When it comes to internet service providers, finding the right one for you can be tough. You can feel a little overwhelmed with so many choices and internet plans to choose from.
As you compare internet service providers (ISPs), it's important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of the most popular choices. The top broadband providers in the United States offer a variety of service levels and features, so it's essential to compare your options before you commit to one.
HomeLinkd knows the struggle, and we're here to help. We've got all the information you need about some of the top-ranked internet providers in the country.
An internet service provider (ISP) is a company that provides internet access to users. ISPs can be cable companies, telephone companies, mobile phone companies, or other types of providers.
An ISP can be one or more of the following:
The type of internet connection you have will determine the speeds you can get. For example, fiber optic cables offer the fastest speeds available, while copper wires are slower.
There are five different connection types:
Satellite internet is beamed to your home from orbiting satellites, and it's available almost anywhere. It's a good option for people who live in rural areas or other places where terrestrial broadband options are either unavailable or very slow.
Satellite internet speeds are also generally slower than other types of broadband, so it might not be the best choice if you're an urban dweller who needs lightning-fast speeds for things like online gaming or streaming 4K video. However, satellite technology is constantly improving, and speeds are getting faster all the time.
Satellite internet is also generally much more expensive than other types of broadband, so it's also not the best choice if you're on a tight budget. However, if you need broadband and there's no other option available, satellite internet can be worth the extra cost.
Cable internet uses the same cables that deliver TV service to your home, and it's available in most areas. It's a good choice if you need fast speeds for things like online gaming or streaming online.
Cable internet speeds are generally faster than satellite speeds, but are slower when compared to fiber-optic speeds. Cable internet is also generally more expensive than other types of broadband.
Fiber internet uses thin, flexible fibers of glass or plastic to deliver high-speed internet to your home. It's available in some areas, but it's not as widely available as other types of broadband.
Fiber internet is the fastest type of broadband currently available, so it's an excellent choice if you need lightning-fast speeds for data-intensive activities things. However, fiber internet is also generally more expensive than other types of broadband, so it's not the best choice if you're on a tight budget.
DSL internet uses the same copper phone lines that deliver telephone service to your home and is available in most areas.
DSL speeds are generally slower than cable and fiber speeds, so if you're looking for something with ultra-fast speeds, it might not be the best choice. However, DSL is less expensive than other types of broadband, so it's a budget-friendly choice.
Dial-up internet uses a regular telephone line to deliver internet service to your home. It's not as fast as other types of broadband. However, dial-up internet is the least expensive type of broadband, so it's the perfect choice if you're on a tight budget.
When you're shopping for the best internet service available, it's important to compare different providers to find the best deal. But with so many providers and options available, it can be hard to know where to start.
Here's a look at some of the biggest broadband providers in the United States and what they offer:
AT&T is one of the biggest broadband providers in the United States. It offers a variety of plans with different speeds and prices.
AT&T's network is reliable and fast, and its customer service is generally good. However, AT&T's prices are higher than some other providers, and its data caps can be restrictive if you use a lot of data.
Spectrum is also one of the largest broadband providers in the United States, with its parent company being Charter Communications.
Spectrum is a cable provider that delivers internet in many areas. They offer some of the fastest internet speeds available, and their prices are generally lower than other providers. However, Spectrum's customer service is not as good as some other providers, and its data caps can be restrictive if you do a lot of data-intensive activities online like gaming.
EarthLink is a nationwide internet service provider that has been in business since 1994. It's trusted and reliable.
EarthLink offers high-speed internet with no data caps and no contracts. Their prices are generally lower than other providers, but their customer service is not as good as some other providers.
CenturyLink is another big player in the internet service provider industry. They are established and have been operating for over 60 years.
CenturyLink offers a variety of plans with different speeds and prices. Their customer service is generally good, but their prices are higher than some other providers.
Cox Communications is a cable internet provider that offers a variety of plans with different speeds and prices. Cox internet offers medium to high-speed internet options, but their slower-speed options are not as competitive as other providers.
Frontier FiOS has some of the fastest internet speeds in the U.S. and is available in over 29 states. Frontier offers internet users a variety of plans through DSL, cable, and fiber internet. A few of its plans are location-dependent - so make sure to use your zip code on our tool to see if Frontier is available in your area.
Here are 5 things to keep in mind when you're ready to choose an internet provider:
How much you’re willing to spend on internet service each month is a big consideration. Many providers offer introductory rates for the first 12 or 18 months, after which your bill will go up. Be sure to compare the regular monthly price of plans so you’re not surprised by an increase later on.
Most ISPs require a one or two-year contract. Some providers may charge an early termination fee if you cancel before your contract is up, so be sure to read the fine print before signing anything.
Data caps are becoming increasingly common, especially with cable and DSL providers. These caps limit the amount of data you can use each month, and if you go over your limit, you’ll be charged additional fees. Be sure to compare data caps when choosing an ISP.
The speed of your internet connection is important, especially if you work from home or need to stream video or download large files. Compare the promised speeds of different plans before signing up for service.
If you have a problem with your internet service, you’ll want to be able to reach customer service easily. Do your due diligence to compare the customer service offerings of different providers before making a decision.
The answer to this question depends on a few factors, including how many people live in your household and how you use the internet.
If you live alone and only use the internet for light activities like checking email and browsing the web, you can get away with a slower speed between 10 - 15 Mbps. However, if you have multiple people in your household who all use the internet at the same time for activities like streaming video or playing online games, you’ll need a faster speed, around 50 Mbps or higher.
In general, here are the minimum speeds you’ll need for different activities:
Of course, these are just general guidelines. The best way to figure out the speed you need is to compare your internet usage with the speeds offered by different providers.
Looking for a new internet or TV provider can be overwhelming, but HomeLinkd is here to help. We offer an easy way to compare providers and find the best plan for your needs.
Find and compare internet providers, today.