Internet

Best Cable Internet Providers of 2021

Paula Novo
Paula Novo July 13, 2021

What is Cable Internet?

Similar to DSL, cable internet is a network that uses electrical signals to create a connection from an internet service provider to the home. But, instead of passing that signal through copper phone lines, cable internet runs on the same coaxial cables as your TV service. Coaxial cables are made of a sturdy outer material that allows the signal to travel faster and offers greater bandwidth for things like streaming movies or playing video games online. Today, 3 in 5 Americans subscribe to cable internet due to its wide availability and high speeds.

Top Cable Providers

AT&T

AT&T

  • Speeds up to 1000 Mbps
  • Cheap introductory pricing
Xfinity

Xfinity

  • Speeds up to 1,000 Mbps
  • 18+ million free WiFi hotspots
Spectrum

Spectrum

  • Speeds up to 940 Mbps
  • No contracts or ETFs
Cox

Cox

  • Speeds up to 940 Mbps
  • Elite Gamer service

How Cable Providers Stack Up

ProviderMax Download SpeedStarting PriceData Caps
AT&T1000 Mbps$35.00/mo.Yes
Cox1000 Mpbs$29.99/mo.Yes
Optimum1000 Mbps$35.00/mo.No
Spectrum1000 Mbps$49.99/mo.No
Suddenlink940 Mbps$30.00/mo.Yes
Xfinity2000 Mbps$29.99/mo.Yes
ProviderAT&T
Max Download Speed1000 Mbps
Starting Price$35.00/mo.
Data CapsYes
ProviderCox
Max Download Speed1000 Mpbs
Starting Price$29.99/mo.
Data CapsYes
ProviderOptimum
Max Download Speed1000 Mbps
Starting Price$35.00/mo.
Data CapsNo
ProviderSpectrum
Max Download Speed1000 Mbps
Starting Price$49.99/mo.
Data CapsNo
ProviderSuddenlink
Max Download Speed940 Mbps
Starting Price$30.00/mo.
Data CapsYes
ProviderXfinity
Max Download Speed2000 Mbps
Starting Price$29.99/mo.
Data CapsYes

*Data sourced 7/9/21. Pricing and speeds may vary by provider and location.

Is Cable Internet Right for Me?

Cable internet has a lot to offer if you’re looking for reliable internet at a reasonable price. Making up 3 out of 5 internet subscribers today, cable is widely available, moderately affordable, and offers speeds most households need to stay connected. Still, for some families, cable internet doesn’t match the overall performance of fiber internet. So, it’s best to compare all your options before selecting a provider.

Typically, cable internet is a great option for families with multiple connected devices. It’s also ideal for homes with smart security installed and users who frequently stream movies. However, one area where this connection lacks is upload speeds. Cable tends to cap out around 100 Mbps for upload speeds. This means people who require faster upload speeds – like remote workers or content creators – may want to consider looking at fiber internet for service.

thumb_upPros

  • check_circleIdeal for gaming and HD video streaming
  • check_circle3x more available than fiber

thumb_downCons

  • cancelSlower connection during peak hours
  • cancelHigher prices than DSL and satellite

How Cable Compares to Other Connection Types

spectrum of internet connection types and speed

Cable Internet FAQs

What kind of wire is used for cable internet?

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Cable internet runs along a coaxial cable, the same cable used for cable TV service. There is a copper or copper-plated steel line inside the coaxial cable that carries internet signals from an ISP to your home. Other wires used to transmit internet signals include telephone lines (for dial-up and DSL) and fiber-optic cables (for fiber).

Is cable internet available in remote areas?

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Cable internet is available to 90% of the U.S. population, primarily in urban and suburban communities. If you live in a rural location, you may not be able to get cable internet. However, DSL is slightly more available than cable, and satellites are available in most remote areas.

Is cable or DSL faster?

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Plans and speeds vary depending on location and which internet service provider you choose. However, cable internet does support higher bandwidth and overall faster speeds than DSL internet. With cable, you can experience more than 10x the speeds of DSL in select areas.

What is a good cable internet speed?

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Cable internet is capable of delivering speeds ranging from 25 Mbps to 1,000 Mbps, though average speeds hover around 250 Mbps. Most homes opt for internet speeds of 100 Mbps or higher, but a good speed really depends on your lifestyle.

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