The internet has given us more shopping options than even a millennial like me could have ever imagined. With a quick search, a click and a credit card, you can order just about anything from any corner of the world. It’s ironic, then, that our options feel so limited once we start shopping around for our internet connection itself.
Save for satellite providers, which are available everywhere in the US, internet service providers (ISPs for short) tend to operate in specific regions. Even the best internet providers are limited in their service areas, though some offer greater coverage than others. Consequently, the available internet providers, connection types and speeds you can get will depend entirely on where you live — and the same goes for the cost of your connection.Get the CNET Home newsletter
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So, how do you find internet providers in your area? It’s not always easy, but hopefully this page will help. The tool below uses proprietary technology to identify available internet providers in your ZIP code and display the details of the plans those providers offer in your area. Below the tool, you’ll find a broader overview of internet provider availability and lots of maps from the Federal Communications Commission to shed further light on where the top ISPs offer service.We did some ISP availability research for you
Well, I should say our technology did some ISP availability research for you. Even after years of covering internet providers, I probably couldn’t tell you right off the top of my head which providers are available in your area or what plans they offer. However, our proprietary ISP search tool (above), can do just that.
Let’s say you’re searching for “food near me” on your computer or phone. The results will pull up local spots in your area where you can go to grab a bite to eat, even though you didn’t have to enter your location. A couple factors, such as your IP address or geolocation if using your phone, make it possible to identify your general location and provide the most relevant results.
Our ISP search tool works in much the same way to return results of internet providers in your area. It’s not perfect, though, so if the displayed ZIP code is a little off, or if you’re moving to a new location and want to check out your options ahead of time, just change the ZIP to prompt a new search with updated results. We ask for your ZIP code to ensure we’re providing the most accurate results, and that’s it. Our money is made from advertising and partnerships with the providers, not from your data.Internet provider availability overview
ISP availability is always changing, which is why the FCC updates provider data twice per year (see CNET’s breakdown of the latest FCC data by Ry Crist). It’s this data that we use to determine available internet providers in your area and the technologies they use.
According to the FCC, 99.96% of US residents have access to a broadband internet connection, which it defines as one that can provide download speeds up to 25 megabits per second and upload speeds of 3Mbps. On top of that, around 96% will have at least three options for broadband internet.
The lived experience of the broadband divide suggests those FCC numbers are a little high, and satellite internet may be the reason why. When you remove satellite technology from the list, broadband availability drops to 96%, with less than a third of US residents having three or more options. As you go up in speed from 25 to 100, 250 and 1,000Mbps, it’s evident that high-speed options can be limited. Faster speeds and better access to them could be on the way, however, as the Senate recently introduced a bill to invest billions in US broadband infrastructure.Internet availability by technology
The available internet tech type can make a big difference in available speeds and performance. Fiber internet is the preferred option, as it comes with the best upload and download speed potential, not to mention superior reliability, but availability is still relatively low. Unless you live in or near a large city, it’s unlikely that fiber internet will be available near you.
Cable internet is another popular choice for high-speed internet in many areas, boasting much higher availability than fiber internet but without the fast upload speeds or same reliability. DSL and fixed wireless internet are excellent rural internet options, but can’t compare to the speeds or reliability of fiber or cable connections.Internet connection type availability Connection type National availability 25Mbps or higher coverage 100Mbps or higher coverage 250Mbps or higher coverage 1,000Mbps or higher coverage Cable 89% 89% 88% 84% 2% DSL 89% 42% 22% 0% 0% Fiber 45% 45% 41% 37% 21% Fixed wireless 43% 36% 14% 4% 1% Top internet providers by availabilityAT&T: Available in 21 states and to more than 41% of US residents Xfinity: Available in 39 states and to more than 36% of US residentsSpectrum: Available in 41 states and to more than 33% of US residentsVerizon: Available in 9 states and to more than 17% of US residentsCenturyLink: Available in 36 states and to more than 16% of US residentsFrontier: Available in 25 states and to more than 10% of US residentsCox: Available in 18 states and to more than 6% of US residentsAltice brands: Available in 21 states and to more than 5% of US residentsRise Broadband: Available in 16 states and to more than 5% of US residentsMediacom: Available in 22 states and to more than 2% of US residentsWindstream: Available in 18 states and to more than 2% of US residents
There’s a good chance one or more of the providers listed above are available in your area. You’ll find detailed information about each provider’s availability and network below.FCC/Mapbox
AT&T is the most widely available internet provider (excluding satellite) in the US. AT&T internet may be available near you if you live in or are moving to the South or Midwest, as well as parts of California, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Nevada.
