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Cheap internet service providers

Sometimes the best deals aren’t simply the lowest priced. Look beyond the price tag and compare cheap internet services from the best providers. Examine equipment costs, data limits, contracts, installation fees and more on cheap cable, DSL, fiber and satellite internet plans in your area.

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Best cheap internet providers 2020

All internet service providers offer low-priced plans, but the best ones will also include low equipment fees, price guarantees and other savings incentives. When compiling a list of the best cheap internet service providers, consider starting price as well as all the other hidden fees that go into what you really pay every month.

When shopping for cheap internet plans, it’s important to look beyond the sticker price. You’ll also want to consider equipment fees, contract requirements, installation costs and data limits. Now, explore the best cheap internet providers along with their added costs to help you choose the right provider and plan for your home.

Recommended cheap internet providers

  • AT&T – Best for fast, affordable DSL
  • CenturyLink – Best for Price for Life guarantee
  • Cox – Best for low sign-up costs
  • Frontier – Best for low-cost equipment
  • Spectrum – Best for contract buyout offers
  • Verizon Fios – Best for no-contract fiber plans
  • Windstream – Best for unlimited data
  • Xfinity – Best for fastest max speed

These internet providers offer value in a variety of ways including cheap home internet plan options, affordable cost per Mbps and contract incentives.

Best cheap internet deals under $50/mo.

Plan nameStarting monthly price*Speeds up to
AT&TAT&T Internet 100$49.99100 Mbps
AT&TAT&T Fiber 1000$49.991,000 Mbps
CenturyLink Internet$49.00100 Mbps
CoxCox Internet Starter 10$29.9910 Mbps
Frontier logoFrontier Internet$27.996 Mbps
Frontier logoFrontier FiOS 50/50$29.9950 Mbps
SpectrumSpectrum Internet$49.99200 Mbps
VerizonVerizon 200 Mbps$39.99200 Mbps
Windstream LogoWindstream Kinetic 15$25.0015 Mbps
Xfinity logoXfinity Performance Starter$29.9915 Mbps

For the absolute cheapest internet plans, look to DSL providers such as AT&T, Frontier and Windstream. Cox, a cable provider, also offers a cheap basic internet plan in select areas. Keep in mind that cheap internet rates are often introductory prices for new customers, and are likely to increase after the introductory period is over.

When shopping for cheap internet plans, it’s important to consider all internet providers in your area, from the large, national providers to the smaller, local ones. Here are a few popular regional cheap internet providers that may be available in your area.

Best affordable regional internet providers:

  • Buckeye Broadband – Plans starting at $19.99/mo.* Main service areas: northern Ohio and southern Michigan
  • MCTV – Plans starting at $46.95/mo.* Main service areas: central Ohio
  • Mediacom – Plans starting at $19.99/mo.* Main service areas: Midwest, southern Georgia and Alabama
  • Shentel – Plans starting at $19.99/mo.* Main service areas: central Virginia, West Virginia, Western Maryland
  • Optimum – Plans starting at $29.99/mo.* Main service areas: greater New York City area

Available internet service providers and your internet plan options, including pricing, will vary based on your address and ZIP code.

Take advantage of special internet savings

Along with choosing the cheapest internet plan, there are a few ways you can save on monthly internet costs. Internet deals and special offers can save you money upfront and in the long run. Some ways to get internet deals include:

  • Bundle services – Combining internet and TV services can get you lower internet pricing, or qualify you for extra incentives such as free equipment or unlimited data.
  • Shop promotions – Check for limited-time offers such as special pricing, speed upgrades and contract buyout offers.
  • Consider more than price – Equipment rentals, data caps and added fees can add to the monthly cost. Look for plans and providers that have low equipment costs and high data allowances.

Know how much internet you need

Finding an internet deal is great, but if it locks you into a plan that comes with more speed than you need, you still may end up paying more than you have to for internet.

