn’t compatible with all devices, and walls or other barriers can block signals.
Internet provider FAQs
We don’t provide internet service ourselves, but we connect you with the providers that are available in your area.
Often, more rural areas have fewer internet provider options due to the high cost of the infrastructure. Satellite providers HughesNet and Viasat are available everywhere, but don’t expect the higher speeds you would get from fiber or even DSL connections. However, Starlink is the newest player in the field, with speeds up to 150 Mbps and a starting price of $99/mo.
Larger ISPs like Verizon and AT&T are expanding their service areas every year and the federal government is working to bridge the digital divide that exists in rural areas by providing funds for smaller ISPs to also expand.
Written by:Joe Supan
Senior Writer, Broadband Content
Joe oversees all things broadband for Allconnect. His work has been referenced by Yahoo!, Lifehacker and more. He has utilized thousands of data points to build a library of metrics to help users navigate these … Read more
Edited by:Robin Layton
Editor, Broadband Content
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