It’s hard to imagine life reception without internet access. We all know there are a few people out there who still resist. Still, it probably is often described as a necessity between remote work, digital school assignments, and streaming entertainment. But which provider in your area offers the most cost-effective, most reliable service? That likely depends on which companies offer internet access in your neighborhood or municipality. Yet, many national providers offer broad internet coverage that’s available to consumers on a consistent basis regardless of location.
Verizon came out ahead in our study thanks to the quality of their internet services, also as rankings from third-party agencies like J.D. Power. However, we compared all the highest providers that offer coverage on a national level based on pricing, customer service, reputation, and other essential factors, and we include details on all the top plans you should consider below.
The Most Important Factors When Looking for Cheap Internet Service
Speed of Service: Whether you’re a gamer who needs fast internet service otherwise you hate waiting around for pages to load, internet speeds are among the most important factors consumers should consider. Fortunately, advancements in technology have made it; therefore, the top cheap internet providers still offer connections as fast as 1,000 Mbps.
Customer Service: Internet providers tend to possess a poor reputation for customer service, which is why comparing companies during this category is so crucial. Fortunately, third-party rankings from companies like J.D. Power can facilitate your gain insights into each provider’s customer service standards.
Reliability: Internet access is so integral to the way that we live that any interruption can become an issue in a hurry. Ensure to consider reliability as you compare and price out cheap internet plans in your area, but also know that reliability has improved with underlying technology advancements.
Best Cheap Internet Provider Reviews
The best cheap internet providers make it easy to set up access at home without any hassle or stress, yet they also tend to urge high marks for customer service and reliability. While not all of those providers may be available in your area, the subsequent cheap internet companies provide some of the broadest access for prices most people can afford.
Verizon Wireless — Highly Rated
Verizon Wireless promises lightning-fast internet speeds, which they can deliver via fiber-optic light bursts to the home. They also promise a strong connection that maintains its integrity with ten or more connected devices at a time.
While the precise speeds you’ll enjoy depending on where you live and the plan you decide on, Verizon Wireless currently offers accelerates to 940/880 Mbps. Note, however, that plans with the fastest speeds typically cost more, and their Fios connection with speeds up to 940 Mbps starts at $79.99 per month plus applicable taxes and costs. However, you’ll be able to get a price guarantee good for up to three years, so you'll rest assured that your pricing wouldn’t increase for a while.
Why It’s Made the List: Verizon Wireless has received numerous awards for its internet access speeds and quality, together with customer service; this includes top rankings in several regions of the U.S. in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Residential Internet Service Provider Satisfaction Study.
What Holds it Back: Verizon isn’t overly transparent about their pricing for plans on a national level, although this is often likely due to the fact that pricing can and does vary depending on where you live and the local infrastructure. However, you ought to be aware that Verizon does require contracts for their internet plans, which you may have to pay for an initial set-up fee.
DISH Network — Best Satellite Option
While most people think of DISH Network as a satellite television provider, this company also offers high-speed internet access. While not ideal for everybody, satellite internet is usually one of a handful of options (or the only option) for consumers who live in an area where cable and fiber aren’t available. However, you ought to also be aware that if you are doing live in an area with cable or fiber, DISH Network may partner with another provider to supply you with faster internet speeds in a plan that is bundled with your satellite television service.
How much does DISH Network internet service cost? That depends on where you live, the plan you select, and whether you bundle internet access with other services. DISH Network also promises 24/7 customer service support and 99.9% reliability, and they make it easy to see their offerings in your area just by entering your zip code.
Why It’s Made the List: Not only is DISH Network more readily available than other providers, but they create it easy to bundle television and internet for one low price.
What Holds it Back: DISH Network only offers internet accelerates to 40 Mbps, which is significantly slower than many competitors offer. This speed is probably going sufficient for regular household internet use, but gamers and telecommuters may have to pay for a plan with faster service.
Comcast (Xfinity) — Best for reasonable Plans
While Comcast (Xfinity) features a relatively poor reputation for its customer service, this company could also be turning things around. Consistent with J.D. Power’s recent customer service satisfaction study, this company scored above the industry average in terms of reliability and customer service reliability in three regions nationwide — the North Central Region, South Region, and West Region.
