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The best high-speed internet providers of 2020

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What is considered a fast internet speed?

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Speeds around 100 Mbps are more likely to be considered “fast” as they can accommodate multiple users engaging in a variety of internet activity — streaming TV, gaming online, browsing social media, etc. — simultaneously without much interference.

Even with 100 Mbps, you’re likely to occasionally run into buffering or lag issues, especially when using a Wi-Fi connection. Many high-speed providers give you upgrade options with plans ranging from 200 to 600 Mbps, which will help minimize those issues, but if you really want the fastest internet with uncompromising speed, consider fiber gig plans from internet service providers such as AT&T, CenturyLink, Cox, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

Fast facts about high-speed internet

  • In North America, the highest internet speed that is widely available is 2,000 Mbps, currently offered by Xfinity.
  • The 1,000 Mbps (most providers technically max out at 940 Mbps) you get with gig internet service is quickly becoming the new standard for “fast” internet.
  • “Over the past decade, internet speeds have grown by 12,400 percent,” according to The Internet & Television Association (NCTA).

What is broadband internet speed?

The FCC last updated the threshold for an internet connection to be considered broadband (25 Mbps download, 3 Mbps upload) in 2015. Over the past five years, internet service and how we use the internet has changed significantly, so while 25 Mbps is technically broadband internet, we wouldn’t consider it to be “fast.”

The best high-speed internet providers

  • AT&T – Best fiber optic coverage
  • CenturyLink – Best for fastest DSL speeds
  • Cox – Best for gigabit bundle discounts
  • Frontier – Best for low-cost fiber connection
  • Spectrum – Best gig availability in service areas
  • Verizon Fios – Best plan options for fast download and upload speeds
  • Xfinity – Best for max download speeds, up to 2,000 Mbps

Fastest plans from top internet providers

Gig internet connections will provide more than enough speed for any typical household, allowing you to stream in HD or 4K and game online on a virtually unlimited number of devices.

Fortunately, just about every major cable or fiber optic internet provider has a gig plan available in most of their service areas. Not all high-speed internet plans are the same, however, even if their advertised speeds seem to be.

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 Reviews.com, who is owned and operated by an affiliate of Allconnect, Inc. However, Allconnect, Inc. is not involved in or responsible for the production of Reviews.com 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 high-speed internet plans

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

Actual vs. advertised speeds by provider

The most recent official data on a provider’s actual tested speed vs. their advertised comes from a 2017 FCC study detailed in their Measuring Broadband in America – Eighth Report.

According to the report, satellite internet provider HughesNet had the highest weighted median download speed vs. advertised download speed, with actual speeds measured at more than 175% of advertised speeds. 

Other providers in the report that measured at 100% or higher for actual vs. advertised speeds include AT&T, Cox, Frontier, Mediacom, Optimum, Spectrum, Verizon and Xfinity. 

Keep in mind that the 2017 FCC findings regarding actual vs. advertised speeds were controlled tests, and did not include any speed tiers over 200 Mbps. When running your own speed test at home using a wired connection, you should expect your speeds to be around 80% or higher of your plan’s advertised speeds.

Why are my speeds slower than my plan’s advertised speeds?

The main reason for slower actual speeds vs. advertised speeds is the use of a Wi-Fi connection. Wireless internet is inherently slower than wired, or Ethernet, connections, so don’t be alarmed if your wireless speeds are 50% or less than your plan’s advertised speeds. Peak usage times (identified by the FCC as 7 to 11 p.m. Mon.-Fri.) can also contribute to slower internet speeds.

What else contributes to a slower internet speed?

A tip from our experts:

 For times when your speeds are consistently much slower than your plan’s advertised speeds, consider resetting your modem and router. Also, be sure to check for any unwanted devices on your connection that may be hogging your bandwidth. If that fails and your speeds are still consistently slower than where you think they should be, contact your internet provider.

Learn more about troubleshooting connection issues

What is the fastest internet by type?

The type of internet you choose and what’s available in your area will influence what speeds you can get. We’ve listed the fastest internet connection types from fastest to slowest below.

  • Fiber – Download speeds: 1,000+ Mbps, upload speeds 1,000+ Mbps
  • Cable – Download speeds: up to 2,000 Mbps, upload speeds up to 30 Mbps
  • DSL – Download speeds: up to 140 Mbps, upload speeds up to 10 Mbps
  • Satellite – Download speeds: up to 100 Mbps, upload speeds up to 3 Mbps
  • Fixed wireless – Download speeds: up to 100 Mbps, upload speeds up to 3 Mbps

We consider fiber optic to be faster than cable because of its fast download and upload speeds. Plus, while speeds up to 1,000 Mbps are common, fiber networks can support much faster speeds, up to 10,000 Mbps or higher. 

In many areas, satellite internet will offer faster speeds than DSL service. The speeds you get with DSL depend on your location and speeds ranging from 1-24 Mbps are common, especially in rural areas.

Is high-speed internet getting faster?

Internet providers aren’t necessarily offering faster internet, but they are making their fastest plans available in more areas.

  • The largest cable internet providers — Cox, Spectrum and Xfinity — already offer gig speeds or higher in many of their main service areas. Currently, these speeds are higher than the average household needs, so it is unlikely that cable providers will offer much faster speeds in the near future.
  • Fiber optic internet providers — including AT&T, CenturyLink and Verizon — are expanding their networks to bring gig internet to more areas. Additionally, Google Fiber serves select areas of more than 20 cities nationwide, but does not appear to be actively expanding their network. Like cable internet, fiber optic internet is capable of delivering speeds much faster than the average household requires, so major speed increases are not likely anytime soon.
  • Satellite internet, on the other hand, promises some major speed and latency improvements in coming years. While HughesNet and Viasat already offer broadband speeds in select areas, companies including SpaceX and OneWeb hope to make satellite internet even faster. Using low-orbiting satellites, these companies aim to offer satellite internet with speeds and latency rivaling cable and fiber optic internet services.

High-speed internet FAQs

Is 100 Mbps fast internet?

Download speeds of 100 Mbps and higher are fast enough for streaming in 4K, gaming online, downloading files and more on multiple devices at the same time. While 100 Mbps is often fast enough for the average household, faster speeds ranging from 200 to 2,000 Mbps are available in select areas.

Yes. Cheap internet is available from a variety of ISPs. For $50/mo., you can get high-speed internet up to 940 Mbps, depending on area and availability.  

Internet plans with advertised speeds of at least 100 Mbps are typically good enough for streaming and gaming over a Wi-Fi connection. A Wi-Fi connection is often slower than a wired connection. A good Wi-Fi speed is one that is around 50% of your plan’s advertised max speeds. There are many factors that can affect your Wi-Fi speeds, however. Consider these tips to boost your Wi-Fi speeds if yours are too slow to meet your needs.

According to speedtest.net, Singapore has the fastest mean download speeds at 208 Mbps. Hong Kong, Thailand, Switzerland and Romania rounded off the top five. In comparison, the United States ranked 14th with a mean download speed of 143 Mbps.

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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

Read bio