Internet

Best Fiber Internet Providers of 2021

Paula Novo
Paula Novo July 13, 2021

What is Fiber Internet?

Fiber internet is a connection that uses light, rather than electric signals, to transfer data along fiber-optic cables. These “cables” are thin, transparent glass fibers that transmit data at the speed of light. Fiber offers the fastest speeds, delivers the greatest home coverage, and supports the most device connectivity among connection types. However, since it’s not as widely available as DSL and cable internet, it makes up only 1 in 5 internet subscribers nationwide.

Top Fiber Providers

AT&T

AT&T

  • Speeds up to 940 Mbps
  • Nationwide availability
CenturyLink

CenturyLink

  • Speeds up to 940 Mbps
  • Price for Life Guarantee
Spectrum

Spectrum

  • Speeds up to 940 Mbps
  • Unlimited data available
Cox

Cox

  • Speeds up to 1000 Mbps
  • Best cheap plans

How Fiber Providers Stack Up

ProviderMax Download SpeedStarting PriceData Caps
AT&T1000 Mbps$35.00/mo.Yes
CenturyLink940 Mbps$50.00/mo.No
Cox1000 Mpbs$29.99/mo.Yes
Spectrum1000 Mbps$49.99/mo.No
Xfinity2000 Mbps$29.99/mo.Yes
Verizon940 Mbps$39.99/mo.No
ProviderAT&T
Max Download Speed1000 Mbps
Starting Price$35.00/mo.
Data CapsYes
ProviderCenturyLink
Max Download Speed940 Mbps
Starting Price$50.00/mo.
Data CapsNo
ProviderCox
Max Download Speed1000 Mpbs
Starting Price$29.99/mo.
Data CapsYes
ProviderSpectrum
Max Download Speed1000 Mbps
Starting Price$49.99/mo.
Data CapsNo
ProviderXfinity
Max Download Speed2000 Mbps
Starting Price$29.99/mo.
Data CapsYes
ProviderVerizon
Max Download Speed940 Mbps
Starting Price$39.99/mo.
Data CapsNo

*Data sourced 7/5/21. Pricing and speeds may vary by provider and location.

Is Fiber Internet Right for Me?

It’s safe to say fiber internet is superior to other connection types. Yet, choosing the right plan for you comes down to your unique lifestyle. With faster speeds to support multiple connected devices and heavy usage, it offers reliable internet access without common headaches such as dead spots, buffering, and throttling. However, due to its higher cost and limited availability, it isn’t for everyone.

Households with basic internet usage may not need fiber. However, for homes with larger families, digital influencers, or online gamers, it’s a definite game-changer. It’s also ideal for distance learning and remote work. Activities like these require more bandwidth to support frequent video conferences and file uploads. 

thumb_upPros

  • check_circleNot susceptible to inclement weather damage or human interference
  • check_circleHighest security from cyberattacks

thumb_downCons

  • cancelTypically costs more than DSL and Cable
  • cancelRequires new infrastructure and professional installation

How Fiber Compares to Other Connection Types

As the latest technology, Fiber internet is the fastest and most reliable connection available. Overall, fiber offers the highest speed options, supports more connected devices at one time, and delivers full home coverage compared to other connection types. Typically, speeds range from 250 Mbps up to 1,000 Mbps and can come with equal upload and download speeds. However, fiber availability is fairly limited in the U.S., which causes fiber plans to cost more than other internet options. Market research firm RVA released a 2019 study on broadband advancement that revealed just one-third (48 million) of U.S. households have access to fiber. Of those, only 20.5 million actually subscribe to fiber service today.

spectrum of internet connection types and speed

Fiber Internet FAQs

Why is fiber internet not as widely available as DSL or cable?

expand_less

Although fiber is considered superior to DSL and cable connections, it’s fairly new technology. Fiber requires new infrastructure as it relies on fiber-optic cables to transmit data. On the other hand, DSL and cable connections run off pre-existing phone and TV lines, which is why they are generally cheaper and more accessible than fiber service.

What are symmetrical speeds?

expand_less

Symmetrical speeds refer to internet plans that offer equal upload and download speeds. This typically costs more than traditional internet packages and is only available with a fiber internet connection.

What internet speeds do I need?

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This depends on many factors including your digital habits, home size, and the number of connected devices. You can learn about what internet speeds fit your lifestyle and more in our HighSpeedOptions Resource library.

How much does fiber internet cost?

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Fiber internet prices and plans vary by location and provider. However, you can expect to see higher costs for fiber than you would DSL or cable connections. If fiber is available where you live, the cost can range anywhere from $40/mo. to $150/mo. depending on what plan you select. 

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