Although “best” is a relative term when referring to ISPs, these are the ones we’d start by advising based on our analysis of speeds, terms, and value. Online access is available from internet service providers with a range of technologies, speeds, and costs. This means that consumers will have many options. The right broadband package for your company requires careful consideration of speed, cost, dependability, and service. The top internet service providers for your business needs are broken down by ZDNet. For small businesses, choosing an internet service provider (ISP) is a significant decision. Once you sign a contract with an ISP, you’re stuck with them for up to a year, dealing with their promised speeds, actual speeds, pre-contract prices, and price increases after the contract expires. Home broadband services have gone from being a “nice-to-have” for Netflix and Amazon Prime to be absolutely necessary for small and medium businesses and SOHO operators in the last year as millions of people have started working from home. The top ISPs in the US as of 2022 are listed below.
These internet service providers provide DSL, copper, fixed wireless, cable, and fiber internet service. Prices and availability fluctuate and are location-specific. The inability to use the internet seems to be the most stressful situation. These days, a quick, dependable connection is practically required, especially with more people than ever working from home. Knowing the top internet service provider in your area is crucial for this reason.
15 Best Internet Service Providers in 2022
A few of the most crucial elements that must be taken into account are customer service, upload and download speeds, and download bandwidth. Finding the ideal ISP, however, can be more difficult said than done, especially if you reside in a rural area with few access points to the internet.
Determining the best internet service providers in the US, from well-known companies like Comcast and Verizon to up-and-coming companies like rising Broadband and WideOpenWest, has taken us months. In order to put each internet service provider into perspective and give you all the information you need to choose the plan that is best for your house, our goal is to sort through the sales pitches, speed claims, and fine print. We’ve evaluated more than 15 ISPs so far, and we’ll probably keep reviewing them through 2022. Here are the top Internet service providers we’d suggest first for the time being.
The average cost per megabit per second of download speed is one of the metrics we like to use to contrast ISP value. The average cost per Mbps for AT & T’s fiber internet plans is just 10 cents, which includes your equipment rental, which is a good, rough indicator of value. For comparison, you can anticipate paying 12 cents per Mbps on average for a fiber internet plan from Verizon and 16 cents per Mbps for a plan from CenturyLink. At least 25 cents per Mbps will be required for the majority of cable internet plans from internet service providers like Spectrum and Comcast Xfinity, if not more. The year 2022 saw the launch of AT & T’s multi-gig plans, which feature simultaneous upload and download speeds of 2 and 5 gigabits per second.
All of this adds up to the fact that AT & T’s fiber plans offer great value, especially considering that none of them have contracts or data caps. Furthermore, J.D. Power and the American Customer Satisfaction Index awarded AT&T the highest customer satisfaction scores in 2021. However, if AT & T fiber is available at your address, consider yourself lucky because there isn’t much of a reason to consider anything else. The telecom giant’s DSL and fixed wireless plans are much less impressive.
#2. Charter Spectrum
With fiber internet service providers like AT & T, you’ll get more value for your money, but if fiber isn’t an option, a cable connection is the next best thing. And Spectrum is the company I’d be happiest to see offering cable internet service at my address out of all the internet service providers in the nation. Due to Charter’s acquisition of Time Warner’s internet infrastructure in 2016, Spectrum still provides service to more than 100 million Americans even though Comcast Xfinity is the industry leader in cable internet. Additionally, Spectrum doesn’t enforce a data cap and won’t bind you to a long-term contract, unlike Comcast (or Cox, its other primary cable rival).
The prices and terms of Spectrum are also clear-cut, simple to comprehend, and easy to live with; the typical Spectrum plan has a lower cost-per-Mbps than either Comcast or Cox. When you go into the specifics, Spectrum is still, without a doubt, the best choice for cable internet at home, even though it isn’t exactly the greatest value in the cable category (keep reading).
#3. Rise Broadband
When looking for an internet service in a rural region, the options might be depressingly limited because the majority of the greatest internet infrastructure in the nation is concentrated in densely populated cities and the suburban areas that surround them. If you reside outside of such an area, your home is most certainly not connected by fiber or cable; instead, you’ll have to make do with slower, less dependable, more expensive technologies, and you’ll probably have fewer alternatives to pick from. Any rural ISP will have some positives and negatives, but Rise Broadband is our top choice for going online when faster cable and fiber plans are not an option since it offers more positives than negatives. Rise Broadband, a fixed wireless internet service providers that serves a large portion of the central part of the country, will transmit an internet signal straight to an antenna that is installed outside your home and will offer download rates of up to 50Mbps.
