Switching Internet Providers

What to Know When Switching Internet Providers

Residential internet service is a competitive business. Internet technology continues to evolve and new players are always entering the market. Therefore, the best deal you could find five years ago may not be right for you today. Also, many internet providers offer limited-time reduced pricing, which can cause your bill to increase significantly after the promotional period ends. It’s worth periodically checking your options to determine whether it’s time to switch internet providers (ISPs). We will help you evaluate what you need in an internet package and explain how to switch internet providers.

Determine your internet needs

The first step in determining your internet needs is choosing which types of internet can best meet those needs. Although more speed is always fun to have, the speeds you need will depend largely on how you use the internet:

  • Casual browsing and social media: Casual web browsing and social media don’t require a lot of speed. Anything up to 25 Mbps should be enough, with the higher end of the range giving you some wiggle room to stream a movie now and then.
  • HD video streaming: Technically, you need about 5 Mbps for HD streaming and 25 Mbps for 4K streaming through Netflix and about twice that for YouTube. In reality, though, these services tend to buffer (preload video) at much higher speeds. If you can, go for a connection that’s at least 50 to 100 Mbps.
  • Online gaming: Gaming only requires speeds of 3 to 6 Mbps, depending on game specifications, but lag can be a problem. For the smoothest gameplay, online gamers should connect at 50 to 100 Mbps or more.
  • Homes with just a few devices: The above recommendations apply to one or two devices connecting simultaneously. If you have a small household, follow the suggestions above.
  • Homes with many connected devices: If you have an internet-connected smart home, or your family has a lot of devices, go for a faster connection. For example, the HD streaming speeds detailed above are per device. If your family watches different movies in different parts of the house, each connection needs plenty of speed. Choose a connection that’s at least 150 to 200 Mbps.

As you might expect, different types of internet cater to different needs:

  • Fiber-optic: Fiber-optic internet carries data on light signals along fibers bundled together in cables. It offers speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) for both downloading and uploading and is a popular choice for those with smart homes and those interested in future-proofing their internet connection. However, it’s not yet available in many markets as of early 2020.
  • Cable: Cable internet connects to the same network as cable TV, using space on designated channels. Average cable download speeds are up to 200 Mbps, and many companies now offer speeds of 1,000 Mbps. Unlike fiber, though, upload speeds are slower than download speeds due to providers prioritizing the activities we do most online. Cable internet is widely available across the United States, except in very rural areas.
  • DSL: Short for digital subscriber line, DSL internet uses the extra bandwidth on your traditional home phone line. It doesn’t take over the entire line, but service quality varies depending on how far you are from the closest access point. Download speeds of up to 100 Mbps are available in some areas, though speeds under 10 Mbps are more typical, especially in rural areas. DSL can be a very cost-effective choice, especially if you already have a landline home phone.
  • Satellite: If you live in a very remote area, satellite internet may be your only option. There are only two satellite internet providers in the United States: HughesNet and Viasat. Speeds are limited (about 25 Mbps with HughesNet and 30 Mbps with Viasat) and the service is relatively pricey.

What to expect when switching internet providers

Switching internet providers is not always straightforward. You may need to pay a contract buyout fee, though some providers will pay off your old contract when you switch to their service. You may find that your current provider suddenly offers you a better deal when you call to cancel service. Your favorite internet provider may not offer service in your area, or you may lose bundling discounts if you don’t also change your TV and phone services.

How to switch internet providers step by step

Fortunately, it’s possible to switch internet providers by taking a step-by-step approach:

Step 1: Research new providers

The first step is to learn which internet providers offer service in your area. You can use this zip code search tool to narrow down your search to providers in your neighborhood. Research available plans to determine which ones might fit your needs and budget. You might wonder, “Can I switch internet providers mid-contract?” If this is a concern for you, look for a new provider that will buy out your existing contract.

Step 2: Call your current internet provider to inquire about deals

Before you sign up with a new provider, call your existing internet provider. Companies prefer not to lose customers, so they may offer you a good deal to stay. If your current service is acceptable, it’s worth comparing the offer to those you found from other providers to see if it makes sense to stick with your existing ISP.

Step 3: Overlap your services

If you’re wondering how to switch internet providers without losing internet, the solution is to overlap your services. Don’t turn off your current service until your new service is installed and working properly. You will end up paying for a few days of both services, but it may be worth it to avoid losing your internet.

Step 4: Choose your installation

Depending on the type of internet service you choose and whether your home has existing lines, you may be able to install your new internet yourself or you may need professional installation. Your sales representative should be able to help you decide which type of installation is right for you.

Step 5: Test your new connection

If you have a professional installer come to your home, they will make sure the connection is working properly. If you install your own equipment, take the time to check out a few websites and maybe stream a TV show to make sure there are no problems with the connection.

Step 6: Return your old equipment

When your new connection is running properly, cancel your former service and return all equipment that belongs to that provider as soon as possible to avoid fees.

Frequently asked questions

Should I switch internet providers? 

Only you can decide whether switching internet providers is right for you. However, with technology evolving rapidly and new companies continually entering the market, it only makes sense to review your options every year or two to see if there is a better choice. You’ll also want to consider switching if you need faster speeds or feel you’re paying for internet speeds you don’t need. 

Can I switch internet providers mid-contract? 

You can always switch internet providers mid-contract, but there may be a contract cancellation fee. If you are concerned about this, choose a new provider that is willing to pay off your old contract. If you can’t find one who will buy out your contract, it may still be worthwhile to switch if you’ll save money in the long term.

How can I switch internet providers without losing internet? 

The best way to switch internet providers without losing internet is to overlap your services by a few days. Though you will have to pay for those days, it allows you to get your new service up and running before your previous service is disconnected.

Which type of internet should I choose? 

Which type of internet to choose depends on your budget, geographic location and internet needs. Fiber-optic and cable internet are the fastest, and cable is widely available. DSL and satellite may be the only options in more rural areas. DSL is generally inexpensive, but the signal degrades the further you are from an access point. Satellite is reliable but pricey. Consider all factors when making your decision.

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Test your internet speed: 3 key numbers to understand

When you sign up for service with an internet provider, you’re usually provided minimum download speeds that support your online activities. You’ll often pay more for higher speeds, so it’s important to know if you’re getting what you’re paying for and if any factors are slowing it down. To do this, you’ll need to learn how to test internet speed.

Performing an internet speed test online can tell you a few things about your home internet such as download speed, upload speed and ping. If it sounds complicated, we can help learn everything you need to know.

How do I test internet speed at home?

Performing an internet speed test online is fairly simple. To test internet speed, simply find a website that offers a free speed test. Internet service providers like Spectrum and AT&T offer these speed tests to anyone, regardless of whether or not you’re a customer. There are also independent third-party websites like Fast.com and Speedtest by Ookla that host free speed tests. 

The FCC recommends different internet speeds based on the number of devices in your household and your online activity levels. For light use by one or two users, you can get by with a slower speed of 8 Mbps or lower. Two or three devices running moderate internet activity will require speeds of at least 12 to 25 Mbps. For more devices, or if you participate in high-bandwidth activity like HD video streaming or online gaming, look for speeds of 25 Mbps or higher. For the highest-bandwidth internet users, like live streamers and online video creators, fiber-optic speeds can give all the download and upload speed they’d need to keep creating. 

What are download speeds in an internet speed test?

The download speed you see in the speed test refers to how fast your device receives digital information from websites and other online sources. A couple of examples are when you load a webpage or stream videos. Usually, your download speed will be significantly higher than your upload speed. This is because for most internet users, the majority of internet activity consists of downloads and service providers will prioritize that usage. Download speeds are measured in megabits per second, abbreviated as Mbps.

