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Top 10 Best Internet Service Providers Of 2022 - Comparison & Reviews

Daniel Blechynden
Best Internet Providers

Choosing the right internet service provider (ISP) means finding the right balance of price, speed, infrastructure, and logistics. While price is always an important deciding factor, you’ll also want to consider which connection type best suits your internet usage styles, which speeds you’ll require, and which providers service your home. A family of five, for example, will likely require a different set of features than a serious gamer.

There are currently thousands of internet service providers in the US, ranging from a handful of large, nationwide ISPs to many smaller, local providers (or subsidiaries of large providers). 

We’ve researched and reviewed a number of ISPs from across the industry and rounded up the top 10 internet providers options for you to choose from. 

The Top 10 Best Internet Providers in 2022:

Compare the Best Internet Service Providers
1
CenturyLink
2
Xfinity Internet
3
AT&T Internet
4
EarthLink ISP
5
Cox
6
Verizon 5G Home Internet
7
Viasat
8
Ultra Home Internet
9
HughesNet
10
 Spectrum
Best for
Families
Families
Setting up a smart home
Families, students, gig workers, gamers
Tech-savvy customers
Streaming
Remote users
Affordable & fast 5G service
Remote users
Serious gamers
Starting price
$50/month for DSL, $65/month for fiber
$19.99 per month
$55 per month
$49.95 per month
$29.99 per month
$25 per month
$64.99 per month
$54.99 per month
$44.99 per month
$49.99 per month
Connection type
DSL, fiber
Cable, fiber
Fiber, fixed internet
Fiber, wireless, and satellite
Fiber-optic
Fiber
Satellite, DSL hybrid
5G/4G LTE
Satellite
Hybrid fiber coaxial
Download speeds
3-940 Mbps
15 Mbps-2,000 Mbps
Up to 940 Mbps
50-1000 Mbps
Up to 940 Mbps
Up to 940 Mbps
12-100 Mbps
Up to 115Mbps
Up to 35 Mbps
200-940 Mbps
Coverage
36 states (17% coverage nationwide)
40 states
21 states
36 states
19 states
10 states
All 50 states, Puerto Rico
Every state except Alaska
All 50 states, Puerto Rico
44 states

A Closer Look at Our Top 10 Internet Service Providers

  • 1
    CenturyLink

    CenturyLink

    • Best forFamilies
    • Starting price$50/month for DSL, $65/month for fiber
    • Connection typeDSL, fiber

    CenturyLink offers internet to roughly 20 million households in 36 states. Its speeds range from 3-100 Mbps for DSL internet and 100-940 Mbps for fiber, which is only available in selected areas. Its WiFi 6 advanced technology allows for faster connectivity, enhanced data capacity, and extended battery life for in-home devices.

    Pros
    • Wireless modem and router in one
    • No annual contracts
    • Built-in privacy and parental control tools
    Cons
    • DSL options aren’t that cheap
    • $99 installation fee
  • 2
    Xfinity Internet

    Xfinity Internet

    • Best forFamilies
    • Starting price$19.99 per month
    • Connection typeCable, fiber

    Xfinity offers fast cable and fiber internet options with plans to fit just about any need. Great for gamers, streamers, multiple users, and families, Xfinity Internet has lots of features to keep things interesting. Xfinity Internet comes with seven different plan options, including a prepaid month-to-month payment option. Customers can choose between cable or fiber depending on how important speed is to them. Available in 40 states, Xfinity Internet is more accessible and more affordable than many competitors.

    Pros
    • Fast and reliable speeds
    • Lots of plans to choose from & no contract options
    • Fun extras bundled into plans
    Cons
    • Can’t purchase Xfinity equipment
    • Lots of upselling for equipment rental
  • 3
    AT&T Internet

    AT&T Internet

    • Best forSetting up a smart home
    • Starting price$55 per month
    • Connection typeFiber, fixed internet

    AT&T has lots of internet plans to choose from, and they’re all great options. Pricing is affordable across the board, and AT&T customer support has earned the J.D. Powers customer satisfaction award for exemplary service four years in a row. The 1000 Mbps is enough to power an entire house with WiFi capability, unlimited internet data, and faster upload speeds than competitors. AT&T also has a great mobile app that makes managing your smart home faster and more convenient.

    Pros
    • 99% reliability rating
    • Fast speeds including fiber plans
    • Good customer satisfaction rankings
    Cons
    • Limited coverage area for some plans
    • Pricey extra fees
  • 4
    EarthLink ISP

    EarthLink ISP

    • Best forFamilies, students, gig workers, gamers
    • Starting price$49.95 per month
    • Connection typeFiber, wireless, and satellite

    EarthLink offers fiber, wireless, and satellite internet plans at a variety of speeds. So you can find a plan that fits your needs, from light streaming and internet usage to hardcore gaming, multiple user streaming, and even business plans up to 5000 Mbps. EarthLink also has no data caps. So you’ll never be throttled while using your internet.

