AT&T internet service review
AT&T is one of the largest internet service providers in the country, with and fiber optic and DSL/fiber hybrid plans available depending on where you live. Speeds vary widely depending on connection type — up to 940 Mbps for fiber but only starting at just 10 Mbps for DSL/fiber.
About AT&T internet plans
Joe Supan Last updated: June 17, 2021
AT&T fiber plans are some of the best you can get anywhere in the country, but its DSL and fixed wireless options should be viewed as more of a last resort. We scored AT&T internet service on a scale of 1 to 5 across four major categories. To learn more, read our methodology.
|Category||AT&T Fiber||AT&T Internet|
As you can see from the scores above, your experience with AT&T internet largely depends on which service is available in your area. AT&T separates its plans into two tiers: AT&T Fiber and AT&T Internet. Both use fiber optic cables to deliver internet, but AT&T Internet switches to a DSL connection for the last mile, while AT&T Fiber goes all the way to your home.
If you can get it, our scoring system grades AT&T Fiber as one of the best internet options in the country, especially when it comes to performance and value. It received the highest score for performance of any internet provider, with download speeds ranging from 300 to 1,000 Mbps. You won’t have to worry about paying an exorbitant price for those high speeds, either. AT&T Fiber also got our highest score for value, which measures the price per Mbps on every plan.
Even though the connection uses the same network until the last mile, AT&T Internet plans have almost the opposite scores: they were our lowest rated plans of any cable company for both performance and value. It is more affordable than AT&T Fiber, but you’ll get a lot slower speeds for that cheaper price.
At the end of 2020, AT&T reported that it had 4.95 million fiber customers and 8.74 million DSL/fiber hybrid customers. AT&T Fiber is currently available to around 35% of the country — primarily in California, Texas, the Midwest and the Southeast — and the company expects to reach another 3 million people by the end of 2021.
In the sections below, we’ll take a more in-depth look at AT&T’s pricing and speeds and compare them to other providers. You can also use our table of contents to jump straight to a specific section.
How we scored 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
Shop AT&T plans near you
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.
AT&T internet plans, pricing and speeds
There are currently eight AT&T internet plans to choose from, but what speeds you’re actually eligible for depends on your location.
|AT&T plan||Allconnect score||Starting price||Price after 12 mos.||Download speed||Upload speed||Connection type|
|Fiber Internet 300||3.99/5||$35.00/mo.*||$55.00/mo.*||300 Mbps||300 Mbps||Fiber|
|Fiber Internet 500||4.03/5||$45.00/mo.*||$65.00/mo.*||500 Mbps||500 Mbps||Fiber|
|Fiber Internet 1000||4.08/5||$60.00/mo.*||$80.00/mo.*||940 Mbps||940 Mbps||Fiber|
|Internet 10||2.53/5||$45.00/mo.**||$55.00/mo.**||10 Mbps||1 Mbps||DSL|
|Internet 18||2.59/5||$45.00/mo.**||$55.00/mo.**||18 Mbps||1 Mbps||DSL|
|Internet 25||2.66/5||$45.00/mo.**||$55.00/mo.**||25 Mbps||2 Mbps||DSL|
|Internet 50||2.87/5||$45.00/mo.**||$55.00/mo.**||50 Mbps||10 Mbps||DSL|
|Internet 100||3.28/5||$45.00/mo.**||$55.00/mo.**||100 Mbps||20 Mbps||DSL|
*Prices for 12 mos + taxes & equip fee. Price includes $5/mo. AutoPay & Paperless billing discount (within 2 bills). $10/mo. equip. fee applies. Prices updated 05/07/21.
**Prices for 12 mos + taxes & equip fee after $5/mo. AutoPay & Paperless billing discount (within 2 bills). $10/mo. equip. fee applies. Incl. 1TB data/mo.; overage chrgs apply. Prices updated 05/07/21.