There is some controversy over advertised internet speeds from service providers. Most providers advertise “up to” a certain speed, a loophole that means you won’t always get this maximum speed, especially during peak usage hours. Other factors that may affect your internet speed include how many other devices are accessing the internet and how far you are from your wireless router. 

What are upload speeds in an internet speed test?

When you perform a speed test, you’ll also be given your current upload speed. This is a measurement of how fast your device can send data to the speed test’s server. Upload speeds come into consideration when you upload photos and videos to a social networking site or send a file via email. Like download speeds, upload speeds are also measured in megabits per second (Mbps). If your upload speed is significantly slower than your download speed, don’t worry – this is completely normal.

Upload speeds might be affected by the browser you’re using or a firewall on your device. You might need faster upload speeds if you regularly need to upload large media files, such as if you create audio or video content for work or as a hobby. Most providers of DSL and cable internet will prioritize download speed, but you’ll find that fiber internet often supports upload speeds as high as download speeds.

What is ping in an internet speed test?

Ping measures the responsiveness of your internet connection, or how long of a delay there is between the moment you send a request for data and the moment your device receives that data. Ping is measured in milliseconds, noted with the abbreviation ms.

Your ping might be slower if you’re using a wireless connection instead of a wired connection. It will also be affected by the number of devices and volume of bandwidth currently using your home internet connection. Ping is especially important with activities like online gaming, which rely on a real-time connection to the game server and other users. A slow ping can give you a disadvantage by delaying your reaction time in the game.

How do I troubleshoot my internet speed?

  • Check for internet activity on other devices. If other people in the home are online while you perform a speed test, internet speeds will measure slower.
  • Restart your modem and router. Sometimes unplugging these devices for 30 to 60 seconds and turning them back on (called a “power cycle”) helps you get a more accurate result.
  • Move closer to your router and check its placement. If the antenna on your router is pointed in the wrong direction, it may result in a slower internet speed test result. WiFi range extenders can help with this.
  • Call your internet service provider. If you are consistently getting slow internet speeds and have exhausted all troubleshooting options, your provider might be able to help by resetting your connection or giving other tips. An old rented modem or router can be a major culprit.
  • Switch to a different internet service provider. If your internet speed test results consistently show slower speeds than expected, it might be time to think about switching to a different provider.

Frequently asked questions 

How do I test my internet speed?

You can use a free internet speed test online to test internet speed. These are available for free from many internet service providers and third parties. Simply find an online test and click the button on the page to start. There is no software required to download to perform the test.

How can I make my internet speed test online more accurate?

To get the most accurate internet speed test results, make sure no other devices are currently using the internet for high-bandwidth activities such as video streaming or gaming. You should also test internet speed at different times of the day to learn the differences in speed between peak and off-peak hours. Restarting your router and modem before performing the test can also make your results more accurate. 

Is it normal for my upload speed to be slower than my download speed?

Yes, it’s completely normal for download speed to be significantly faster than upload speed. This is because most of your online activity like surfing the web and streaming video content relies most heavily on downloading data. The providers allow faster download speeds to accommodate for these use cases, though fiber internet often has the same speeds for downloading and uploading. 

How do I improve my ping speed?

If you test internet speed and find that your ping is slow, try moving closer to your wireless router or switching to a wired connection with an ethernet cable. Consider trying a WiFi range extender if you absolutely must use WiFi. 

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Cable vs. DSL: Which Is Right for You?

When searching for a new internet provider, you’ll come across the terms cable, dial-up, DSL and fiber. DSL runs through telephone wires, while cable internet is transmitted through a coaxial cable network. Cable internet is usually faster than DSL and tends to have higher peak speeds, which makes it a better choice for households that do a lot of high-definition streaming. But it can come at a cost. To figure out which one is best for you, compare the details of cable vs. DSL below.

Cable vs. DSL

When comparing DSL vs. cable internet, the differences are not just in speed and price but also in how each service functions.

Speed

Price

Best for

Cable

25 Mbps – 940 Mbps

$30.00/mo.–$150.00/mo.

Browsing, streaming, gaming and downloading 

DSL

3 Mbps – 200 Mbps 

$40.00/mo.-$80.00/mo.

Browsing and checking email

*As of 3/19/2020 

What is DSL internet?

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) is internet service transmitted using standard copper telephone lines. These lines most likely already exist if your house is wired to support a landline telephone. Because DSL piggybacks on phone lines, it is available to 89% of the American population and can connect using a modem and a standard telephone line jack.

Top DSL providers

The top DSL providers that have been in the internet game for a long time are AT&T, Frontier Communications and CenturyLink. These three providers offer a variety of plans to fit different customer needs. When choosing a provider and internet type, make sure to look at availability for your area.

Speed

Starting price

AT&T

Up to 100 Mbps

Starting at $50.00/mo.

Frontier

Up to 150 Mbps

Starting at $27.99/mo.

CenturyLink

Up to 100 Mbps

Starting at $49.99/mo.

*As of 3/19/2020

DSL internet speeds

DSL speeds have gotten faster over the years and go up to 200 Mbps. Though higher speeds are out there, such as with a fiber-optic connection, 200 Mbps exceeds the requirements of most homes, which is why 100 Mbps is sometimes called “lightning-fast” internet speed. And though streaming is one of the activities that eats up bandwidth, an HD movie still only uses around 8 Mbps while playing a video game requires around 3 Mbps (depending on the type).

When thinking about DSL vs. cable, it’s important to note that maximum speeds will vary according to the provider and specific plan. Fast DSL service can deliver speeds of up to 200 Mbps while slower plans can start at fewer than 10 Mbps. If you plan on streaming often across multiple devices, you should opt for a plan that offers at least 50 Mbps.

DSL pricing

DSL is a decidedly cost-for-speed service – the higher the speed, the higher the cost. For example, Parallax Systems’ maximum speed is 3 Mbps and costs $39.95/mo., while Harrison Telephone Company offers up to 200 Mbps for $59.99/mo. The type of internet you choose will depend on your typical online needs and availability. 

Who is DSL good for?

There are other options besides DSL, like cable, fiber and satellite. So who (and what) is best suited for DSL internet service? If you’re mainly browsing, streaming movies and TV, or playing single-player games, DSL is fine as long as it’s a relatively small number of users (three or fewer). The key to remember is that fewer users equal faster speeds. Once many users are doing different activities online, speeds can slow down.

Who isn’t DSL good for?

DSL isn’t good for people who need to stream a lot of high-definition content or regularly engage in online gaming. Because DSL’s bandwidth is limited, high-definition content may bog down the connection—if it shows at all. Also, because online gaming often requires instantaneous transmission of video, sound effects and live voice input, a DSL connection may not have the bandwidth to manage all of the data.

Pros and cons of DSL internet

Pros

  • Wired systems are more reliable 
  • A variety of DSL plans available to suit the average internet user
  • Supports common internet activities like browsing, reading emails and social media
  • Widely available since it uses existing telephone lines
  • Dedicated bandwidth that is not shared with neighbors

Cons

  • Price for the service is high when compared to cable and fiber 
  • For a little more per month, you can get up to 10 times the speed in some cases
  • A large family with multiple devices will find it hard to stream simultaneously
  • Multiplayer gaming may not be adequately supported by lower speeds 
  • Maximum speed available is only 200 Mbps

What is cable internet?

Cable internet is sent by a cable service provider that transmits data using space on a specified television channel. The signal enters the home via a coaxial cable which is connected to a cable modem and when a user connects their computer or other devices to the modem via either an Ethernet cable or a wireless router, they gain access to the internet.

