Fiber internet offers best-in-class service
Fiber is the gold standard for home internet, offering a faster and more reliable connection than cable or DSL internet. Fiber optic internet uses small strands of glass wrapped with plastic to transmit data as light, rather than coaxial cables that use electricity to send data.
Typically, fiber internet providers offer speeds between 300 and 1,000 Mbps. That means it would take you about 10 seconds to download a two-hour movie, compared to 10+ minutes on a 20 Mbps connection.
According to the FCC, nearly 41% of the U.S. population has access to fiber internet service. The providers listed below make up the majority of fiber optic coverage across the U.S. Some cable providers, such as Cox and Xfinity, use a hybrid network of both coaxial and fiber lines to reach speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps or more.
Check to see which fiber providers are available near you
Xfinity – Best hybrid provider
Get the Gigabit plan at $79.99/mo*
Cox – Best for TV & internet bundles
Gigablast Internet available at $99.99/mo*
AT&T – Fastest available speeds
Gig-speed fiber plans starting at $80.00/mo*
Verizon – Best for no-contract plans
Get the Gigabit Connection at $89.99/mo*
Frontier – Best for no equipment fees
Gig fiber plan available at $59.99/mo*
*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 03//22.
Allconnect’s top fiber optic internet provider: AT&T
Although Google Fiber is the best fiber provider out there, serviceability is limited and users are more likely to find AT&T available in their area. AT&T’s Allconnect rating for AT&T fiber service is 4.43 out of 5 stars and the starting price for fiber service is $55/mo.
How we score internet providers
We evaluate broadband providers in four categories: affordability, performance, value and customer satisfaction. Each category contains multiple sub-factors, all of which are weighted differently to impact the provider’s overall score.
For each sub-factor, we score all providers on a continuous scale of 1 to 5, relative to the industry as a whole. Because the average download speed in America is currently 180 Mbps, for example, we assigned all plans with download speeds between 100 and 299 Mbps a score between 3 and 4. Xfinity’s 200 Mbps plan received a 3.50 score for download speed, while Spectrum’s 400 Mbps plan got a 4.16.
We only considered standardized data points in our scoring system. More abstract data like consistency of service and brand reputation is still part of our analysis, but we opted to let our writers address them in the context of each review.Learn more about our methodology
What is fiber internet?
Fiber optic internet, also known as “fiber internet” or just “fiber,” uses thin cables made of glass or plastic fibers to transfer data as light signals. Fiber Internet usually refers to an FTTH (Fiber to the home) connection, which means that the infrastructure is 100% fiber, all the way to your home. This type of internet connection can support faster, more reliable download and upload speeds compared to DSL and cable internet networks.
Most gigabit internet providers use a fiber optic network, but not all fiber internet connections are the same. Depending on where you live, you may have access to FTTN, FTTH or FTTC networks. As a relatively new internet technology, fiber optic service is quickly growing in popularity and availability.
What we like
Fastest internet type — Fiber optic internet is as good as it gets when it comes to internet, offering maximum speeds ten times DSL.
Symmetrical speeds — Fiber internet plans provide the same upload and download speeds, where DSL and cable internet usually have much lower upload speeds.
Reliability — You won’t have to worry about outages or traffic congestion on a fiber network.
Things to consider
Expensive — Fiber internet plans are generally pricier than cable or DSL.
Availability — Fiber internet is still available to less than half of the U.S. population, while cable and DSL are available virtually everywhere.
Higher start-up costs — Fiber optic networks cost more than other internet connection types to construct, which can lead to higher initial costs for providers and customers.
Available fiber optic internet providers
Check to see how fiber internet connections differ, compare costs and check to see which providers are available at your home:
|Provider||Price range*||Download speed range||Rating|
|Google Fiber||$70.00 – $100.00/mo.||1,000 – 2,000 Mbps||4.50/5|
|$55.00 – $180.00/mo.||300 – 4,700 Mbps||4.43/5|
|$39.99 – $89.99/mo.||300 – 940 Mbps||4.31/5|
|$50.00 – $65.00/mo.||200 – 940 Mbps||4.12/5|
|Frontier Fiber||$39.99 – $149.99/mo.||500 – 2,000 Mbps||4.12/5|
|$39.99 – $69.99/mo.||200 – 1000 Mbps||3.95/5|
|$29.99 – $49.99/mo.||300 – 940 Mbps||3.78/5|
*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 03/10/22.
Fiber internet availability in your area
If you find yourself asking “is there fiber internet near me”? Wonder no more. Fiber technology is relatively new, and most providers are still working to expand their fiber networks to more areas. Providers such as AT&T, CenturyLink, Cox, Frontier, Mediacom, Suddenlink, Verizon and Kinetic by Windstream currently offer residential fiber Wi-Fi connections in select areas. Here are some areas where fiber internet might be available near you.
Is a fiber connection available at your address?
Find out if fiber internet is available at your home by checking your address now.