That is twice as fast as what you would receive via a HughesNet satellite internet package, and it is quicker than many DSL plans, many of which frequently fall short of double-digit download rates. The 250GB data cap offered by Rise is also substantially more than what you’ll receive from the majority of rural internet plans, and plans with unlimited data only cost an additional $10 or $20 per month, depending on whether you’ve chosen 25Mbps or 50Mbps speeds.
In 2022, AT&T and Verizon tied for first place in the American Customer Satisfaction Index rankings of internet service providers, but Verizon had previously held that position for years and had consistently been among the top performers in J.D. Power’s rankings as well. What aspects of Verizon do people like? In the northeast, the majority of users have access to Verizon Fios fiber service, which is capable of gigabit speeds and uploads that are just as fast as the downloads, even if the company’s DSL service is nothing spectacular.
Verizon plans don’t have contracts or data limits, and unlike most other internet service providers, your price won’t increase automatically after a year. Additionally, Verizon has already made news in 2022 by making its 5G Home Internet service available in almost 900 areas. Given the obvious need for better internet alternatives across the nation, that is a good development for consumers.
Although WideOpenWest, sometimes known as WOW, is a very tiny internet service providers with only nine states where it provides services, it merits the exclamation point it loves to add to the end of its branding by providing cable internet plans at some of the best rates available in the US. Along with a high-speed gigabit plan that starts at $65 per month, this also offers a basic 100Mbps plan that costs $20 per month (rising to $40 per month after the first year). Even when the cost of that plan increases to $75 per month in year 2, it will still only cost 8 cents per megabit per second, which is quite low compared to cable prices.
In addition to all of that, WOW offers a 30-day money-back guarantee when you sign up, allowing you to quit without incurring fees if it isn’t the perfect match, and it doesn’t impose contracts or data limitations with any of its plans. I wish the footprint was a little bit larger, but overall, it’s about as powerful an ISP sales presentation as you can get.
In addition to offering DSL internet options in 37 states, CenturyLink now provides fiber-optic plans under the Quantum Fiber brand in about half of the coverage area. The plans themselves are excellent value; for $50 per month you can get matching 200 Mbps upload and download speeds (about 25 cents per Mbps), or for $65 per month you can get a gigabit plan with matching 940 Mbps upload and download speeds (about 7 cents per Mbps, which is an even better deal than you’ll get with AT&T). With those plans, there are no data limits or commitments, and the rates don’t just randomly increase after a year.
While CenturyLink’s DSL speeds are significantly slower and can differ significantly from address to address, the monthly flat charge of $50 is still rather reasonable by DSL standards. Even better, the DSL plans include a Price for Life guarantee that fixes that price for the duration of your client relationship. A plan like that could be worth looking into if a speedier option isn’t accessible at your home, but if CenturyLink provides fiber service in your neighborhood, choosing to join up is much more of a no-brainer.
#7. Comcast Xfinity
The largest cable internet service providers, Comcast, provides its Xfinity internet service to more than 100 million US residents, or more than one-third of the population. A wide range of plans and packages are available for subscribers, including ones that offer download speeds of up to 1,200 Mbps over much of the expansive service area (or, if they’re lucky, plans that offer multi-gig speeds of up to 3Gbps at a tiny fraction of locations). Additionally, companies like J.D. Power and the American Customer Satisfaction Index frequently award Comcast Xfinity with above-average customer satisfaction ratings.
But bigger doesn’t necessarily equal superior. Most Comcast plans are slightly more expensive than cable internet plans from Spectrum, WOW, and Optimum, but none of those three companies impose data caps. Comcast limits your monthly data consumption to 1.2 TB, with fees assessed if you go over that limit in any given month. If you’re okay with that, Xfinity home internet has a lot going for it, but it’s more of an honorable mention than the top choice.
