In “20 Top Internet Service Providers,” a post from 2011, Contributing Editor Sig Ueland listed 20 large U.S. ISPs, with details and pricing for each. This article updates that list for 2015.
Comcast is the nation’s largest high-speed Internet service provider, serving nearly 20 million customers. It offers both residential and business plans, and also has hotspots around the U.S. to stay connected while on the road. Service is offered nationwide with download speeds of 3 Mbps to 150 Mbps — megabits per second. The pricing varies based on active promotions. It typically ranges from $19.99 per month to $114.95 per month. Comcast offers Internet security, parental controls, up to 7 email accounts, and 10 GB of storage.
Comcast is planning to grow even bigger as it is working on acquiring 100 percent of Time Warner Cable. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice are expected to make a decision in the first half of 2015 on the acquisition.
CenturyLink offers the fastest Internet in the U.S. with speeds of 1 Gbps. This service is available in 13 states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Washington. For other areas, CenturyLink offers service ranging from 1.5 Mbps to 40 Mbps. Rates start at $29.95 per month. Over 5 million customers use its Internet service, with the 12 Mbps plan being the most popular. Accounts come with 11 email addresses and 5 GB of storage.
Cox offers Internet speeds from 5 Mbps to 150 Mbps with a monthly charge of $34.99 to $79.99. Cox currently serves 20 states in the U.S. Each account comes with 10 email addresses and 2 GB of storage.
AT&T offers speeds from 3 Mbps to 4.5 Mbps, with a monthly charge ranging from $29.95 to $64.95. AT&T service is available in 22 states. Accounts come with 11 email addresses and 2 GB of storage.
Verizon offers DSL Internet and, also, fiber optic service in limited areas. Rates start from 1 Mbps for $19.99 per month for the DSL service and go up to 15 Mbps for $64.99 per month. For fiber optic, the plans start from 25 Mbps for $54.99 per month and go up to 500 Mbps for $284.99 per month. Verizon’s upload speed for fiber optic (also called FiOS) is among the fastest in the U.S. Each customer account gets 9 email addresses and 1.5 GB of storage.
Time Warner is waiting for a decision on the merger with Comcast but continues to support its customers with Internet plans starting from 2 Mbps for $14.99 per month to 50 Mbps for $64.99 per month. It serves roughly 15 million customers in 39 states. Each Internet account comes with 15 email addresses and 5 GB of storage.
Charter operates in 29 states and provides fiber optic Internet plans of up to 60 Mbps starting at $19.99 per month to more than 27 million customers. Charter acquired Optimum West cable systems from Cablevision, which added 375,000 customers. Charter accounts come with 10 email addresses and 2 GB of storage. Charter attempted to purchase Time Warner Cable, but its bid was not accepted.
Frontier serves mostly smaller cities and rural areas with its DSL Internet service. Plans start at $19.99 per month with 6 Mbps download speed and go up to 24 Mbps for $34.99 per month. Frontier has started offering fiber optic Internet in selected areas by licensing the Verizon FiOS name and product. Frontier accounts come with 8 email addresses and 5 GB of storage.
Suddenlink serves over 5 million customers in 16 states. It offers Internet download speeds of 50 Mbps to 150 Mbps with plans that range from $34.99 to $69.99 per month. Suddenlink customers receive 10 email addresses and 2 GB of storage with every account.
10. Cable One
Cable One serves roughly 1 million customers in 19 states. It offers Internet download speeds of 50 Mbps to 70 Mbps with rates that range from $35 to $100 per month. Accounts come with 20 email addresses and 15 GB of storage.
Windstream serves over 8 million customers in 21 states. Plans start at $49.99 per month for 6 Mbps and go to $59.99 for 24 Mbps. Accounts come with 5 email addresses and 1 GB of storage.
NetZero offers dial-up and DSL Internet access starting at $16.95 per month. The service is available nationwide. Interestingly, its DSL service is marketed as 100 times faster than dial-up and starts at a lower price of $11.95 per month — except for the free, limited dial-up Internet access of 10 hours a month. It also offers mobile broadband services. Each account comes with 2 GB of storage.
EarthLink works with roughly 1 million consumers and 150,000 businesses. It offers dial-up, cable, DSL, and satellite Internet services. It also offers freestanding DSL services that allow connecting to the Internet without using a phone line. The download speed ranges from 56 Kbps to 20 Mbps. Plans range from $9.95 to $59.95 per month. EarthLink also sells Internet service via its PeoplePC brand. EarthLink offers 8 email addresses and 0.1 GB of storage with each account.
14. Dish Network
Dish Network offers satellite Internet services with speeds up to 20 Mbps. This service is helpful for under-served or unserved locations. Dish offers plans with a fixed data allowance, for users who utilize Internet in a limited way. Plans range from $39.99 to $69.99 per month.
Juno belongs to the same parent company, United Online, as NetZero, but it operates as an independent vendor. It offers dial-up and DSL service starting at $11.95 per month with a speed of 56 Kbps. Accounts come with 1 GB of storage.
Exede is another satellite Internet provider that offers four plans with data allowances that range from 5 GB to 25 GB, 12 Mbps download speed, and monthly charges of $64.99 to $129.99. Accounts come with 10 email addresses and 10 GB of storage.
AOL has a dial-up Internet offering that comes in three options based on the features. These three choices cost $6.99 per month, $14.95 per month, or $25.90 per month. The features include extended computer protection plan and a loyalty program. Accounts come with 7 email addresses and 2 GB of storage.
MSN offers dial-up service with plans starting at $18.95 per month. The service is available in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Accounts come with 2 email addresses and 10 GB of storage.
19. Basic ISP
Basic ISP offers dial-up Internet access in U.S and Canada with rates starting at $8.95 per month. It also has an accelerator plan that makes the download speed 19 times faster and costs $10.95 per month. Its DSL service starts at $19.95 per month. Additionally, Basic ISP partners with Exede to offer satellite Internet service for $49.99 per month. Service comes with 5 email addresses and 2 GB of storage.
ISP.com offers dial-up and DSL Internet service. The dial-up service starts at $8.95 per month and comes with an accelerated option for $10.95 per month. The DSL service is offered using four plans that range from 768 Kbps for $12.95 per month to 6,000 Kbps for $19.95 per month. Each account includes up to 10 email addresses and 0.25 GB of storage.
HughesNet offers satellite Internet service starting at $49.99 per month. The plans come with a data allowance, similar to other satellite Internet service providers. Hughes is an international service provider with more than 2.5 million customers in roughly 100 countries.
Optimum is now part of Cablevision and offers Internet service with speeds ranging from 15 Mbps to 101 Mbps. Optimum serves roughly 3 million customers in the northeast U.S. Plans start at $39.95 per month and go to $119.95 per month. Each account comes with 5 email addresses and 2 GB of storage.
Mediacom offers several Internet plans with speeds ranging from 3 Mbps to 150 Mbps and pricing starting from $24.95 per month to $79.95 per month. It operates in 22 states. Service comes with a monthly data allowance ranging from 150 GB to 3,000 GB.
XO Communications offers business-only Internet with speeds ranging from 1.5 Mbps to 100 Gbps. Pricing is available by requesting a quote. XO also offers Internet using its IP Transit service that enables connectivity to high-speed Internet networks without requiring a dedicated tier 1 connection.
Wow — Wide Open West — operates in 12 states, with Internet plans that range from 4 Mbps for $30 per month to 110 Mbps for $115 per month. It also offers email and Internet security features.
26. Google Fiber
Google Fiber offers 1,000 Mbps speeds. Business service costs $100 per month with availability in Austin, Kansas City, and Provo. Residential service is available in Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Kansas City, Nashville, Provo, and Raleigh-Durham with intentions to expand to Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and San Jose.
Sonic is an Internet service provider that can support download speeds of 1,000 Mbps. Sonic also offers slower copper-based Internet service as it rolls out fiber to different cities in the U.S. Current coverage is limited to a few cities in California.
Also known as MidCo, Midcontinent Communications provides Internet service in 4 states serving over 200,000 customers. Plans range from 12 Mbps for $35.95 per month to 200 Mbps for $106.95 per month. It also offers dedicated fiber optic connectivity for businesses.
29. Bright House
Bright House serves roughly 2.5 million customers in 5 states. It offers Internet plans with download speeds between 15 Mbps and 150 Mbps, starting at $19.95 per month.
Armstrong provides service in 6 states with download speeds up to 100 Mbps and rates starting at $44.95 for 15 Mbps. Armstrong implemented a data allowance on its Internet plans recently, resulting in some backlash from customers.
Atlantic Broadband serves selected areas in 5 states and offers Internet service with download speeds ranging from 12 Mbps to 120 Mbps. Plans range from $44.99 to $74.99 per month.
32. Bend Broadband
Bend Broadband serves 41,000 customers in Oregon. Its plans range from 15 Mbps to 100 Mbps, with monthly charges of $34.99 to $79.99.