Cheap internet service providers

Cheap internet is available from a variety of providers, but the plans and pricing you can get depends on where you live. Government assistance and provider plans for low-income households are also options for cheap internet in your area. Be aware of equipment fees, data caps, price hikes and other costs that can raise the cost of even the most inexpensive internet plans.

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How to get cheap internet service near you

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There’s more to finding a cheap internet plan than searching for the lowest price. While the sticker price is certainly important, you’ll want to take into account any added costs and every opportunity to boost your savings.

We’ll help you find cheap internet providers, compare plans, understand the added costs and find additional ways to save on internet. Our top picks for cheap internet providers below is a good place to start – click Show summary to view our featured providers.

Our top picks for cheap internet providers

Cheapest internet plans ranked by price

For the absolute cheapest internet plans, look to DSL providers such as Frontier and Windstream. Cable providers such as Cox, Mediacom and Xfinity also offer cheap internet plans in select areas. 

We’ve listed inexpensive internet plans from our list of best internet providers and others to bring you a comprehensive list of cheap internet plans that may be available in your area. 

The cheap internet rates above are introductory prices for new customers, and are likely to increase after the introductory period is over. Additionally, all plans and pricing will not be available in all areas. 

There are cheap internet services in addition to the ones we’ve listed, such as dial-up service from providers like NetZero, available in select areas. While inexpensive, we find that these plans are often not practical for today’s internet demands, which is why they are not part of our list. If you’re interested in free or discounted internet service, however, you can learn more about the providers and plans offered in our discounted internet section further down the page.

Our approach: We determine the best internet providers for you

When narrowing down our list of the top internet providers, we sought to highlight providers that are available to many people in different areas. Using the most recent FCC data, we identified the top

When narrowing down our list of the top internet providers, we sought to highlight providers that are available to many people in different areas. Using the most recent FCC data, we identified the top internet providers available to at least 5% of U.S. residents.

From there, we leveraged our own in-house technology to further accumulate availability, speed and pricing details and for each provider. Specific plan, pricing and service details were sourced directly from the providers, both via our professional relationships with them and their official websites.

We also sought inspiration from, who is owned and operated by an affiliate of Allconnect, Inc. However, Allconnect, Inc. is not involved in or responsible for the production of content, including rankings cited on this page.

Equipped with an accurate, up-to-date portfolio of each provider, we then carefully examined each provider’s attributes to identify a provider’s exclusive advantage over the rest. The result is our list of the best internet providers of 2020.

Learn more about our research

Shop cheap internet plans

You’ll find a few of the cheapest internet providers in your area below. For more accurate results, click Update location to shop cheap internet plans for your address.

Xfinity – Cheapest broadband plan

Why we recommend it: Xfinity’s Performance Starter is one of the lowest-priced internet plans that come with broadband speeds, up to 25 Mbps starting at just $25/mo. Xfinity’s equipment fee is marginally higher than most providers at $14/mo. ($25 for premium Wi-Fi service), but you can get cheaper Wi-Fi service by using your own equipment. Introductory rates expire after one year on most Xfinity internet plans which could add $30 or more to your monthly bill.

Learn more about Xfinity internet

Additional savings on Xfinity internet

  • Use your own equipment: Xfinity allows customers to use their own compatible equipment and save $14/mo. or more on fees.
  • Free Xfinity Flex device: All Xfinity internet plans come with a free Flex streaming device. 
  • Lower pricing with term agreement: While not required on all Xfinity plans, signing a one or two-year term agreement will often get new customers the lowest internet price.

Frontier – Low-cost DSL

Why we recommend it: Frontier checks just about every box a cheap internet shopper could want with their $27.99/mo. High Speed Internet plan. Their equipment rental fee is also relatively low, starting at just $10/mo. and installation is included at no extra cost with most plans. Frontier offers Price for Life on select plans, but pricing for most plans will increase to the standard price after one year of service.

Learn more about Frontier internet

Additional savings on Frontier internet

  • No data cap: Browse, stream and game without having to monitor your data usage.
  • No contracts: Frontier does not require a contract, so you don’t have to worry about early termination fees should you move or need to change your plan.

Looking for expert tips on shopping for cheap internet?