Top cable internet providers

Speed

Starting price

RCN

Up to 250 Mbps

Starting at $39.99/mo.

Spectrum

Up to 940 Mbps

Starting at $49.99/mo.

Cox

Up to 940 Mbps

Starting at $29.99/mo.

*As of 3/19/2020

Cable internet speeds

Cable internet speeds typically range from 25 Mbps to 940 Mbps. Cable internet is slower than fiber-optic internet because the copper lines inside the cable cannot handle the same amount of bandwidth. Cable lines transmit electrical impulses, which can’t travel as quickly as the pulses of light that move through fiber-optic lines.

However, with speeds between 25 and 200 Mbps you can still do a lot of streaming, gaming and searching. With only 100 Mbps you can stream on several devices at once and it will only take about 5 minutes to download a four-gigabyte file. If your internet speed is limited to 10 Mbps, you can still stream movies, but you may have trouble if you’re doing so on more than one device at the same time. You can easily check and send emails or stream music with a 10 Mbps connection.

Cable internet pricing

Cable internet prices range between $30.00/mo. and $150.00/mo with higher speeds costing more. One of the main reasons cable internet is so expensive is because it costs companies considerable money to lay the cable used to transmit the signal. Every time a company expands its service area, they have to pay to install the necessary infrastructure. The rates often vary from one area to the next due to local variations in labor and installation costs.

Who is cable internet good for?

Cable internet is a good choice for individuals and small households who won’t be using a lot of devices simultaneously. While cable internet will allow you to stream video or do some gaming, the more devices you use at once the slower your internet will be. People who mostly use their internet to check email, make voice over internet provider (VOIP) phone calls or stream music can also use cable internet. But note that even with advertised high speeds, the speed you actually get may be limited, particularly as other users connect their devices.

Who isn’t cable internet good for?

Cable internet is a poor choice for families or households that want to connect multiple devices at once. The bandwidth cable internet providers offer is limited, and the performance of your internet connection will be significantly worse when multiple devices are streaming simultaneously. Cable internet also has very limited upload speeds, which makes it a poor choice for gamers who often need quick upload speeds for interactive online gaming.

Pros and cons of cable internet

Pros

  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Good for small families
  • Widely available due to the use of cables
  • Does not require a phone line
  • Faster than DSL and satellite internet

Cons

  • Slower than fiber-optic internet
  • High initial connection fees for the user
  • Forces you to sacrifice upload speed for strong download speeds
  • Slower performance during peak hours

FAQs about cable and DSL

Is cable internet or DSL internet faster?

Cable is generally faster because it can handle more bandwidth.

What is the difference between cable and DSL internet?

DSL transmits the internet signal through telephone lines, while cable uses copper wire. Cable internet also has a higher maximum bandwidth than DSL.

Which is better for people living in remote areas?

DSL tends to be the common choice for people living in remote areas because cable is often not available. However, if you live in a remote area, and cable internet is an option, you may experience superior performance if you choose cable over DSL.

Is DSL or cable better for gaming?

Cable is better for gaming because it usually has a higher bandwidth limit.

The bottom line

Even though both cable and DSL internet are convenient options, people who need faster speeds are often better off going with cable. However, if you don’t live in a household where there are several devices streaming content at the same time, DSL may be an adequate solution. In the end, it’s best to first assess the needs of your household by carefully examining how much streaming, gaming and downloading you and others will be doing. Then check which services are available in your area and choose the best package for you and your family.

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How to get free internet

No matter if you’re a student, a freelancer, looking for a job or researching how to improve your finances, an internet connection is necessary. Free internet access is beneficial for people on a budget and for maintaining access to school work, home banking tools, streaming services and more.

The average consumer spends approximately $800 for internet services annually. This guide explores how to avoid those costs and get free internet instead. Learn how to find free internet service, where it’s available and how to best keep your information safe while using it.

How to get free internet service

Because connectivity is such a necessity, finding legal ways to get free internet is becoming more of a priority. Here are a few methods for finding free internet service.

Use apps to find free WiFi hotspots

There are many smartphone apps that will show you where to find free WiFi hotspots. For example, WiFiMap and Avast WiFi Finder compile databases containing every free WiFi hotspot throughout the world. Wi-Fi Free Spot offers a tool to find free WiFi hotspots by state, including hotels, airports, restaurants and even campgrounds.

Find free Wi-Fi hotspots from internet providers

You can connect to free WiFi hotspots offered by internet providers like Cox or Xfinity if you are a paying subscriber of their home internet services.

Another option is to sign up for a service like FreedomPop, which offers a portable router that acts as a mobile WiFi hotspot. The service offers 500 MB of data for free each month ($0.02 cents per MB after that), which should be sufficient for simple internet browsing.

Use your mobile phone as a hotspot

Also known as tethering, you can connect your laptop to the internet by using your phone’s 4G or 5G data connection. The steps to take to set your phone up as a hotspot depend on the brand of your device. For most newer iPhones, for example, you can easily find this feature by navigating to Settings, tapping Personal Hotspot and setting it to “on.”

Free internet for your home

Finding free internet services for your home is a little more challenging, though not impossible, especially if you don’t mind using a dial-up connection. For example, NetZero offers consumers free internet with a dial-up connection. If you only use the internet for the essentials, Juno provides ten hours of internet for free every month.

If you’re a paying cable customer, some companies may offer deals if you bundle internet with another service. Call your provider and ask if there are any available deals or find a new provider.

Federal programs offering discounted internet

ConnectHomeUSA is a program launched by EveryoneOn.org, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the White House in 2015. The program, which provides free or low-cost broadband access to low-income families, currently has 28 pilot communities throughout the country.

Where to get free public internet

Many businesses offer their guests free WiFi. Here’s a list of a few places you can find free public internet service.

National chains offering free internet services

In some communities, you don’t have to travel far to find free internet. For example, you can find it at the Apple Store, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkin’ Donuts, KFC, McDonald’s, Panera Bread, Starbucks, Best Buy, Target, Whole Foods and more. When visiting these locations, you’ll often see a link posted to the company’s free WiFi or, when you click on your WiFi icon on your phone, you’ll find a connection option in your list.

Free internet in bookstores, libraries, museums and more

For those looking for quieter locations to find free internet, check out your local bookstore or larger chains like Barnes & Noble. You can also find free WiFi at your local library, at some public parks, in museums and when you’re traveling by bus or train. You might have to ask for a password to access their WiFi connection, and, in places like hospitals, that password will change periodically.

How to be safe when using free public internet

It’s important to consider that free public internet connections aren’t always going to be secure. Each time you connect to a network with other users, your personal information is at risk. Take the following precautions to ensure your information stays safe when using free public internet:

  • Use free VPN services: Programs like Hotspot Shield Free VPN and TunnelBear help protect your device by connecting to a virtual private network (VPN),  an extra layer of security when you’re connecting using a hotspot.
  • Avoid inputting sensitive information: When you’re on an insecure free connection, avoid accessing your banking or shopping apps. That way, you’re not inadvertently exposing yourself to credit card fraud or identity theft.
  • Avoid data sharing: Unless you’re using an encrypted connection, avoid sharing data when using hotspots or public WiFi. Disable file sharing when you’re on a public network to prevent strangers from sending you malware or trying to access your files.
  • Stick to using secure websites: Each time you see “https,” that means you’re visiting a secure website. Some sites, like email providers and Facebook, automatically convert URLs to a safe connection. If you’re a Chrome user, you can also install an extension that encrypts data.
  • Uncheck the option to connect automatically: If you’re in range of a free internet connection or hotspot that remembers your device, that could put you at risk. It’s a good idea to opt to have your device forget the network and reconnect manually each time you’re in range.
  • Use two-factor authentication on password protected sites: Visiting password-protected websites means you need an extra layer of protection. For these sites, add two-factor authentication to provide an extra layer of security when logging in.

