Whether you just moved and need internet service or you’re unhappy with your current provider and looking for a change, doing a little research before signing up for an attractive bundle offer can help keep you from disappointment later on. While it may seem like internet access is the same no matter which provider you choose, the fact is there are differences in speed, customer service and what kind of equipment can be provided. Read on to find which internet providers make the top four list—Comcast, TimeWarner, Verizon, and AT&T—so you can decide which internet provider is best for you.
Top 4 Broadband Internet Providers
Sitting at the top of the ratings, Comcast doesn’t have the highest speeds for uploading or downloading, rating at only 10 MBPS and 150 MBPS respectively. Where they excel, however, is in the number of affordable plans available to the public. Their lowest plan starts at just $29.99 and includes seven email addresses with 10 gigabytes of storage set aside for each one. They service 40 states with coverage in all the major metropolitan areas of the lower 48. Their customer service department is available online or over the telephone and is able to troubleshoot most problems without making an in-home service call. When you sign on with the internet giant, you get the benefits of their years of experience, a large reliable network and the flexibility to pay for only what you need. Check with customer service representatives to see if your neighborhood is still on cable or has fiber optic available.
- Services 40 States
- Responsive Customer Service
- Reliable Speeds
TimeWarner Cable offers their service starting at a very economical $14.99 for an internet only connection. Their highest plan goes for $64.99 and includes a basic cable television subscription along with your internet access. Like their name says, they only maintain a cable network with no plans to upgrade to the fiber optic option available on other providers. This means their max download speed tops out at 50 MBPS, which is more than sufficient for streaming content and video games. Their upload speed is a detractor at only 5 MBPS. Available in 29 states, rural customers likely will not find TimeWarner in their area. Subscribers receive 30 email accounts, with 5 gigabytes of storage for each one.
- $14.99 Plan Available
- Can Bundle with TV Subscription for Best Value
- 30 Email Accounts
For the furious internet user and small business, Verizon offers up to a whopping 500 MBPS download speed over their DSL network, with their fiber optic availability growing on a monthly basis. They offer very competitive packages with an entry point of $19.99, but business packages can run up to $274.99 that feature guaranteed up-time for their most valued customers. Uploads run up to 25 MBPS, which leaves the rest of the competition in the dust. They offer nine email addresses for each account. Much more limited in their service area, you can find Verizon on both coasts servicing 14 states in all. You’ll be signing up for a minimum two year contract, but with those speeds, it’s worth it.
- Business Level Performance
- 500 mbps Download Speeds
- Limited Service Area
How quickly the competition falls off. You’ll find good download speeds with AT&T, but upload speeds of 1 MBPS may not work for everyone. They have a few pricing options starting at $29.95, but you are only committing to a single year. Dial-up accounts are still offered, which are disappearing off the Comcast listing. Recently partnered with DirecTV, you can receive discounts when you bundle satellite TV with your internet service. You can find their service in 21 states across the country.
- Bundle with DirecTV for More Savings
- One-Year Contract Required
- Lower-Than-Average Upload Speeds
Before setting your heart on a particular service provider, make sure they offer service in your area. Many cities, counties and states across the nation still have cable TV contracts in place, which can prohibit a competitor from hooking you up to their network, and potentially limit internet service. Contact a customer service representative from each company for the most recent rates, speeds and service.