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The Best High Speed Internet

Latest Update June 14, 2017

The best thing on the internet

DSL, Fiber Optic

The best thing on the internet

DSL, Fiber Optic

The best thing on the internet

Nationwide Fiber Availability

DSL, Fiber Optic

The best thing on the internet

Most Speed Options

The best thing on the internet

Best for Rural Areas

The best thing on the internet

The best thing on the internet

DSL, Fiber Optic

The best thing on the internet

Contract Buyout Offer

The best thing on the internet

As homes overflow with devices and binge-watching becomes a way of life, high-speed internet becomes critical. Not only are half of homes in the country subscribing to some sort of video streaming service, but also the average home has around eight connected devices. That means a majority of households are “heavy users” — and need around 50 Mbps to run multiple devices simultaneously.

If your household streams tons of HD video, regularly engages in video conferencing, and runs cloud-based services like Dropbox or Google Drive in the background, you’re probably a superuser. You ll need at least 100 Mbps, for a lightning-fast connection. But if YouTube and Hulu aren’t in your vocabulary, there’s a good chance 25 Mbps is more than enough.

When it comes to internet, there s no single best provider. Prices and speeds will vary by zipcode. Because most people only have access to a couple internet service providers, so we dug into the speeds, prices, equipment, and customer service ratings of the top nine.

The Best High-Speed Internet

Nationwide Fiber Availability

Most Speed Options

Contract Buyout Offer

Best for Rural Areas

How We Found the Best High-Speed Internet Providers

According to the FCC’s most recent data, only 15 percent of Americans have access to more than two Internet Service Providers (ISPs). To help you compare your options, we looked at the 12 biggest names — the ones you ll most likely have to choose from.

From there, we zeroed in on those with speeds at least 25 Mbps or higher — the FCC’s baseline for broadband internet. We didn’t include Exede (12 Mbps), DISH (20 Mbps), or Verizon’s DSL option (15 Mbps) — their max speeds were too low to qualify.

Plans will vary by provider and location.

What is fiber optic internet, and why is it so fast? Fiber-optic internet utilizes light to transmit data up to 1,000 times faster, and over longer distances, than the copper wire used in DSL and cable technology.

To get a better idea of what speeds you ll have to choose from, we requested quotes in each ISP s three strongest service areas. We also looked at max speeds, the number of options, and regional availability using data from BroadbandNow. If there’s one thing we learned, it’s that regardless of what’s advertised, speeds tend to vary from place to place. An online quote is still the best way to see what s actually offered at your address.

But all customer service is average at best.

Let’s be honest: This industry isn’t winning any customer service awards any time soon. The internet is rife with complaints from literally every single provider we reviewed. In fact, in its 2017 report, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) said that customer service for ISPs is “slow and unreliable.” But some are worse than others. To see how they stack up, we compared scores from both JD Power and the ACSI.

Every year, JD Power evaluates ISPs with a nationwide survey to determine which have the highest overall customers satisfaction. So if a provider gets 5 out of 5 “power circles,” that means it is among the best options available. Two or fewer means it’s below average.

The ACSI publishes its own annual report using interview data from over 70,000 active customers to produce granular performance data on telecom companies. If a provider gets a satisfaction rating of at least 50 percent, that means that half its customers are happy with their service.

The Best High-Speed Internet Providers

Most Popular – AT T Internet serves up blazing fast speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps in major cities across the South and Midwest. You’ll need to be in an area that’s equipped with AT T’s fiber-optic lines to take advantage of speeds greater than 75 Mbps (less than 2 percent of the US is). But if you aren’t, AT T also offers DSL broadband in 38 percent of the US, making it the largest DSL provider in the nation. Between its fiber and DSL lines, AT T serves over 120 million people. (That’s over twice as many customers as CenturyLink and Mediacom Cable combined.) AT T’s strongest coverage is in California, Texas, and Florida, but it’s available in 21 states total.

Prices range from $40 per month for 50 Mbps to $60 per month for 100 Mbps, which is enough for a small family of average video streamers. Plans with speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps are available for $80 per month if you have access. If you opt for speeds lower than 1,000 Mbps, you’ll have a data cap of 1,000GB per month. That’s enough for over 300 hours of streaming — plenty for most users.

Customer satisfaction ratings are pretty low across the industry, but AT T managed to make the top 3, just behind Verizon and Charter Spectrum. It earned a 69 percent satisfaction rating from the ACSI and a 4 out of 5 in “overall satisfaction” from JD Power.

If you can t get AT T at your address, consider CenturyLink. With the exception of New York, West Virginia, and a few other northernmost states, It s available in all the states that AT T isn’t (38 in total). It also offers 1,000 Mbps in more cities than any other ISP. Extremely high speeds aren’t guaranteed everywhere CenturyLink is offered, but it’s a great place to start if AT T isn’t available to you.


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