    Pros
    • No data caps
    • Plenty of plans to choose from
    • Great customer service
    Cons
    • Plans are a little higher than other ISPs
    • Availability based on location
  • 5
    Cox

    Cox

    • Best forTech-savvy customers
    • Starting price$29.99 per month
    • Connection typeFiber-optic

    Cox is one of the up-and-coming ISPs, a real cool kid on the block. That’s because this internet provider offers all the right features, and doesn’t hold anything back. You can get serious security features like digital data shredder, vulnerability scanner, and spyware protection built into your devices. Cox also offers fast connections that are consistent and even optimized for your current internet activity. Cox also has 3+ million hotspots around the country and full-house WiFi coverage for every area and device in your home.

    Pros
    • Awesome features for affordable prices
    • Flexible plans, including prepaid internet
    • Specialized gamer mode for almost lag-free gaming
    Cons
    • Only available in 19 states
    • Hard to figure out pricing right away
  • 6
    Verizon 5G Home Internet

    Verizon 5G Home Internet

    • Best forStreaming
    • Starting price$25 per month
    • Connection typeFiber

    If you feel the need for speed, then Verizon 5G Home may be the right ISP for you. With a network of fiber-optic cables delivering speeds of up to 940 Mbps, Verizon Fios is definitely the place to turn to for gamers, streamers, and anyone else who needs fast internet or uses loads of bandwidth at the same time. Verizon Fios has no long-term contracts and comes with a 99.99% reliability rating for fast, consistent, and unlimited bandwidth.

    Pros
    • High-speed connection with 99.99% reliability
    • Service bundles for greater affordability
    • Great option for gamers, families, and stream hogs
    Cons
    • Only offered in 10 states
    • No public WiFi hotspots
  • 7
    Viasat

    Viasat

    • Best forRemote users
    • Starting price$64.99 per month
    • Connection typeSatellite, DSL hybrid

    Viasat is another satellite internet service provider offering reliable service across the USA, including in Hawaii and Puerto Rico. It’s up there with the best satellite options on the market, and it offers a selection of plans with varying upload speeds, download speeds, and data caps.

    The good news is that although Viasat plans come with data caps, you will still have access to unlimited internet if you reach these, albeit at much slower speeds. On the downside, its prices are super high, and you will have to pay a $13 per month equipment rental fee on top of the advertised price.

    Pros
    • Quite reliable
    • Fast connections available
    • Excellent nationwide coverage
    Cons
    • Low data caps
    • Expensive
  • 8
    Ultra Home Internet

    Ultra Home Internet

    • Best forAffordable & fast 5G service
    • Starting price$54.99 per month
    • Connection type5G/4G LTE

    Ultra Home Internet provides fast, reliable 5G coverage across most of the United States. They have the largest 5G network in the US and are present in every state except Alaska. Ultra Home Internet’s plans are affordable and fast at every tier. The only major disadvantage is the lack of an unlimited data plan.

    Pros
    • Biggest 5G network in the US
    • No commitments or contracts
    • Affordable pricing
    Cons
    • No service in Alaska
    • No unlimited data plan
  • 9
    HughesNet

    HughesNet

    • Best forRemote users
    • Starting price$44.99 per month
    • Connection typeSatellite

    HughesNet is a popular satellite internet service provider operating across all 50 US states. It’s a common choice among those living in remote areas where options are limited, and it’s a reliable option that’s rarely offline. Speeds are a little slow, with 25Mbps downloads and 3Mbps uploads. If you’re just looking for a simple, no-frills ISP that’s reliable and easy to get started with, HughesNet is an option worth considering.

    Pros
    • No hard data cap
    • Country-wide coverage
    • Reliable speeds across the country
    Cons
    • Minimum 2-year contract
    • Significant speed reductions once threshold is hit
  • 10
     Spectrum

    Spectrum

    • Best forSerious gamers
    • Starting price$49.99 per month
    • Connection typeHybrid fiber coaxial

    Spectrum Internet offers a selection of cable internet packages, with download speeds starting from 200Mbps. All subscribers will have access to a free modem from the beginning, and there are no data caps with any plans. 

    In addition, Spectrum services 41 states across the US, making it one of the largest cable internet service providers in the country. Its download speeds are excellent, generally ranging from 200Mbps to 1000Mbps. However, upload speeds are significantly slower, and this isn’t a good option for those needing to upload large amounts of information. But if you’re looking for an affordable option for gaming or streaming, Spectrum is a great choice.

    Pros
    • No lock-in contracts
    • No data caps with any plan
    • Competitive prices
    Cons
    • Customer service is average at best
    • You won’t always experience the advertised speed
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any hidden fees in internet plans?
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Yes, internet plans can surprise you with loads of hidden fees. These can include equipment rental costs, installation fees, excess data usage charges, and early termination fees.
Is “unlimited” data really unlimited?
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It depends. Some providers, such as Google Fiber, offer truly unlimited data with zero data caps. Others advertise “unlimited data” with data caps; though technically you always have more data, these providers will significantly reduce your network speed once you hit the data cap.
Are advertised internet speeds accurate?
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Advertised internet speeds usually represent the maximum speed your plan supports. It’s rare to ever actually reach them, and you may experience speeds more than 10 times slower than advertised.
What’s the difference between home WiFi providers and other ISPs?
-
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An ISP delivers an internet connection to your property, but it will often be up to you to set up WiFi or wired connections. A home WiFi provider will help you develop an effective WiFi solution to ensure you have a high level of connectivity across your property.

Reviewing the Top Internet Providers: Our Methodology

Top10.com internet service provider reviews are based on objective facts.  Our reviews are based on research via the internet service providers’ sites, trusted 3rd party sites, customer reviews, and use of the product through free trials, or through paid use in some cases.

It is not always possible to use the product through its entire lifecycle. However, reviewers will try the signup process, make customer service queries to check response times and perform any other possible function within the review period. For the rest of the information, we rely on what the brand says about its own product offering, customer reviews, and complaints, ratings from independent agencies like the BBB, and trusted journalistic publications.

Some of the key features we compared when looking at the Internet Service Providers on our list were: 

  • Price
  • Connection type
  • Download speed
  • Coverage 

Types of Internet Service

There are a number of different types of internet service which vary according to their availability and connection method. Some of the most common include the following.

  • DSL (digital subscriber line) is one of the slowest services, but it’s also one of the most widely available. 
  • Cable offers higher speeds and better reliability.
  • Fiber is the fastest internet service, with many providers offering speeds in excess of 1Gbps. 
  • Mobile broadband involves accessing the internet through the mobile network. 
  • Satellite broadband is widely available but can be expensive and slow. 

The types of internet service you have access to will largely depend on your geographical location. 

How to Choose an Internet Provider

To help you select the right internet service provider, we’ve listed a few of the most important things to watch out for. 

  • Internet speed

Speed is the obvious one. If you plan to use your internet connection for gaming or to stream content, you will need higher upload and download speeds. But if you just need something basic for general browsing, a slower plan should do the trick. 

  • Customer service

Being able to access quality customer service will make your life a lot easier if you have any problems with your connection. Past customer reviews will often shed light on a company’s level of customer service. 

  • Installation and equipment costs

This is a sneaky one that can catch you by surprise. Some ISPs include installation and equipment costs with their monthly fees. But many don’t. Some providers have installation costs in excess of $100, and equipment rental fees can reach $20 or more per month. 

  • Data caps and overage fees

Pay special attention to any data caps associated with the plans you’re looking at. What happens if you exceed your data allocation? Will your connection slow, or will you be hit with high overage fees? 

  • Contracts

Some providers offer contract-free service, but others require a 12-, 24-, or even 36-month contract. Early termination can be very expensive. 

How Much Internet Speed Do You Need?

Deciding how much internet speed you require can be difficult. High-speed plans can be expensive. But on the other hand, you will want to have a fast enough connection to be able to enjoy the things you want to do. 

  • How do I know what good internet speed is?

Generally, any connection with a download speed faster than 25Mbps is considered “good,” while a 3Mbps upload speed falls in the same category. Note that you won’t always reach the speeds advertised by your ISP. 

  • How do I measure and test my internet speed?

There are numerous tools available online to test your internet speed. Our favorite is Google’s native tool. Simply enter “internet speed test” in the Google search engine and follow the prompts. 

  • How do I know if I need more internet speed?

If you’re having trouble performing the actions you want to do online, you may need a faster connection. For example, if your video streaming constantly buffers or fails to stream in high quality, or if your gaming experience is laggy, you might need a faster connection. 

How Much Does an Internet Service Provider Cost?

The average price for an internet subscription varies considerably according to geographic location. In urban areas, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a simple plan for $30 per month or less. Higher-speed plans are more expensive, but prices will rarely exceed $100 per month. 

On the other hand, you can expect to pay a lot more if you live in a rural or remote area. Often, mobile broadband or satellite are the only connection options available, and they can get much more expensive. 

You should also pay attention to any other fees associated with your connection. These can include installation fees, which can be in excess of $100, equipment rental fees, and overage fees. Overage fees can be particularly excessive, and you could end up paying hundreds of dollars if you unknowingly exceed your data limit. 

Final Thoughts on Picking an Internet Service Provider

It’s important not to rush when you’re selecting a new internet service provider. It can be difficult to understand contract terms, price structures, and exactly what’s included with each plan. Follow the advice above, and don’t hesitate to spend some time researching the options available in your area. 

Once you’ve decided what type of connection you need, it’s a good idea to set a budget and settle on a connection speed. Make a shortlist of the service providers that meet your criteria and do some further research into them. 

In many cases, of course, you will only have a couple of options that offer the service you require, making the selection process easy. 

Finally, remember to pay special attention to hidden fees and contract terms to prevent unpleasant surprises in the future.

Daniel Blechynden
Contributing to many popular websites, Daniel’s writing focuses on technology, science, and dependable reviews. He holds degrees in Chemistry and Marine Science from the University of Western Australia and has been a regular critic of software, web hosting, website builders, and a variety of other tech products and services for several years, leaning on his academic background for rigor in research and writing.