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Best Internet Providers in 2024: Top Picks For Streaming, Gaming & More

Selecting an internet provider for you and your family need not be challenging. Several critical elements should be evaluated in the decision-making process but that does not have to be a task to be done solo. In this detailed guide, we will assess and juxtapose the top internet providers currently available in the market. By examining their principal characteristics, speed, pricing, installation, and more, you will be able to determine which of these premier internet providers aligns with your requirements.

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Best Internet Service Providers in 2024 for Individuals and Families

  •  Verizon Fios – Best for Fiber Optic Internet Speeds
  • Xfinity Internet – Best for Wide Availability
  • Verizon 5G Home Internet – Best for Wireless Home Internet
  • AT&T Internet – Best for Bundling Options
  • T-Mobile Home Internet – Best for Rural/Underserved Areas
  • Cox – Best for No Annual Contracts
  • CenturyLink – Best for Price-to-Speed Value
  • ViaSat – Best for Satellite Internet
  • EarthLink – Best for Simplicity and Customer Service
  • Rise Broadband – Best for Rural Fixed Wireless

Verizon Fios delivers lightning-fast fiber optic internet directly into homes through 100% fiber-optic connections. Its pure fiber network provides incredible bandwidth that blows past traditional cable competitors. Verizon Fios fiber plans offers a wide range of symmetrical speed tiers up to 2 Gbps download/2 Gbps upload in select areas.

Three pronounced features that make it one of the best internet providers:

  • Symmetrical multi-gigabit speed plans up to 2Gbps download/upload

  • 100% fiber-optic network for consistent bandwidth 

  • Advanced Wi-Fi 6 router included with Fios Gigabit plans

Why we like it: We like it for delivering the ultimate fiber internet speeds up to multi-gigabit tiers. Its 100% fiber network provides unmatched bandwidth and reliability, making it one of the best internet providers.

Xfinity Internet from Comcast is one of the largest US internet providers, serving 39 states. Tens of millions of homes get broadband cable internet from its hybrid fiber-coaxial network. Xfinity internet plans range from 100 Mbps to 6 Gbps for power users, allowing customers to choose the best plan. Xfinity provides reliable internet to urban, suburban, and rural areas with affordable prices, unlimited data, and nationwide WiFi hotspots.

Three pronounced features that make it one of the best internet providers:

  • No data caps on any Xfinity internet plan

  • Millions of nationwide Xfinity WiFi hotspots included

  • Advanced cybersecurity option with Xfinity xFi Advanced Security

Why we like it: We like its wide availability across many U.S. regions and markets. No data caps and inclusive WiFi hotspot access add great value.

Verizon’s 5G Home Internet presents a wireless substitute to traditional cable and fiber broadband through their 5G Ultra Wideband network. This service employs compact 5G modems or internet gateways to deliver high-speed wireless internet across densely populated urban zones. Omitting physical line installations, multi-gigabit download velocities are achievable. The low-band 5G spectrum offers expansive coverage and reliable performance. As Verizon broadens its 5G reach, 5G Home Internet emerges as a versatile solution for tenants and individuals lacking access to fiber connectivity.

Three pronounced features that make it one of the best internet providers:

  •  No annual contracts or data caps

  • Ultra-wideband 5G with typical download speeds of 300Mbps

  • Self-installation of 5G gateway device

Why we like it: We like the flexible, wireless deployment model bypassing wired infrastructure. Verizon’s 5G technology allows multi-gig speeds without cables or underground lines, making it one of the best internet providers.

AT&T shines as one of the best internet providers for bundling internet service with other telecom offerings. Its broadband internet comes in fiber and DSL varieties. It can be packaged with AT&T TV, live TV streaming, home phone service, and mobile/wireless services at discounted bundled pricing. AT&T Fiber offers robust speeds up to 5 Gigs, while legacy DSL is being phased out for IP-based internet in many areas. Even without fiber availability, AT&T makes bundling internet with entertainment or wireless very appealing.

Three notable features that make it one of the best internet providers

  • Bundle options with AT&T TV, wireless, and home phone service

  • Unlimited data on all internet speed tiers

  • Advanced data security with AT&T Internet Security Suite

Why we like it: We like the ability to conveniently bundle internet with TV and wireless services. AT&T’s fiber internet also provides robust multi-gig speed options.

T-Mobile Home Internet employs its worldwide 5G and 4G LTE networks for broadband. This technology’s main value is providing high-speed internet to rural and underdeveloped areas without cable or fiber optic infrastructure. Performance may vary by location and connection, but most users may expect download rates of 25 to 115 Mbps, which should be sufficient for most houses. T-Mobile 5G Home Internet is best for rural locations because to its self-installation, no data consumption limits, and paperless billing.

Three notable features that make it one of the best internet providers

  • Self-setup with a mobile app for easy installation

  • Paperless billing and 24/7 customer assistance  

  • Access to nationwide T-Mobile 5G and 4G LTE networks

Why we like it: We like how it brings connectivity to underserved rural areas via 5G/4G networks. Self-setup, no contracts, and unlimited data make it very user-friendly. 

Cox Internet provides broadband access via cable and fiber networks without locking customers into long-term annual contracts. All Cox fiber Internet plans come with no-term agreements, providing flexibility to modify or cancel service as needed. Cox offers speed tiers from 25 Mbps up to 1 Gbps download over its hybrid fiber-coaxial infrastructure. Key strengths include no data caps, nationwide WiFi hotspot access, and the lack of annual commitments that many competitors require.

