Every major and local ISP has something unique that sets it apart in the market. Some offer new customers irresistible promotional offers and free perks while others play the long game by keeping their standard prices low. New brands are employing fiber to provide reliable speeds while industry leaders are working on bringing gigabit speeds to areas with cable networks already installed.
With a myriad of providers out there, you may find yourself wondering which internet service provider is the best. Some ISPs have better service in some areas than competitors, such as Grande Internet in Texas. But the answer ultimately depends on your unique needs.
Here we list five of the best ISPs in the US and discuss their prices, speeds, and additional features. We also share tips to help you decide on the best ISP for yourself. Without further ado, let’s get started.
5 Best ISPs in 2023
As the industry leader, Comcast Xfinity is consistently among the best ISPs everywhere it serves in the US. High-speed internet plans are competitively priced and include access to Xfinity’s network of over 20 million secure WiFi hotspots. Plans start at $35 per month for 200 Mbps max download speeds and go up to $85 per month for 1200 Mbps max download speeds. You also get a 24-month price lock while starter plans don’t require any term contract.
Xfinity Internet Fast is the best plan for modern homes right now. It costs $55 per month for 24 months for a max download speed of 400 Mbps. Thanks to a recently announced promo offer, you also get an Unlimited Intro mobile line and WiFi equipment free for 2 years. This offer is not available in all areas and may require a term contract. Contact Xfinity customer service to learn more.
Xfinity is currently working on DOCSIS 4.0-enabled virtualized cable modem termination systems to bring multi-gigabit symmetrical speeds to cable internet. It has also started field trials of Low Latency DOCSIS to provide competitive online gamers and cloud gaming services with ultra-low ping. Xfinity seems to be the most future-proof cable ISP right now.
- High-speed service
- Reliable speeds
- Competitive Pricing
- Value-added promotional offers
- Wide availability
- Data caps in some areas (1.2 TB)
- Pricing and details can vary by location
With a median download speed of 243.02 Mbps, Spectrum is the fastest ISP in the US according to Ookla’s Speedtest.net data from Q2 2023, followed by Cox (241.78 Mbps) and Xfinity (233.25 Mbps). Plans range from $49.99 to $89.99 a month for max download speeds of 300 Mbps to 1 Gbps. All plans have a 12-month price lock and unlimited data. Term contracts aren’t required.
Spectrum’s speed tiers all have the same perks and benefits, so you can choose one that fits your speed requirements. Here are the three plans with the number of devices they’re recommended for:
- 300 Mbps: Good homes with up to 7 devices
- 500 Mbps: Good homes with up to 14 devices
- 1000 Mbps: Good homes with up to more than 14 devices
All plans also include Advanced WiFi and an Unlimited Mobile line at no extra cost for 12 months. You also get a free Peacock Premium subscription for 3 months. Spectrum also has a contract buyout offer which allows you to switch even if you’re in a term contract without paying an early termination fee. Spectrum will buy out your contract for up to $500.
Spectrum is right alongside Xfinity in bringing multi-gigabit symmetrical speeds to cable. However, Charter hasn’t announced when DOCSIS 4.0-powered internet will be available to Spectrum customers.
- Very reliable speeds
- No data caps
- No term contracts
- Easy to switch
- Competitive Pricing
- Consistent additional benefits across speed tiers
- Consistent promotional pricing across service areas
- Standard rates vary by location
Cox has relatively limited service areas compared to Xfinity and Spectrum, but it’s very recommendable where it is available. Cox offers its plans at low everyday prices. This means the price you see online is the standard price which won’t heavily increase after a promotional period. Prices range from $49.99 to $149.99 a month for speeds up to 2 Gbps, which isn’t bad considering these are standard rates.
The best Cox Internet plan right now is Go Even Faster. It has a max download speed of 500 Mbps for a standard price of $89.99. But with a new promotion, you only have to pay 59.99 for the first 12 months with no term contract. What separates Cox’s promotional offers from others is that the standard rate clearly disclosed, so you get an idea of how much you’ll be paying after the promo period.
