Best Internet Providers in 2022
By Sarah Johnson · Aug 09, 2022
6 Best Internet Providers in 2022
Verizon Fios 1 Gig Plan
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AT&T 1 Gig Plans
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Xfinity Select+ More
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Spectrum 300 Mbps
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All the details for our Product picks6 of the Best Internet Providers in 2022
Using Verizon can help you save a lot of money every year. If you qualify for the government connectivity program and Verizon’s similar program, you may even get your service for free. Verizon will work around your schedule and set up a time for a tech to install your equipment. You get both the installation and equipment for free.
Though the deals change often, Verizon usually gives the option of adding a streaming or gaming package. With the streaming package, you get six free months of Disney+ and 2 TB of cloud storage. The gaming package comes with a free ethernet adapter and a $50 e-gift card to the online Xbox store.
Though Verizon claims you can sign up without signing a contract, the company reserves the right to change your price. Some early customers paid $90 a month when they started and pay the same amount years later. Other customers noticed that their prices rose by a few dollars per month after the first year of service.
To entice new customers, Verizon often offers deals and discounts. If you have another internet provider and want to change, Verizon will give you up to $500, which covers your early termination fee. You can also mix and match plans to add TV or cell phone coverage to your monthly plan. Verizon has both student and military discounts, too.
Verizon Fios helps you get the fast speeds that you want. This plan gives you a maximum upload speed of 880 Mbps, which is higher than other providers offer. You get a maximum download speed of 940 Mbps, too. This is fast enough for both your favorite video games and streaming apps.
Pros & Cons
- The best high-speed gigabit internet plans for homes
- Different perks are free to add to your plan
- Offers both download and upload data quickly
- Tons of discounts bring down the cost of your monthly plan
- No hidden fees or charges
- Locks in your price for the next four years
- Not available in all areas, especially rural areas
- Only auto-pay customers get the lowest prices
- Requires that you rent and use a Verizon router
Are you tired of paying for internet service and a router and/or modem? AT&T knows how you feel, which is why the company now offers plans that let you pay one price to get both home internet and your necessary equipment. Your monthly fee gives you access to a 100% fiber network with faster speeds.
The only perk we found for new customers is that AT&T will cover your cancellation fee. Many providers require you to sign a contract and will charge a fee if you end your contract early. As long as you have a copy of your contract, AT&T will pay the cancellation fee. You also get access to an internet security package.
One of the nice things about choosing AT&T is that you don’t need to worry about price changes. Your contract includes a guarantee that your price will not go up after your first year. AT&T can increase your monthly price if you make any changes to your bundle, such as dropping TV or adding a phone line.
AT&T has deals available for customers who want more than just home internet. With a TV bundle, you get access to your favorite channels and receive a free DVR that lets you record movies and shows to watch later. AT&T also has bundles that include both internet and home phone service.
The fast internet speeds offered by AT&T help you do more things online and in less time. You can get a speed that is up to 25 times faster than your old provider offered. Though you can enjoy a speed of up to 5 Gigs, most customers see a speed of up to 5,000 Mbps. Your upload speed should be the same.
Pros & Cons
- Gives you access to 24/7 internet security on all of your devices
- Faster speeds than cable and broadband connections
- Our choice as the best fiber network for home use
- Check on the services that are available in your area with just your zip code
- Lets you add a phone line or DIRECTV service to your plan
- Is available in less than half of the states in the country
- Lower speeds and dropped signals are common in rural areas
- Not as many bundles or discounts as other ISPs do
All Xfinity internet plans come with 24/7 security monitoring that lets you know about problems as soon as they appear. You can monitor your network on your own with the provided tools or let Xfinity handle it. The bundle plans come with more than 185 channels that include some high-definition channels and unlimited calling.
Though Xfinity does not offer many perks, you do get an X1 TV box if you add TV to your plan. This box lets you watch live TV programs and record shows you miss. You also get access to Peacock Premium for free, which is a streaming app from NBCUniversal that lets you watch hundreds of shows and movies.
Xfinity offers both contract and no-contract plans. With a contract plan, you pay one price per month and don’t need to worry about the price rising for a full year. The no-contract plans do not include price changes but usually cost more per month. Xfinity will ask you whether you want to sign a contract when you sign up.
As an Xfinity subscriber, you qualify for a special discount if you’re in school. You need to share your school email address to get a $100 prepaid gift card that works at your favorite stores. Veterans and those in the military also qualify for a $25 credit that they can use towards movie rentals and other costs.
