Best internet providers in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
The best internet option available to the most people in Chapel Hill is AT&T fiber. AT&T offers good value for extremely fast speeds. Google Fiber is a little more limited in availability, but if you can get it, it has a strong reputation in the area. If you live in an area without any fiber options, Spectrum sells fast cable internet almost everywhere in Chapel Hill.
Our top 3 ISP choices in Chapel Hill, NC
Our top three recommendations for internet in Chapel Hill are AT&T, Google Fiber, and Spectrum.
#1: AT&T internet
AT&T is our top-rated internet provider nationwide, and it covers almost 80% of Chapel Hill. It’s not quite as cheap as Google Fiber for gig speeds, but it has several different price and speed tiers to choose from—all of which should be enough for most households. Some existing AT&T customers might still have legacy DSL service, but AT&T no longer offers DSL to new customers. Between the two, fiber is the much faster, more reliable option, anyway.
Read our full AT&T internet review.
#2: Google Fiber internet
Google Fiber is another fantastic choice for fast, reliable internet service. Its 1 gig plan costs about $10 less per month than what you’d pay with AT&T, but we’ve ranked it in second place because Google has much more limited availability than AT&T does in the area. Residents who live in areas with Google Fiber give it highly positive reviews overall.
Read our full Google Fiber internet review.
#3: Spectrum internet
Basically everyone in Chapel Hill has access to Spectrum internet. Unlike AT&T and Google Fiber, Spectrum is a cable provider, meaning that its upload speeds are lower than what you’d see with the fiber providers, and its service may not be as reliable. With max download speeds hitting a very competitive 1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps), it’s still a solid choice. Spectrum also offers some budget plans for those looking to save money with lower speeds, but keep an eye on second-year price hikes.
Read our full Spectrum internet review.
All internet providers in Chapel Hill
Aside from our top recommendations, most of your internet options in Chapel Hill will be limited to either fixed wireless providers like T-Mobile, Verizon, and US Cellular, or satellite providers like Starlink, Viasat, and HughesNet.
Fixed wireless uses cellular signals for home internet. Even with the best plans, its speeds max out at around 100–300 Mbps, and it’s more impacted by weather interference than wired connections are. However, because many of the fixed wireless providers also offer cell plans, you can sometimes save money by bundling your mobile phone with home internet.
Satellite internet is the slowest, most expensive, and least reliable option. Because Chapel Hill has many other options that cover the entire area, we don’t generally recommend satellite.
A very small percentage of residences in Chapel Hill can get Frontier fiber internet service. Frontier’s fiber offerings rank right up there with AT&T and Google Fiber, so it’s a solid option if you’re one of the lucky few who can get it.
Fastest internet providers in Chapel Hill
AT&T has the fastest internet in Chapel Hill with download and upload speeds up to 5,000 Mbps (5 Gbps). That’s way, way faster than pretty much any household needs. Google Fiber maxes out at an also-very-fast 2,000 Mbps download/1,000 Mbps upload speed, and cable provider Spectrum has speeds up to 1,000 Mbps download/500 Mbps upload. All of those speeds should be plenty for most people, even heavy internet users.
How much speed do you need?
Cheapest internet providers in Chapel Hill
Spectrum offers the cheapest internet plans in Chapel Hill at almost every speed tier—for the first year. Its gig internet plan may have cheaper first-year pricing than what you’d pay for a fiber provider, but prices will jump after the first year unless you cancel or negotiate your price.
If you want other cheap options, fixed wireless providers T-Mobile and Verizon offer some significant discounts if you bundle fixed wireless with specific cell phone plans. If you’re already a customer of either provider, that might be a good option to save some cash.
Google Fiber has the cheapest fiber plans, and unlike Spectrum, it doesn’t have price hikes over time.
Internet options in nearby cities
Spectrum covers almost everywhere in the nearby area. AT&T also has pretty widespread coverage, but other providers like Google Fiber, Frontier, or Brightspeed will vary city to city. Learn about internet options in each city.
What Chapel Hill residents are saying on Reddit
We scoured recent social media threads from both Chapel Hill and the broader Raleigh-Durham area to see what locals are saying about internet service. In general, the consensus seems to be that Google Fiber and AT&T fiber are the best options with the fewest headaches or outages. Spectrum might be the only option in some areas, but customers have more complaints about the consistency of Spectrum’s service. Read some local discussions about internet service.
Got spectrum against my better judgment. Supposed to have 400 mbps it varies from 1 to 50 mbps with occasional 100. Tech said hook ups passed with flying colors and maybe if I had their equipment it would be better.
Would it be above 50 consistently if I got their modem or ditch before my second week and get at&t?
Edit: got their equipment and seems to be working in the 300mbps now. I'll update again if issues comeback. Thank you everyone for the input.
I can’t speak for them over the past 2 years because they sucked and I left them for AT&T fiber. But I had the up to 200mbs plan and consistently got about 60. When Covid hit and everyone stated working from home I got 25mbs. My equipment wasn’t shit. Their service is.
I consistently get 650+ on my iPhone and iPad with AT&T fiber 1000gbs plan.