Much of AT&T’s network is DSL-based and can offer speeds of 75Mbps or higher depending on your location. Around 30% of those in AT&T service areas will be eligible for fiber and have access to gigabit speeds — download speeds of 1,000Mbps are available in more than 99% of AT&T fiber service areas.FCC/Mapbox
Xfinity is the largest cable internet provider in the US, extending broadband service to more than a third of residents. Xfinity may be available in your area if you live in the mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Midwest or along the West Coast, but random pockets of serviceability can be found in much of the South as well as parts of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.
Xfinity largely employs a cable network for service. By largely, I mean 99.98% is cable or a cable/fiber hybrid by the FCC’s numbers. While Xfinity does advertise a fiber network and 2-gig plans, availability is super scarce, to the tune of 0.02% of Xfinity service areas.FCC/Mapbox
Spectrum is the second-largest cable provider in the US behind Xfinity, covering more than a third of the population across 41 states. Though the two providers cover nearly 70% of US households combined, there is little to no overlap in serviceability as Spectrum mainly operates in areas where Xfinity does not.
Since Spectrum covers so many states, there’s a possibility that you could be eligible for service just about anywhere, even Hawaii, but those on the East Coast or in the Midwest are most likely to find Spectrum internet to be available.
Like Xfinity, Spectrum mostly employs a cable or cable/fiber network with few true fiber connections available (less than 1% of service areas are eligible for fiber service). Spectrum makes good use of its cable network, however, as gigabit download speeds are available in 99.98% of service areas.FCC/Mapbox
Verizon Fios and Verizon Home Internet (its DSL service) cover much of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic. Though service is only available in nine states, Verizon still covers an impressive 17% of US residents, thanks largely to the provider’s extensive fiber coverage in cities such as Baltimore, Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
Nearly two-thirds of Verizon’s network is fiber, which is a higher fiber percentage than you’ll find from just about any major provider. With such a large fiber network, Verizon is capable of delivering fast upload and download speeds to more than 37 million people. The remaining third of those who are eligible for Verizon internet will have access to the provider’s DSL service, which cannot offer broadband speeds in any location, according to the FCC.FCC/Mapbox
CenturyLink is available in 36 states but only to 16% of the US population, implying that the provider largely operates in rural or suburban areas. There are some major cities, such as Denver, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and Seattle; otherwise, look for CenturyLink to be available just outside the city.
If you live in a city where CenturyLink is available, there’s a good chance you’ll be eligible for fiber service as around a quarter of CenturyLink’s network is fiber. More than 75% of CenturyLink customers will have access to DSL service, but CenturyLink does a good job of delivering relatively fast speeds over its DSL network. The FCC reports around 60% of DSL customers can get broadband speeds, and more than 27% can get speeds of 100Mbps or higher.FCC/Mapbox
Frontier Communications lost a chunk of its network after selling fiber and DSL lines in the Pacific Northwest to Ziply Fiber in 2020, but the provider is still one of the largest fiber and DSL providers, covering around a tenth of US residents across 25 states. Frontier serviceability is greatest in the Midwest, but there’s also a good chance Frontier is available in your area if you live in California, Connecticut, upstate New York or West Virginia.
Frontier has made an effort to increase its fiber coverage in recent years. The provider remained at around 33% fiber coverage from December 2019 to June 2020, in spite of losing all fiber networks in the Pacific Northwest, indicating that fiber availability is improving in other areas. If Frontier fiber service has not yet reached your area, DSL may be a plausible broadband option. Speeds of 25Mbps or higher are available to around a third of customers, while 10% of those in Frontier service areas can get speeds of 100Mbps or higher.FCC/Mapbox
Cox Communications is the third largest cable provider in the US, but overall availability is far lower than Xfinity and Spectrum, covering less than 7% of residents across 18 states. Cox is most likely to be available in your area if you live in Las Vegas, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, San Diego or anywhere in the state of Rhode Island.