Three notable features that make it one of the best internet providers

  • All plans come with no annual contracts

  • Elite Gamer add-on optimizes for better gaming performance

  • Cox Panoramic Wifi with intelligent WiFi management

Why we like it: We like the fact that there are no annual contract policies across all Cox fiber internet plans. Its gamer-centric add-ons and panoramic WiFi provide nice features.

CenturyLink fiber internet may not offer the absolute fastest speeds, but it provides a very good price-to-speed value, especially in rural areas. Its fiber internet service, branded as “CenturyLink Fiber Gigabits,” delivers up to 940 Mbps download for $65/month in many markets. Where fiber is unavailable, CenturyLink Internet leverages DSL and fixed wireless technologies to provide broadband access at lower price points, which is ideal for budget-conscious customers simply needing reliable internet performance.

Three notable features that make it one of the best internet providers

  •  Price-for-life guarantee with no monthly rate increases 

  • Affordable standalone broadband internet pricing

  • ASUS modem/router combo provided

Why we like it: We like its affordable fiber gigabit plans with price-locked monthly rates. Even DSL and wireless provide good value for budget internet access.

ViaSat’s Viasat-1, Viasat-2, and future Viasat-3 satellites provide satellite-based internet service to those in rural areas who do not have access to cable or fiber providers. ViaSat’s satellite beams can provide download rates of up to 100 Mbps in some places, outperforming many terrestrial ISPs that serve remote towns. While latency can be higher than terrestrial connections, ViaSat internet brings access to underserved geographies through its advanced satellite technology.

Three notable features that make it one of the best internet providers

  • Ability to choose video streaming quality for data savings

  • Additional data token options to temporarily increase data caps

  • ViaSat-3 satellite launching soon for improved performance

Why we like it: We like the fact that ViaSat satellite broadband reaches remote areas where terrestrial can’t. Features like data-saving modes make the most of satellite bandwidth.

While not owning infrastructure itself, EarthLink Internet positions itself as an internet service provider focused on keeping things simple for customers. It partners with other network operators to offer straightforward, contract-free internet plans. EarthLink’s key differentiator is its emphasis on top-rated customer service and support through U.S.-based call centers and agents. For those valuing ease-of-use and attentive customer experience, EarthLink provides a streamlined broadband option.

Three notable features that make it one of the best internet providers

  • Completely U.S.-based customer service and support

  • Anti-virus, anti-spyware, and spam-blocking security 

Why we like it: We like the simplified, customer-friendly approach with no-hassle policies. Its focus on quality support with U.S. agents is also commendable. 

Rise Broadband specializes in deploying fixed wireless broadband networks designed to bring connectivity to rural communities. Using both licensed and unlicensed wireless spectrum, Rise Broadband can beam internet directly to homes and businesses in rural areas without the need for traditional cable/fiber infrastructure. While speeds may not match terrestrial networks, Rise provides viable rural wireless internet services with download speeds of up to 50 Mbps in some regions.

Three notable features that make it one of the best internet providers

  •  Unlimited service plans available in many areas  

  • Installation is typically completed in 1-3 days

  • 24/7 U.S.-based technical support

Why we like it: We like the rural wireless broadband coverage Rise provides via fixed wireless. The rapid installation process also makes service activation very seamless.

How We Review the Best Internet Providers in 2024

To determine the best internet providers in 2024, our team conducts in-depth research and analysis across multiple criteria. We evaluate each Internet Service Provider’s network infrastructure, technology deployments, speed capabilities, coverage areas, pricing models, and data policies.

We also factor in value-added services like bundling options, equipment setup, WiFi management tools, streaming integration, and gaming optimizations. Providers are assessed on their uptime reliability, customer satisfaction metrics, and consumer protection practices. User experiences like account management, billing transparency, and technical support quality are also critical components of our reviews.

Weighing this comprehensive array of technical features and customer experience elements allows us to distill the strengths, weaknesses, and unique differentiators for each ISP. Only internet providers ranking highest across download/upload speeds, low-latency connectivity, robust service availability, forward-looking network investments, and consumer value propositions earn our highest recommendations for 2024.

Best Internet Providers: How to Pick the Right One for Your Needs

Choosing the best internet provider requires evaluating your specific needs regarding speed requirements, service coverage, technology preferences, budgetary constraints, contractual flexibility, and overall user experience. 

 

First, assess the number of connected devices, bandwidth-heavy applications like streaming/gaming, and whether upload speeds are critical for your online activities. This determines the download/upload speed tiers you should target. 

 

Then, cross-reference which providers actually offer service to your address using their preferred technology like fiber, cable, fixed wireless, or satellite. From the available options, compare pricing models factoring in data caps, equipment fees, bundle discounts, and contract policies. 

 

User experience factors, including WiFi equipment, mobile apps, and customer support reputations, can serve as tiebreakers. Finally, future-proofing may mean prioritizing providers making infrastructure investments in cutting-edge technologies like multi-gigabit fiber, 5G/6G, or next-gen satellite internet to stay ahead of demand.

Conclusion

These were some of the best internet providers in the market that we are keeping a close eye on in 2024. Based on their distinct features and offerings, you can pick the one that best suits your data needs. Before you go ahead and commit to a provider, make sure to use our tips. Factors like pricing, setup, bandwidth, and network can be considered to see if a provider is the real deal or just a bluff.

FAQs

Verizon Fios for its exceptional fiber speeds and infrastructure. Xfinity and Verizon 5G Home internet service also rank highly for availability and performance.

Verizon Fios’ multi-gigabit fiber optic plans are the speed leaders currently. Xfinity’s top cable tiers and 5G home internet from Verizon/T-Mobile are also blazingly fast.

For most households, 300-500 Mbps download speeds should suffice for streaming, gaming, etc. Larger homes may need gigabit+ plans, and unlimited data avoids overage fees.