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Best High-Speed Internet Providers of 2020

High-speed internet isn’t a necessity for everybody, and sometimes high-speeds just aren’t available in certain areas. Many people can get by with satellite or mobile hotspots for basic web browsing, but for those of you who need it, fiber and cable internet provide more reliable connections, download speeds of 25 Mbps or faster and more capabilities for internet use without interruption. This speed and reliability are must-haves for online gamers, movie or television streamers and for those who are running their business or side-hustle from home.

Whether you’ve just moved and are looking to see what providers are out there, or you’re just fed up with inadequate service, read on to find the best high-speed internet providers out there right now.

GaudiLab/Shutterstock

What high-speed internet providers are available in 2020?

Whether internet service providers (ISPs) in your area are familiar names or companies that are newer to the scene, there’s a lot to consider when deciding which one offers the best internet options for you. Here are our top five choices from all of the major providers.

AT&T 

AT&T is a well-known name across the U.S. and is pretty widely available across the country. AT&T offers internet in various capacities to 21 states across the country. AT&T also offers lightning-fast fiber-optic in many areas on the Southwest coast and in the Eastern and Midwest parts of the country. 

Comcast Xfinity
Xfinity puts a new name to an older company. Comcast has been around as a cable provider since the 1960s, and got into the internet game in 1996. Having teamed up with a well-known name like NBC makes it top-of-mind when it comes to home entertainment. It’s got reliable, speedy internet service for most of the country.

CenturyLink

CenturyLink is also on the fiber-optic bandwagon, offering speeds up to 940 Mbps in some areas. Its standard internet coverage extends to 36 states across the U.S. CenturyLink’s real claim to fame is its pricing and contract-free internet deals. Its “Price for Life” offer guarantees that as long as you keep your plan, the monthly charge won’t increase.

Frontier

Available in 29 states across the U.S., Frontier makes waves for its lack of data caps: a real bonus for high-bandwidth internet users and big families. Because additional data charges can quickly bump monthly costs from so-so to soaring, users can rest easy with Frontier. The company currently offers both cable and fiber internet where infrastructure exists.

Charter Spectrum

With gig network speeds up to 940 Mbps and cable internet available in areas where fiber connections are limited, Spectrum offers fast speeds to 46 states making it one of the most available networks around. They have no data caps and provide a free modem and antivirus software.

Let’s dive into the details on these providers…

Best fast internet service

ProviderBest ForAvailabilitySpeedStarting Price
AT&TReliability21 states5 Mbps to 940 Mbps$49.99 per mo.
CenturyLinkNo contracts36 states1.5 Mbps to 940 Mbps $49.00 per mo.
Frontier CommunicationsNo data caps29 states1 Mbps to 940 Mbps$29.99 per mo.
Charter SpectrumAvailability46 states30 Mbps to 940 Mbps$50.00 per mo.
Comcast XfinityAvailability36 States25 Mbps to 1,000 Mbps$19.99 per mo.

* Pricing and availability as of 03/10/2020

Comparing the best high-speed internet providers

AT&T

In select regions, AT&T will give an over 99% reliability guarantee on its fiber-optic and cable internet networks. That well-known and trusted performance is what sets AT&T  apart from its competitors. Its included internet security suite and Smart Home Manager app further convince any fence-sitters of the company’s aptitude for pleasing its customers. 

AT&T’s fiber packages are tiered by speed and start at 100 Mbps download for $49.99 per month. The top-level 940 Mbps also comes in at $49.99 per month. but both prices jump to $69.99 after the first year. The lower-tiered services also come with a 1 TB data cap per month, with an additional charge for usage over that amount. 

CenturyLink

High-speed internet starts at $49 per month for 20, 80 and 100 Mbps packages at CenturyLink, all depending on what’s available in your area. Fiber-optic internet at 940 Mbps costs $65 per month where it’s available.  

CenturyLink’s no-contract plans are attention-grabbing since there’s nothing worse than signing on to a long-term contract and finding the service just isn’t working for you. However, as long as you stay on the service you signed up for, CenturyLink will give you the Price for Life treatment — your price will never change. The exception? Price for Life is not available with the fiber-optic internet plan. 

Frontier Communications

Frontier offers a number of packages that vary in speed and price point. With fiber-optic prices starting at $29.99 per month, it’s one of the cheapest solutions for high-speed internet. That price point only gets you 50 Mbps download and upload speeds, though. Possibly the best value is the $39.99 per month package, which bumps speeds up considerably to 500 Mbps. The highest tier, 940 Mbps, comes in at $74.99 per month.

Frontier’s lack of a data cap adds icing on their low-cost cake, since overage fees can add up fast, especially during an HD binge-watching weekend marathon. Starting prices are set for a year and bundles on Frontier’s products are decent, too. Signing up online for the 50 Mbps with basic TV add-on is just $54.98

Xfinity

Another company that’s offering packages with no long-term contract, Xfinity makes a play as one of the most affordable internet service providers in the game. Packages that can reach up to 100 Mbps download speed come in at only $39.99 per month with no fixed term attached, although the price bumps after the first 12 months of service. The full 1,000 Mbps service comes in at $79.99.

TV bundles sweeten the deal, with packages such 1,000 Mbps internet service and over 250 channels for $149.99, although the TV packages come with a required commitment.

Charter Spectrum

As one of the most widely available providers, Spectrum offers fast speeds to many customers in the U.S. Packages start at $49.99 per month with speeds ranging from 30 Mbps to 940 Mbps for cable and fiber connections. Spectrum also provides no data caps or speed throttling (slowing speeds after a certain threshold). Spectrum also offers bundled packages with cable TV, home phone and mobile.

*Prices are accurate as of March 17, 2020. Prices for Xfinity were based on offers available in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

Call to learn about the best high-speed internet providers in 2020

Choosing an internet provider is a big decision. If you’re signing up for a contract with a company, you should do your homework to be reasonably sure you’ll get the fastest internet speed and service you want and need. Check availability of these and other providers in your area and read reviews to determine the best option.

The post Best High-Speed Internet Providers of 2020 appeared first on Freshome.com.

WOW! Internet Plans

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About WOW! 

WOW! (also known as Wide Open West) offers cable, fiber and DSL internet, phone and television services for customers in nine states providing services to over 7 million people. You can find WOW! internet in metropolitan areas like Montgomery, AL, Chicago, IL, Detroit, MI, and 16+ other markets. There are WOW! Internet package choices with speeds ranging from 100 Mbps to 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) to fit your streaming, gaming and browsing needs.

WOW! Internet: what you need to know

Check out this quick-reference guide for the most important things you’ll want to know about WOW! internet prices, speeds and availability. 

WOW! productsCable, fiber and DSL internet, TV and phone
WOW! internet speedsUp to 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps)
WOW! internet pricesPlans starting at $59.99/mo.
WOW! availability19+ markets in 9 states
Contract required?Contracts are required for promotional pricing

*As of 03/12/2020 

WOW! internet packages

Internet 100

WOW!’s Internet 100 offers speeds up to 100 Mbps which is ideal for singles, small families or households of one to two people. With this plan, you can use a few devices at once, such as a computer and some cell phones, and you can enjoy light streaming and casual web browsing. You’ll get a discount if you sign up for AutoPay, and installation is free if you order the service online. 