Consider buying gas for your car, or shopping for TV service. You wouldn’t pay extra for premium gas if your car doesn’t need it, and you wouldn’t buy an expensive TV package stacked with channels you’ll never watch. The same logic applies to shopping for cheap internet.

Knowing what speeds you need is essential to finding the cheapest internet plan for your home.  

What’s a good internet speed for the price?

Speeds of 100 to 200 Mbps are ideal for many households as they will support streaming, gaming, doing homework and working from home on multiple devices at once. Luckily, many providers including AT&T, Cox, Spectrum and Verizon offer cheap plans with these speeds or higher starting at less than $50/mo.

Internet provider equipment fees and contracts info

It’s no secret that the monthly price internet provider’s advertise isn’t always what you end up paying. In fact, the FCC estimates that internet bills can be as much as 40% higher than what’s advertised to consumers.

Hidden fees for equipment, installation and more can raise costs significantly, and data caps can also contribute to your monthly bill if you go over. Plus, an internet provider may require you to sign a service agreement and charge early termination fees or raise the price on you while you’re still under contract.

Here’s a look at what you can expect from some of the leading cheap internet providers in terms of added costs and contract requirements.

AT&T – Fast, affordable DSL

  • Equipment: Rent AT&T’s Wi-Fi Gateway router for $10/mo.*
  • Installation: You have two options for AT&T internet installs. It costs $35 if you choose to do it yourself or $99 if you’d rather have an expert do the installation. You can also divide the cost over your first three payments if you choose.
  • Data overage: AT&T gives you some leeway when it comes to going over your monthly data allowance. You won’t get charged until the third time you go over your data allowance, at which point you’ll be charged $10 for each additional 50 GB that you use.
  • Contract: No annual contract options available. If you do choose a plan with a one-year contract and leave early, you’ll be charged $15 for every month remaining on the contract, up to $180.
  • Price increase: Standard rates apply after the one-year introductory rate expires. Price increases vary by plan.

CenturyLink – Price for Life guarantee

With no contracts, no data overage fees and no price increases, CenturyLink has some of the most customer-friendly pricing in the business. The only charges you can expect to add on to the sticker price are for modem rentals and installation. If you want to cut back on these, consider purchasing your own CenturyLink-compatible modem. You can also choose free self-installation on many plans.

  • Equipment: CenturyLink gives you the option to lease, purchase or use your own compatible modem. Fees for leasing a modem can go up to $15/mo.*, but CenturyLink also gives you the option to purchase one for $100. CenturyLink may include a modem at no extra cost with high-tiered plans such as the CenturyLink 1 Gig plan.
  • Installation: There is a one-time $99 charge for standard installation, but self-install options are available for free with some plans.
  • Data overage: CenturyLink doesn’t charge any fees if you go over your monthly data allowance, which is typically set at 1 TB.
  • Contract: None. CenturyLink does not require a contract on any of its plans.
  • Price increase: None. CenturyLink offers a “price for life guarantee,” meaning customers can enjoy the same monthly price for as long as they keep their plan.

Cox – Low-cost installation

Cox’s fees are comparable to most other companies, but you’ll likely be able to save some money on the setup, as Cox offers free self-installation on many plans. That said, its price increases after the first year of service can be particularly high — as much as $30/mo. in some cases.

  • Equipment: Cox lets you use your own compatible modem for no additional cost, or rent their Panoramic Wi-Fi modem starting at $10.99/mo.* Cox also waives the modem rental fee on some higher-tiered plans.
  • Installation: Many Cox internet plans offer free self-installation, but setup fees can go all the way up to $75 on other plans.
  • Data overage: All Cox plans come with 1 TB of data. Once you hit that limit, you’ll be charged $10 for every 50 GB you use going forward.
  • Contract: Most Cox plans include a one-year service agreement with the exception of the Cox Gigablast plan, which does not require a service agreement. If you don’t want a contract, Cox offers a month-to-month option for an added fee starting at $10/mo.*
  • Price increase: Introductory pricing for Cox internet plans expire after one, two or three years, depending on the plan. These increases vary by plan, but are among some of the highest for internet providers with select plans increasing more than $30/mo.*

Frontier – No data caps

Frontier checks just about every box a cheap internet shopper could want. There are no data overage charges, no contracts (and thus no cancellation fees) and Frontier offers a Price for Life guarantee with many of its plans. If you’re looking for the lowest internet bill possible, Frontier comes very close to matching the number that it advertises.

  • Equipment: Frontier requires a Wi-Fi router lease starting at $10/mo. Additionally, an Internet Infrastructure Fee of $3.99/mo. may apply.*
  • Installation: Frontier waives the installation fee of $75 for customers who sign a two-year contract. If you choose a no-contract plan option, installation fees apply.
  • Data overage: Frontier doesn’t have any limits on the amount of data you can use with your home internet plan.
  • Contract: There is no contract required for Frontier internet service, but you can opt for a one- or two-year contract in some cases to save money elsewhere. In this case, early termination fees could go all the way up to $400 — assuming you cancelled your service in the second month of a two-year contract.
  • Price increase: Frontier offers a Price for Life guarantee on many of its plans. If you choose a plan without this guarantee, your monthly bill will go up to the standard price after the promotional period ends.

Spectrum – Contract buyouts

If you’re unhappy with your current internet service and looking to switch, start your search with Spectrum. It is one of the only residential internet providers that will actually buy out the remainder of your existing contract — all the way up to $500. Spectrum is also one of the only providers to include a modem at no extra charge.

  • Equipment: Spectrum includes a modem with their plans and offers a Wi-Fi router lease starting at $5/mo.* Spectrum also gives you the option of using your own router at no extra cost.
  • Installation: Self-installation on Spectrum plans costs just $9.99, but you may have to pay a Wi-Fi activation fee for another $9.99. If you prefer professional installation, one-time installation fees start at $49.99 but go all the way up to $199.99 for Spectrum Gig plans.
  • Data overage: There are no data caps on Spectrum residential internet plans.
  • Contract: None. Spectrum internet does not require a contract. Additionally, Spectrum features a contract buyout offer with up to a $500 value. Customers will need to switch to Spectrum’s Triple Play or limited Double Play plans to qualify.
  • Price increase: Standard rates apply after the one-year introductory rate expires. Price increases vary by plan.

Verizon Fios – No-contract fiber plans

Compared to most internet providers, Verizon’s hidden fees are on the low side. Like Spectrum, Verizon will buy out your existing internet contract to the tune of $500. It also doesn’t require a contract on any of its fiber-optic internet plans. That means you can get the fastest speeds without making a big commitment. The only fees that are on the high side are for equipment rental — $15/mo. compared to $10/mo. for most providers.

  • Equipment: Verizon lets you choose to rent equipment starting at $15/mo.*, buy equipment for a one-time cost starting at $199.99 or use your own equipment at no additional cost.
  • Installation: A one-time standard installation fee of $99 may apply.
  • Data overage: There are no data caps on Verizon Fios internet plans.
  • Contract: Verizon Fios does not require a contract on some plans. Additionally, Verizon features a contract buyout offer with up to a $500 value. If you do sign a Fios contract, however, you’ll have to pay an early termination fee of $15 for every month remaining if you cancel.
  • Price increase: Verizon Fios internet plans come with a one-, two- or three-year price guarantee depending on the plan you choose. After the introductory period, standard rates apply. Price increases vary by plan.

Windstream – Unlimited data

Windstream has some of the all-around cheapest fees of any internet service provider. Setup fees max out at $35 for professional installation, and in many cases, customers won’t have to pay anything at all. Windstream customers also enjoy no limit on their data and month-to-month contracts.