Like with Xfinity and Spectrum, cable or cable/fiber makes up the bulk of the Cox network, but the provider does boast a larger fiber network at 5% coverage. Download speeds up to 1,000Mbps are available in all Cox service areas, but those who are lucky enough to be eligible for fiber service can enjoy symmetrical upload and download speeds. FCC/Mapbox
Altice covers around 5% of US residents through its Optimum and Suddenlink brands. Optimum is available in fewer states than Suddenlink, but likely covers a larger share of the population as coverage spans much of the greater NYC area and parts of Pennsylvania.
Altice primarily uses a cable or cable/fiber hybrid network to deliver service, but the company has invested in fiber expansion in recent years. Optimum, for example, now extends fiber internet service to more than 1 million residents in the NYC area.
Another Altice brand, Suddenlink, is available everywhere outside of Pennsylvania and the greater NYC area in the map above. West Virginia residents have the greatest Suddenlink availability, but those in parts of Arkansas, Louisiana or Texas may find Suddenlink internet in their area.
According to the FCC, Altice’s cable network, most likely on the Suddenlink side, lacks the same capabilities of other cable networks. Speeds of 250Mbps or higher are only available to 90% of customers, while only 44% can get speeds of 500Mbps or higher. Gig speeds, up to 1,000Mbps, are only available to around 39% of customers. For comparison, cable providers Cox, Spectrum, Xfinity offer gig service in nearly 100% of service areas.
Rise Broadband is the nation’s largest fixed wireless provider, available to around 5% of the US population throughout parts of 16 states. Fixed wireless internet doesn’t require a cable or phone line to your home, making it ideal for rural internet service. Consequently, rural areas are where you’re most likely to find Rise Broadband, especially those in the central US or rural parts of Idaho, Nevada and Texas.
Getting broadband service to rural areas can be a challenge, but Rise Broadband does a decent job. Around 83% of those in Rise Broadband service areas can get speeds up to 25Mbps or higher, totaling around 14 million largely rural residents who may otherwise not have access to a broadband connection.FCC/Mapbox
Mediacom covers random areas throughout much of the Midwest, but you’ll find service in parts of the South along the Gulf Coast and in southern Georgia, as well as parts of eastern North Carolina and along the southern Delaware/Maryland border. All in all, Mediacom is available to just over 2% of US residents with coverage spanning 22 states.
If Mediacom provides internet in your area, expect a cable connection that can deliver gigabit download speeds. A full 100% of Mediacom’s network is cable and 97% of those in Mediacom service areas are eligible for speeds up to 1,000Mbps.
Kinetic by WindstreamFCC/Mapbox
Another champion of rural areas, Windstream’s internet service, Kinetic, is available in 18 states but only 2% of the US population. Kinetic internet may be available in your area if you live in a rural or suburban area in the South or Midwest, but Kinetic coverage does reach as far west as New Mexico. Iowa, Georgia, Kentucky and Texas have the greatest Kinetic serviceability, but you may also find Kinetic internet near you in parts of Arkansas, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania, among other states.
If Kinetic internet is available near you, it’s likely to be DSL service as fiber makes up just over a quarter of the Kinetic network. Though DSL is typically slower than cable or fiber service, Kinetic DSL is capable of delivering speeds of 25Mbps or higher in an impressive 85% of service areas. Around 64% will have access to speeds of 100Mbps or higher while nearly 8% may be eligible for speeds of 250Mbps or higher. That’s the fastest DSL service you’re likely to find from any provider.
A dozen or so internet providers make up the majority of internet serviceability, but there are literally thousands of smaller ISPs that operate in hyperlocal markets. Providers such as RCN, Ziply Fiber and WideOpenWest, among many, many others, do a great job of serving their local communities, but there are simply too many to list here.
If you didn’t see a provider you know to be available in your area in the search tool towards the top of the page, don’t worry. We’re working to get them in there to give you a full, accurate picture of the best internet providers in your area.