Internet 200

Internet 200 offers speeds up to 200 Mbps. This option is a good fit for small- or medium-sized households of two to three people where several devices may be connected at the same time. It’s good for multiple high-definition streams and some casual online gaming.

You’ll also save money each month you’re enrolled in AutoPay. Installation costs are waived if you order your new service online.

Internet 500

Internet 500 goes up to 500 Mbps which works if you have a medium or large household of three to four people who like 4K streaming and live online gaming. It’s also a good option if you have a smart home with internet-enabled devices.

As with other WOW! packages, you can get a discount when you sign up for AutoPay and free installation for ordering online.

Internet 1000

This is WOW’s premier gigabit package, with speed up to 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps). Internet 1000 is intended for large households of five or more people or homes where there will be lots of HD streaming, online gaming, video conferencing and other extensive internet use.

Order online for free installation and sign up for AutoPay to and save money. With this package, you also get free whole-home WiFi. 

WOW! features

  • Free installation: Installation fees are waived on all packages if you sign up for service online.
  • No data caps: Browse, download and stream to your heart’s content thanks to unlimited data, available on all plans.
  • 30-day money-back guarantee: You can try out WOW!’s internet service for 30 days to see if it works for your needs.
  • AutoPay discount: Save $5 each month when you enroll in automatic payments.
  • Free email addresses: All internet packages come with up to five free email addresses. 

WOW! availability

Some ISPs, including WOW! internet, are only available in certain areas of the country. If you’re relocating or looking to switch providers, check the provider’s availability to be sure they service your area. WOW! is available in these states: 

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Ohio
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee

Pros & Cons of WOW!

 Advantages of WOW!  

  • Installation costs are waived if you order your service online
  • Save $5 every month if you enroll in automatic payments
  • No data caps, no matter which internet package you choose
  • Paperless billing will save you $2 per month
  • Promotional rates require a two-year contract, but if you pay full price for service, you won’t be locked into any contracts

Disadvantages of WOW!

Setting up WOW!

Whether you’re moving into a new home or simply switching providers, you also need to factor in how the service will be installed. WOW! offers free installation on all its internet packages if you order your service online. To get WOW! internet service, you’ll need a modem which you can rent with built-in WiFi from the company for $10 per month, or supply your own compatible unit at no cost. If you’d like to purchase your own to save on the monthly rental cost, review WOW!’s compatibility requirements. Purchasing a modem can cost as little as $46.99 and will pay for itself in less than half a year. WOW! does not offer self-setup, so either way, a technician will need to come to your home to set up service.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is WOW! Internet?
Prices start at $59.99 per month for the Internet 100 plan. The company’s fastest package, Internet 1000, costs $99.99 per month.

Is WOW! internet available where I live? 

WOW! internet service is available across 19 markets in nine states. You can see if service is available for your specific address by clicking any button that says “customize order” or “check availability.”

What does WOW! stand for?
WOW! is an acronym for the company’s full name, Wide Open West.

Does WOW! offer any discounts?
WOW! offers a $5 per month discount when you enroll in automatic payments. You can also get promotional monthly prices when you sign up for a two-year contract. 

Does WOW! have contracts?
They only lock you into a two-year contract when you’re a new subscriber signing up with promotional pricing. If you opt to forgo promotional pricing and pay full price, you won’t be locked into a contract.

Does WOW! offer bundles?
Yes, you can opt for bundles that include TV, phone and internet.

The post WOW! Internet Plans appeared first on Freshome.com.

What is Google Fiber?

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In the early 2000s, fiber-optic internet was not unheard ofVerizon had first deployed its Fios service in 2004⁠—but fiber-optic cable lines were expensive to lay and the service was stalling. For the most part, the high-end market was served by cable and the low-end by DSL

Enter Google Fiber. In 2009, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was tasked with providing broadband speeds of at least 100 Mbps to at least 100 million Americans by 2020. Tech giant Google stepped up to the challenge. Google Fiber rolled out in test markets across the country starting in 2010 and by 2016, 30% of urban dwellers could access gigabit internet service—more than 100 times faster than the average speed in 2010.

The service stopped expanding in 2016, then returned with much more modest expansion plans in 2017. It is unknown whether they will eventually expand again, but Google Fiber locations that already have service are still well supported today. If available in your area, Google Fiber’s cost is highly competitive with other providers and the service is a highly reliable option for internet, streaming TV and phone. 

Where is Google Fiber available?

Google Fiber availability is currently limited to just 18 cities as of early 2020. The Google Fiber map shows a decided preference for urban areas, which makes sense as it was originally installed in “test cities.” If you live in a Google Fiber city, enter your address on its website to find out if your home is covered.

Google Fiber products

Google Fiber offers two services: gigabit internet (1,000 Mbps or 1 Gbps) and home phone service. Because Google Fiber’s speed is so fast, you also can take advantage of high-bandwidth technologies like HD streaming, online gaming and heavy internet use, though you’ll need to pair your service with the applicable TV and streaming services.

Gigabit internet

Fiber-optic internet, such as Google Fiber, offers speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps for both downloads and uploads which distinguishes it from other types of gigabit internet where upload speeds tend to be far slower, in the range of 35 Mbps. Google Fiber gigabit internet costs $70/mo. as of March 2020. Features include free installation, no contracts and no data caps. 

Streaming TV

Until recently, Google Fiber also offered its own branded TV services. With the increased popularity of streaming TV, however, the company announced on February 4, 2020, that it would no longer offer traditional television services to new customers. Instead, Google recommends YouTube TV or fuboTV.

YouTube TV has more than 70 channels, including up to six accounts and three simultaneous streams. Sports channels and premium channels are available as add-ons for additional fees. Features include no contracts, unlimited cloud DVR storage for up to nine months and local network coverage.

fuboTV has several packages and a variety of premium and sports channel add-ons available for additional fees. Features include cloud DVR storage (amount varies by package), streaming on two or more devices simultaneously and no contracts.

Phone

If you need a home phone, Google Fiber can provide it for just $10/mo. with a Google Fiber internet account. Google Fiber phone works just like a traditional home phone but with extra features like voicemail-to-text transcription and forwarding to your mobile phone.

* Prices as of March 2020

How Google Fiber is improving internet access

Gigabit Internet for Public Housing

Google Fiber is working to bring its high-speed services to all public housing communities in its cities at zero cost for residents and housing authorities. The program launched in 2016 at West Bluff in Kansas City and includes partnerships that allow residents to purchase devices at a discount and learn valuable computer skills.

Community Connections

Since debuting the program in Austin in 2013, Google Fiber has been working to provide free gigabit internet for community organizations in its connected cities. The goal is to give members of the local communities a place to access high-speed internet as needed.

Digital Inclusion Fellowship

The Digital Inclusion Fellowship is designed to pair digital experts with local organizations in Google Fiber cities to help build programs to get more citizens online. Examples include a mobile computing lab and a program to teach parents how to get involved with their children’s schools online.

Community Leaders Program

In partnership with local universities in Google Fiber cities, this initiative is designed to empower college students to help drive solutions that improve connectivity. The focus is on underserved populations, nonprofits and small businesses.

How Google Fiber is providing education to communities

Google Fiber is also committed to improving tech education in the communities it serves. Programs include:

Create Your World

An interactive learning experience for kids, Create Your World explores the connection between coding and topics such as animation and music. Learning to code is part of the experience.

App Camp

In partnership with local universities in Google Fiber cities, this program provides free summer app development camps for high school students. Participants use smartphones on loan from Sprint to develop Android apps.