Fiber availability by provider
AT&T offers fiber internet across select cities in California, Texas, the Midwest and most of the Southeast. AT&T continues to build its fiber internet network in the U.S., so more residents in these regions will soon have access to high-speed fiber internet. Check the AT&T fiber coverage map to see if service is available near you.
Frontier Communications offers their fiber service, Frontier Fiber, in select areas of California, Florida, Indiana and Texas.
Google, one of the first fiber internet providers, has fiber optic networks in select cities across the U.S. Right now, Google does not intend to expand fiber internet markets. You can find Google Fiber in parts of cities such as Atlanta, GA; Kansas City, KS; Charlotte, NC; Austin, TX and Salt Lake City, UT. Where available, Google Fiber plans start at $70/mo. and offer speeds ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 Mbps.
Optimum and Suddenlink
Both divisions of Altice, Optimum and Suddenlink have implemented fiber optic networks in select areas. Optimum primarily serves the greater NYC area. Suddenlink offers gigabit internet in 50 metro areas across the country, but mainly serves cities across Texas.
Verizon’s fiber optic TV and internet, Verizon Fios, is available in select cities across the East Coast. Verizon offers fiber connections across New Jersey, throughout Pennsylvania, in select cities in Virginia and in other major metro areas along the coast.
Kinetic by Windstream
Kinetic by Windstream’s fiber internet service, Windstream Kinetic Gig Internet, is available across 16 states. Cities and towns where Windstream fiber internet is available include Huron, MO; Concord, NC; Avon, OH and Wake Village, TX.
What is fiber internet good for?
Compared to other internet types, such as cable and DSL, fiber optic internet is perfect for many uses, including some of the more demanding online tasks.
- Streaming TV – Fiber’s high speeds and connection quality make it ideal for streaming with little to no buffering, even in HD or 4K.
- Downloading shows/movies/games – The gigabit speeds available from most fiber internet providers cut download times for large files such as movies or games significantly. For example, you could download a 4 GB show in around 35 seconds with 1,000 Mbps, compared to nearly an hour with typical speeds from a DSL connection.
- Gaming online – With fiber optic internet, data travels up to 70% the speed of light, making for extremely low lag, which is perfect for gamers.
- Video conferencing – Fiber internet has fast upload speeds compared to cable and DSL internet, which are needed for video conferencing as well as uploading pictures and videos to social media.
- Working from home – With more people working and learning remotely these days, some internet providers have trouble handling all that traffic. With fiber internet’s increased data capacity, you won’t have to worry about your meetings cutting out.
How much speed do you really need?
With AT&T’s latest fiber plan going all the way up to 4,700 Mbps, it’s fair to ask who really needs that much speed. The average internet speed in the U.S. is currently around 144 Mbps, and streaming services like Netflix only require about 25 Mbps to stream in 4K.
That’s a long way from even 1,000 Mbps. That said, some people will find that fiber speed upgrade worth the price. Here’s what you can do with some of the higher speed tiers:
- 1 Gbps: If you have a lot of people in your house who play online games, stream in 4K or are working or learning from home, you might benefit from 1,000 Mbps of download and upload speeds. According to Twitch, you only need 2.5 to 4 Mbps to play at 720p and 30 frames per second or 3.5 to 5 Mbps for 720p at 60 fps. On a one gig plan, you could broadcast Twitch on 100 screens — and still have half your bandwidth left over.
- 2 Gbps: Going above 1,000 Mbps is overkill for almost anyone. The one exception might be if you’re uploading large files on more than one device at a time. For context, a 2,000 Mbps connection would allow you to upload every episode of The Office in HD — around 100 hours — in a little over a minute.
- 4.7 Gbps: The fastest widely available internet plan in the country is from AT&T. It gets you 4,700 Mbps of upload and download speeds — enough to stream video in 4K simultaneously on 188 screens. It’s hard to imagine any situation where that amount of bandwidth is required, and should probably only be considered if you plan on uploading and downloading extremely large files on multiple devices at once.
Different types of fiber internet connections
“Fiber internet” means different things to different providers. Here are a few types of fiber internet that are commonly available:
FTTN – fiber to the node
Fiber to the node (FTTN) connections use fiber optic cables to carry data to a hub close to your home but are generally DSL internet. This is why your speeds get slower the farther away you are from a central node because the copper wires that connect the endpoint to the node cannot carry the signal without data loss. From this point, DSL or coaxial cables carry the data the rest of the way.
FTTN connections can also be referred to as “hybrid fiber-coaxial network” or HFC, and are common connection types from cable internet providers. Since this type of connection isn’t pure fiber, the connection is not as reliable or fast when it comes to upload speeds.
FTTC – fiber to the curb
Fiber to the curb (FTTC) connections are what we traditionally think of as “cable internet” where the fiber lines run closer to an end user and then the last portion is connected via cable. They do carry the fiber optic signals further than FTTN connections, usually stopping at the “curb” of your house.
