If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we really can’t seem to live without our internet. Roughly two years of zoom calls and Netflix marathons have made it all too clear to us that Wi-Fi is now considered an essential utility, not a luxury. And for many of us who now have remote or hybrid work schedules, it is. Without the internet many would not be able to log in to meetings, communicate with teams, or upload documents at our jobs. If the internet plays a part in how you make money, you’re not going to tolerate laggy video or slow speeds. The best internet service providers have a wide range of reliable coverage and fast speeds for a reasonable price.
Americans have found that internet services give them so much capability that many households are getting rid of other subscriptions. If such a variety of online streaming platforms are available, who needs to watch TV using cable or satellite anymore? Users can even make calls and send messages to communicate online through Wi-Fi, rendering landline telephones useless. The internet has become such a part of our lives that most people can’t even survive vacation without staying connected. In fact, a survey of 2,000 adults found that 49 percent of Americans said they consider having no access to the internet on vacation a “disaster.”
Research has gone as far as to say that having a Wi-Fi connection should be as necessary as food, shelter, and water. A recent study says free internet should be a basic human right due to freedom of speech and expression. “Without such access, many people lack a meaningful way to influence and hold accountable supranational rule-makers and institutions. These individuals simply don’t have a say in the making of the rules they must obey and which shape their life chances,” says author Dr. Merten Reglitz, a lecturer in global ethics.
Whether you want to insure you have a voice in today’s society or simply scroll through TikTok without lag, reliability and connection speed are important factors when choosing a home network. StudyFinds researched the best internet service providers available, compiling a list of the most common recommendations across 10 expert websites. Which ISP does your household use? Let us know in the comments below!
The List: Best Internet Service Providers, According to Experts
AT&T is the largest provider of fiber internet, the fastest option available for those in certain metro areas. “Those in metro areas have access to the best options from AT&T, whereas other locations outside of cities might access its DSL or fixed internet services,” says U.S. News.
AT&T no longer requires a contract for their services, offers unlimited data for fiber plans, and plans start at around $55 a month. Lifewire mentions “For one, the network offers a symmetric-speed gigabit connection, which is an invaluable add-on for offices that rely heavily on video-conferencing services.”
“With a wide variety of plans featuring both high 1,000-plus Mbps speeds for gamers and the more affordable ‘Internet Basic 1.5’ which offers 1.5 Mbps for those who just need to occasionally check email. AT&T has a speed option for everyone,” writes Forbes.
2. Comcast Xfinity
Xfinity is the largest cable company in the United States. They offer contract-free plans and many Wi-Fi hotspots to connect to all over the country. Forbes reports, “In most regions, Xfinity offers the lowest-priced internet plan and is often the provider with the fastest download speeds, since its cable internet gets up to 1,200 Mbps and its fiber gets speeds up to 2,000 Mbps.”
Plans start at $39.99 a month and the company offers a wide variety of data plans to choose from to suit your streaming and internet needs. “Xfinity internet by Comcast is a good choice if you’re considering cutting the cord or simply want a high-quality streaming experience,” adds Money.
“Among cable internet providers, it is rated first in customer satisfaction,” says Internet Advisor. “Among all internet service providers, they are among the top five in every region.”
3. Verizon Fios
Verizon is generally only available in the Northeast, but is one of the best and most affordable providers of fiber speed internet. Internet Advisor writes “We cannot stress enough that these are fair prices for fiber service, especially the lower-tier plans. They are perfect for a household with one or two users that might not need a gigabit plan but don’t need the benefits (and costs) of a full gigabit plan.”
There are three main plans available, ranging from $50-$90 a month according to the speed you need. Cancel easily on short notice if you aren’t happy with the service. “Verizon plans don’t come with contracts or data caps, either, and your price won’t automatically go up after a year the way it will with most other providers,” says CNET.
“Fios also guarantees truly unlimited data on all of its service plans meaning you will never run out of data and supposedly won’t see a slowdown,” writes Forbes.
Spectrum is also widely available across the United States. Their speeds are not the best on the market when it comes to pricing, but if Spectrum is one of few providers available near you, your service will be reliable. “Spectrum Internet comes with a few extras that you might not get from other internet providers in the same area. That includes no contracts and no data caps—plus Spectrum’s prices are fairly competitive,” explains Reviews.
Spectrum also offers mobile phone services, and if you are an internet customer already, you will receive a significant discount on mobile services. CableTV adds “All of Spectrum’s internet plans are contract-free, so you can leave at any time without having to deal with early termination fees. Plus, if you’re searching for a deal, Spectrum’s TV and internet bundle is one of the most affordable around at only $109.99 a month.”
Forbes mentions, “Spectrum also offers a two-year price lock deal, so if you’re happy with your internet plan you can lock it down for longer.”
Viasat is one of the two major U.S. satellite internet providers that offer service to nearly 100 percent of the country. Pathofex writes “Viasat provides the best high-speed internet to the locations where standard domestic internet providers do not reach.”
The plans range from $49.99 to $199.99 per month, and mainly charges customers based on usage. The more you use, the more you pay. “The greatest coverage is in California, Texas, and New York; Viasat is accessible to an estimated 308.5 million people. In rural areas, satellite internet has proven to provide better coverage than wired broadband providers,” adds Broadband Now.
Pro-tip: “Even though it markets itself as ‘unlimited,’ Viasat’s plans slow down once you’ve reached your limit, so if you’re able to, pick a plan with a lot of data like Unlimited Platinum 100,” according to CableTV.
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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.