Best Internet Service Providers of 2016

Get cheap and reliable Internet with our comprehensive guide!

The Top Internet Service Providers of 2016

Verizon

$19.99/month
  • Expanding fiber optic network
  • Optional security add-on and other features
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Time Warner

$14.99/month
  • Modern infrastructure
  • Above average connection speed
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AT&T

$29.95/month
  • Wide range of services
  • Offers DSL and fiber optic network
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Charter

$29.99/month
  • High speed connection in multiple states
  • Simple home-friendly plans
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Cable One

$34.99/month
  • Stable connection mostly in rural areas
  • Large storage for email
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CenturyLink

$19.99/month
  • Several options for connection speed
  • Optional low-income plan
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Frontier

$19.95/month
  • Currently expanding to rural areas
  • Decent connection speed
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What We Looked At

Speed of Connection

Coverage Area

Services and Features

Customer Support

Our In-depth Guide

Our Rankings for the Best Internet Service Provider of 2016
Ranking Company Overall Score
1 Comcast 9.5
2 Verizon 9.3
3 Time Warner Cable 9.2
4 AT&T 9
5 Charter 8.9
6 Cable One 8.7
7 CenturyLink 8.4
8 Frontier 8.2

Connection Speed and Plan Options

Comcast Verizon Time Warner Cable AT&T Charter CableOne CenturyLink Frontier
Max Upload Speed 10Mbps 25Mbps 5Mbps 1Mbps 4Mbps 10Mbps 20Mbps 1Mbps
Max Download Speed 150Mbps 500Mbps 50Mbps 45Mbps 100Mbps 100Mbps 40Mbps 25Mbps
Plan Options 10 10 6 3 1 3 4 4
Cheapest Plan (Internet-only) $29.99 $19.99 $14.99 $29.95 $29.95 $35.00 $19.00 $19.99
Premium Plan $49.99 $275.99 $64.99 $59.99 N/A $75.00 $64.95 $49.99

Comcast Lands On Top

Ranked No.1 on our list

We did our homework. Comcast is the overall winner as we looked at different aspects of their service.

We took a look at their Connection speed, Coverage area, Service offerings, Support system, and Value for money.

Coverage and Service Details

Comcast Verizon Time Warner Cable AT&T Charter CableOne CenturyLink Frontier
States Covered

 

40 14 29 21 29 19 18 28
Connection Types Offered

 

Cable, Fiber Fiber, DSL Cable Fiber,DSL,

 

Dial-up

Cable Cable Fiber, DSL Cable, Fiber, DSL

 

Dial-up

Low-Income Plan

 

Parental Control

 

Internet Security Bundle

 

Hosted Email Account

 

Number of Accounts 

 

7 9 30 11 10 20 11 10
Data Storage for Email

 

10GB 1.5GB 5GB 2GB 2GB 15GB 5GB 5GB

Comcast Has the Widest Coverage

They offer services in 40 states

Considered as the largest home internet provider in the United States, Comcast continues to expand their services.

With more than 19 million customers throughout the country, you can’t go wrong with Comcast.

Services and Additional Features

Comcast Verizon Time Warner Cable AT&T Charter CableOne CenturyLink Frontier
Minimum Contract Duration

 

1 Year 2 Years 1 Year 1 Year 2 Years None 3 Years 3 Years
Internet-only Plan

 

Landline Services

 

Cable Television

 

Streaming Service Bundle

 

Mobile App

 

Comcast offers a basic plan for low-income families

Now, everyone can have access to affordable Internet

Internet access does not need to be expensive. With the basic low-income plan, many people can afford Internet Service including the elderly, veterans, and other families in need.

Customer Support Features

Comcast Verizon Time Warner Cable AT&T Charter CableOne CenturyLink Frontier
Telephone Support

 

Live Chat Support

 

Email Support

 

Online Document Access

 

Online Payment

 

Comcast is the Clear Winner

Across the board, they proved that they deserve to be no.1 on our list

While offering consistently high connection speeds and impressive customer support, they continue to serve the most customers in the country.