Although we know that plans and discounts change frequently, Comcast also provides accurate pricing on its website. However, with a 12-month agreement and autopay, you can get their basic "Performance Starter" high-speed internet service with up to 20 Mbps for just $20 per month. Meanwhile, an identical plan with speeds up to 100 MBPS starts at just $40 per month.
Why It’s Made the List: Comcast (Xfinity) has affordable plans for high-speed internet access, but they also make it easy to bundle your internet with television service to attain even more discounts. They also frequently contribute gift cards and other “extras” in order to entice you to make the switch.
What Holds it Back: Comcast’s best pricing requires you to leap through some hoops. Not only will you've got to sign a contract, but you'll need to sign up for autopay and paperless statements.
AT&T — Best Bundling Options
AT&T is another “big name” internet provider that gives high-speed internet access in different parts of the United States. We like AT&T because they provide some of the most affordable and inclusive “bundling” options that can include internet access, cable television, and even a telephone company.
In terms of their internet coverage, AT&T reports their network has 99.9% reliability, and their speeds are fast enough you can stream movies and download large files on multiple devices at once. They also offer a mobile app that allows you to control your internet service and devices, including the appliance of parental controls, using your mobile device.
Plan speeds and pricing can depend upon where you live, so you’ll have to enter your zip code on the AT&T website before you can shop around. However, it’s common to seek out internet-only plans in your area for as little as $49.99 per month with a 12-month agreement.
Why It’s Made the List: AT&T features a solid reputation for quality and even received the #1 ranking in J.D. Power’s residential internet study in both the South and West regions of the U.S.
What Holds it Back: High-speed plans are limited to only 50 Mbps in some parts of the country. Even be aware that pricing can vary widely depending on where you live, although you'll typically save money by bundling your internet and television together in one plan.
Spectrum — Best for No Contracts
Finally, don’t forget to think about the lesser-known Spectrum, which actually receives high marks from third-party ranking agencies on a national level. Spectrum has options starting at $49.99 per month with speeds up to 200 Mbps and no data caps or speed throttling. However, they are doing offer plans that can vary depending on where you live, so ensure to enter your zip code on the Spectrum website so you can make an accurate price comparison.
Also, note that if you would like television service or would consider bundling plans for more savings, Spectrum also offers Spectrum TV with thousands of flicks and current seasons of your favorite shows.
Why It’s Made the List: Spectrum promises a 30-day money-back guarantee, also as no contracts, no hidden fees, and no early termination fees.
What Holds it Back: Spectrum doesn’t offer the maximum amount of availability nationwide as some other providers on this list. You’ll have to enter your zip code on the company website to see if Spectrum is available in your area.
How We Found the simplest Cheap Internet Providers
The finest affordable internet providers are distinguished by the quality of their services and their reputation among current and previous customers. Here are all the factors we considered as we compiled providers for this ranking.
Comparing pricing on a national level is challenging since most internet providers don’t offer standard rates that are available nationwide. For the aim of this guide, however, we searched for national internet providers that advertise low or reasonable rates that are available to large swaths of the country.
Fast Internet Speeds
We searched for cheap internet providers that offer speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps. However, we also considered providers that provide lower speeds for a competitive price point or areas where faster service may not be available. Also, note that consistent with the Federal Communications Commission, the current FCC broadband definition is a minimum of 25 Mbps download.
We also considered third-party rankings from companies like J.D. Power, which spends time surveying internet customers nationwide to find out about their experiences. Fortunately, all the businesses in our ranking received excellent or acceptable ratings from third-party agencies.
What you would like to Know About Residential Internet Access
According to a 2019 report from Pew Research Center, the maximum amount of 90 percent of the U.S. adult population utilizes the web for work or personal use. Further, 73 percent of U.S. households reported having home internet access in February 2019. How has this changed over the years? Within the year 2000, only 52 percent of U.S. adults used the web at all, and just one percent of U.S. households had internet access in their homes.
This points out how quickly we adopted internet usage in our daily lives. Still, it’s also the rationale that internet access and speeds have had to improve dramatically over the years. As more and more consumers have learned to use the web over time, internet providers have rushed to enhance their services and expand their networks to meet demand.
This is good news for consumers, particularly those who live in areas where multiple cheap internet providers are forced to compete. In any case, everyone should go searching and compare internet providers in their area to find the best deal. Ensure to compare not only on price but also on internet speeds, customer service availability, and whether other services like cable television are often bundled for even more savings.