Special internet savings

Cox – Low-cost installation

Why we recommend it: Cox offers free self-installation on many plans, including their cheapest plan, Cox Internet Starter 10. A relatively low equipment fee of around $11/mo. will add to your monthly bill, but you can avoid this fee by using your own equipment.  Watch for price increases after the first year of service as they can be particularly high — as much as $30/mo. in some cases.

Learn more about Cox internet

Additional savings on Cox internet

  • Lower pricing with contract: Cox doesn’t require a contract on all plans, but if you opt for a contract (typically for one year of service), you’re more likely to get the lowest introductory pricing. 
  • Bundle savings: If you’re interested in pairing TV or home phone with your internet service, Cox offers some of the deepest discounts for bundling services.

AT&T – Low-cost fiber optic internet

Why we recommend it: AT&T Fiber is now offering their fastest speeds, up to 940 Mbps, starting at $60/mo.* This is the one of the lowest starting prices we’ve seen for gigabit service from any major provider. It also comes with unlimited data, adding more value to an already highly cost-effective plan.

Learn more about AT&T internet

Additional savings on AT&T internet

  • Low equipment rental fee: For a $10/mo. equipment fee, AT&T’s Wi-Fi Gateway router comes with whole-home connectivity and remote configuration and monitoring on your phone.
  • Bundle savings: Adding AT&T services such as DIRECTV or AT&T TV to your internet plan will get you $10/mo. off your bill for the first year, a total savings of up to $120.

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Verizon Fios – No-contract affordable fiber plans

Why we recommend it: Verizon’s low-cost fiber internet service is an excellent value with speeds up to 200 Mbps starting at just $39.99/mo. There are no contracts and no hidden fees with Verizon Fios, though some may find their $15 equipment rental fee a touch on the high side. 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.

Learn more about Verizon internet

Additional savings on Verizon internet

  • Contract buyout: Verizon offers up to $500 in bill credit to help buy you out of your contract with another provider. 
  • Bonus offers: New customers are often rewarded with more than inexpensive internet, with promotional offers including free streaming service subscriptions, gift cards and more running frequently.

Optimum – Affordable pricing for high speeds

Why we recommend it: If you’re looking for a low-cost internet plan but don’t want to sacrifice on speed, consider Optimum. Their lowest-priced plan comes with up to 300 Mbps starting at $45/mo. This is one of the lowest cost-per-Mbps plans on the market from any major provider. While Optimum offers a “price for life” guarantee on select plans, most come with a price increase after one year of service.

Learn more about Optimum internet

Additional savings on Optimum internet

  • Low equipment fees: The Altice Gateway device will add $10/mo. to your bill, or you can use your own equipment and save on the monthly costs.
  • Unlimited data: Surprise overage fees won’t pop up on your monthly bill.

CenturyLink – Price for Life guarantee

Why we recommend it: With their Price for Life guarantee on DSL plans up to 100 Mbps, 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 (around $15/mo.) and installation ($99 one-time fee, free self-install may be available). CenturyLink’s fiber plan is not included with the Price for Life guarantee, so customers may see a price increase after the first year of service.

Learn more about CenturyLink internet

Additional savings on CenturyLink internet

  • No data overage fees: There are no added fees for going over your monthly data allowance of 1 TB.
  • Use your own equipment: Consider purchasing your own CenturyLink-compatible modem to save on monthly equipment rental costs.

Spectrum – Contract buyouts

Why we recommend it: 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. Standard rates apply after the one-year introductory rate expires. Price increases vary by plan.

Learn more about Spectrum internet

Additional savings on Spectrum internet

  • Free modem, cheap router rental: Spectrum includes a modem at no extra cost with all plans and the rental fee for a router is only $5/mo.
  • No contracts, no data caps: You won’t have to deal with unexpected fees for going over a data cap or an early termination fee for changing your service.

Ways to get cheaper internet

Regardless of your internet provider, there are often ways to get a lower price.

Some ways to get internet deals include:

Use your own equipment – Not all providers permit using your own compatible equipment, but those who do may waive the rental fee.
Potential savings: $5-$15/mo.

Watch your data usage – Providers with data caps typically charge a fee for going over. Avoid the overage fee by monitoring your data usage.
Potential savings: $10-$50/mo.