If your address is serviceable for only DSL hybrid service, you won’t have much of an option when choosing a plan. All AT&T Internet plans cost $45/mo., but you’ll only have access to one. AT&T automatically provides the highest speed available with these plans.
Those in areas serviceable for AT&T Fiber, however, may find themselves torn between the 300 and 500 plan, or wondering if going all in on gig service is worth it. Here’s our take on each one:
Speeds of 300 Mbps are well-suited to handle heavy streaming and online gaming on numerous Wi-Fi devices at once. And with faster upload speeds, AT&T Internet 300 is better equipped for video conferencing and working or learning from home.
Current deals: $150 Visa Reward Card
Although few households need more than 300 Mbps, the AT&T Internet 500 plan is best for households above four people who all work and learn from home. If everyone in a household of four+ uses multiple devices at the same time throughout the day, then upgrading to the 500 Mbps plan might be worth it.
Current deals: $150 Visa Reward Card
For larger households in need of an uncompromising connection, AT&T Internet 1000 offers speeds up to 940 Mbps, or gig speeds. This plan is perfect for homes with 10+ devices used for streaming and gaming, as well as connecting smart home devices such as Wi-Fi cameras and thermostats. AT&T Internet 1000 also comes with upload speeds up to 940 Mbps, which is ideal for working and learning from home on multiple devices.
Current deals: HBO Max for as long as you maintain service, $150 Visa Reward Card
All AT&T internet plans increase in price after 12 months
Your AT&T bill will go up by $20/mo. in the second year if you have a Fiber plan and $10/mo. if you have AT&T Internet. This is about average for internet plans. Some Xfinity plans increase by $50/mo. in the second year, but Verizon Fios doesn’t have any rate increases at all. And even after the promotional pricing ends, AT&T’s fiber plans are still a solid value.
What’s the final price for AT&T internet?
Expect to pay about $15/mo. more than what’s advertised as AT&T’s internet prices. Equipment fees are non-negotiable and cost $10/mo. on every plan. Taxes typically add around $5/mo., too, but you’ll have to pay that with any internet plan. Additionally, after AT&T’s 12-month promotional rates expire, your bill will increase by $10 or $20/mo. This means if you have AT&T’s Fiber Internet 300 plan, you can expect to pay around $50/mo. in the first year and then around $70/mo. in the second year.
AT&T internet speed averages
With most internet providers, there’s often a gap between the speeds that are advertised and what you actually get. This doesn’t always mean your provider is under-delivering — things like your Wi-Fi router and the size of your home can slow your connection down — but some companies consistently come up short.
According to the FCC’s Ninth Measuring Broadband America report, AT&T’s DSL plans actually provided faster speeds on average than they advertised. That said, AT&T has been called out specifically for pressuring the FCC to remove unflattering data from these reports. In the latest version, AT&T opted not to be included at all.
So what kind of speed can you actually expect to get from AT&T internet? According to the latest numbers from Ookla, a website that uses speed tests to create a score that combines download and upload speeds, AT&T came in fifth out of the six largest providers in the country for both speed and consistency.
That might sound like a ding, but AT&T’s 114.78 Speed Score™ is nothing to sneeze at. Unlike the companies that scored ahead of it — Cox, Spectrum, Xfinity and Verizon — AT&T still has nearly 10 million subscribers using its slower AT&T Internet and legacy DSL plans, which brings its overall score down.
AT&T equipment, installation, contracts and data caps
Along with speed and price, equipment fees, data allowances and contracts are major considerations when choosing an internet service. With low equipment fees, unlimited data on most plans and no contracts, we find AT&T to be one of the more customer-friendly internet providers.
Low, but unavoidable, equipment fees
The cost for your equipment from AT&T is the same across all plans: $10/mo. This fee is a few bucks lower per month than other major internet providers like Verizon and Xfinity. Unfortunately, AT&T doesn’t give you the option to use your own equipment and avoid that monthly fee, so you can count on adding $10 to the monthly AT&T internet price.
