There was a time when only people that were well-off paid for internet access. These days, it's an absolute necessity for every individual to have access to the internet. More importantly, that access has to be reliable. Otherwise, the individual in question is essentially cut off from much of the rest of the world. That's only becoming more true with every passing day, as more and more businesses are conducting their operations online.
These days, people learn online and in many cases, they do business online. Not having access to affordable internet is much the same as living in a city where nothing is within walking distance and there is no public transportation, yet being without a car. That being said, a lot of internet plans are prohibitively expensive, especially the ones that actually provide the features that many people need in order to enjoy viable internet access. That's why it's so important to know which providers can give you a decent internet service at the cheapest price.
10. Google Fiber ($100/mo)
An internet provider that offers unlimited data at $100 per month may not seem cheap, but there are plans out there that are far more expensive. Granted, this is not one of those $20 a month deals but it's also not one of those contracts that limits your usage and internet availability to the point that you might as well not have it at all. If you're looking for a provider that offers full fledged internet access that allows you to stream movies, download music and do anything and everything else that other people with more expensive plans can do, then this is a plan that's at least worth considering.
For what it's worth, they have plans that don't include the need for a contract and they never cap your data. If you manage to get in when they're having a sale or they're doing a special promotion, you might even be able to get a decent discount on your monthly bill, sometimes as much as $30 a month for the first 12 months. That would effectively make your bill $70 a month, only about $20 a month higher than many of the other plans on this list.
9. WOW! ($69.99)
This is often regarded as the cheapest paid plan out there and if you're talking about the basic plan, that's probably true. Plans can be purchased for as low as $19.99 per month. That sounds enticing, but keep in mind that the lower-end plans don't offer service that's especially fast. They also have a tendency to cap the amount of data that you can go through in a month. This company does offer unlimited plans, but you won't be getting those for less than $20 a month.
Download speeds range from 100-1200 Mbps. If you're looking for an all-inclusive plan, the company does have some plans available that allow you to bundle your television and telephone service into a single bill that includes internet access. That plan starts at roughly $134 a month. It includes internet speeds of up to 200 Mbps. Included in the package are limited television channels and telephone service, but you only get unlimited telephone access to other numbers that are based in the United States as well as US territories and Canada.
8. AT&T ($55.00/mo)
They have all kinds of plans available in most areas of the US. If you’re looking for something that won't cost you an arm and a leg, you can get one of their more basic packages that features DSL and connection speeds up to 100 Mbps.
7. CenturyLink ($50.00/mo)
This company offers a number of plans that start at $50 per month. That might sound like a lot of money, but unless you're able to get some type of assistance or you're using a program that allows you to access the internet for free, you're going to be hard pressed to find decent internet service available for much less. In case you're interested in download speeds and that sort of thing, you can get plans here that range from 100-940 Mbps. What exactly does that mean? It means it's not as fast as a lot of other plans out there, but it's also not the slowest plan in existence, either.
One of the truly positive things about this particular internet provider is that they don't limit the amount of data that you can go through in a single billing cycle. That's always good news because the last thing you want is a plan that caps your data two weeks into the month and then charges you an arm and a leg every time you get online thereafter. This company also offers plans that can be bundled and you can even include television service with many of them. The exact number of plans available as well as the exact cost does vary depending on where you live. Therefore, it's important to check your geographic region and see what's available to you before you do anything else.
6. Verizon ($49.99/mo)
Less than $50 a month will get you a connection speed of 200 Mbps using fiber optic cable. That's definitely enough to allow you to do virtually anything you might want to do with your internet unless you've got multiple people trying to stream something at the same time. Of course, they offer plans that have higher speeds for more money. Perhaps the best thing here is that they have a number of different types of plans, ranging from the most basic to plans that are far more inclusive. They even have bundles that allow you to pay internet, television and your landline all on one bill.
5. Spectrum ($49.99/mo)
This company is rated 3.9 out of a possible five stars. They provide connection speeds of anywhere between 10-940 Mbps. They also feature a hybrid type of system that incorporates fiber cables in certain areas and traditional coaxial cables in others. That explains the big difference in internet speeds. Depending on where you live, this could be a good thing or it could be less than ideal. It all comes down to the type of service you get and what you plan to use it for in the first place.
It’s worth noting here that if you want one of their plans that offers 200 Mbps or better, you'll likely end up paying more than the $49.99 per month. However, the only way to tell for sure is to do a little research and see exactly how much the plans that are available in your area will cost. The company also offers a few other perks that go with obtaining an account with them, not the least of which includes a free Internet modem. Something that sets them apart from the majority of their competition is that you don't just get internet through them while you're at home. They also have a special system that allows you to access the Internet when you're away from home. Surprisingly, this is available in a number of areas so if you live anywhere near a larger city, you should be covered.
4. Xfinity ( $40.00/mo)
Their connection speed is a bit slower at 100 Mbps. That being said, they have a lot to offer overall. For example, you can choose a plan that allows you to pay on a month-to-month basis as opposed to entering into an expensive contract. They also have some of the most reliable service out there.
3. Xtream ($39.99/mo)
This is another company that is well known for providing plans in rural areas. While they offer their most basic plan at the aforementioned $39.99 a month, most plans cost at least another $30 each month. In addition, the plans have data caps on them, something you need to be aware of. As a matter of fact, they have a tendency to cap your data at 6,000 GB and that's if you're paying $69.99 a month. They also feature internet speeds that range anywhere from 60-1,000 Mbps.
If you're using this company, you're probably going to be forced to deal with internet speeds that are on the low end of the spectrum if you're only paying $39.99 a month. That's because there are other plans that typically start at the $69.99 range and go up from there. That being said, there aren't that many options available if you live in a rural area so if that's the case, you have to take the two or three companies you can find and do the best you can.
2. Rise Broadband ($25.00/mo)
This is another company that has been making serious strides in the industry as of late. At the moment, they are almost exclusively a provider for rural areas, mostly in the middle portion of the United States. That means that not everyone will be able to access their services but for those who can, it's a company definitely worth considering.
The main benefits associated with this company involve low fees that start at $25 a month without a contract. In addition, the company offers unlimited data so you don't have to worry about data caps and the extra fees that come with breaking them. Another thing that makes the company unique is that they offer both residential and business plans. In short, they have flexible plans that are just as fast as any DSL, yet are almost tailored to your exact needs.
1. Zipley Fiber ($20.00)
Surprisingly, there are some relatively new players in this arena, something that only serves to make the entire industry more competitive. As it stands right now, Zipley Fiber is one of the newcomers that has been making a serious name for itself. They haven't been in business very long, but they do offer a basic plan that gives you internet speeds comparable to others for only $20 a month. Of course, they also have more expensive plans that offer faster speeds and more perks. That being said, $20 is a good price if you're looking for internet that is truly economical. Even more importantly, their internet is often considered on par with a lot of the more expensive internet providers, sometimes even the ones that charge twice as much for their services.
The company has been doing other things that make them stand out, too. For example, they offer your first month free. They also provide free installation. These are big benefits, especially if you're not entirely sure that this is the internet provider for you. If you're curious but you're not quite ready to make a commitment, you can use that free first month to try it out and see what you think. Furthermore, Zipley doesn't do contracts. You pay month-to-month and when you're ready to move on, you simply cancel your services. It doesn't get much easier than that.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson