Searching for a good internet provider can be confusing. There are so many details to take into consideration. Internet providers usually have discounted bundled packages based on speed, price, and local availability. Do you need high speed internet? Are you a gamer or do you just want to surf the web on occasion? Are you looking for a cable bundle or just internet services? How many people and devices will be sharing the connection? How do you find out which provider is right for you? Start here by reading up on the top five internet providers and their main features.
Top 5 Internet Providers
- Comcast Xfinity
- Verizon FiOs
- Cox Communications
- Time Warner Cable
Comcast provides speed up to 105 Mbps and is available in about 40 states (excluding the Midwest). The largest internet company in the country, they offer package bundles of cable TV, phone, and internet (including wireless). They also offer a 6 Mbps internet option for low income customers like students who need internet service at a cheap deal. Their services range from 6 Mbps, 25 Mbps, 50 Mbps, and 105 Mbps. Initial sign up usually offers discounted rates for six months, and amenities like parental controls, identity protection, and internet security are standard offerings across all packages.
- Package bundles throughout 40 states
- Internet speeds from 6 Mbps to 105 Mbps
- Security features as a standard feature
Verizon is expanding their fiber optic (FiOS) internet which can provide the fastest speeds available, up to 500 Mbps. They offer DSL in markets where they haven’t implemented FiOS. They have six tiers of internet that include average usage like 25 Mbps and 75 Mbps. Low cost services in the DSL levels include a 0.5 Mbps speed with wireless router. The downside is that security, parental controls, and identity protection are not part of their packages- you have to pay separately for those. Verizon is growing, but they only offer FiOS services in 14 states.
- Minimal internet with DSL at 0.5 Mbps
- Fast speeds with FiOs at 500 Mbps
- Options for parental controls and identity protection
An internet service provider that offers packages that vary from 5 Mbps to 150 Mbps, Cox is, unfortunately, limited in availability. Nineteen states have varying degrees of access to Cox in the urban regions. These include Virginia, Ohio, Georgia, Florida, Kansas, Oklahoma, California, and Arizona. Rural residents do not have the option of dial-up or DSL service. That aside, Cox offers great customer service and is involved in providing internet service to underprivileged children with Cable in the Classroom program and EveryoneOn.org. Cox Provides secure internet access and family controls as part of their packages.
- Internet speeds from 5 Mbps to 150 Mbps
- Family controls are standard
- Donates internet access to underprivileged children
AT&T offers a new U-verse Plan that provides fiber optic internet access with professional-grade firewall protection, fast speeds, and wireless access. Very little is left of the old dial-up services that AT&T has provided in the past, but rural areas can have access to their wired DSL services. They offer telephone, digital TV, and internet services in a variety of bundles that are available in about 21 states. Their mobile phone service is available across most of the country. Their DSL speeds range from 768 Kbps to 6 Mbps and their U-verse plan runs up to 45 Mbps. They provide hardware and security for email protection, firewalls, and more.
- DSL and fiber optic packages
- Provide free hardware and security
- Ranges in speeds from 768 Kbps (DSL) to 45 Mbps (fiber optic)
Second in size only to Comcast, TimeWarner provides dependable internet speeds up to 50 Mbps (their Ultimate 50 Plan). They serve 29 states so far. Plans run from 50 Mbps to 30 Mbps (the Extreme Plan), and 20 Mbps (the Turbo). Lower speed plans are available at 15 Mbps (the Standard), 3 Mbps (the Basic), and 2 Mbps (the Everyday Low Price). TWC does not offer service to most of the West and Southwest. Their newest service is a 75 Mbps speed that still has very limited availability. Their various plans offer levels of security and parental controls with their bundles of cable internet, phone, and TV services.
- Speeds from 2 Mbps to 75 Mbps
- Includes security in all packages
- Bundles with other services like cable tv
Finding the right match for your internet needs doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s up to you to know how you want to use your service and which company might best meet those needs. No one internet service provider is available throughout the country, but each region has providers who offer tiers of bundles at a variety of rates and speeds. Make sure to shop around before making a commitment.