Major US ISPs Ranked Worst to Best - SlashGear (2023)

Major US ISPs Ranked Worst to Best - SlashGear (1)


VonJustin Owen/7 May 2023, at 6:18 PM EST

Of the many things about American culture that we love to hate, our Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are probably at the top of the list. It doesn't take long to search online for horror stories and numerous memes about popular providers across the country, suggesting that many customer service experiences seem to evoke deep-seated hatred from their customers.

Despite this sordid affair with much-needed internet service, are all stories full of sadness? There are dozens of ISPs in the United States that provide connectivity for a wide range of coverage, from the fastest, cheapest, and highest-rated regional service in the city of Chattanooga to AT&T, the nationwide communications giant. Prices can also vary wildly, with surge pricing a serious point of contention, especially since residents of more than 100 countries enjoy cheaper access than we do — Seoul residents get faster service for an average of about $30, more than half the price for many other American plans. Regardless, some of our providers do a much better job than others. So here's a list of the best non-cellular service providers, ranked from worst to best.


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Comcast was a regular punching bag and poster child for hated service providers. Complaints about Comcast include reports of the byzantine process for canceling service, including news reports airing footage of customers being harassed by representatives trying to cancel their plan. Comcast may have received a lot of criticism for these past practices, but the company hasn't gone away, just changed its name to Xfinity.

Most of us know that a name change does not automatically make everything better for a company. However, it may be an opportunity to put things right. Based on recent information - this news is about eight years old - it looks like a mixed bag.ZDNet, a long-time online media provider for business technology, gave Xfinity only high marks in 2021 for the high speeds of its fiber-optic network, good reliability and a wide range of options. It also points to poor customer service and limited availability of the fastest fiber optic network, although it has likely expanded since then. It is not clear why the author says that it is one of the best.

customer reviews onSitejabber, an online review site, is less forgiving. Xfinity gets an overall rating of 1.3 stars out of 5 with comments noting that the company is run by crooks and that the company is evil and immoral. In 2017, Comcast was also fined $2.3 million for charging its customers for services not received.


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Formed as a result of a merger between Charter and TimeWarner, Spectrum is the second-largest carrier, covering 41 states. Major mergers often lead to a deterioration of the customer experience. Spectrum enjoys the dubious distinction of being the subject of a 2016 SNL skit in which Kieran Culkin highlighted the near-impossible task facing cable TV networks.

Spectrum Internet says it has more than 450 million IP devices connected to its network and serves 32 million customers in 41 states, making it one of the largest in the country. Prices start at an affordable $49 for a relatively generous 200Mbps download speed and go up to 1,000Mbps with no data cap, which is generous, although the 35Mbps upload cap is disappointing. The service is delivered over cable or fiber, which helps avoid thiscrushingly slow internet accessand all can be combined with a TV. Spectrum Service gets high marks in media reviews, including a 3.9/5 out ofamerican newsand a 3.9/5 out ofForbes.

There seems to be some discrepancy between the opinions of official reviewers and the opinions of customers based on comments posted online. Customer reviews should always be taken with caution, but they should still provide an insight into the general public.SitejabberFor example, reviews give Spectrum a low overall rating of 1 star, with comments saying, among other things, that the product is overpriced, expensive, misleading, and the customer service is terrible. Although this may be an anomaly,Trust the pilotReviews also give little more than a single star, with 93% of reviews being the lowest possible rating.


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For many Americans who live far out in this country, the only Internet access is via satellite. This leaves few options and they tend to be expensive. One of the oldest and largest operators of satellite broadband is HughesNet. The first satellite consumer services began in the 1990s.

What you need to know about satellite broadband is that it is very limited. Data transfer speeds are limited to a maximum of 25 Mbps and total data packages are limited to 15GB to 100GB per month plans, which is very poor compared to the 1,000GB+ of terrestrial ISPs.

However, if you live far out in the city, you may only have dial-up Internet connections available at a maximum speed of 56 bps through a phone line or similar. In some places, such as deep in the mountains, there may not even be phone service, leaving HughesNet as the only connection to the world.

Although the data is limited, the costs are high. Prices start at $64.99 and go up to $149.99. All plans offer the same speed of 25 Mbps, but data limits vary, but access is never limited. Once your plan has used all the included data, speeds are limited to just 3 Mbps. Overall, HughesNet is a terrible value, but its existence is a godsend to many who avoid city life or whose work sustains the rest of us every day.