While Xfinity offers a great download speed, its upload speed is lower at just 35 Mbps. This might even be a little lower than you would like. All of the bundle plans come with download speeds of up to 900 Mbps. Even if you only add a mobile phone plan, you get the same download speed.
Pros & Cons
- Stream or game for hours without worrying about a data cap
- Tons of deals and special offers help you save money
- Our leading pick for the best value internet bundle in the country
- Includes your required equipment cost as part of your monthly fee
- No annual contracts or unexpected price hikes
- Not available in all cities and towns
- Pressures you to sign up for services you don’t need such as TV
- Connection issues are common outside of big cities
Thanks to the low monthly fee, Google Fiber lets you stream and download content as fast as possible. Depending on where you live, you have the option of adding unique services to your account such as online TV service. Google can also arrange for a tech to install your fiber box for free.
If you want an ISP that offers loads of perks, you should look elsewhere because Google doesn’t offer much. You have the option of going online and choosing new equipment, such as a router that has six ports or a phone box that lets you use Google Voice. Google also offers TV services in the San Antonio area.
One reason why Google Fiber is so popular today is that Google does not raise prices. When the service first launched in 2012, customers paid the same $70 per month that they pay today. The only fee that you pay beyond the monthly fee is the cost to replace any equipment you damage or lose.
You should always check for the current deals that are available in your area. As a new subscriber, you get Google Fiber with two Wi-Fi points that can help you extend the internet signal around your home. If you sign up online for a new plan, Google waives your installation and equipment fees.
The 1 Gig Google Fiber plan gives you download speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second. With the 2 Gig plan that costs $100 per month, you get speeds of up to double that amount. Both of these plans have the same upload speed of up to 1 gigabit per second, which helps you share data faster.
Pros & Cons
- Both 1 Gig and 2 Gig plans cost $100 or less per month
- Comes with 1 TB of free cloud storage that you keep when you change plans
- No fees for equipment installation
- No contracts or commitments
- Guarantees reliable connections 99.9% of the time
- Not available everywhere, especially outside of big cities
- Wi-Fi signals aren’t as strong as they should be
- May require you to work with a provider in your area that charges more
Spectrum Internet subscribers receive either a modem and a router or a combination modem/router when they sign up. While you pay a monthly rental fee for the equipment, you can replace it with your own devices. This Spectrum plan is excellent for gamers who want to save money because of its rapid speeds.
If you’re a fan of streaming but hate how much you spend on apps, take advantage of the Peacock Premium offer. You get Peacock Premium for free for 12 months when you add TV service to your plan. Spectrum will give you the app for free for 90 days as an internet subscriber.
Though Spectrum does not require that you sign a contract, the ISP will only lock in your price for 12 months. Once you reach the end of this period, you will likely see your price go up by a few dollars or more. Calling Spectrum and letting them know you can’t afford the increase can remove it.
Spectrum has different deals available every few months. One deal that never changes is a plan for seniors, which allows them to get internet service at home for as little as $30 per month. There are also bundles that let you add a mobile phone or another service to your plan and save on the total cost and some deals for college students.
Though you might think that you can’t get fast speeds with a cheap internet plan, this Spectrum plan comes with download speeds of up to 300 Mbps. Your upload speed is right around the same. These speeds are fast enough to play online games or stream videos and use multiple devices.
Pros & Cons
- Lower prices than almost any other ISP
- Lets you play games online with little to no lag times
- Fast speeds for streaming on multiple devices at the same time
- Can add mobile phone service to your plan for a low additional fee
- Skip long wait times and installation fees with self-install
- Internet outages are common in some areas
- Can take a lot of time to restore outages
- Better internet plans cost just a little more per month
- Charges a monthly rental fee for your router and/or modem
With Viasat, you simply go online and pick your plan. Once you download the company’s app, you can change your plan and pay your bill or order new equipment and troubleshoot your signal. Viasat will get an installation tech to your home within five business days or less after you sign up to set up your internet.
If you want an ISP that gives you free equipment or security software, you probably won’t like Viasat. This ISP does not offer any perks for new or current customers. You can rest assured that Viasat will not charge you extra if you go over your data limit for the month, though it will throttle your speed.
Your internet price will pay at the end of your contract, with most contracts lasting for 12 to 24 months. If you choose a non-contract plan, keep in mind that Viasat can change your price at any time. You might see your monthly bill rising every few months through this ISP.
Viasat does not offer a lot of deals because it’s often the only choice that rural internet users have. If you qualify for the government connectivity program, Viasat will take $30 off your monthly bill. You will also find that the company does not charge you for the installation of your equipment.
