Best cable Internet service

Internet Service Provider Review

Most areas of the U.S. have at least a few high-speed internet options and more than likely a few dial-up options available. To find the services available in your area consult our list of providers and once you narrow the list down to the internet service providers (ISPs) in your general area, you can find what specific services are available in your exact location. Visit the website of an ISP and input your address or phone number into the search tool to pinpoint exactly internet plans are available in your area.

Once you have determined what services are available to you, you need to decide what type of internet connection will satisfy your needs. If you have a landline telephone and only need the internet for checking email and other simple tasks, a dial-up service will work for you. If you have a landline telephone and use the internet primarily for checking email, reading articles or light research, a DSL service should satisfy your needs. However, if you are a moderate to heavy internet user and use it for gaming, watching movies or streaming music, you will want to look for a good cable or fiber optic service. Keep in mind that dial-up is typically one of the cheapest internet services you can buy.

A note on speed: Reported speed is the maximum speed expected in optimal conditions, but speed varies by area due to differences in physical infrastructure and environmental conditions. Speed related for dial-up, DSL and cable above are generally accepted speed numbers; however, there is some dispute about actual potential speed per technology.

We did extensive research to determine the best home internet providers, who can provide high-speed options to large markets, such as our top picks: Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon. You can also learn more about ISPs by reading our informative articles about internet service providers.

Internet Service Providers: What to Look For

Comparing wireless internet service providers is a difficult task. Most urban areas only offer a few high-speed choices, while rural areas often only have DSL, satellite or dial-up options. Choosing between different options can be a headache, especially with the aggressive advertising campaigns and opinionated customer reviews combating one another. To filter out the marketing hype and contentious criticism, we narrowed our focus to answer three simple questions: How fast is the connection? Where is it available? Can I get help if I need it?

Connection Speed
This area causes the most confusion. Most home internet services tout fast speeds, or report speeds in multiples of standard dial-up speed or even in potential kilobits per second (Kbps) or megabits per second (Mbps). However, reported speeds do not always match average performance speed; speeds vary greatly depending on the time of day and even your location. The posted speed is only the potential speed, not the actual average performance speed. We rated highest the services that can provide high-speed options such as cable or fiber optic connections coupled with good third-party tested speeds. The companies that offer dial-up rated higher if that company also provides faster DSL services.

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