What’s the Best Cable Internet Provider?
Depending on where you live, you likely have several options when it comes to choosing a provider for your cable internet connection. Spectrum internet is often touted as the best option for those looking to bundle internet with other services. Xfinity by Comcast offers some of the fastest speeds, while Cox Communication may be the best for gaming. Finally, Mediacom is known for being available outside of urban areas, making it a great choice for those in more rural locations.
So how can you determine the best cable internet provider for you, and how do they perform in terms of speed, cost, and customer service? We’ve done the research to help you learn all you need to know before choosing a cable internet provider.
The big players
Whether you’re looking to stream movies and TV shows in HD, play online games, hold video conference calls, browse on social media, or upload large files, you’ll need a cable internet service provider (ISP) that provides fast and reliable internet.
If you’re looking to bundle other home services, like home phone or TV, Spectrum may be the right choice for cable internet service. For the areas Spectrum serves, the most widely available options are the entry-level Internet plan with download speeds of 200Mbps, the Internet Ultra plan with download speed of up to 400Mbps, and the Spectrum Internet Gig plan with download speeds of up to 1000Mbps. All three options provide plenty of bandwidth to connect the whole family and you’ll get a discount if you bundle your choice of internet plan with other Spectrum services.
Depending on where you live, Xfinity by Comcast offers up to five different cable internet packages. Download speeds for Xfinity cable internet range between 50Mbps and 1200Mbps for the top tier. If you’re into sports, enjoy an all-access pass to your favorite games with the Xfinity Flex 4K streaming box at no extra cost. One consideration is that you might want to choose a plan with a speed of 600Mbps or more if you have a big family who likes to use Wi-Fi on multiple devices at once.
Cox offers a variety of cable internet plans, but the fastest plan offers up to 500Mbps of download speed. The most popular plan, with up to 150Mbps, allows you to connect multiple devices and work or game online with minimal interruption. If you want to stream 4K video on different devices, the 500Mbps plan, with a 1.25TB monthly data cap is likely to be a good choice.
For those in rural areas where other providers aren’t available, Mediacom might be the strongest—or only—option for cable internet. When it comes to speed, Mediacom offers customers download speeds as high as 1000Mbps, which is much faster than you can expect from DSL, satellite, or fixed wireless internet, which are common options in rural areas. Mediacom’s cable internet plans offer more than enough bandwidth for you and your family to stream your favorite show on multiple devices and for any gamers that want to hop online.
When looking for the best cable internet providers, you’ll likely want to consider ISPs based on your priorities. For instance, you might want to prioritize factors such as speed, price, availability and whether or not bonus features or discount that are available.
Here is what the top cable internet providers currently offer in some of these areas:
If you are looking for a standalone cable internet plan that offers consistent speed and good network availability with no data caps, Spectrum internet could be a great choice. With coverage across 41 states, impressive 400Mbps speeds and data caps that reach as high as 6,000GB, workaholics and enthusiastic gamers will rejoice in having unlimited ability to download, upload and stream.
In rural areas, Mediacom customers will likely have access to three or four plans with speeds up to 1000Mbps, each offering its own data cap. In addition to offering a range of plans, Mediacom is also known for its reliable connection, making it a great choice for those in remote areas who rely on their internet connection for work and school, as well as for entertainment.
Xfinity is not only the largest cable internet service provider but also the fastest in the game. They offer impressive 1200Mbps download speeds, which is faster than the 940Mbps or 1000Mbps plans offered by other cable ISPs in the market. Xfinity also has a new, even faster plan called Gigabit Pro with top speeds of up to 2000Mbps, which is ideal for streaming on multiple devices and uploading huge files. The only consideration with this plan is it relies on fiber connections and may not be available in the same markets where Xfinity offers cable internet service.
Cox cable internet service boasts impressive download speeds that top 1000Mbps and offer four cable internet plans starting at $29.99/month for 25Mbps. This combination of speed and low monthly pricing makes Cox a more affordable option compared to other cable ISPs.
What others are saying
While the American Customer Satisfaction Index reports that Spectrum falls below the industry average in terms of rating, with a customer satisfaction score of 6.3 out of 10, it saw a 7 percent increase in its score between 2019 and 2021. Xfinity also saw an increase in its customer satisfaction score, beating out Spectrum by a small margin with a score of 6.6 in 2020 and 6.7 in 2021. This score landed Xfinity in the top three cable ISPs, falling behind only AT&T and Verizon Fios. Cox tied with Spectrum, earning a 6.3 out of 10 customer rating in 2021.
Mediacom has been improving its ranking among ISPs in recent years. However, according to CNET it hasn’t been enough, as the company still ranks below average in customer satisfaction. CNET gave the company a customer satisfaction score of 6.0 out of 10.
Cable internet provider FAQs
How fast is cable internet?
Cable internet can support download speeds that range from 25Mbps to 1000Mbps and upload speeds that range from 25Mbps to up to 500Mbps. This range of speeds generally provides enough bandwidth for most homes and small businesses.
Which is better, cable internet or fiber internet?
Fiber-optic typically deliver faster internet speeds compared to cable, but cable internet is much more reliable and often cheaper depending on which providers are in your area. Overall, fiber and cable are both reliable internet connections and the best fit for your individual needs largely depends on your location and ISP coverage and availability.
Where is cable internet available?
Because of its affordability, wide availability, and speeds, cable internet is one of the most common connections in the US. However, it is most common is urban and suburban areas than it is in rural or remote areas due to the infrastructure needed to deliver the service to customers.
Does weather affect cable internet?
Yes. Unfortunately, cable internet is very susceptible to outages due to the weather. Heavy rain can cause cable internet to go out, as can wind and other natural occurrences.
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*Pricing varies by location and availability. Speeds may vary. All prices subject to change; for current pricing and availability visit our internet service page. Prices as of 2/16/22.
Disclosure | Updater articles are based on our own data and research, independent from partner relationships. We are not compensated by partners for information and opinions presented here. Our Editorial Terms of Service can be found here.