Although the internet service provider (ISP) industry has seen its ups and downs over the past five years, its overall revenue has increased tremendously. This growth was solidified by our reliance on the internet to access technology, learn remotely, and use telemedicine during the pandemic, which prompted government response.
In 2021, the National Governors Association (NGA) reported that more than 40 governors introduced new broadband initiatives and included expansions of internet programs in their state budget proposals. The federal government has recently allocated $65 billion to improve broadband internet access in economically disadvantaged communities. Many have begun working on enhancing broadband infrastructure already.
Choosing the right ISP for you, your family or your business can be difficult with so many choices. When it comes to ISPs, the term “best” is relative, but after weighing speeds, terms and value, we have come up with a few that you must consider.
5 ISPs You Must Consider If You Are In the U.S.
Nowadays, a robust, reliable internet connection at home is borderline essential, especially with the recent increase in remote work, which is likely to persist for another year or two. As a result, it is important to educate yourself about the internet options available at your address, and ultimately, to choose the best provider.
These are the five best ISPs in the U.S. right now:
- Spectrum: Best cable internet provider
- AT&T: Best fiber provider
- Verizon: Best customer care provider
- Mediacom: Great for gaming
- HughesNet: Best for people in rural areas
Fiber providers such as AT&T will give you a better value, but a cable connection is a good alternative if fiber is not an option. Spectrum is undoubtedly the one you would like to find available in your area among all the cable internet service providers in the U.S. Search “Spectrum near me” right now and see if you get lucky.
Due to Charter’s acquisition of Time Warner’s internet infrastructure in 2016, Spectrum has access to more than 100 million Americans. What’s more, Spectrum does not come with a data cap, and it will not tie you down to some long-term contract, unlike Comcast (or Cox).
The Spectrum plans come with lower costs per Mbps, and the terms and conditions are straightforward and easy to live with. Although it is not quite the best cable deal (read on), Spectrum is evidently still the top cable option for home internet.
Spectrum gives you one for free instead of renting a modem like most cable operators. You can rent a modem with a wireless router for around $5 a month, but most people will instead buy an excellent standalone wireless router because they generally cost less than $100.
Bundling Spectrum T.V. and internet services can save you a few bucks a month. You will not receive a further discount on internet costs for a triple play bundle if you add its wired phone service.
The average cost per megabit per second of download speed is one of the metrics we like to use to evaluate ISPs. The cost per Mbps of AT&T’s fiber internet plans is just a few cents during your first year, added by a few more after that — a good rough indicator of value.
In comparison, you can expect to pay a lot more for an average broadband plan from Verizon, and the same goes for CenturyLink.
To conclude, AT&T’s fiber plans offer a lot of value, especially since none of them includes contracts or data caps. Also, AT&T has the highest customer satisfaction score in both the American Customer Satisfaction Index and J.D. Power.
ACI’s rankings of internet providers for 2021 showed AT&T and Verizon tied for the number one spot — but Verizon had already held the top spot for years, and it has been a top performer with J.D. Power for multiple years.
Why do people like Verizon?
In addition to the company’s DSL service, Verizon Fios fiber service is available in the company’s eight-state coverage area in the northeast. This service offers gigabit speeds and uploads at the same time as the company’s downloads. There are no contracts or data caps with Verizon, and your price will not automatically increase after a year, as it will with most other providers.
Verizon also expanded its 4G LTE and 5G LTE cellular internet plans to 48 states, with 5G Home Internet service accessible in 60 markets as of October of last year. It is remarkable growth for consumers, given the stark need for better internet access in the country.
Founded in 1995, Mediacom Communications Corporation serves more than a million customers in the U.S., primarily in smaller cities. The company provides video, high-speed data, phone, home security, and automation services. It is the fifth-largest cable operator in the United States. Recently, the company completed a three-year reinvestment project for $1 billion to expand its footprint. This funding was largely spent on building a fiber-optic network to provide faster speeds.
According to the FCC’s Fixed Broadband report, Mediacom delivers over 132% of promised speeds during peak hours. Additionally, it topped Netflix’s speed ranking for two months in a row. Netflix measures the speed at which ISPs deliver streams during primetime.
It does not rank highly in customer satisfaction surveys, ranking below average in the ACSI ISP survey. Frequent outages are the most common complaint. However, there is a 90-day money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with your internet service. There are free Wi-Fi hotspots in 11 of Mediacom’s service areas.
HughesNet serves 1.5 million customers across North and South America, most of whom live in places without other internet options. According to the company, satellite Internet can be accessed as long as the Southern sky is clear.
A number of smart options are available at the company, including a video data saver that allows viewers to watch more videos while using less data, a usage tracker, and a Bonus Zone from 2 a.m. until 8 a.m. for additional data of up to 50 gigabytes (G.B.). Because fewer people are online, that’s the best time to download or upload large files, movies, and system updates.
HughesNet is not suitable for real-time activities like video conferencing or online multiplayer gaming. Due to the half-second delay caused by the data traveling from your home to the satellite, video chats and online games will lag significantly. Because of this latency, a VPN is also not recommended with HughesNet as it adds to the delay.
When looking for an ISP, make sure to take time and do your research. You do not want to opt for one and then find out later that it has a data cap that you cannot afford or the speed is not enough for everyday use. We understand that it can be a frustrating process, and that is why we suggest you go with any of the mentioned ISPs in this article.
If you have any questions or concerns, please leave a comment in the comment section below, and we will get back to you soon.