  • Equipment: Standard modem rental is required with Windstream plans and starts at $11.99/mo.*
  • Installation: The professional installation includes a one-time fee of up to $35. Depending on the plan you choose, Windstream may waive the installation fee. Self-installation may also be available. A $50 Internet Activation Fee may also apply to professional and self-installation.
  • Data overage: There are no data caps on Windstream residential internet plans.
  • Contract: None. Windstream internet does not require a contract.
  • Price increase: Standard rates apply after the one-year introductory rate expires. Price increases vary by plan.

Xfinity – Numerous plan options

Xfinity has a number of plans you can choose from, and they all come with varying costs. In general, though, Xfinity’s fees are on par with the other cheap internet providers on this list. You’ll pay a little more than average for equipment rental and there is a charge if you go over 1 TB of data, but Xfinity’s installation and late payment fees are on the low side.

  • Equipment: Rental fees for the xFi Gateway router start at $14/mo.* You have the option of using your own router at no additional cost, but doing so means missing out on the xFi features such as xFi app compatibility and 24/7 tech support.
  • Installation: Professional installation comes with a one-time fee starting at $70. Self-installation may be available for a one-time shipping fee of $15.
  • Data overage: All Xfinity internet plans come with 1 TB of data. If you go over, you’ll be charged $10 for every additional 50 GB you use.
  • Contract: Xfinity requires a one- or two-year service agreement. Early termination will result in a prorated fee.
  • Price increase: Introductory rates expire after one year on most Xfinity internet plans. Price increases vary by plan and location but may add $30 or more to your monthly bill.

Additional options for cheap internet

If you can’t find the price you’re looking for through the providers above, there are a few other ways you can save on internet costs.

Low-income internet programs

There are a number of income-based and provider-specific programs that offer discounted internet plans to families, students and seniors on a fixed income. The FCC’s Lifeline program provides a discount of $9.25/mo. for either your phone or internet bill. Anyone who qualifies for a federal assistance program is eligible for Lifeline. In addition, providers like AT&T, Spectrum and Xfinity all offer their own low-income assistance programs. For step-by-step instructions on applying, click the button below.

Using phone data for home internet

If you’re already paying for internet data through your phone plan, you can also use that connection for your laptop, gaming console or smart TV. All you need to do is set up Wi-Fi tethering, or a “personal hotspot,” on your Android or iOS phone. Keep in mind, your connection will probably be slower than if you subscribed to home internet, but it should suffice for most basic internet activities.

Free public Wi-Fi

There are also a number of places you can access free public Wi-Fi across the country, including libraries, public parks and coffee shops. Many internet providers also have free hotspots set up around cities that don’t require any login credentials to connect to.

David Anders David Anders
David Anders

Staff Writer

@allconnect

@allconnect

David joined the Allconnect team in 2017, specializing in broadband and TV providers. He is our transactional content lead and responsible for the most popular post in our Resource Center… Read more

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Cheap internet frequently asked questions

What’s the cheapest internet connection?

DSL and cable typically offer the cheapest internet connections. DSL providers such as AT&T and Frontier have cheap internet plans starting at or below $30/mo. Cable providers Cox, Optimum and Xfinity also have basic internet plans starting at under $30/mo.*

How much should I pay for internet?

Internet plans can range from $20/mo. to well over $100/mo. To avoid overpaying for internet, consider what speeds you need, and try to get the cheapest plan that offers those speeds or higher. Depending on your location, you can likely find an internet plan with speeds to handle most online activity starting around $50/mo.

Can I get free Wi-Fi?

Most internet providers include Wi-Fi or offer Wi-Fi service for a low added monthly cost. You can also take advantage of free Wi-Fi in public places such as coffee shops or libraries. However, Wi-Fi is not like local TV broadcasts where you can pick up “free” signals over the air with the right equipment.

How can I save on internet service?

  • Switch internet providers
  • Downgrade your plan
  • Bundle multiple home services

Check out these other ways you can save on home services.


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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