In the Fiber Space

In the Fiber Space makes Google Fiber space available to community organizations. Priority is given to groups who want to showcase ideas and offer programming related to STEM, community engagement or bridging the digital divide.

StartFEST Utah

StartFEST is a grassroots, five-day festival for startups and local entrepreneurs. It includes a competition for a cash prize.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is Google Fiber? 
Google Fiber’s price starts at $70/mo as of March 2020.

How fast is Google Fiber? 
As of early 2020, Google Fiber speed is 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) for both downloads and uploads. This distinguishes it from other types of gigabit internet in that its upload speeds are equal to download speeds.

Where is Google Fiber available? 
Google Fiber is currently available in 18 cities across the United States. Check the Google Fiber map to see if it’s offered in your city.

How does Google Fiber work? 
Google Fiber uses fiber-optic cable lines to deliver high-speed internet to its customers. Because fiber-optic cables use light to transmit signals, they allow for much faster data transfer than other internet options.

The post What is Google Fiber? appeared first on Freshome.com.

Find the Best Internet Deals for Your Home Internet

Everyone needs to access the internet these days, whether just to send emails or to connect multiple PCs, tablets and TVs in the household for gaming and live TV streaming. When selecting an internet service provider, your choices involve more than speed alone. Internet providers also offer a wide range of the best internet deals which, might be compelling enough to convince you to switch providers.

What kinds of internet deals should you look for? The answer depends on your needs. Telecommuters, gamers, occasional web users and rural residents each benefit from different types of internet deals, for instance. A telecommuter working from multiple locations is more likely to benefit from free WiFi hotspots than a gamer whose main requirement is super high bandwidth at home. Free installation may be more advantageous to a rural resident putting in a complex satellite setup than to an occasional web user who only requires a low-speed DSL modem running over standard phone lines.

To help you decide when going to Google looking for “internet deals in my area,” here’s a quick glimpse at some of the internet deals you can find, together with examples of deals offered by various companies.

Best internet deals

  • Bundling; Bundling is one of the many types of internet deals that can save you money. Customers get discounts on services by combining (or “bundling”) internet service with phone and/or TV service from the same provider.
  • Free equipment: Free equipment is another common internet deal, with the type of equipment varying according to the type of internet service. Cable providers sometimes offer free cable modems.
  • Free installation:  A cable provider might offer a free self-install kit, whereas a satellite internet provider might send out a specialized service technician free of charge.
  • Contract-free plans: Many internet service plans require you to sign a one or two-year contract in order to get service, and to pay an early termination fee if you end service before the contract is up. Other plans, however, are contract-free, letting you pay on a month-to-month basis and quit the plan with no financial penalty.
  • Sign-on deals: One typical sign-on deal is to offer a discounted rate for internet service if you do agree to a contract. Providers also run “limited time” specials that entitle you to pricing discounts or other perks only if you sign up before the promotion ends.
  • ‘No data cap’ plans: Some providers charge you extra fees, or “throttle” (slow) your service, if you exceed a company-imposed monthly limit on data. Others, though, don’t place any caps on the amount of data your household can use.
  • WiFi hotspots:  Some internet service providers operate networks of WiFi hotspots, and offer these to their users. Subscribers needing WiFi connectivity while away from home can access these hotspots via laptops and other mobile devices from wherever they are situated.
  • Antivirus protection: It’s crucially important to protect your devices from viruses, malware and other kinds of cyberattacks. In another type of internet deal, the internet provider lets you download antivirus protection and other security software free of charge.

Best home internet deals

ProviderType of InternetBest ForAvailability 
AT&T DSL, fiber, fixed wirelessBundles 21 states
Charter Spectrum CableTelecommuters41 states
XfinityCableGaming and home entertainment39 states, plus District of Columbia
HughesNetSatelliteRural residents50 states
OptimumCable, fiberSeniors and low-income families 4 states

The availability of these and other Internet providers varies according to location. To see internet deals in your area, use the ISP.com zip code finder 

Compare internet deals

AT&T

One of the largest telecommunications companies in the US,  AT&T began in 2014 to deploy super high-speed fiber services at up to 1 Gbps in dozens of cities across the US. AT&T’s internet customer base remains much larger, though, for DSL. Only about 40 percent of AT&T’s DSL customer base achieves speeds of 100 Mbps, with the remainder receiving lower rates of 4 Mbps or 25 Mbps. All AT&T customers get free access to the company’s huge network of WiFi hotspots.

Whether you’re interested in lower-speed DSL or ultra-fast fiber, AT&T is great for bundling deals. On the downside, though, the terms of these deals can be complicated, and you need to look at the fine print. As of January 28, 2020, AT&T offers a bundle combining internet service with its DirecTV service for $79.99 monthly (plus taxes and an internet equipment fee) for 12 months, with 24-month TV and 12-month internet contracts and a combined bill.

What’s more, customers placing online orders with internet or either DirecTV or AT&T’s other TV service, Uverse, get $350 in reward cards for use with retail stores, restaurants, and online ecommerce sites. AT&T recommends internet speeds of at least 25 Mbps for TV service.

Charter Spectrum 

Charter Communications became the second-largest broadband provider and third-biggest pay provider in the US through a 2016 merger with Time-Warner and Bright House Networks. Available to over 30 percent of the US population, Charter’s Spectrum cable service includes more than 28 million signed-up residential and business customers across portions of 42 states.

Spectrum is ideal for households that don’t want to be tied down by contracts, as well as for customers such as telecommuters who are frequently on-the-go. The company offers contract-free plans and will even buy out your contract with another provider, reimbursing you for ETFs of up to $500. Spectrum customers get free access to Charter’s nationwide WiFi hotspot network. Spectrum’s speeds range from 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps, depending on location, and all cable packages come with a free cable modem and free antivirus software.

Pricing starts at $49.99 monthly with a 12-month agreement. Charter also offers Spectrum TV bundles, along with a mobile app for live TV streaming to your device no matter where you roam.

Comcast Xfinity

Comcast’s consumer and business cable customers amounted to more than 31 million nationally. as of the third quarter of 2019, making the company the number one provider of cable internet access in the US. Under the brand name Xfinity, the company also sells cable TV and digital phone services. In addition, Comcast owns Sky, a large European pay-TV provider, as well as NBCUniversal.

Comcast is a particularly enticing choice for customers who need supremely high bandwidth for internet gaming, or for streaming media to multiple TVs, PCs and other devices. In most of the markets it serves, Comcast offers a 2 Gbps fiber plan called Xfinity Gigabit Internet Pro, as well as a 1 Gbps plan known as Xfinity Gigabit Internet.

Some Xfinity plans are less costly. As of January 30, 2020, Comcast provides a $79.99-a-month bundle with 200 Mbps in bandwidth, TV service and unlimited voice calling “to nearly half the world,” with a two-year agreement. This internet deal also includes downloads of movies and TV shows through the Xfinity Stream app, and — as a limited time sign-on offer–  a free self-installation kit otherwise valued at $59.99. Other advantages available to Xfinity customers include access to millions of hotspots nationwide, a free download of Norton Security Suite, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

HughesNet

HughesNet is available in every state in the US, including Hawaii. Unlike Viasat, its major satellite competitor, HughesNet offers bandwidth of up to 25 Mbps — a speed commonly accepted as adequate for video streaming — with all its plans. The company does not guarantee, however, that you will achieve this speed. 

