Life at home without internet access is hard to imagine. We know there are some people out there who still resist, but between remote working, digital schoolwork, and streaming entertainment, this can likely be called a necessity. But which provider in your area offers the cheapest and most reliable service? This likely depends on which companies in your neighborhood or community offer internet access. However, many national providers offer broad internet coverage that is available to consumers on a consistent basis regardless of location.
In our study, Verizon stood out because of the quality of its Internet services as well as rankings from third-party agencies such as J.D. Power prevailed. However, we’ve compared all of the top providers that offer coverage at the national level based on pricing, customer service, reputation, and other important factors, and we’ve provided details on each of the top plans to consider below.
The most important factors when looking for a cheap internet service
- Service speed: Whether you are a gamer who needs fast internet service or just hate waiting for pages to load, internet speed is one of the most important factors consumers should consider. Fortunately, advances in technology have meant that the cheapest internet service providers still offer connections at speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps.
- Customer service: ISPs tend to have a bad reputation for customer service, which is why comparing companies in this category is so important. Fortunately, with the help of third-party rankings from companies like J.D. Power gain insights into the customer service standards of the individual providers.
- Reliability: Internet access is so important to our lives that any interruption can quickly become a problem. Consider reliability when comparing and evaluating cheap internet tariffs in your area. Note, however, that reliability has improved with underlying technological advances.
The best cheap internet providers of 2020
Best Cheap Internet Provider Reviews
The best cheap internet service providers make it easy to set up access at home with no hassle or stress, but they also get high marks for customer service and reliability. While not all of these providers may be available in your area, the following cheap internet companies offer the broadest access at prices that most people can afford.
Verizon Wireless – Highly rated
Verizon Wireless promises lightning-fast internet speeds that they can deliver to your home using fiber-optic flashes of light. They also promise a high-performance connection that will maintain its integrity with 10 or more connected devices at the same time.
While exact speeds depend on where you live and the plan you choose, Verizon Wireless currently offers speeds up to 940/880 Mbps. Be aware, however, that plans with the fastest speeds tend to cost more, and their Fios connection starts at speeds up to 940 Mbps at $ 79.99 per month, plus applicable taxes and fees. However, you may receive a price guarantee of up to three years so you can be sure that your prices won’t increase for a while.
Why it’s on the list: Verizon Wireless has received numerous awards for its speed and quality of Internet access and customer service. This includes top rankings in several regions of the US in the US residential internet service provider satisfaction survey by J.D. Power from 2019.
What is holding it back: Verizon is not overly transparent about pricing for plans at the national level, though this is likely due to the fact that pricing can and must vary based on where you live and local infrastructure. However, you should be aware that Verizon requires contracts for its internet plans and that you may have to pay an initial setup fee.
DISH Network – Best Satellite Option
While most people consider DISH Network a satellite television provider, this company also offers high-speed Internet access. Satellite internet, while not for everyone, is often one of the few options (or the only option) for consumers who live in an area where cable and fiber are not available. However, you should also be aware that if you live in an area with cable or fiber, DISH Network may work with another provider to offer you faster internet speeds on a plan that is bundled with your satellite television service.
What does the DISH Network internet service cost? It depends on where you live, which plan you choose, and whether you bundle Internet access with other services. DISH Network also promises 24/7 customer service and 99.9% reliability. By entering your postcode, you can easily view their offers in your area.
Why it’s on the list: Not only is DISH Network more readily available than some other providers, it also makes it easy to bundle television and the Internet at one low cost.
What is holding it back: DISH Network only offers internet speeds up to 40Mbps, which is considerably slower than many of its competitors. This speed is likely enough for normal household internet use, but gamers and teleworkers may have to pay for a plan with faster service.
Comcast (Xfinity) – Best for cheap plans
While Comcast (Xfinity) has a pretty bad reputation for customer service, this company could turn things around. According to the latest study by J.D. Power for customer satisfaction, this company achieved an above-average value in terms of reliability and reliability of customer service in three regions of the country – the north-central region, the south region and the west region.
Comcast also publishes transparent pricing on its website, although we recognize that plans and promotions are constantly changing. Currently, however, you can purchase the basic high-speed Internet plan “Performance Starter” at up to 20 Mbps for just $ 20 per month with a 12-month agreement and Autopay. A similar plan with speeds up to 100 MBPS starts at just $ 40 per month.
