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How does cable internet work?

Cable internet, much like cable TV service, uses coaxial cables to deliver electrical signals. A cable internet modem receives these signals and converts them into internet service, similar to how a cable TV box receives a signal and displays an image.

A coaxial cable supports higher bandwidth than telephone lines, which gives cable internet a significant speed advantage over DSL internet. Additionally, coaxial cables are more common and less expensive than fiber-optic cables. This makes cable internet more widely-available and sometimes lower-priced than fiber-optic internet service.

The 5 best cable internet service providers by availability

  • Xfinity – Fastest max internet speeds
  • Spectrum – No data caps
  • Cox – Great plan variety
  • Optimum – Over two million Wi-Fi hotspots
  • Mediacom – Gigabit internet in select areas

We partner with cable internet providers across the country to offer affordable internet plans in your area. Click “Shop providers” to see available providers by ZIP code and shop cable internet plans online. You can also call our internet experts to hear about available cable internet plans and special offers near you.

Pros and cons of cable internet


  • No home phone line is required to get cable internet
  • Cable internet offers speeds up to 10x faster or higher than DSL internet
  • Available to about 89% of U.S. residents


Best cable internet customer satisfaction ratings

Provider2019 ACSI score2018 ACSI score2017 ACSI scoreAvg past 3 years

With the exception of Spectrum (albeit only a 1 point loss), all major cable internet providers managed to improve their customer satisfaction scores from 2018 to 2019.

According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Telecommunications Report 2018-2019, some factors that may have contributed to the higher cable internet provider ratings include website satisfaction, overall speed and performance during peak hours.

Issues that hindered ACSI internet provider ratings from being higher in 2019 included ease of understanding bill, speed of service center transaction and helpfulness of service center staff.

Cable internet frequently asked questions

Is ADSL or cable internet faster?

Cable internet supports higher bandwidth and faster speeds than ADSL internet. Cable internet plans vary by location, but cable internet can deliver more than 10x the speeds of DSL in select areas.

What kind of cable is used for internet?

Cable internet uses a coaxial cable, the same as cable TV service. Within the coaxial cable is a copper or copper-plated steel line which carries internet signals from a provider to a residence. Other cables used for internet include telephone lines and fiber-optic cables.

Do you need a phone line for cable internet?

No. Unlike DSL and dial-up internet, which require a phone line for service, cable internet uses a coaxial cable. Home phone services are available from most cable internet providers, but one is not required for internet service.

What is a good cable internet speed?

Cable internet is capable of delivering a wide speed spectrum. A good cable internet speed for most homes is 100 Mbps or higher, but a “good” speed depends on your needs.

Compare internet plans near you

Moving or looking for a new deal? Let Allconnect help you find the right internet plan for your needs. Call now to start comparing providers, prices and speeds in your local area.

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