Compare fast internet speed providers, plans and prices
By Joe Supan Last updated: September 24, 2021
These days, just about every provider claims to have the fastest internet in the world, with terms like “gigabit” and “high speed” thrown around at will. The truth is, most people who have access to a cable or fiber optic internet plan will be able to get all the speed they need without going near the top plans. For context, 1,000 Mbps is enough to stream Netflix in 4K on 40 TVs at the same time.
Fiber optic internet is almost always the fastest option, but if it’s not available in your area, cable internet can also reach gig speeds. DSL and satellite internet rarely reach speeds that could be considered “high speed,” but fixed wireless 5G service is quickly becoming another option for fast internet.
Fortunately, just about every major cable or fiber optic internet provider has a gig plan available in most of their service areas. Not all providers and plans listed below are available in all areas.
|Provider||Max download speed||Max upload speed||Price*||Year two price*||Allconnect score|
|AT&T Fiber Internet||940 Mbps||880 Mbps||$60.00/mo.||$80.00/mo.||4.05/5|
|Verizon Fios||940 Mbps||880 Mbps||$84.99/mo.||$84.99/mo.||4.03/5|
|CenturyLink Fiber||940 Mbps**||940 Mbps**||$65.00/mo.||$85.00/mo.||3.95/5|
|Kinetic by Windstream||1,000 Mbps||1,000 Mbps||$67.00/mo.||$85.00/mo.||3.94/5|
|WOW! Internet||1,000 Mbps||50 Mbps||$64.99/mo.||$74.99/mo.||3.94/5|
*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 09/24/21.
**Rate requires paperless billing. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. Speed may not be available in your area. Maximum download/upload speed of up to 940 Mbps via a wired connection.
How we evaluated high speed internet providers
To find the best high speed internet providers, we focused on four categories: affordability, performance, value and customer satisfaction.
We gave the most weight to performance, which includes both download and upload speeds. Download speeds are what matter for most internet activities — streaming, browsing social media, downloading files — but upload speeds are also essential for things like Zoom meetings and online gaming.
Each category also 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
Shop high speed internet plans near you
You’ll find a few of the fastest internet plans in your area below. For more accurate results, edit your location to compare options for your address.
Unlimited data allowance
AT&T consumer home internet or Fixed Wireless Internet customers can use unlimited internet data through September 30, 2020.
Self-installation is the default installation option when available for customers.
Temporary speed upgrade
Get a temporary speed upgrade to 50 Mbps when you order Cox 10 & 30 Mbps internet plans. Offers valid through June 30, 2020.
Self-installation encouraged. Select your desired installation date, and a Cox representative will call to confirm or reschedule your appointment.
Safety-first Installation: A Frontier technician will perform your installation with appropriate safety protocols including wearing protective equipment and maintaining social distancing. In taking these precautions, it’s recommended that Frontier customers wear a face mask or face covering for the safety of technicians.
New TV plan
Introducing a new “Local 50” video plan to support contactless installation.
Contactless installation: Mediacom will send an installation kit and a technician to set up a single high-speed data connection, phone, or one local TV channel plan with the help of someone in your home.
Self-installation is encouraged. For professional installation, contact-free delivery is available for work done outside of the home. For customers moving more than 7 days from the date the order is placed, professional installation is available.
Free Contactless Delivery: An Xfinity technician will drop-off your equipment with installation instructions, then perform any outside work. Get your installation fees back in a customer credit for a no-charge installation.
4.05 / 5
AT&T Fiber: Best high speed internet overall
If you can get AT&T Fiber in your area, it offers the best high speed internet plans of any nationwide provider. Plans start at just $35/mo. for 300 Mbps of upload and download speeds — plenty for all but the most connected households. And if you need more bandwidth, AT&T Fiber has speeds all the way up to 940 Mbps.
Why we like AT&T
Fast speeds – With plans going up to 940 Mbps download speeds, AT&T Fiber has all the bandwidth you’ll need.
Affordable plans – Prices start at just $35/mo. for AT&T Fiber, and equipment rental is on the low side at $10/mo.
Visa Reward Card – AT&T offers a $200 bonus card when you activate internet service.
Things to consider
Price increase in year two – Expect your bill to go up by $20/mo. after the first year.