HughesNet’s services are best suited for people in remote rural locations where high-bandwidth connectivity is not available through cable or DSL. Home WiFi is included in HughesNet’s plans. Pricing is determined not by internet speed, but by amount of data used each month, HughesNet offers four price tiers, ranging from 10GB to 50GB. HughesNet imposes data caps, too, although these are “soft” rather than “hard.” If you exceed the data allowed in your plan, the company slows or “throttles” your service to almost a standstill – 1 Mbps to 3 Mbps — until the close of the current billing cycle.

Installation can be a slightly complicated process. It involves setting up and connecting a WiFi modem with a HughesNet LAN cable inside the home, as well as installing a satellite dish in the correct position on the rooftop. HughesNet does offer limited time promotions for free installation of equipment. Voice service is available, too.

Optimum Online

Altice acquired Cablevision in 2016, after purchasing the assets of another US cable provider, Suddenlink, in 2015. The Optimum buyout included three services: Optimum Online, Optimum TV and Optimum Voice. In September of 2018, the company launched a new 1 Gbps fiber service on Long Island, known as “Optimum Gigabit,” with plans to roll out fiber throughout the Optimum and Suddenlink coverage areas and to ultimately raise speeds to 10 Gbps.

As of January 30, 2020, most Optimum Online customers have a choice of five service tiers. These range from Optimum10, providing speeds of 10 Mbps, to Optimum400, supplying 400 Mbps. Additionally, in a limited-time promotion, Optimum offers a 300 Mbps plan priced at $39.99 per month for one year,  with free installation. Customers must also pay a monthly charge to lease a cable modem. On the other hand, you also get a number of free perks as an Optimum customer, including mobile hotspot access, internet security powered by McAfee and email. Optimum offers contract-free plans, with buyout offers of up to $500 from contracts with other providers. TV and phone bundling deals are available, too.

Beyond all that, many seniors and low-income families living in Optimum and Suddenlink coverage areas are eligible for an internal deal called Altice Advantage. This program provides 30 Mbps internet service at a discounted rate of $14.99 monthly. Eligible participants can also purchase an Acer laptop for $149.99. Optimum covers portions of New York State, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Suddenlink’s coverage area includes parts of nine states in the West, Southwest, and South.

Call now to learn about internet deals near your home

When you’re shopping for an internet provider, internet offers and deals are a very important part of the equation. With the right deals in place, you can save money and gain valuable free perks. To find cheap internet near you, use this zip code tool. To ask questions and get further help, call ISP.com.

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Best Internet in New York City

Find the best internet in New York City by comparing providers and prices.

If you’re looking for the best internet providers in NYC, it’s not as simple as Googling “internet service near me.” Known as the Big Apple, New York City is home to eight major sports teams, including the Yankees, the Giants, and the Jets. It also features hundreds of internationally known landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and Central Park. Whether you’re drawn to the bright lights of Broadway, the renowned collection of colleges and universities, or the economic excitement of Wall Street, you’re sure to find something in New York City that appeals to you.

Also known as the City That Never Sleeps, New York City is highly diverse and constantly bustling. More than 8 million people call the city home, along with businesses of every description. As you might expect, “one size fits all” is a moniker that can’t be applied to anything in the city, and internet providers are no exception. New York City is blanketed with internet plans and providers of all types and sizes, so it’s worth digging a little deeper to find out which is right for you. Here is a guide to the major players in New York City internet service, and what you need to know to choose between them.

New York City internet providers

The biggest internet providers in New York City are Verizon, Optimum, Spectrum, and RCN. If you want satellite internet, HughesNet and Viasat are reliable options that are widely available throughout the city. There are numerous other providers as well, but they tend to either provide slow, fixed-wireless service at high price points (BarrierFree and Xchange Telecom) or cover only a small portion of the region (Xfinity and Atlantic Broadband). Here’s a closer look at the top internet providers in NYC.

Verizon

Verizon offers high-speed Fios fiber-optic internet at 100 Mbps to 940 Mbps. If you prefer DSL, Verizon’s speeds are 0.5 Mbps to 15 Mbps. Prices start at $39.99 per month for Fios and $49.99 per month for DSL. Note that availability, speeds and pricing may vary throughout the city, so it’s best to check with Verizon directly to see what plans are offered at your home address.

Optimum

Optimum provides broadband cable internet to New York City at speeds of 10 Mbps to 1,000 Mbps. Prices start at $24.95 per month, with gigabyte internet topping out at a price of $139.99 per month. Availability varies across the city, so check with Optimum to find out the options in your neighborhood.

Spectrum

Spectrum is a broadband cable internet provider in NYC. Speeds of 100 Mbps to 940 Mbps are available, with prices starting at $49.99 per month. Note that while Spectrum is widely available in the city, it is not yet everywhere. Check with Spectrum to find out what the company offers in your area.

RCN

Cable-fiber hybrid provider RCN is widely available in Manhattan, but less so in the other boroughs. The company offers speeds of 250 Mbps to 940 Mbps, at prices of $34.99 to $49.99 per month. Check with RCN to see if service is available at your address.

HughesNet

Satellite internet isn’t the fastest or the cheapest, but it provides reliable service that blankets 100% of the New York City area. HughesNet offers speeds of 25 Mbps for prices starting at $59.99 per month, depending on the data cap you choose.

Viasat

Like HughesNet, Viasat offers satellite internet service across greater New York City. Speeds range from 12 Mbps to 50 Mbps. Pricing depends on speed rather than data cap and ranges from $50 to $100 per month.

 

ProviderType of Internet SpeedStarting Price
HughesNetSatelliteUp to 25 Mbps$59.99/mo.
OptimumCableUp to 1,000 Mbps$24.95/mo.
RCNCable-fiber hybridUp to 940 Mbps$34.99/mo.
SpectrumCableUp to 940 Mbps$49.99/mo.
VerizonDSL, fiberUp to 940 Mbps$39.99/mo.
ViasatSatelliteUp to 50 Mbps$50/mo.

Internet availability in New York City

New York City is incredibly well-connected compared to most of the country, with 99% of city residents able to access connection speeds of 250 Mbps or higher. The most common type of internet throughout NYC is cable, although fiber-optic is readily available to many households. The majority of city residents have access to more than one internet provider, and a significant number of homes have at least two options for high-speed internet service.

Spectrum has the most complete coverage city-wide, closely followed by Verizon, but coverage from each provider does vary between boroughs. Whether you are relocating to New York City for the first time, moving from one borough to another, or simply looking for a better internet deal at your current address, it’s important to understand who provides the best access in your borough.

Manhattan

With the highest population density in New York City, Manhattan also has the most internet provider options of the five boroughs. More than 20 separate internet providers offer service in Manhattan, although the majority of them cover only small portions of the island. Spectrum and Verizon have the most complete coverage across Manhattan, while RCN also has a strong presence.

The Bronx

Along with the Yankees, Optimum and Verizon reign supreme in New York City’s northernmost borough, the Bronx. Spectrum also offers fairly complete coverage, but other providers are hard to find. Fortunately, all three providers offer high-speed internet, and more than 85% of homes in the Bronx have access to fiber-optic internet.

Brooklyn

Spectrum, Verizon, and Optimum are the biggest players in Brooklyn, known for its complex mix of hipsters and ethnic enclaves, though some smaller internet providers are also available. Every household in Brooklyn has at least one option for internet speeds of 250 Mbps or above.

Queens

Spectrum and Verizon blanket Queens with availability, but residents of New York City’s largest borough have numerous choices. RCN coverage is fairly extensive, and some smaller players are also available. In fact, nearly all homes in Queens can access internet speeds of at least 250 Mbps, while more than 90% have three or more internet options.

