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Best cheap internet providers of 2023


Headshot of Brittany McGhee
Researched by
Brittany McGheeContributing Writer
Reviewed by
Updated 2/2/23

Frontier is our top choice for the best cheap internet provider. You get the incredible performance of fiber, plus no-nonsense terms. No contract is required, data is unlimited, and a router is included at no extra cost. At $50 per month for 500 Mbps speeds, the value is undeniable.

Best cheap internet providers for affordability and speed

Editor's choice
Frontier Communications
Frontier Communications brand
Staff rating
4.1
Customer rating
3.8
  • Plans starting at $54.99 - $164.99
  • Download speeds up to 5000 Mbps
  • Upload speeds up to 5000 Mbps

Offer details: Subject to availability. Cannot be combined with other offers. Other restrictions, Frontier policies and service terms apply. For a list of terms, view disclaimers

Runner-up
Verizon Fios
Verizon Fios brand
Staff rating
4.2
Customer rating
4.3
  • Plans starting at $49.99 - $110.00
  • Download speeds up to 940 Mbps
  • Upload speeds up to 880 Mbps

Offer details: Availability and pricing are subject to location. Conditions apply.

Runner-up
Xfinity
Xfinity brand
Staff rating
3.8
Customer rating
4.2
  • Plans starting at $19.99 - $299.95
  • Download speeds up to 6000 Mbps
  • Upload speeds up to 6000 Mbps

Offer details: Availability and pricing are subject to location. Conditions apply. For offer details, visit the provider's website.

Runner-up
WOW!
WOW! brand
Staff rating
3.6
Customer rating
4.0
  • Plans starting at $9.99 - $199.98
  • Download speeds up to 1200 Mbps
  • Upload speeds up to 50 Mbps

Offer details: Availability and pricing are subject to location. Conditions apply. For offer details, view disclaimers

Methodology

We’ve rounded up the best cheap internet providers so you can get the speed your family needs without breaking your budget.

Even if you avoid the most expensive plans out there, costs can add up quickly with internet service. We’ve looked beyond monthly plan prices and included information on equipment rental fees, introductory pricing, installation fees, contracts, and other terms, so you have a better understanding of the total cost of these providers’ plans.

Getting a good deal doesn’t mean you should have to compromise on getting the performance you want. The providers included in this list have plans with speeds ranging from 50 Mbps to 500 Mbps, all for under $60/month.

Internet routers stand on a pedestal

#1: Frontier internet

Frontier Communications brand
Staff rating
4.1
Customer rating
3.8
Price: $54.99 - $164.99
Pros

  • Well-priced fiber plans
  • Fast speeds
  • No data caps
Cons

  • Limited fiber availability
  • Slow DSL in non-fiber areas
  • Poor customer service reputation

Specifications
Speed: 500 Mbps - 5000 Mbps

Offer details: Subject to availability. Cannot be combined with other offers. Other restrictions, Frontier policies and service terms apply. For a list of terms, view disclaimers

Frontier offers excellent value on its fiber plans—if you can get them

With Frontier, you can get fiber internet service with 500 Mbps speeds for $50 per month. Since it’s a fiber connection, the download and upload speed are equally fast. With this performance, you’ll have no problem with streaming, video calls, gaming, or working from home with multiple users. Frontier’s plan costs the same as Verizon’s cheapest fiber plan but is 200 Mbps faster, making it a better value than competitors.

Frontier doesn’t require a contract unless you accept one of its optional special offers. Prices are locked in for 12 months, after which Frontier might choose to raise your rate. A router is included in the monthly plan cost, which saves you from having to pay a rental fee or purchase your own. There is no data cap, so there’s no need to worry about being charged overage fees. Activation for DSL internet costs $85, and you can't order online. We recommend negotiating with your rep on the phone to see if you can get the fee removed.

The deactivation fee is $10 when you cancel service. Just make sure you sign up for auto-pay, or the monthly price goes up by $5.

#2: Verizon Fios internet

Verizon Fios brand
Staff rating
4.2
Customer rating
4.3
Price: $49.99 - $110.00
Pros

  • Reliable, symmetrical speeds
  • No contracts
  • 10-year price guarantee
Cons

  • Limited availability
  • No plan above 1 gig

Specifications
Speed: 300 Mbps - 940 Mbps

Offer details: Availability and pricing are subject to location. Conditions apply.

Verizon Fios is fast, affordable fiber internet

You can get a no-contract fiber plan from Verizon Fios for $50 per month with 300 Mbps speeds, unlimited data, and a router included. This should be plenty of speed for most households with typical usage, even if it isn’t as fast as what Frontier offers for the same price. And if you bundle service with certain 5G mobile plans, the price drops to $25 per month.

