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Top 10 Best Internet Service Providers of 2022

Daniel Blechynden

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 options for you to choose from. 

Breaking Down Our Top 10 Choices: Which Is Best For Your Needs?

Xfinity Internet - Best for families

Verizon - Best for streaming 

AT&T Internet - Best for setting up a smart home

Cox - Best for gadget-lovers and tech-savvy users

Spectrum - Best for serious gamers

HughesNet - Best for mobile users

ViaSat - Best for customers in remote locations

Frontier - Best for fiber connection

Mediacom Internet - Best for users who need lots of data

Google Fiber - Heavy internet users

Compare the Best Internet Service Providers
1
Xfinity Internet
2
Verizon 5G Home
3
AT&T Internet
4
Cox
5
 Spectrum
6
HughesNet
7
Viasat
8
Frontier
9
Mediacom
10
Google Fiber
Best for
Families
Streaming
Setting up a smart home
Tech-savvy customers
Serious gamers
Remote users
Remote users
Urban fiber connections
High data caps
Heavy internet users
Starting price
$29.99 per month
$39.99 per month
$35 per month
$29.99 per month
$49.99 per month
$49.99 per month
$64.99 per month
$28 per month
$19.99 per month
$70 per month
Connection type
Cable, fiber optics
Fiber-optic
Fiber, fixed internet
Fiber-optic
Hybrid fiber coaxial
Satellite
Satellite, DSL hybrid
DSL or Fiber optic
Cable
Fiber
Download speeds
15 Mbps-2,000 Mbps
Up to 940 Mbps
Up to 940 Mbps
Up to 940 Mbps
200-940 Mbps
Up to 35 Mbps
12-100 Mbps
Up to 940 Mbps
Up to 1000 Mbps
Up to 2 Gbps
Coverage
40 states
10 states
21 states
19 states
44 states
All 50 states, Puerto Rico
All 50 states, Puerto Rico
25 states
22 US states
20 states

A Closer Look at Our Top 10 Internet Service Providers

  • 1
    Xfinity Internet

    Xfinity Internet

    • Best forFamilies
    • Starting price$29.99 per month
    • Connection typeCable, fiber optics

    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
  • 2
    Verizon 5G Home

    Verizon 5G Home

    • Best forStreaming
    • Starting price$39.99 per month
    • Connection typeFiber-optic

    If you feel the need for speed, then Verizon Fios 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
  • 3
    AT&T Internet

    AT&T Internet

    • Best forSetting up a smart home
    • Starting price$35 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
    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
  • 5
     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
  • 6
    HughesNet

    HughesNet

    • Best forRemote users
    • Starting price$49.99 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 low, with 25Mbps downloads and 3Mbps uploads. 

    On top of this, HughesNet is only available with a minimum 24-month contract. Early cancellation will attract a $400 termination fee, so be sure it’s the right option before signing up. But if you’re just looking for a simple, no-frills ISP that’s reliable and easy to get started with, HughesNet is a popular option.

    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
  • 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
    Frontier

    Frontier

    • Best forUrban fiber connections
    • Starting price$28 per month
    • Connection typeDSL or Fiber optic

    Frontier offers internet services in 25 states, including fiber service in parts of 19 of these. However, its standard DSL connections are known to be slow and unreliable. Its fiber connections are where it’s worth looking at, but these are generally only available in urban areas. 

    All plans come with unlimited data, and there are no lock-in contracts if you decide to go with a DSL connection. However, fiber connections come with a long-term contract, and you will have to pay termination fees to break the contract early. A good option for urban fiber internet, but look elsewhere if only the DSL option is available.

    Pros
    • Excellent fiber connections
    • Unlimited data with all plans
    • No equipment rental fees
    Cons
    • Slow DSL connections
    • Long-term contracts with fiber connections
  • 9
    Mediacom

    Mediacom

    • Best forHigh data caps
    • Starting price$19.99 per month
    • Connection typeCable

    Mediacom is a well-known cable internet service provider offering 4 different subscription options. Prices start at $19.99 per month for the 1st year, and you will be able to access speeds up to 1000 Mbps and up to 6000GB of data per month. Routers and modems are available to hire for a small additional fee if required. 

    Note that Mediacom only services 22 US states. You can check your eligibility by entering your address on the company website. There’s a selection of self-help resources that you can draw on to troubleshoot problems, and the security tools included with every internet subscription are excellent. Reports suggest that performance can be an issue in some locations, but apart from this, there’s a lot to like about Mediacom. 

    Pros
    • High data caps
    • Very competitive prices
    • Excellent download speeds
    Cons
    • Promotional prices are misleading
    • High fees if you exceed your data cap
  • 10
    Google Fiber

    Google Fiber

    • Best forHeavy internet users
    • Starting price$70 per month
    • Connection typeFiber

    There’s no doubt that Google Fiber sits at the high end of internet service providers, but you will find that it offers excellent service if you can afford its high subscription fees. Prices start from $70 per month, but this gets you unlimited data with upload and download speeds to 1Gbps. A 2Gbps plan is available for $100 per month. 

    The thing we like most about Google Fiber is its no-nonsense service. It doesn’t advertise misleading prices, there are no data caps, and it’s extremely reliable. If you’re a heavy internet user and Google Fiber is available in your area, we’d encourage you to check it out.

    Pros
    • No lock-in contracts
    • Great value for money
    • Some of the best speeds we’ve seen
    Cons
    • Only available in select areas
    • Limited subscription options
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any hidden fees in internet plans?
-
+
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?
-
+
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?
-
+
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?
-
+
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 Service 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 Top10.com, Daniel’s writing focuses on technology, science, and dependable reviews. He has been a regular critic of software and products from various industries for several years, often utilizing his academic background in the sciences.