The largest plan through Viasat gives you download speeds of up to 150 Mbps and similar upload speeds. Some of the other plans drop your download speed to as low as 12 Mbps up to 85 Mbps but cost less per month. With the largest plan, you can stream on up to six devices at the same time.
Pros & Cons
- Allows you to use streaming apps on up to six devices at the same time
- No charge for months when you use more data
- Locks in your monthly price to avoid increases for up to two years
- Works with the government discount plan
- Includes 300 GB of data to use every month before your internet speed drops
- Not available in all areas
- Both upload and download speeds vary daily
- Loses connections due to rain, snow, and other weather conditions
Different types of internet connections
Depending on your age, you might remember the days of using a dial-up connection. Though it may seem hard to believe, some people still rely on that type of connection. Before you pick an ISP, you can look at the different types of internet connections to make sure you pick an ISP with the speeds you need.
Dial-up internet isn’t as popular today as it once was. It wasn’t that long ago that it was the only option for your home. To use dial-up today, you need to have a phone line that works with the connection from your ISP. The line dials into the internet and lets you use a connection on a device such as a computer. Though dial-up connections are the only option for people in some parts of the world, you can pick faster connections in most cities. This type of connection has a maximum speed of 56 kbps.
Satellite internet from companies like Viasat is a step up from dial-up. They are quite common in rural areas and the countryside. If you live in an area where you need to have a satellite dish to watch TV, this might be your only option. The satellite on your home connects to a satellite in the sky and finds an internet signal that it sends back to your home. While you might enjoy speeds that are fast enough for gaming and streaming, you’re lucky if you find a speed of more than 100 Mbps.
Digital subscriber line
Another option is a digital subscriber line or DSL. Business owners jumped on the technology as soon as it appeared because it allowed them to run meetings from their homes or offices and send emails in a fraction of a second. For DSL internet, you need lines installed near your house that are similar to telephone lines but use broadband technology. While you can use your phone and internet at the same time, you’ll often find that your internet speeds are quite low. Even the best DSL packages have a maximum download speed of around 115-120 Mbps.
Whether you live in a big city or outside of the city limits, chances are good that you have access to cable internet connections. Spectrum and Xfinity offer this type of internet all across the country. Instead of using phone lines, they work with the existing cable lines in your area. You can get a modem from your ISP and plug it into the wall and screw the cable line into the back. It uses the signal from the cable line to create your internet connection. With the addition of a router, you can use Wi-Fi around your home. Cable internet can hit speeds of 500 Mbps or higher, but you may find that your speed slows down when there is a lot of traffic on your network.
Mobile internet plans are on the rise because mobile carriers like T-Mobile and Verizon entered the market in recent years. This is a good choice for those who have a mobile tower nearby but are not suitable for all users. Instead of using a dedicated line, your internet connection comes through the carrier’s towers. You can choose between 4G and 5G plans that offer speeds of more than 100 Mbps. Not all carriers offer unlimited data though, which can lead to you picking up some high fees when you go over your limit.
The best and fastest type of connection is fiber internet. Some of the companies we added to our list use fiber networks, including Google and Verizon. Fiber networks are not available everywhere because it takes a lot of time and money to build the required infrastructure. Most providers let you check your zip code to see if you can sign up. You can add your name to the waiting list to find out when it will become available, too. With a fiber internet connection, you can enjoy speeds of up to 10,000 Mbps.
How does the Affordable Connectivity Program work?
In our descriptions and reviews of different ISPs, we noted that some work with a government program to bring down your monthly costs. The Affordable Connectivity Program is a new program designed by the Federal Communications Commission. A similar program appeared during the Covid pandemic as the FCC noticed that many people in America needed internet at home but could not afford it.
What is the program?
The Affordable Connectivity Program takes $30 off your monthly internet bill as long as you qualify and use the internet at home. If you live on Tribal Lands, you get a $75 discount every month. The program also gives you money for certain tech purchases. When you buy a tablet or a certain computer from a listed provider and put at least $10 but no more than $50 towards the purchase, the program covers the remaining cost up to $100. Each household qualifies for one tech discount and one ISP discount, which you can use every month.
Many people qualify for this program but do not know it. You qualify if you received a Pell grant to cover some of your college expenses in the last year or you are on a school lunch program. The program also accepts those who receive government benefits such as SNAP, WIC, SSI, or Medicaid. Some ISPs also allow customers to sign up if their income puts them at 200% or less of the Federal poverty line.