That said, you’ll probably find the AT&T Wi-Fi Gateway router to be worth the added fee. In addition to the whole-home AT&T Wi-Fi service, the AT&T Wi-Fi Gateway router makes it easy to manage connected devices and set parental controls via the AT&T Smart Home app.
No installation fees
AT&T used to charge a $99 installation fee, but it’s currently waived on all internet plans. Self-installation is available in some areas, but most customers will have to schedule an appointment with an AT&T technician.
No contract required for internet
AT&T internet plans do not require a contract. However, a term agreement may be required in some instances in order to qualify for select promotional offers. Additionally, bundling AT&T internet with DIRECTV will come with a two-year contract for the TV service, even though a contract for AT&T internet is not required.
Unlimited data with AT&T Fiber, select bundles
There are no data caps on any of the AT&T Fiber plans, and AT&T Internet customers who bundle with a qualifying TV service can also take advantage of unlimited data.
AT&T’s 10-100 Mbps plans come with a monthly data allowance of 1 TB/mo. Going over that limit could add a fee up to $50 to your bill, but the good news is the average household typically doesn’t come close to using that much data. If you have multiple people in your house binge-watching shows in HD and 4K all month long, however, you may want to keep an eye on your usage. You can also add unlimited data to these plans for an extra $30/mo.
AT&T Home Internet additional perks and benefits
Value goes beyond monthly price and speeds. With AT&T internet, you’ll get some extra perks such as free Wi-Fi hotspot access and online security you may not find with other providers.
Access to 30,000+ Wi-Fi hotspots
The AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot network keeps you connected on the go with 30,000 locations available for free to AT&T internet customers.
Security Suite powered by McAfee®
Included at no extra cost on plans 5-100 Mbps, the AT&T Security Suite helps keep your connected devices safe from viruses and malware.
Smart Home App
With AT&T’s Smart Home App, you have full control over your Wi-Fi network. Through the app you can see who’s connected, pause Wi-Fi access on any device, set daily Wi-Fi schedules and view and edit your Wi-Fi’s password.
AT&T internet compared to other providers
In most areas serviceable for AT&T internet, a cable provider may also be available. You may also have access to competing DSL or fiber optic internet providers. Take a look at how AT&T compares to other internet service providers below:
|Provider||Allconnect score||Starting prices||Download speeds||Upload speeds|
|AT&T Fiber||4.03/5||$35.00-60.00/mo.||300-940 Mbps||300-940 Mbps|
|AT&T Internet||2.79/5||$45.00/mo.||10-100 Mbps||1-20 Mbps|
|Cox internet||3.12/5||$29.99-69.99/mo.||10-940 Mbps||3-940 Mbps|
|Spectrum internet||3.50/5||$49.99-109.99/mo.||200-940 Mbps||10-35 Mbps|
|Suddenlink internet||3.38/5||$35.00-$75.00/mo.||100-1000 Mbps||10-50 Mbps|
|Xfinity internet||3.52/5||$24.99-299.99/mo.||50-2000 Mbps||3-2000 Mbps|
*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. As of 05/06/21.
Overall, AT&T grades out as the best nationwide provider if you can get its fiber service, but the worst if you’re stuck with DSL. This tracks with the state of broadband in the U.S. as a whole: Fiber internet is almost always a better option than cable, which is still better than DSL or satellite.
But where you usually have to pay a premium for the fastest internet, AT&T Fiber is actually reasonably priced for the speeds you get. Its gig-speed plan costs $80/mo. after the promotional pricing ends in year two, but that’s still far less than Spectrum charges for the same speeds — $109.99/mo. in year one and $134.99/mo. in year two — and the same as Xfinity’s promotional pricing for gig speeds.
There are some fees we don’t like — being required to rent your router from AT&T for $10/mo. isn’t ideal — but on the whole, AT&T offers exceptional value on its fiber plans.
