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Explained: 5 Best Internet Service Providers for 2021

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ASUS AX5400 Dual Band Mesh WiFi 6 Gaming Router.

Amid the months-long coronavirus pandemic, having a reliable internet service provider has indeed become crucial for work, education, health care, and staying in touch with your loved ones.

The internet is no longer viewed as a technology that’s “nice to have”—it’s become essential for the national economy and many people’s livelihoods.

So, whether you’re shopping for an internet service provider for the first time or open to switching service, it is always in your best interest to know the facts before signing on the dotted line.

To give you even more confidence before settling on a potential internet service provider, here are five reputable companies to strongly consider.

Verizon Fios

For years, Verizon Fios has been known to surpass expectations when it comes to performance and reliability, with upload and download speeds being symmetrical, a key point for anyone who sends out a lot of data, like any sort of video conferencing.

Its fiber internet plans range from 200 to 940 Mbps, and there are no data caps limiting your monthly data usage. That is great news for anyone who uses the internet for more data-intensive activities like video streaming and video conference calls. The pricing is reasonable as well. The 200 Mbps is currently going for $40 per month, while the Gigabit Connection will set you back $80 per month (price can depend on if you sign up for automatic debit payment of your monthly bill, so beware). The only real downside is that the service is still limited mostly to the East Coast.

Comcast Xfinity

Comcast Xfinity boasts six cable and two fiber internet plans, which start as low as $20 per month for the first year for download speeds of 25 Mbps and upload speeds of 2 Mbps. The high-end packages can cost $70 per month for 600 Mbps download speeds and 20 Mbps upload speeds. Fiber internet plans are available in some areas up to 2 Gbps, but this will set you back as much as $300 per month, although 1 Gbps can be as low as $79.95, however, this is dependent on geographic location and likely if there is completion in your area from other providers offering similar speeds and service. Most users overall enjoy the service with generally favorable reviews across the country. Also, Netflix and SpeedTest rated it as one of the fastest internet service providers in their most recent rounds of testing.

Comcast Truck.

Comcast Truck.

AT&T Internet

You can rest assured AT&T Internet’s fiber-optic networks will be able to deliver incredibly fast internet speeds—climbing all the way up to 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) in some cities. These speeds are considered perfect for larger households with heavier internet activity, especially if you have children who like to stream a lot of content. As for the pricing, you can start on the one gig plan for $60 per month for the first year. Currently, AT&T Internet is available in twenty-one states, including Texas and California.

Charter Spectrum

Spectrum Internet, offered by Charter Communications, is known to offer fast speeds across the board, which bode well for larger families who enjoy intensive streaming and gaming. The company is currently offering download speeds of 200 Mbps for $50 per month for one year to new subscribers. The fastest plan, Spectrum Internet Gig, promises download speeds of 940 Mbps and upload speeds of 35 Mbps. Moreover, know that any plan comes with access to a nationwide network of Wi-Fi hotspots. Spectrum’s service is currently available in forty-two states.

Cox

If you’ve been looking for a budget-friendly internet service provider option, Cox could be your answer. There is currently an ultra-cheap $20 per month high-speed internet plan for select markets, while the 50 Mbps package can be had for a reasonable $30 per month and 150 Mbps plan for $50 per month. Cox is known to offer consistency and speed, as it was able to nab a number two ranking (behind Verizon Fios) on Netflix’s ISP Speed Index, a gauge of prime-time Netflix performance. Another highlight is that customers get access to more than 650,000 free nationwide Wi-Fi hotspots.

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.

Written By

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV.

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