Why it’s on the list: Comcast (Xfinity) offers affordable high-speed Internet access plans, but it also makes it easy to bundle your Internet with a television service for even more discounts. They also often throw in gift cards and other “extras” to encourage you to switch.
What is holding it back: For the best prices from Comcast, you need to skip through some hoops. Not only do you have to sign a contract, you also have to sign up for autopay and paperless statements.
AT&T – Best bundling options
AT&T is another well-known Internet service provider that provides high-speed Internet access in various parts of the United States. We like AT&T because they offer some of the cheapest and most comprehensive bundling options, including internet access, cable television, and even phone service.
When it comes to internet coverage, AT&T states that the network is 99.9% reliable and that the speed is fast enough that you can stream movies and download large files to multiple devices at the same time. They also offer a mobile app that allows you to control your internet service and devices, including using parental controls, from your mobile device.
Planning speeds and prices may depend on where you live. So enter your zip code on the AT&T website before you can shop. However, it is common to only find internet deals in your area for as little as $ 49.99 per month on a 12 month agreement.
Why it’s on the list: AT&T has a solid reputation for quality and was even ranked # 1 in the J.D. Power in the South and West regions of the USA.
What is holding it back: In some parts of the country, high-speed plans are limited to just 50Mbps. Also note that prices can vary greatly depending on where you live. However, usually you can save money by bundling internet and television into one plan.
Spectrum – Best for No Contracts
Don’t forget to consider the lesser-known spectrum that is actually getting high marks from third-party ranking agencies at the national level. Spectrum offers plans with speeds up to 200Mbps for just $ 49.99 per month, and promises no data or speed limits. However, they do offer plans that may vary based on where you live. So enter your zip code on the Spectrum website so you can make a real price comparison.
Also note that Spectrum offers Spectrum TV with thousands of movies and current seasons of your favorite shows if you need a television service or want to bundle plans for further savings.
Why it’s on the list: Spectrum has a 30-day money-back guarantee, no contracts, no hidden fees, and no early termination fees.
What is holding it back: Spectrum doesn’t offer as much availability nationwide as some of the other providers on this list. You’ll need to enter your zip code on the company website to see if Spectrum is available in your region.
How we found the best cheap internet providers
The best cheap internet providers stand out for the quality of their offerings and their reputation with current and past customers. Here are all the factors that we considered when compiling the providers for this ranking.
Comparing prices at national level is difficult because most Internet service providers do not offer standard rates available nationwide. However, for the purpose of this guide, we’ve looked for national internet service providers promoting low or reasonable tariffs that are available to much of the country.
Fast internet speeds
We looked for cheap internet providers that offer speeds of up to 1,000 Mbit / s. However, we have also considered vendors offering lower speeds at a competitive price or in areas where faster service may not be available. Also note that according to the Federal Communications Commission, the current FCC broadband definition is a minimum of 25 Mbps download.
We also have third-party rankings from companies like J.D. Power takes into account those nationwide who spend time interviewing Internet customers to learn more about their experiences. Fortunately, all of the companies in our ranking received excellent or acceptable ratings from third-party agencies.
What you need to know about Internet access in residential areas
According to a 2019 report by the Pew Research Center, 90 percent of the US adult population use the Internet for business or personal purposes. In addition, as of February 2019, 73 percent of US households said they had Internet access at home. How has this changed over the years? In 2000, only 52 percent of US adults were using the Internet, and only 1 percent of US households had Internet access in their homes.
This only shows how quickly we have introduced internet use into our daily lives, but it is also why internet access and speeds have had to improve dramatically over the years. As more consumers learned to use the Internet over time, Internet service providers have rushed to improve their services and expand their networks to meet demand.
This is good news for consumers and especially for those who live in areas where multiple cheap internet providers are forced to compete. In any case, everyone should look around and compare local internet providers to find the best deal. In addition to price comparison, compare internet speed, customer service availability, and whether other services like cable television can be bundled for even more savings.
Also read our review on the best internet services for your business.
Summary: Best Cheap Internet Service Providers