Generally, the fastest internet providers (ISPs) are those that offer fiber internet plans, such as Google Fiber, Verizon Fios, and AT&T Fiber. However, fiber internet is only available in about 25% of the US, plus installation fees for fiber internet can be expensive. Cable, which is far more widespread, can also achieve extremely fast internet speeds of up to 1,000Mbps (1Gbps), and select DSL providers offer high speeds as well.
The fastest internet providers include:
- Google Fiber: Fiber
- Verizon Fios: Fiber
- AT&T: Fiber
- Cox: Fiber & cable
- Xfinity: Fiber & cable
- RCN: Fiber & cable
- Windstream: DSL & fiber
- Spectrum: Cable
- Optimum: Cable
Let’s Talk Tip: All of the internet speeds listed in our guide refer to the provider’s max download speeds. Activities that involve downloading include checking email, downloading an audiobook or movie, searching things on Google, browsing social media, streaming videos, and playing online games. The upload speeds you’ll get on these plans will be much lower than the download speeds, but that’s normal—most customers download far more frequently than they upload.
1. Google Fiber
Google Fiber is one of the fastest internet providers, offering speeds up to 1Gbps with its fiber internet plans. Not to mention, Google Fiber’s plans have no data cap and no contracts! However, if you commit to a 1-year contract, Google Fiber will waive the $100 installation fee.
Fiber internet, in addition to offering incredibly fast speeds, also has the lowest latency. Latency or “ping” refers to the length of time it takes your signal to travel from your device to your ISP’s server and back. Typically, 100 milliseconds or lower is considered good latency—with fiber, your lag may be as low as 25 milliseconds.
2. Verizon Fios
Verizon Fios is Verizon’s fiber internet provider, offering download speeds up to 940Mbps. If you want fiber and fast speeds but want to save some money, Verizon Fios also offers 200Mbps plans, which is still pretty darn fast. Verizon Fios is a no-contract internet service provider, although plans are subject to increase.
3. AT&T Fiber
AT&T Fiber is one of the fastest internet providers available, with speeds up to 1Gbps on its fiber plans, which also include unlimited data. Binge-watch Netflix, play Fortnite all night, download podcast episodes for your next road trip—your options are endless. AT&T Fiber plans require a 1-year contract and then your price will increase.
Cox, which is currently available in 19 states, offers both cable and fiber internet plans with speeds up to 1Gbps, which is lightning fast! If you don’t need speeds quite that fast, Cox offers some 300Mbps plans as well. Most Cox plans require a 1-year contract, after which your plan price will go up.
Xfinity is one of the fastest internet providers on the market, offering up to 2Gbps speeds on its fiber plans and 400Mbps on its cable plans. With those kinds of speeds, your entire family will have no problem streaming and gaming and downloading large files (such as audiobooks) at the same time. Xfinity is one of the most widely available internet service providers as well, serving 40 states. As for contracts, Xfinity is a mixed bag—some plans require a 1-year contract while others are no-contract.
RCN is a great fast internet provider serving major cities in the Northeast, including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Boston. RCN offers both fiber and cable internet plans with internet speeds up to 1Gbps. Every RCN plan includes unlimited data, so you can game and stream to your heart’s delight. When you sign up for an RCN plan, you are required to commit to a 1-year contract. After 1 year, your intro price goes up.
Windstream is a fast internet provider offering a variety of plans, including both DSL and fiber connection types, and it offers download speeds up to 1Gbps for fiber plans and 500Mbps for DSL plans—both of which are extremely fast and should satisfy all your internet needs.
Plus, you never have to worry about throttled internet speeds because every Windstream plan includes unlimited data. Windstream doesn’t require you to sign a contract so you can cancel your service anytime if you want to switch providers. When you sign up for a Windstream internet plan, you are locked into your intro price for 1 year, after which the monthly plan price increases.
Spectrum, which currently provides service in 41 states, offers cable plans with download speeds up to 400Mbps, as well as unlimited data. Spectrum is a great choice if you want a cable plan that won’t break the bank—on top of affordable, fast plans, Spectrum also offers a contract buy-out for up to $500 if you’re stuck in a contract with another provider and want to switch to Spectrum. As an added bonus, Spectrum is a no-contract internet service provider so you can leave any time you’d like.
Optimum is a fast and affordable cable internet service provider, offering download speeds up to 400Mbps with no data cap. 400Mbps is incredibly fast, especially for a cable internet plan, making it an excellent option if you live in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut and don’t have fiber available in your area. Plus, Optimum is a no-contract ISP and you get a price lock for 1 year before your cost goes up.