Today, internet is a necessity. It keeps us connected, informed, educated and entertained. While there are many forms of connection out there, some types are more popular.
Cable internet remains a common choice for many Americans. A long-trusted and simple form of broadband connection, it’s fast, efficient and available to nearly 90% of our population.
But just because it’s widely adopted, doesn’t mean it’s the best internet connection for you.
As industry experts, we know it can be tricky to choose. That’s why HomeLinkd clears it all up.
Like cable television, it’s not called cable for nothing.
Cable internet makes use of existing copper cables, or coaxial cables, to transmit data from your internet provider to your home. Since many Americans have TV access already, receiving internet through existing infrastructure is a simple, streamlined solution.
Television cables, also known as coaxial cables, span from the “cable modem termination system” (CMTS) to your modem at home. The CTMS is the piece of equipment housed on the premises of your Internet Service Provider.
Cable internet providers usually offer combined internet and TV packages. Sometimes they're also bundled with telephone deals.
Like, Spectrum, who provide a range of options and combos of both Internet and Television (Double Play) and Internet, Television and Telephone (Triple Play). Depending on the option you choose, you can get subscriptions like HBO and ESPN and access to unlimited nationwide calling in one go, without the fuss of contracts.
Now that you know cable internet is readily available, relatively fast and quite simple — how does it compare to other internet solutions in these categories, like futuristic fiber or inexpensive DSL?
Fiber optic internet, which is sometimes called “fiber-optic internet” or just “fiber,” is a newish technology. It offers fast upload and download speeds, low latency and an overall great experience. But it isn’t without its drawbacks.
For one, it’s not nearly as readily available as cable.
In fact, according to BroadbandNow, only about 34% of Americans have access to fiber providers in their area. That number might grow with time but for the moment, cable has a big lead in terms of availability.
Another downside of fiber is that it tends to be more expensive than other types of internet connections — including cable. The average price of fiber is $67.50, while cable internet averages just $45 per month according to HighSpeedInternet.com’s most recent pricing report.
Compared to Cable, Fiber internet is:
- Less available
- More expensive
-Ideal for those looking for faster speeds
DSL, or digital subscriber line, is a type of internet connection that transmits data through your existing telephone lines. It’s often the cheapest option available and like cable, it’s widely available — about 86% of Americans can get DSL where they live.
The biggest downside of DSL is its speed. Because it uses older infrastructure, it can be slower than other forms of broadband — including cable. The average download speed for DSL is just 18 Mbps according to the FCC, whereas cable internet speeds start at 25 Mbps.
Compared to Cable, DSL Internet is:
- More widely available across the country
- Slow upload speeds
Satellite internet is another option for those in rural areas or other places where wired broadband isn’t available. Satellite providers beamed internet down from space, so as long as you have a clear view of the southern sky, you can get service.
The main downside of satellite is latency. Because the signal has to travel such a long distance — from space — there’s often a delay when you try to load a webpage or stream a video. This can make gaming and other real-time activities difficult. Another potential issue is bad weather; if it’s cloudy or raining, your connection might suffer.
Compared to Cable, Satellite internet is:
- More expensive, with average prices around $60 per month.
- Slower, with average download speeds of just 12 Mbps.
- Less reliable, since bad weather can disrupt your connection.
Advantages of Cable Internet
Disadvantages of Cable Internet
Some of the best Cable Internet providers in the US are:
- Comcast XFINITY
- AT&T U-verse
- Cox Communications
Yes, Cable internet plans offer high-speed internet. In fact, the average download speed for cable is 25 Mbps according to the FCC. This is much faster than DSL, which has an average download speed of just 18 Mbps.
Some of the best cable plans are:
- Comcast XFINITY: Performance Starter plan offers speeds up to 50 Mbps for $30/mo.
- Spectrum: Internet Only plan offers speeds up to 60 Mbps for $40/mo.
- AT&T U-verse: Internet 10 plan offers speeds up to 10 Mbps for $35/mo.
To get Cable service, you’ll need to have a coaxial cable connection in your home. This is generally available in most homes, as it’s used for cable television service.
Once you have a coaxial connection, you can sign up for Cable network service from a provider like Comcast XFINITY, Spectrum, AT&T U-verse, Cox Communications or Mediacom.
Assuming you have a coaxial cable connection in your home, getting Cable network is easy. Simply sign up with a cable provider and they will send a technician to hook up your home. The process is generally quick and easy, and you’ll be up and running in no time.
Yes, you can find cable internet plans that offer cable TV service as well. In fact, many cable ISPs offer discounts if you bundle your Cable network with Cable TV. For example, Comcast XFINITY offers a Double Play package that includes both Cable TV and internet starting at $79.99 per month.
The average price of a Cable Internet plan is $40 per month. This is cheaper than other options like Fiber or Satellite, which can cost upwards of $60 per month. Contact your local cable company to see what plans or devices they have on offer.
Cable Internet is a great choice for homes that have a coaxial cable connection. It’s fast, affordable and widely available. Providers like Xfinity, Spectrum and EarthLink offer top cable packages suited for any budget and lifestyle.
However, it’s not always the best choice. If you live in an area with bad weather, or if you need a very fast connection, you might be better off with another option like Fiber or Satellite.
What’s the takeaway?
If you’re considering your internet options, there’s a lot to think about. Those working with sensitive data, or in need of tight security, should consider a super secure option like DSL.
But, if you’re in an area with existing fiber (and are a sucker for elite internet signals with impressive download speeds) you may want to think about fiber for your needs.
And, if you’re in an urban setting in search of trusty, relatively fast, affordable internet – cable internet is the answer for you.
Click here to browse the best cable internet deals on our site.