#8. Google Fiber
It’s been a rough road for more than ten years since Google first declared that it would provide fiber internet service to a few areas of the country. The firm failed to expand the service beyond its first rollout in 11 metro regions and abruptly ceased its efforts in 2016, creating dissatisfaction in dozens of places where the firm had hinted at the potential for future fiber expansions.
Google hasn’t given up, though; the company is working to increase fiber access in a few cities, and it recently unveiled plans that support speeds of up to 2 gigabits per second for $100 per month. These plans are currently available in Atlanta, Austin, Huntsville, Nashville, Orange County, Provo, Raleigh-Durham, and Austin.
Give Google Fiber a look if it’s accessible at your home address and you reside in one of those places; it’s one of the greatest offers you’ll find for such a lightning-fast connection.
In bad weather, satellite internet is frequently sluggish, erratic, and unreliable, so if you have any alternative choices, I’d look into them immediately. The problem is that, despite the fact that satellite internet from well-known internet service providers like Viasat and HughesNet is accessible almost everywhere, too many of us lack alternative options. If it’s between the two, I’d go with Viasat first. Why? However, Hughesnet sets the maximum download speed of all plans to 25 Mbps, which is the most basic definition of broadband. Neither one offers a great value for what you receive.
In some areas, Viasat customers may access satellite rates of up to 100 Mbps, and speeds are expected to increase in 2022 with the introduction of Viasat’s most recent satellite technology. Additionally, Viasat provides data limits that are a little bit greater than what HughesNet gives. Despite this, there are still certain parts of Viasat’s service that belong on the worst list rather than the best one like this. Your monthly payment will climb significantly after just three months, and for certain plans, the increase is a stunning $50.
Additionally, you’ll need to sign a two-year contract that might come with heavy fines if you decide to break it early. As previously stated, look around for other, better options in your area; however, if none are available (and if you can afford the exorbitant prices), Viasat is a serviceable option for connecting to the internet in remote areas of the country.
#10. Ziply Fiber
After purchasing Frontier’s fiber-optic infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest, Ziply is a relative newcomer to the fiber industry. In the middle of the epidemic, the service debuted last year, giving clients in some areas of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington reasonably priced fiber options. Plans are currently restricted, and there aren’t many alternatives between the 100 and 1,000 Mbps speed levels, but Ziply has good value and fair terms, and none of its plans include data limitations, commitments, or credit checks. Additionally, it has started providing multi-gig speeds of 2 and 5 gigabits per second, although only to 170,000 homes nationwide at launch in 2022. For a $10 modem rental charge, Ziply is presently bundling whole-home Wi-Fi with up to three extenders, which is a good value for anybody interested in exploring the advantages of a mesh network. We’ll monitor the company’s development, but thus far, we’re impressed.
Armstrong is a regional cable internet company with a Butler, Pennsylvania, base that serves clients in six states. Prices are slightly higher than those offered by more established cable internet service providers, and some plans have data limits, but speeds are reasonable and equipment is included, which lessens the financial burden of your payment. Addresses, where faster fiber connections aren’t yet accessible, are worth looking at.
Although the freshly redesigned service from stalwart cable internet service providers RCN does not impose contracts or data limitations, the excruciatingly high monthly pricing hikes beyond the first year make it difficult to recommend without reservation. After the first 12 months, some customers’ monthly bills would increase by more than $100.
Despite enforcing a data restriction, Cox delivers gigabit cable download speeds across its entire service area, and its consumer-friendly data cap regulations go beyond what you may anticipate. Even so, Cox’s costs tend to be higher than those of other cable internet service providers like Xfinity and Spectrum, and we don’t really like the idea that its gateways serve as public hotspots that anyone may connect to unless you disable that feature.
Earthlink, one of the most established brands on this list, offers internet services across the country by utilizing the DSL and fiber optic infrastructure of other internet service providers. Despite the fact that prices are higher than normal, the firm deserves praise for having clear agreements and for not using data limitations or throttling at all.
Frontier, one of the biggest internet service providers in the country, provides fiber and DSL residential internet service. It’s a respectable choice for rural internet because it doesn’t have high prices or data limitations, especially if fiber is accessible at your place. But keep an eye on your bill after the first year because the company’s lack of transparency regarding pricing and speeds has given it a patchy customer satisfaction track record.