For smaller homes, we recommend Cox Internet Go Fast which has a standard price of $49.99 for a max download speed of 100 Mbps. This plan also includes WiFi equipment at no additional cost. Some speeds are not available everywhere. Cox customer service can tell you more about available plans in your area.
Cox plans to bring faster speeds to cable with DOCSIS 4.0 and other 10G technologies. But Cox is also implementing fiber in more areas to offer customers the best possible service. Its cable network is also powered by fiber to provide improved reliability and increased bandwidth. So Cox is a good option even if fiber internet isn’t available where you live.
- Fiber-powered intenret
- Low standard rates
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Clearly disclosed fine print
- No annual contracts
- All-fiber internet is available in some areas
- Limited availability
- Relatively costlier in the short-term
4. Astound Broadband
Astound Broadband provides reliable high-speed internet at affordable rates. It currently holds the Reader’s Choice and Best Gaming ISP awards by PCMag for its reliability. The promotional rates are impressively low for the speed; 300 Mbps internet costs $25 per month (1-year price lock) while 1200 Mbps internet costs $60 per month (2-year price lock). There are no term contracts required.
All plans come with a free modem, 1 month of free service, and free installation (via coupon: “FREEINSTALL”). For two years, Astound Broadband’s eero-powered Enhanced Whole Home WiFi is just $5 per month, which is a great option to see if mesh WiFi is better for your home than a conventional router. 1000 and 1200 Mbps plans also include a $100 gift card and a free 12-month subscription to Max.
Astound Broadband is better in some areas than others. For instance, in Texas, Astound Broadband uses networks laid out by Grande Communications: an ISP that holds a reputation for reliability. In August 2022, Astound Broadband COO Chris Fenger told Fierce Telecom that the company is bringing down the number of subscribers per node to 125, which is below the industry average. This campaign has increased the speed consistency of Astound Broadband compared to other ISPs.
- Consistent and reliable speeds
- Low prices
- Valuable perks and benefits
- Affordable leased eero mesh WiFi
- No term contracts
- Free installation and free service for 1 month
- Limited Availablity
- Prices increase after the promo period
CenturyLink provides two types of internet service: DSL and Fiber. CenturyLink Fiber (aka Quantum Fiber) is one of the most affordable fiber internet services in the US. It’s also one of the most widely available fiber internet services. However, CenturyLink’s DSL internet can be annoyingly slow depending on location.
CenturyLink fiber internet costs $70 per month for max symmetrical speeds of 940 Mbps while the DLS service costs $50 per month for a max speed of 100 Mbps. There’s no annual contract required. The Fiber plan comes with free installation and a free modem. If construction is required to bring fiber to your home, CenturyLink will absorb the first $1,500 of the cost and the subscriber will pay for the charges to the extent they exceed $1,500.
CenturyLink’s parent company Lumen is investing in building fiber networks and gradually moving away from DSL. Most of Centurylink’s future improvements are expected to involve its fiber service, which is already pretty good and reasonably priced. So choose CenturyLink Fiber (Quantum Fiber) if it’s available in your area. If you only have CenturyLink DSL, look somewhere else.
- Affordable fiber internet
- No term contracts
- Free modem
- Free installation for fiber internet
- 99% network reliability
- The DSL internet option is slow
- Fiber is only available in 16 states
Tips for Choosing the Best ISP for Your Home
- Prefer fiber and cable internet over DSL, 5G home internet, and satellite internet.
- Always check if the plan has a data cap
- Prefer plans with price locks and without term contracts
- Take full advantage of promotional offers and perks
- Buy your own router and modem instead of leasing
- Prefer fiber to cable if you particularly need high upload speeds and low latency
- Compare all ISPs available in your area
Cox and CenturyLink Fiber provide the best internet service where they are available. Astound Broadband’s promotional rates are very compelling, but prices spike after the promotional period. Xfinity and Spectrum are the most widely available and overall the best ISPs in 2023 with low rates and lots of promotional perks for new customers.
The best ISP for you depends on your location and needs. Cable ISPs are widely available and offer fast, reliable connectivity. If you need high upload speeds, a fiber ISP such as CenturyLink would be better. Only choose DSL internet if cable or fiber service isn’t available.