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Editor's Pick
Best Overall Value

Verizon

  • Price Range: $39.99 - $79.99 per month

Why Verizon Fios? Verizon’s fiber-optic network is remarkably popular among consumers. In an industry known for infuriating its own customers, it’s surprisingly hard to find anyone willing to complain about Verizon Fios. That’s probably because Fios has lightning-fast speeds, fair prices, and solid customer service.

More about Verizon Fios

Verizon Fios is much more popular than Verizon’s comparatively old-school DSL internet service. But the speedy modern fiber-optic network is not available everywhere. You’ll find Fios primarily on the East Coast, including in New Jersey, where at least one report has shown Verizon Fios connections to be the fastest internet connections in the entire country (for more about that sort of thing, stay tuned for our “Fastest” category).

It’s not just Fios — ISPs in general are very regional. But don’t give up if you can’t get Fios! Just keep reading and see if you spot any of your local providers among our category winners.

Runner-up

RCN

  • Price Range: $44.99 per month

Why RCN? RCN is much less reliant on monopolies than some of its competitors are, and it shows. Better prices, superior customer service, and great internet-only options set RCN apart from its less popular peers. A no-nonsense internet provider with a solid reputation, RCN is a great choice for those who have access to it.

More about RCN

To residents of certain cities, being zoned for RCN is a big deal. Take New York City, for instance, where Spectrum has a monopoly in some neighborhods and competes with RCN in others. Spectrum is far from the worst ISP out there, but RCN zoning is still a treasured thing in NYC. Residents who have the choice tend to opt for RCN (your faithful blogger is one of them).

RCN is also available in other metropolitan areas, including Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

Editor's Pick

Verizon

  • Price Range: $39.99 - $79.99 per month

Why Verizon Fios? There’s not much subjective about this category. By most measures, Verizon offers the speediest internet around. Its fiber-optic network, Fios, claims speeds of up to 940/880 Mbps, and real-world testing has put Verizon ahead of its competition in terms of pure speed.

More about Verizon Fios

Fios is Verizon’s fiber-optic network, and the type of cables used here are key to why the speeds are so fast. Optical fiber cables work by transmitting pulses of light. The frequency range, or bandwidth, that they can carry is broader than that of copper cables, meaning more information can be sent at once — in other words, faster communication and faster internet speeds.

Verizon Fios also offers reasonable prices and has a good reputation for customer service, which is why we also awarded them our top spot in our Overall category. They won this category by being fastest, but it’s worth noting that your region may not have access to Fios, and that the fasted provider for you may be a different ISP.

AT&T

  • Price Range: $49.99 per month

Why AT&T Internet? Simply put, AT&T Internet has the best reputation for customer service among the major ISPs. In an industry that — let’s face it — is not exactly known for its pleasant customer service experiences, AT&T Internet enjoys a shockingly good reputation for quality service.

More about AT&T Internet

AT&T Internet includes the services formerly known as AT&T U-Verse (and still sometimes called that by consumers and the media alike, despite the best efforts of AT&T’s marketing department). There’s much more to it than the great customer service, of course, and in some areas it offers the fastest internet available.

Those who rely on AT&T for their mobile coverage may be able to get discounts and bundles — as will cord-havers, of course, who can bundle AT&T Internet with AT&T’s legacy pay TV services.

Frontier

  • Price Range: $27.99 per month

Why Frontier? Some of the best ISPs on the market are focused on big cities and metropolitan areas. But that doesn’t mean that rural residents are out of options. Frontier is a reliable ISP that brings internet connections to underserved areas. While the infrastructure in such areas is sometimes limiting, Frontier has done a pretty good job of offering fast internet speeds.

More about Frontier

If you live in an area served by Frontier, it may be your only option. Frontier targets areas that have traditionally been under-served by internet service providers, so the competition is, by definition, extremely limited. Despite this, Frontier has a decent reputation for customer service.

Frontier isn’t the only ISP that is focused on rural areas. CenturyLink has also been instrumental in bringing high-speed internet to previously under-served areas, and rural residents can also consider mobile plans or satellite internet.

HughesNet

  • Price Range: $59.99 per month

Why HughesNet? Among the few reputable satellite internet providers you can choose from, HughesNet tends to fare the best with critics. It offers solid speeds at prices that its peers can’t seem to match. Satellite internet has its limitations, but HughesNet is among the providers that can offer broadband-like speeds using satellite technology.

More about HughesNet

HughesNet is a satellite internet provider, which means that your connection will be carried by satellites rather than by cables. Broadband cables are usually the way to go for internet connections, but not every area has access to high-speed broadband cables, and satellite internet can be the best choice in under-served areas.

Among the satellite providers, our research indicates that HughesNet has the best reputation. Cord cutters will also want to consider Viasat — while HughesNet tends to get better marks from critics, Viasat is a great choice for those willing to pay more for higher speeds. In the world of cord cutting, high internet speeds can be a big plus!

Verizon

  • Price Range: $39.99 - $79.99 per month

Why Verizon Wireless? Verizon’s mobile carrier service is widely considered the best on the market. Though its contracts tend to be a bit pricier than those of its peers, Verizon Wireless offers top-notch speeds, great customer service, and incredible coverage.

All about Verizon Wireless

In most cases, even an unlimited mobile data plan is no substitute for a home internet plan. But cord cutters will probably want to have both. Mobile data plans are practically essential these days, and there are so many cool things to stream on your phones and tablets while you’re on the go!

Cord cutters don’t always get to enjoy great bundle discounts, but it’s worth pointing out that Verizon offers various ways to save money by signing up for both Verizon Wireless and Verizon Fios. If you’re still a cord-haver, then you should consider Verizon’s triple play deal, too — it includes internet, TV, and phone coverage for a very attractive price.