SpeedTest by OOKLA also recognized Comcast as “America’s Fastest Internet.”

Finding Cheap but Reliable Internet Service in Your Location

Majority of the U.S. has access to at least a few good quality, high-speed internet options, with relatively less availability for dial-up options. With a plethora of companies and different types of connections available today, it can be quite a daunting task to research and select which will give you the best value for your money. In order narrow down your search on the best services available in your area, you can refer to this list of things to look for.

Remember that generally speaking, most rural areas usually have access only to DSL, satellite, and dial-up options, while most urban areas would offer high-speed access. With all the different advertising campaigns such as TV and print ads, and of course, internet ads, it may become an overwhelming selection process. To help you in this, the basics you should look for other than a good price would be speed, availability, and customer service.

Types of Internet Connections

When you visit the website of an internet service provider (ISP), they usually have a quick form you can enter your address or phone number into, and the tool will return which of their internet plans are available in our location.

  • Dial-up – As one of the cheapest options, this will work best for people who have a landline telephone, and only needs internet access for simple tasks such as checking email.
  • Digital subscriber line (DSL) – One of the more popular types, DSL works for those who also have a landline phone and mostly goes online for light research, reading articles, and checking email.
  • Cable and fiber optic services – These high-speed options are best for moderate to heavy internet users, such as those who watch movies, stream music, or play online games.

By the way, reported speed is the maximum speed expected – it actually varies by area because of factors like physical infrastructure and environmental conditions.

what to look for internet service

What to Look for in Your ISP

Of course, one of the first things we think about is the price. Once you have narrowed it down and found affordable options from various providers, you need to get deeper. It can get quite tiring to listen to or watch ads that have so much hype about their services, so you only need to focus on these questions:

 What is the speed of the connection?

 Is it available in my area?

What are their services and features?

Will I quickly get help should I need it?

 

Connection Speed

As mentioned above, connection speed may vary. As such, this is one of the features that causes the most confusion for a lot of people. Most home ISPs would brag about fast speeds that can get impressive at first but would eventually disappoint. The potential kilobits or megabits per second (Kbps or Mbps) do not always match the actual average performance. Phrases like “speeds of up to x Mbps” (where x can often get to an impressive number) are always there, but it wouldn’t necessarily reflect what speed you will get once you subscribe. Remember that the potential speed is what companies would display, not the actual – it would always vary depending on factors like time of day and even location.

Coverage area

When doing research on ISPs, remember to consider the number of subscribers that company has – it can be a good indication of their longevity and quality of service, and even the potential to expand. As previously mentioned, most urban areas have access to more modern, high-speed options like cable and fiber optics, while rural areas usually have dial-up, DSL, and satellite.

Services and Features

There are many additional features you can get from certain providers. About a decade or so ago, ISPs often provided additional features such as a bundled email service with extra storage, spam/virus blocking, and the like. These days, most people are okay with using free webmail, but if you are a power user who could benefit from such features, make sure to look for it too. Some ISPs give security software as a freebie, or even parental controls if you have a family and would like to protect your kids from the certain parts of the internet. There are also low-income internet solutions sometimes available if you ask, which is ideal for families with veterans, young students, and the elderly.

Customer Support

Switching to a new provider (or subscribing to your first one) can get pretty tricky, so it’s really important to find an ISP that gives helpful and fast support. Check that your potential provider gives access to various ways of contacting them, such as phone, email, and even video chat, as well as responsive on-site support. It’s also a plus if the company has online support documentation and tools, such as members’ access to modern billing and services like paying for your subscription online.

In conclusion, if you are looking for a new ISP or are moving to a new area, the above tips and a bit of research can save you precious time and money. Use the above as a guideline and read reviews to at least get a general idea of what you may experience with any specific provider you are thinking of subscribing to. You can, of course, ask friends and neighbors for additional advice based on their experience with ISPs in your area as well.