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As part of the first private company tasked with transporting cargo and personnel to the International Space Station, SpaceX also created its own companyCommunication network called Starlink. Unlike HughesNet, which operates two satellites in geosynchronous orbit 22,000 miles above land, Starlink uses nearly 3,200 tiny satellites in low Earth orbit just 340 miles from land. They are constantly moving around the earth and are not fixed in a single position. This gives Starlink much lower latency as information has to travel a much shorter distance.

The disadvantage of the Starlink setup is the high initial investment and the advantage is more reliable internet for consumers. The trade-off is cost. The initial cost of Starlink for consumers is very high: the equipment costs $599 and a service subscription starts at $110. Starlink's data cap is set at a generous 1,000GB, and the service will remain active thereafter but will be throttled without incurring additional charges.

I amToms guideIn reviewing Starlink, reviewers noted speeds of under 80 Mbps, which was well below the advertised target of 300. That's still far better than DSL and certainly better than dial-up. Starlink coverage is limited by satellite constellation, but currently covers most of the contiguous United States, as well as Hawaii and parts of Alaska.

Cox communication

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Keith Homan/Shutterstock

Cox is a regional player in 19 states, with services focused on cities in those states. The range of services is broad, but limited. Although the company serves a wide geographic area, the total number of customers is almost 7 million, making it a much smaller player in the market. This has its advantages and disadvantages for consumers.

Cox Internet is delivered through its extensive underground cable service. Available speeds are competitive, but there are data caps. Prices for Cox Internet plans tend to be higher than those of larger competitors, and customers are lured by introductory offers that expire and then lured to more expensive plans on future contracts. Two-year contracts are typical, and the introductory price can be set at $80 for the 1,000 Mbps Gigblast plan, for example, rising to $120 in the second year.

Cox is somewhat worthless and its long contract terms are not preferred by most consumers. In addition, as a smaller company, one can hope that this would allow the company to provide better customer service. ONEJ.D. PowerA 2022 customer satisfaction survey found that Cox underperformed its nearest competitor, scoring in the middle on most parameters.


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As one of the largest Internet providers in the United States, AT&T covers most of the country with either DSL over the phone lines or its new fiber optic network in limited but growing neighborhoods. Experiences with this service vary depending on the product used, with fiber network satisfaction rated significantly higher.

Experiences with such a large company can vary widely, simply due to the sheer volume of potential customer interactions. AT&T's Internet service covers 21 states, but available speeds vary widely from city to city. This is primarily because the most widespread service is provided over telephone lines for DSL, and the fastest data speeds are only possible over the fiber optic network, which is still under construction. This results in two thirds of their customers experiencing slow download speeds and data caps.

It's worth noting that AT&T has performed well in recent customer satisfaction surveys, ranking well above most of its peers and above the industry average. But if a service can't offer competitive download speeds to more than a third of its customers, it falls behind in the overall rankings.

Verizon Fios

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Verizon is a giant in the communications industry, but is better known nationally for its mobile service than for its home Internet. And while most people are probably familiar with the question "can you hear me now?" As part of the Verizon corporation, its broadband Internet service is only available on the East Coast.

Fios is the brand name for Verizon's fiber optic network and offers the best data speeds, although the company also offers DSL and 5G options. Like AT&T, the fiber optic network only exists in the neighborhoods where it was built. However, the coverage of the most densely populated areas of the country, including New Jersey, New York City and the surrounding areas, enjoys a thorough implementation. Unfortunately, for those who don't live in these densely populated areas, Verizon only offers slow DSL. DSL comes with a landline only at $74.99 per month with a maximum download speed of 15 Mbps, which is expensive and very slow.

The good news for those in the coverage area is that Fios has a high rating. For Fios, there are no long contract requirements, no data caps and speeds up to 1,000 Mbps. Additionally, Verizon ranks high in customer satisfaction surveys, which bodes well for potential subscribers.

Google Fiber

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Yasin Hasan/Shutterstock

Google Fiberis a broadband service provider that, despite being part of one of the top five companies in the world, is quite small. However, it is worth discussing because of the importance of the parent company and its potential for growth.

Currently, Google Fiber is only available in 21 cities in 15 states, leaving most of us out in the cold. The company began rolling out fiber optic networks in Kansas City in 2012 and then expanded moderately until the company decided to pause its growth in 2016. Plans to continue expansion have recently resumed, but do not extend to nationwide coverage.

The Google Fiber service is impressive. For just $70, users can enjoy 1Gbps upload and download speeds with no data caps and no contracts, delivered to their homes via two Google Wi-Fi devices. For an additional $30 per month, download speeds can be increased to 2 Gbps, one of the most generous consumer plans on the market, representing significant value. Time will tell if this service ever expands coast to coast. When it does, it will crush the competition with the best service of all.


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