What’s the Best Internet for Streaming?
Have you wanted to watch the latest movie on Netflix, enjoy live shows on YouTube, or jam to the latest songs on Spotify, but find your internet lagging? If so, you’ll benefit from learning about the best internet service providers (ISPs) for streaming.
Unlike other online activities, uninterrupted streaming depends on two things: a reliable network and download speed. But not all internet providers are equal. In this guide, we explore four top internet providers for your streaming needs: Verizon Fios, AT&T, Xfinity, and Viasat.
Plus, we’ll share the recommended speeds for each streaming type and review factors to consider when choosing the best internet provider for streaming.
Who this is for
Streaming requires a strong internet connection for seamless binge-watching, studying, gaming, or working remotely. Whether you’re a professional, a student who needs to watch educational videos, a gamer who wants to keep up with the latest streamers, or a parent who wants to enjoy family movie nights, you’ll want an ISP that allows you to stream quickly and seamlessly.
That said, streaming needs vary. For small households, a standard package of 100Mbps can offer plenty of streaming data. Larger households or people with heavy streaming needs may want to opt for a higher-end plan, which range from 1000Mbps to the fastest plan on the market, Xfinity’s 3000Mbps package.
Ensuring you have the best internet for streaming can mean the difference between effortlessly streaming your favorite show in 4K and waiting 10 minutes for a single video to load.
Verizon Fios offers 99.9% network reliability with unlimited data and no contract required to sign up. Verizon Fios offers three plans: a 200Mbps plan for $39.99/month, a 400Mbps plan for $64.99/month, and a 940Mbps option for $79.99/month. One downside to Verizon Fios is that it’s not widely available in many rural areas, but Verizon’s slower digital subscriber plans (DSL) can be a viable option.
Xfinity takes the cake for top speed with a plan that offers a massive 3000Mbps. At $299.95/month, this speed doesn’t come cheap. The good news is that you can get less expensive plans to meet your streaming needs: ranging from a 100Mbps plan for $40/month to a 1200Mbps for $70/month. You will also get free upgrades such as a voice remote, parental controls, and security protection tools. Xfinity does require contracts on some plans, so keep that in mind when choosing your ISP.
AT&T offers reliable fiber and hybrid-fiber internet, along with digital subscriber line (DSL) plans. Since most AT&T Fiber plans have unlimited data, gamers and Twitch streamers who are online for longer sessions won’t experience lag or disconnections. Hybrid-fiber plans may be available in rural and suburban areas, with pricing starting at $45/month for a 100Mbps plan and a 1TB data cap. If fiber is an option in your area, you can choose between AT&T’s 100Mbps plan for $35/month, 300Mbps plan for $45/month, or 1000Mbps for $65, the lowest price of any gigabit plan.
Viasat is a satellite-based internet provider that often services rural areas. It offers impressive upload and download speeds, reaching up to 100Mbps in some locations. Viasat’s data caps go up to 300GB/month with no extra fee for exceeding your prepaid limit — but your internet speed may decrease drastically. However, Viasat’s pricing for 100Mbps is on the high-end, starting at $200/month. Still, it may be the best, or only, option for streaming if you live in a rural area.
What others are saying
Verizon has earned a Readers’ Choice Award from PC Mag every year since 2006. In 2021, the company earned the highest customer satisfaction of 8.1 (out of 10) for a major national ISP and placed far ahead of its competitors.
According to CNET, Xfinity by Comcast has seen steady gains in customer satisfaction in recent years and now ranks in the top third for overall customer satisfaction. The company also enjoys the highest customer service rankings among cable internet providers.
AT&T’s earned rankings of #2 on the Best Internet Providers list, #2 on the Best Fiber Internet Providers list, and #3 on the Fastest Internet Providers list from U.S. News & World Report. The publication reports that AT&T’s base fiber package will work well for many households, with its high-end plan being best for multiple in-home streamers or gamers.
Viasat has received some consumer feedback on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website but made an effort to resolve every issue as satisfactorily as possible. The company’s timely responses to feedback have earned an A+ rating.
Internet streaming FAQs
How much internet speed do I need for streaming?
The recommended internet speeds for video streaming vary based on your unique content and platform needs.
Recommended internet speed based on need
- 3Mbps: Standard definition streaming for video
- 5Mbps: High definition streaming
- 25Mbps: Streaming videos in HDR or 4K
- 100Mbps: Multiple HD and 4K TV streaming and gaming
- 300+ Mbps: Multiple HD and 4K streaming and file uploading for multiple devices
Recommended internet speed based on platform
- 1-10Mbps: Amazon Prime Video, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music
- 3-25Mbps: Netflix, Twitch, Hulu, Disney Plus, YouTube TV, Apple TV+, Sling TV
- 8+ Mbps: Hulu+ Live TV
- 12+ Mbps: HBO Max, DIRECTV STREAM
How can I increase the speed of my internet?
To make your internet faster, check the number of devices connected. More than one device connected at the same time tends to reduce the speed of your internet. One solution is to upgrade your internet to avoid slow speeds when streaming. However, you can also limit apps running in the background when streaming, keep your router nearby, or even use an ethernet cable.
Choosing your provider
When determining which internet service is right for you, there are many factors to consider. Whether you’re looking for high-speed or fiber-optic internet in your area, there is a plan and ISP that will fit your browsing needs. Enter your address below to check availability in your area.
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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 1/24/22.
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.