Installation fee – AT&T charges $99 for installation, which is higher than most providers.
Limited availability – AT&T’s fiber optic internet isn’t available in all locations, and its DSL and fixed wireless options are much slower.
4.03 / 5
Verizon Fios: Best customer satisfaction
Verizon Fios is another great option for high speed internet, scoring just slightly below AT&T in our evaluation. Its prices are slightly higher — $39.99/mo. for 200 Mbps compared to AT&T’s $35/mo. for 300 Mbps — but you won’t have to worry about the price going up in the second year. Verizon Fios also has the highest customer satisfaction scores of any internet provider from J.D. Power.
Why we like Verizon Fios
Fast speeds – Verizon Fios tops out at 940 Mbps download and 880 Mbps upload speeds.
No price increases – You won’t have to worry about any surprises on your Verizon bill after a promotional period ends.
High customer satisfaction – Verizon tops J.D. Power’s ratings for customer satisfaction.
Things to consider
More expensive – Verizon’s top plans are a little pricier than competitors, with gig speeds costing $84.99/mo.
Equipment fee – Verizon charges $15/mo. for equipment rental, which is higher than most providers.
3.95 / 5
CenturyLink: No hidden fees
CenturyLink’s fiber optic service is one of the best high speed internet options around, but it stands out in one specific area: It doesn’t come with any extra fees on its gig plan. That means equipment (usually $10 to $15/mo.) and installation are both included at no extra cost.
Why we like CenturyLink
Equipment included – CenturyLink doesn’t charge for modem and router rental on its gig plan.
Affordable plans – Starting at just $49/mo., CenturyLink offers fair prices for its fiber optic internet.
Fast speeds – CenturyLink’s speeds go up to 940 Mbps for both upload and download.
Things to consider
Price increases – You’ll pay $20/mo. more in the second year with CenturyLink’s gig-speed plan.
Low customer satisfaction scores – CenturyLink ranks towards the bottom in J.D. Power’s rankings in areas that it has service.
Data cap The 100 Mbps fiber optic plan comes with a data cap of 1GB.
3.94 / 5
Kinetic by Windstream: Most speed tiers
If you’re looking for options, Kinetic by Windstream has you covered with four different tiers of fiber optic internet to choose from, ranging from 200 to 1000 Mbps. It’s also one of the more affordable high speed internet providers, with plans starting at just $37/mo.
Why we like Windstream
Four plans – Kinetic by Windstream gives you a lot of flexibility when you’re building your internet package.
Visa Rewards Card – You’ll get a $100 sign-up bonus no matter which plan you go with.
Affordable rates – Even after the price increases in the second year, you’ll still get a great value with Kinetic by Windstream.
Things to consider
Limited availability – Windstream’s fiber optic coverage isn’t as widespread as competitors.
Low customer satisfaction scores – Kinetic by Windstream received some of the lowest ratings from J.D. Power in the South region.
Activation fee – Kinetic by Windstream charges a one-time fee of $50 when you activate service.
3.94 / 5
WOW! Internet: Cheapest plans
If you want high speed internet at the lowest price around, it’s hard to beat WOW! Internet. Plans start at just $19.99/mo. for 100 Mbps, which is one of the most affordable rates in the country. Prices increase by $10 to $20 in the second year, but even with that factored in, WOW! is still cheaper than most other providers.
Why we like WOW! Internet
Four plans – WOW! has four different plans available, so you can find the right speed for your home without paying extra.
Fast speeds – You can get download speeds up to 1,000 Mbps with WOW!, which is as fast as any provider.
High customer satisfaction – WOW! scored a 71/100 with Consumer Reports — higher than any other provider on our list.
Things to consider
Low upload speeds – While download speeds go up to 1,000 Mbps, upload speeds top out at 50 Mbps, so hardcore gamers or live streamers may want to look elsewhere.
Limited availability – WOW! isn’t as widespread as other providers on our list, with coverage primarily in Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee.
We think the five providers listed above are the best options for high speed internet, but they’re far from the only game in town. If you don’t have access to these providers in your area, these are some other plans to consider.