How to bundle AT&T internet and TV service
There are a few ways to bundle TV and internet with AT&T. You can add AT&T TV to any AT&T internet plan, but the company doesn’t offer much incentive to do so. The price isn’t discounted from what you’d pay if you bought the services separately, whether you go with an AT&T Fiber or Internet plan.
You can also bundle AT&T Internet with DIRECTV, but again, the price is exactly the same as it would be if you subscribed to each service separately.
If you want to add TV to the mix when you sign up for AT&T Internet, we recommend comparing AT&T TV with other live TV streaming services like Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV. These services are available everywhere in the country, so you’ll have plenty of options no matter where you live.
AT&T customer satisfaction
Ranked above most internet providers – ACSI 2020
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) gives the largest internet providers annual customer satisfaction scores based on feedback from actual customers. In 2020, AT&T received a 68/100. While that was actually down from its 69/100 score the year before, it still ranks higher than all major cable internet providers, including Xfinity (66/100), Spectrum (63/100) and Cox (61/100). The only provider to score above AT&T was Verizon with a 73/100.
Best overall satisfaction – J.D. Power
J.D. Power also performs annual customer satisfaction for the largest internet providers. In 2020, J.D. Power rated AT&T number one in overall satisfaction in every region it had service. Contributing to AT&T’s high satisfaction score were high marks for Performance and Reliability, Cost of Service and Customer Service.
Middle of the pack – Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports members were the one group who weren’t as positive about their experiences with AT&T internet. In a survey of 23,668 internet subscribers, AT&T received an overall score of 58/100. That might sound like a failing grade, but it’s more a reflection on the industry as a whole — TDS led the pack with a 64/100.
That said, if you’re concerned you’ll need regular technical support, it’s worth taking into account. AT&T got Consumer Reports’ lowest possible score for customer service.
Standalone internet plans start at $35/mo. for AT&T Fiber and $45/mo. for AT&T DSL.* If your address is only serviceable for DSL, your plan will come with the fastest speeds available, up to 100 Mbps.
*Per mo for 12 mos when bundled, + taxes & equip fee.$10/mo equip fee applies. Incl unlimited internet data allowance ($30 value). Ltd avail/areas; speeds vary, not gt’d.
AT&T does offer fixed wireless internet, but the service is less available than their DSL or fiber optic networks, covering only 5% of their serviceable areas. Primary service areas for AT&T fixed wireless include rural areas in the Midwest.
The Smart Home Manager app, available for free on Android and iOS devices, gives you full control over your Wi-Fi connection. Download the app and log in with your AT&T credentials to view devices connected to your AT&T Wi-Fi, block devices and set parental controls.
You can save $5/mo. by enrolling in Auto-Pay. Senior citizens, military members and low-income households may also qualify for a discount on AT&T services.
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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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INTERNET 300 OFFER: Subj. to change and may be discontinued at any time. Price for Internet 300 for new residential customers & is after $5/mo autopay & paperless bill discount. Pricing for first 12 months only. After 12 mos., then prevailing rate applies. Autopay & Paperless Bill Discount: Discount off the monthly rate when account is active & enrolled in both. Pay full plan cost until discount starts w/in 2 bill cycles. Must maintain autopay/paperless bill and valid email address to continue discount. Additional Fees & Taxes: AT&T one-time transactional fees, $10/mo. equipment fee, and monthly cost recovery surcharges which are not government-required may apply, as well as taxes. See www.att.com/fees for details. Installation: $99 installation for full tech install, plus tax where applicable. Credit restrictions apply. Pricing subject to change. Subj. to Internet Terms of Service at att.com/internet-terms.
††Internet speed claims represent maximum network service capability speeds and based on wired connection to gateway. Actual customer speeds are not guaranteed and may vary based on several factors. For more information, go to www.att.com/speed101.
Offers may not be combined with other promotional offers on the same services and may be modified or discontinued at any time without notice. Other conditions apply to all offers.
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