Downgrade your plan – You’ll probably have to sacrifice some of your speed, but downgrading your plan can cut your monthly rate.
Potential savings: $10-$30/mo.

Switch providers – Other cheap internet service providers in your area may have lower rates or better offers. Just make sure you aren’t under contract with your current provider to avoid early termination fees.
Potential savings: $200-$800/yr.

Use our Savings Calculator to get an idea of the yearly savings you could get by switching providers. And if you’re interested in downgrading your plan to a lower speed, refer to our Speed Recommendation Tool to see if a lower speed will still accommodate your needs.

Learn more about internet deals and special offers

How can I get discounts on internet service?

NetZero is a popular choice for “free” internet, offering 10 cost-free hours of internet per month over a dial-up connection. You get what you pay for, however, as the speeds you get with dial-up aren’t good for much more than checking your email. You’ll also need a home phone line for service.

Cheap internet for low-income households

Lifeline is a government program that grants qualifying applicants $9.25/mo. to go toward their internet or phone bill. It won’t get you free internet, unfortunately, but it can make internet more affordable. View our low-income internet guide for more information.

Cheap internet for students

Cox Connect2Compete is an affordable internet service for low-income households with students. Starting at $9.95/mo. for speeds up to 25 Mbps, this cheap internet service also comes with Wi-Fi, making it a cheap Wi-Fi option for students.

Cheap internet for seniors

CenturyLink’s Internet Basics and Xfinity’s Internet Essentials are excellent inexpensive internet options for seniors. Both plans start at just $9.95/mo. and provide a basic connection ideal for checking email and browsing the web.

Internet assistance in response to COVID-19

Nearly all internet providers have pledged to waive late fees and overages fees for all all customers and open their public Wi-Fi hotspots to anyone needing a connection, even if they aren’t a customers, under the Keep Americans Connected Pledge.

Though the pledge was originally intended to last only through June 30, 2020, most providers have extended their commitment or parts of it through the end of the year. Cox, for example, recently announced they’d waive late fees for their Connect2Compete customers through June 30, 2021. Other providers, including AT&T and Xfinity, have extended their COVID-19 relief initiatives through the end of the year.

A note from our internet experts

If your perfect plan is the cheapest available, you’re in the right place. Keep in mind, however, that the cheapest plan may not offer the speeds you need. 

Like a cheap cable TV package that doesn’t have your favorite channels, cheap internet service may not give you the best experience and end up being more a waste of money than a saver. We’re here to help you find the right internet plan, cheapest or otherwise.

Cheap internet FAQs

What’s the cheapest internet connection?

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

Cable and fiber optic internet are great options for cheap internet without a phone line. Depending on which providers are available in your area, cable internet could start as low as $19.99/mo. Many fiber optic providers have plans starting around $40-$50/mo. DSL service, though requiring a phone line for service, also presents low-cost internet options in many areas.

Operating costs and the expenses that come with extending service networks are the main contributors to why internet providers charge the prices they do. As for why your bill may be higher than expected, you can attribute that to added fees. The FCC estimates that internet bills can be as much as 40% higher than what’s advertised to consumers due to taxes and added fees.

Most introductory rates expire after a year, maybe two, which can result in immediate hikes of $10-$40 or more. As for incremental yearly increases aside from a promotional rate ending, it’s common for providers to implement price hikes to keep up with operating costs or expand their networks into new markets. Such price hikes can happen any time, not just after a completed year of service.

For the most part, you won’t be given an option of month-to-month or contract service. Most internet providers either require contracts or they don’t. For those that offer contract options with select plans, such as Cox or Xfinity, it is almost always cheaper to opt for the contract. Month-to-month service may end up being cheaper if you need to cancel service because you won’t be hit with early termination fees.

If your provider allows for using your own equipment, that could save you on equipment fees, which typically range from $10-$15/mo. Otherwise, you can always try calling your provider to negotiate a lower price. Those who have had service for multiple years and have maintained a good standing on their account are likely to have the most success when attempting to negotiate a lower price.

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David Anders

Written by:

David Anders

Senior Writer, Broadband Content

David joined the Allconnect team in 2017, specializing in broadband and TV content. As a Senior Writer, David is passionate about making sure our broadband content provides vital information to consumers and hel… Read more

Robin Layton

Edited by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband & Wireless Content

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