FTTC does still use a DSL or coaxial cable to bridge the gap between your home and the street, which can leave your connection susceptible to signal interference just like with FTTN.
FTTP – fiber to the premises
Fiber to the premises (FTTP) connections employ fiber optic cables all the way to your home. FTTP offers the best in bandwidth, reliability and speed consistency.
AT&T, CenturyLink, Frontier Fiber and Verizon Fios claim to offer a 100% fiber network in select areas.
Regardless of your fiber connection type, fiber optic speeds can reach up to 1,000 Mbps, or 1 Gig. This puts fiber connections far ahead of other internet types, such as DSL that averages under 100 Mbps, or cable internet that averages around 150 Mbps.
Best fiber internet customer satisfaction ratings
Overall, fiber internet providers tend to rate higher in customer satisfaction than cable or internet providers. AT&T and Verizon received the top two scores overall in 2021 from the American Customer Satisfaction Indec (ASCI) — two providers that primarily offer fiber optic service.
|Provider||2021 ACSI score||2020 ACSI score||2019 ACSI score||Avg past 3 years|
Fiber vs. Cable vs. DSL
If you live in an area with fiber internet, you probably also have cable and DSL internet options. What’s the difference when matching up fiber vs. cable? Does it matter if you go with fiber or DSL?
DSL uses your home phone line to connect you to the internet, and it’s the slowest of the three by far. Cable internet is more like fiber, but it uses copper coaxial cables instead of fiber’s glass and plastic. That means you’re more likely to experience congestion during high-traffic hours, and your top speeds will generally be slower.
The bottom line: If you have access to fiber, you should get it. Your internet speeds will be significantly faster and more reliable than cable and DSL, and the price is typically about the same. Unfortunately, fiber internet still only covers about half the area that cable does.
Cable – 89% availability
Cable pros & cons
Speeds between 25 – 1,000 Mbps
Most widely available
Not as fast as fiber
Can be expensive
DSL – 88% availability
DSL pros & cons
Cheaper than fiber and cable
Slower than cable and fiber
Fewer bundling options with TV
Fiber – 41% availability
Fiber pros & cons
Fastest speeds available
Most reliable connection
Can be pricier than Cable/DSL
Our final take on fiber internet
Fiber internet is popular for its fast, consistent download and upload speeds. While generally not the cheapest internet service available, the speeds and reliability that come with fiber internet can offer more value than you’d get with other internet types.
The one significant downside to fiber internet is availability. More than half of U.S. residents do not have access to fiber internet service. That said, if fiber internet is available in your area, it’s definitely worth considering as the speed potential and connection quality are unmatched.
Fiber internet FAQs
Fiber internet is available to about 41% of the U.S. population. Large metro areas are the most common service areas for fiber optic connections. Actual availability may be limited to certain ZIP codes or neighborhoods within a city. This is a rapidly-changing landscape, however, with fiber providers like AT&T, Frontier and CenturyLink agressively growing their fiber footprint or offering multi-gig speeds in areas that are already fiber servicable.
No. Fiber internet uses thin glass or plastic wires to transmit data so no phone line is required. The exception is FTTN connections that use a DSL connection from the node to your home.
Gigabit internet is an internet service that delivers speeds up to 1 gig or 1,000 Mbps. Gigabit internet is typically offered by fiber internet providers, however, cable internet providers are also to provide the service using a hybrid coaxial cable connection.
Speeds can range from 50 to 4,700 Mbps depending on the provider and plan. With a fiber optic connection, you are likely to experience greater speed consistency, even during “peak” usage times, and speeds that are near or above your plan’s advertised speeds.
We value your feedback
Was this page helpful?
We value your feedback
We’re glad! Tell us what helped most on this page.
We value your feedback
Was this page helpful?
Thanks for your feedback!
Your insight helps, and we’ll do our best to improve your experience.
Written by:David Anders
Senior Writer, Broadband Content
David joined the Allconnect team in 2017, specializing in broadband and TV content. His work has been referenced by a variety of sources, including ArcGIS, DIRECTV and more. As a Senior Writer, David is motivate… Read more
Edited by:Robin Layton
Editor, Broadband Content
- FeaturedFiber vs. cable: What’s the difference? Ari Howard — 2 min read
- FeaturedWhy Facebook is building a fiber network across Indiana Joe Supan — 3 min read
- FeaturedIs your fiber internet living up to expectations? Here’s why you need a modem upgrade Lisa Iscrupe — 4 min read
Friday, May 13, 2022Eligible households can now get high-speed internet for free
Robin Layton — 2 min read
Wednesday, May 11, 2022LGBTQ youth resources: Bridging the digital divide
Robin Layton — 10 min read
Wednesday, May 4, 2022What is a good internet speed? It depends on your needs
David Anders — 7 min read
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter for internet news and promos
By subscribing, you agree to receive Allconnect newsletter and promotional emails. Your privacy is important to us.
Thanks for subscribing!
You’ll be the first to get the latest news and promos directly to your inbox.