How can you sign up?
Signing up is easy because you can use the official FCC website. The application is available as a file you can download, which lets you print and complete it at home before sending it back. You can also use an online version of the application and submit it directly. Most ISPs have their own applications, too. Visit the website of your ISP and look for the eligibility guidelines. You may need to submit proof of the government benefits you receive or a copy of your paycheck. Once you get approval, the ISP will automatically apply the discount to your monthly bill. You will need to renew your application to show that you qualify every few months or once a year.
What should you consider when choosing an ISP?
Though we gave you lots of information on the top ISPs, you may find yourself overwhelmed and not sure how to pick the right one. We’ll go over some of the top factors you should consider before signing up for any internet plan.
One big thing to consider is whether you need to sign a contract, especially if you plan to move soon. There’s no guarantee that the ISP you choose today will offer service when you move to a different city or even a different address in the same city. Most contracts last for one year up to two years and have an early termination fee. If you end your service for any reason before your contract is over, you face penalties of $500 and even higher. Some providers offer no-contract plans, but you should always read the fine print. A no-contract ISP might charge you more per month than you would pay with a contract. AT&T and other ISPs now offer no-contract plans that include no fees or penalties.
As much as you love using the internet at home, you may want an ISP that offers more than just a strong internet connection. Both AT&T and Xfinity offer bundles that come with TV service, and some plans give you access to more than 100 channels, including some in high-definition. You might also get a DVR or another device that lets you pause live TV and record shows when you’re not home. Some ISPs now offer home phone service, too. This gives you a dedicated phone line that does not interfere with your internet connection. You’ll also find plans that include mobile phone service.
Never pick an ISP unless you’re sure you can afford the monthly fee. While prices start at around $50 a month, they can easily climb to $100 per month or more. Some ISPs do not tell you that you are also responsible for equipment rental fees. For example, you might choose an ISP that offers a $60 monthly fee and find out that you must also pay a $10 fee every month to rent your modem. While some providers let you buy the equipment outright or use your own modem, others require that you use one of their branded products.
Thanks to the partnerships they have with other companies, many ISPs now offer perks when you sign up as a new subscriber. Free streaming apps are one of the common perks. NBCUniversal introduced Peacock, which lets you watch classic and modern shows, like The Office and Cheers, along with new films that are only available on the app. Disney+ is another popular streaming app that gives you access to almost the entire Disney library. Many ISPs give you free access to one of these apps for 90 days or longer.
Looking at both the download and upload speeds will help you see how fast you can use online content. The speed often depends on the type of internet you choose. Fiber is the highest, but cable internet is fast enough for most homes. Do not assume that you should always pick the ISP with the fastest speed. While it’s nice to watch a Netflix show without waiting for it to load, a slower speed plan might cost less and still help you avoid lags and buffering. Download speeds of 100 Mbps are suitable for most internet users.
Even if you don’t qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program, you might qualify for other ISP discounts. The most common discounts are available for students and people in the military. To get a student discount, you usually need to sign up with a school email address that ends in .edu or show proof that you’re in college. If you’re in the military or a veteran, you need some type of proof of your current or past service. In addition to discounts, ISP offers military and student subscribers other perks like gift cards.
Tech vs. self-install
Though fiber internet is popular with many users, not everyone likes how long it takes to install. When choosing an ISP, think about whether you want to install the equipment on your own or have a tech do it for you. A fiber connection requires that you schedule a tech who will come to your house and install a new jack that works with the line. Even if you pick a cable internet provider, you can arrange for a tech to install and set up your modem as well as your router if you have one. With self-install options, you get a kit and instructions that tell you how to set up all the necessary equipment.
Do not assume that all ISPs charge one price for both wired and wireless connections. We noticed that some of these companies charge a lower fee for a wired connection and make subscribers pay an additional fee if they want to use Wi-Fi. A good example is an ISP that supplies you with a free modem. While the modem lets you connect to the internet, it cannot support wireless connections unless you also have a router. A few ISPs only allow customers to use their company’s routers and will charge you for the device and/or a monthly fee to use it.
Watching a high-definition video on Netflix uses up to 3GB of data per streaming hour. Similar apps use just as much data, which is why we recommend looking at ISPs that offer unlimited data. A data cap is a limit on how much data you can use per month. When you reach this cap, your ISP will either slow down your speed to a fraction of what it was before or let you use the same speed but charge for each gigabit you use. Unlimited data let you use as much data as you want without incurring any fees.
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Last updated on Aug 09, 2022