Staten Island

Staten Island is sometimes known as NYC’s forgotten borough, and it lives up to its name in internet options. The majority of residents must choose between just two internet providers: Verizon and Spectrum. The news isn’t all bad, though, as nearly every Staten Island home can access the highest speeds with one or both providers.

New York City fastest internet

The fastest internet providers in NYC are RCN, Verizon FIOS, Spectrum, and Optimum. RCN’s Gig Internet plan, at $59.99 per month, offers 940 Mbps downloads on its cable-fiber hybrid network. The Verizon Fios Gigabit Connection plan, priced at $79.99 per month, provides 940 Mbps downloads on its fiber-optic network. Spectrum’s Internet GIG plan, costing $104.99 per month, offers 940 Mbps downloads on the company’s cable network. Optimum 400, at $64.99 per month for 400 Mbps download speeds, is neither the fastest nor the cheapest of the high-speed plans, but the company will lock in your price for life.

Find the best internet in New York City

Ultimately, the best internet in New York City is the internet provider and plan that is truly right for you. At Freshome.com, we strive to be the best one-stop-shop for all the information you need to make the best choices for products for your home. Let Freshome.com help you find the best internet deals in New York City and choose the offer that is best for you and your family.

 

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Find Cheap Internet Plans for Your Home Internet

Home office in back room of home

Adjust your computer for maximum comfort. Image: Shutterstock/Artazum

Some internet providers are cheaper than others. Their affordable price may be based on speed and data caps. Some internet plans can be bundled with your phone service and TV service. However, once the promotional or introductory rate has expired, you’ll need to pay for the regular price of the product. 

To help you make an informed decision, we’ve done our research and collected cheap internet services that will satisfy your needs. 

Cheap internet fees to consider  

To ensure your money is well spent, here are a few things to consider when shopping for cheap internet plans. 

Cancellation or termination fees – Some internet plans require users to opt-in on a contract that may last for one to three years. Breaking the contract may cost hundreds of dollars in cancellation fees.

Installation fees – These are fees related to the setup and installation of the equipment by a professional technician. 

Buying or using necessary equipment – Internet providers may require an additional modem and router fee. 

Introductory offers – There is usually a cheap introductory offer to encourage customers to move to another internet service provider. After the promotional offer has expired, customers pay more expensive regular rates. 

Data limits or data caps – Internet plans may be cheaper because of data limits or data caps. However, if users go over the limit, they may be charged with additional fees.

How to save money on cheap internet plans

If you’re on a tight budget, here are some hacks to get cheap internet plans. 

Bundling – Companies may offer bundled plans that let them get cable, internet and phone service at a discounted price. Choosing bundled deals are often a lot cheaper than buying each service individually. 

Promotions – First-time customers can take advantage of promotional or introductory rates for one year. 

Freebies, perks or discounts –  Consider taking advantage of plans that offer promos like free installation and free equipment. Some ISPs offer discounts to students, military personnel or senior citizens. 

Low-income assistance programs – ISPs may offer assistance programs to families with low income so they can get internet access. 

Top providers of cheap internet 

In the following table, we compare the top providers of cheap internet to help you assess your options.

Provider: CenturyLink

Availability: 36 states

Top Speed: Up to 940 Mbps

Satisfaction Rating: 69/100 2019 ACSI score

Starting Price: $49/mo.

Contract: N

 

Provider: Cox

Availability: 18 states

Top speed: Up to 150 Mbps

Satisfaction Rating: 59/100 2019 ACSI Score

Starting Price: $29.99/mo

Contract: N

 

Provider: Frontier

Availability:  29 states

Top speed: Up to 115 Mbps

Satisfaction Rating: 57/100 2019 ACSI Score

Starting Price: $27.99/mo

Contract: N

 

Provider: Verizon

Availability: 11 states

Top speed: Up to 940 Mbps

Satisfaction Rating: 68/100 2019 ACSI Score

Starting Price$39.99/mo

Contract: N

 

Provider: Xfinity 

Availability: 39 states

Top speed: Up to 2,000 Mbps

Satisfaction Rating: 57/100 2019 ACSI Score

Starting Price: $39.99/mo

Contract: N

*As of 1/24/2020

Note that the availability of these providers and the prices may vary based on your location. We highly recommend the use of our zip code finder tool to find out the cheap internet service options in your area. 

Comparing cheap internet providers

There are a variety of fees and extra costs charged by internet providers so here’s what you need to know.

CenturyLink

CenturyLink’s speed ranges from 20 Mbps to 940 Mbps from $49 per month. Some perks include no contracts, no cancellation fees, and 24/7 internet support. Users can bundle their internet plan with the CenturyLink phone plan for unlimited nationwide calling and a DIRECTV package. However, their cheaper plans may be slower than advertised.

Cox 

Cox internet speeds range from 10 Mbps to 150 Mbps with a price starting from $29.99. Additional bundle offers include phone, TV equipment and access to premium channels. Although their internet plans seem cheap, their extra charges include a modem rental fee, an optional “Cox Complete Care” service at $10 per month and a self-installation fee at $20.

Frontier 

Frontier’s internet plans range from 6 Mbps to 45 Mbps with a price starting from $27.99. Frontier offers cheap internet plans and users can save more by bundling with Frontier TV and Frontier Voice for long-distance calling. While first-time customers can waive installation fees, their plans have a late payment fee of $10 and early terminations fees of up to $400. 

Verizon

Verizon’s speed ranges from 100 Mbps to 940 Mbps with a price starting from $39.99. Customers have the option to bundle their internet service with a TV package, home phone, and 24/7 customer support. Unlike other providers, Verizon offers internet security at an additional cost in their subscription plans, which may drive away potential customers. However, parents may love their premium plans which include a free 12-month subscription to Disney+.

Xfinity

Xfinity’s speeds range from 15 Mbps to 2,000 Mbps with a price starting from $39.99 per month. Customers have the option to bundle their Internet service with cable TV which costs $49.99 per month. All their packages include a Voice Remote and a 4K streaming box at no additional cost. The drawback to using Xfinity is the additional fees such as the HD fee for $10, an additional TV fee of up to $9.99 per month and DVR fee of $10 per month.   

How easy is it to switch to a cheap internet provider?

Before you make the switch to a cheap internet provider, consider the fees for breaking the contract. Cancellation fees are usually around $200 and there are hidden fees in your new internet service. 

Most internet providers will charge for installation and setup which can cost up to $200. You may even need to reuse, rent or purchase new equipment. To get an accurate quote, visit the ISPs website or contact customer service. 

Frequently asked questions 

  1. Is there low-income internet assistance? 
    ISPs that offer low-income assistance programs such as Cox Connect2Compete (up to 15 Mbps for $9.95 per month,  Spectrum (up to 30 Mbps for $14.99 per month) and Xfinity (up to 15 Mbps for $9.95 per month).
  2. Can I get free WiFi? 
    Cox, Spectrum and Xfinity users can stay connected by accessing the company’s WiFi hotspots scattered across the city. Cox has the largest WiFi network which features 650,000+ internet hotspots nationwide. 
  3. How can I save money on internet services? 
    Customers can save money on internet packages by utilizing bundles, promotions, and discounts. 
  4. What’s the cheapest kind of internet connection? 
    DSL is usually the cheapest kind of internet connection. 
  5. How much should a cheap internet cost? 
    Internet plans can cost as low as $27.99 per month but know the hidden fees to avoid extra charges.  

Call now to learn about cheap internet providers near you

Finding cheap internet service providers is fast and easy. Use ISP.com’s zip code finder to find the best deals in your location. You may also get in touch with ISP’s dedicated team to get help and ask questions about each internet provider in your area.

 

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