Cox is the third-largest cable provider in the country, with service throughout Arizona, California and Virginia. Its plans start at just $19.99/mo., but they come with hefty price increases in the second year — anywhere from $20 to $36 depending on the plan. Unlike most high speed internet providers, Cox plans also have a monthly data cap of 1.28TB.
Frontier offers both fiber optic and DSL internet service. Its fiber optic service, while not as widely available, provides superb speeds for a reasonable price. We like the 500 Mbps plan the best. It’s $59.99/mo. and you won’t have to worry about data caps or equipment fees. If you can only get Frontier’s DSL service in your area, you’re probably better off searching out a cable provider.
One of the most widely available internet providers in the country, Spectrum offers speeds as fast as anyone, but you’ll pay a little more for them. Its gig plan starts at $109.99/mo. and increases to $134.99/mo. in year two, making it one of the most expensive internet plans around. Its cheapest plan is a lot more reasonable though: $49.99/mo. for 200 Mbps, and $74.99/mo. in the second year.
If you’re looking for the very fastest speeds, Xfinity goes all the way up to 2,000 Mbps in some areas. For most households, Xfinity’s 200 Mbps plan for $34.99/mo. is a better choice. Because it’s a cable provider, Xfinity’s upload speeds aren’t as fast as fiber optic plans. You’ll also have to deal with a 1.23TB data cap with Xfinity plans.
Optimum offers both fiber optic and cable internet plans throughout the country, and both options get you all the speed you’re likely to need. Unfortunately, Optimum comes with some outrageous price increases. After the first year, your bill will go up by $74.99 to $94.99/mo. That means you could be stuck paying as much as $139.99/mo. just for internet service.
Your regional providers may also offer gigabit connections
We listed many of the top high speed providers by availability above, but it’s possible that other smaller high speed providers are available at your address. When shopping for high speed internet, take the time to compare plans from national and local providers available near you.
Regional fiber optic or cable providers such as RCN offer internet plans with max speeds comparable to what you’ll find from the top national providers.
In some cases, regional providers can be the faster internet option. For example, EPB, a local Chattanooga, TN, fiber optic provider, has a 10 Gbps plan for around the same price as Xfinity’s 2 Gbps plan.
Tips for improving internet speed
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. Wireless internet is also 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.
Here are some more troubleshooting steps you can take to help boost your Wi-Fi signal:
- Take a speed test to find out what you’re currently getting.
- Update the security settings on your router to cut off bandwidth leeches.
- Optimize your router’s settings.
- Purchase a new wireless router every five years.
- Angle one Wi-Fi antenna up and one to the side.
- Move your wireless router to an elevated, clear spot.
- Add a Wi-Fi extender.
Actual vs. advertised speeds
The most recent official data on a provider’s actual tested speed vs. their advertised comes from a 2020 FCC report detailed in their Measuring Broadband in America – Ninth Report.
According to the report, average median download speeds of all tested providers measured more than 10% higher than advertised download speeds. Top providers for high actual speeds vs. advertised speeds include AT&T (DSL), Verizon (fiber and DSL), Spectrum, Xfinity, Mediacom and Frontier FiberOptic.
Providers that returned median download speeds lower than advertised speeds include DSL services from CenturyLink, Frontier and Windstream.
Allconnect: Let us compare high speed internet providers for you
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High speed internet FAQs
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.
A new record for the fastest internet in the world was recently set at 319 Terabits (or 319,000,000 Megabits) per second. As you can imagine, these speeds were recorded by a team of engineers and aren’t achievable at the residential level. On a more realistic speed level, speedtest.net reports that as of August, 2021, Singapore has the fastest mean download speeds at 262 Mbps. In comparison, the United States ranked 12th with a mean download speed of 199 Mbps.
In their 2015 Broadband Progress Report, the FCC updated the threshold for an internet connection to be considered broadband to 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. The way we use the internet has changed significantly since then, so while 25 Mbps is still technically broadband internet, we wouldn’t consider it to be “fast” anymore.
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Written by:Joe Supan
Senior Writer, Broadband Content
Joe oversees all things broadband for Allconnect. His work has been referenced by Yahoo!, Lifehacker and more. He has utilized thousands of data points to build a library of metrics to help users navigate these … Read more
Edited by:Robin Layton
Editor, Broadband Content
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