Your monthly price is guaranteed to stay the same for two years, which is a year longer than Frontier offers and better than many other competitors too. You can get the $99 installation costs waived if you order online, and there are no early termination fees. You’ll want to sign up for auto-pay to avoid paying an extra $10 per month.

#3: Xfinity internet

Xfinity brand
Staff rating
3.8
Customer rating
4.2
Price: $19.99 - $299.95
Pros

  • Consistently fast speeds
  • Wide availability around the country
  • Competitive pricing, especially for budget plans
Cons

  • Data caps on slower plans (unless you pay more)
  • Inconsistent pricing and speed availability
  • Reputation for poor customer service

Specifications
Speed: 25 Mbps - 6000 Mbps

Offer details: Availability and pricing are subject to location. Conditions apply. For offer details, visit the provider's website.

Xfinity's budget broadband internet plans are a great deal

Xfinity has two different inexpensive cable plans with download speeds of 50 Mbps and 100 Mbps. That’s not as fast as the fiber plans on this list, but Xfinity is widely available and has cheap introductory pricing. A plan with 50 Mbps may be too slow for some, but 100 Mbps should be fine for most small families without unusually heavy internet use. These plans start at around $20 per month and $40 per month respectively with a $10 auto-pay discount.

Pricing depends on your location, and a one-year contract is required to get the lowest price. After the initial pricing, the cost for each plan will go up, and both have the same regular rate of $60. Compared to many competitors, these price hikes aren't too bad.

#4: WOW! internet

WOW! brand
Staff rating
3.6
Customer rating
4.0
Price: $9.99 - $199.98
Pros

  • Low costs
  • Optional contracts
  • Award-winning customer service
Cons

  • Limited upload speed
  • Not ideal for online gaming
  • Availability in only 9 states

Specifications
Speed: 50 Mbps - 1200 Mbps

Offer details: Availability and pricing are subject to location. Conditions apply. For offer details, view disclaimers

WOW! offers affordable cable options, with some regional variability

WOW! offers a range of affordable cable internet plans worth considering, with low initial pricing for their speeds compared to other providers. The fastest plan is 1.2 gigs at around $100 per month and the slowest is 50 Mbps at around $20 per month, giving you a lot of options no matter your budget. The monthly price includes an auto-pay discount, and after the first year proices go up around $20 to $45 per month.

Prices and availability depend on your location. Usually contracts aren’t required, but when they are, there are early termination fees. That's a common practice among competitors, too . Some areas are able to get unlimited data, while others will have a data cap of 1–1.5 TB. If you go over your data limit, you’ll be charged $10 for 50 GB more data. You can rent a router for $14 per month or bring your own, and self-installation is free.

What to consider when choosing a cheap internet provider

When choosing the best cheap internet providers, we focused primarily on cost and performance, though we also looked at how satisfied customers were with their service (1).

A woman weighs cost and performance to decide the best internet for her

Cost

All the providers included in this ranking have plans in an affordable price range, with monthly plan prices starting as low as $10 (with introductory pricing) and not exceeding $60 (even after introductory pricing).

Monthly plan prices are only part of what you’ll end up paying for internet service, so we’ve also included information about other costs you can expect and sometimes avoid, like fees for equipment rental, professional installation, and data overages. Many providers require contracts, have steep price increases after the first year, or come with data caps, so we’ve also noted this.

There are plenty of ways to save on your internet bill. For almost every internet service provider, setting up automatic payments and paperless billing will save you money each month. Plus, low-income households can get $30 per month discounts on internet service through the Affordable Connectivity Program.

Performance

The providers included in this ranking offer either cable or fiber plans and a range of speeds that can meet the needs of most households.

Fiber plans have the best overall performance and speeds that can support heavier internet use. Fiber is a great choice for households with multiple users. Cable plans with speeds of 100 Mbps or more will be able to handle normal internet use for a family that surfs and streams. Cable plans with 50 Mbps are best for individuals and families with more limited usage.

Unlimited data plans are ideal, but we have included some providers with reasonably high data caps of 1 TB or more, which should be enough to accommodate most.

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The people behind our research
We believe the best information comes from first-hand customer experience and methodical research by subject-matter experts. We never source information from "content farms," and we don’t generate content using artificial intelligence (AI). You can trust that our recommendations are fact-checked meticulously and sourced appropriately by authentic, industry-recognized people.
Contributing researcher
Headshot of Brittany McGhee
Researched by
Brittany McGheeContributing Writer

Brittany is a Contributing Writer for Switchful with over five years of experience writing about technology in the US and Europe. Her primary focus is on mobile and internet topics. She is passionate about helping people choose the right tech for their needs at the right price.


Endnotes and sources

1. "Internet Service Providers," ASCI. Accessed 21 December 2022.