Updater app customer service operator told me spectrum is the most popular choice in my area, but from what I have read on this subreddit it sucks. Posts are a few years old, I just wanted to check what the current situation is. Thanks for help in advance!
ATT Fiber has been solid for me. I used Spectrum cable before and didn't have problems, but for me it cost more than ATT and was slower.
Google Fiber is available in parts of town, but I don't have experience with it.
Moving here and don’t want crappy internet. Can someone help a brother out?
Spectrum is the waffle house of providers. They are almost always an option no matter what but experience can vary greatly based on location.
I am grateful for their coverage but wish they would make an effort to replace last mile coax with fiber where the coax loops clearly have persistent issues. I would be happy to pay 2x what TWC charged if they did more proactive upgrades on the last mile.
AT&T on the other hand is the gas station bodega of providers. Sometimes you get a gleaming Sheetz palace at 3am with full food service. If you are out in the middle of nowhere you get a Stop-n-Sip with day old tuna fish and egg sandwiches in a lukewarm cooler if you are lucky.
Looking to hear about your experience In the north Raleigh area, which of the two would be better? I see they are close in rates but which would suck less?
I work from home for the time being so a consistent and strong connection is important.
I’m in Cary, but I switched to AT&T from Spectrum over a year ago and internet connection is MUCH better. I have no regrets. Two people work from home in my household. Not sure if this will apply to North Raleigh area.
Just wondering if anybody else is using any of the 5G home internet providers in the area and what they think about it.
I've got tmobile at the moment and when it first started I was getting some pretty nice speeds (almost up to 200Mbps down), but now it's slowed to a crawl for the past few months (~5mbps down!) and it doesn't have a reliable 5G signal anymore. The rep offered a replacement modem, but that didn't seem to help.
Wondering if I should give verzion home internet a try or just go back to getting gouged by spectrum.
Spectrum is our main but we added Verizon two years ago. I work at home FT and we have a ton of issues with Spectrum. It's out at least once a week and they claim it's because of old cabling, which is probably accurate but we rarely had an issue before Spectrum took over from Time Warner. My husband and i connect all of our wifi devices (including smart tvs and Roku) only to Verizon wifi and have never lost service. When we lose Spectrum, i disconnect my laptop's hardwire & connect to Verizon wifi, again no issues. Also when the power goes out, we still have internet. We use our generator to power our devices and that's been awesome. I'm not ready to totally give up a traditional connection yet, but we do actually like the Verizon service a lot. It's been reliable for us. For reference, we're west Raleigh near Cary and we rarely have any issues with Verizon wireless in our area.
Internet news and infrastructure in Chapel Hill, NC
Chapel Hill already has strong internet infrastructure, with 95% of homes having access to internet speeds of 250 Mbps or more. (1) Fiber is the biggest area of expansion, since it isn’t accessible to all households yet. Google Fiber claims to have added fiber to tens of thousands of homes in the Raleigh-Durham area in 2022, with plans to continue expanding. (2) If you don’t have Google yet, you can sign up to have Google alert you when fiber is available at your address. In our experience, however, “coming soon” could be a matter of years, not months.
AT&T, on the other hand, has given some indication of slowing its fiber rollout. According to a report from Bloomberg, AT&T plans to cut back its fiber expansion plans by 39% in 2023. (3)
Frequently asked internet questions in Chapel Hill
AT&T is a fiber internet provider (with some legacy DSL areas), while Spectrum is a cable internet provider. Fiber internet has higher maximum download and upload speeds—AT&T can reach 5 Gbps, while Spectrum’s top speed is 1 Gbps. However, most households won’t notice a practical difference between the two speeds.
Spectrum offers some cheaper plans than AT&T does, but it raises prices after the first year, while AT&T doesn’t.
See how we rate AT&T and Spectrum side by side.
We scored both AT&T fiber and Google Fiber very highly for value, speed, and customer service. AT&T has a higher max speed of 5 Gbps compared to Google Fiber’s 2 Gbps, but both of these speeds are much higher than most people need. Google’s 1 Gbps plan is slightly cheaper than AT&T’s plan at the same speed, but AT&T has a much broader footprint than Google’s, which is limited to very few cities across the US.
Compare AT&T and Google Fiber side by side.
Xfinity isn’t available in most of North Carolina, aside from a very small area just over the Virginia border. Spectrum is the most comparable internet service provider (ISP) in North Carolina, with wide coverage across most of the state. See how Xfinity compares to Spectrum.
In Chapel Hill, fiber providers AT&T and Google Fiber are the best options for working from home. Because fiber has symmetrical upload and download speeds, you will have an easier time doing video calls or uploading large files. Unlike cable, fiber customers also don’t have to worry about their internet slowing down if neighboring houses are online at the same time.
- “FCC national broadband map,” Federal Communications Commission. Accessed 20 March 2023.
- “The Triangle,” Google Fiber. Accessed 20 March 2023.
- “Verizon, AT&T scale back fiber rollout for fast internet amidst slowing economy,” Bloomberg. Accessed 20 March 2023.