Searching for Gigabit Internet Providers in 2023
With so many people using the web regularly, gigabit internet is now considered the “gold standard” for a quality internet connection. While it may not be as necessary for the average internet user, many internet providers now offer a gigabit internet connection option alongside other plans. Gigabit internet’s ultra-fast internet speeds and low buffer rates provide seamless streaming and online experiences, especially for heavy internet users. In order to help you decide if gigabit internet is right for you, we compiled this comprehensive guide on its features and listed our top gigabit ISP picks based on speed, value, availability, reliability, and reputation.
What Is Gigabit Internet?
As the name indicates, gigabit internet is any internet connection with speeds reaching up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps), or 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps). Some ISPs also offer Gig+ and multi-gig plans, with speeds ranging from 1.2 Gbps to 10 Gbps.
Internet providers usually deliver gigabit internet through a fiber internet connection, but some ISPs provide it through cable internet services. Although gigabit internet has a variety of perks like reliable connection and low latency, consumers should also consider some of its drawbacks, such as steep pricing and limited coverage.
Why Would Gigabit Internet Be Right for Me?
Most internet users typically don’t need gigabit internet since most of their tasks don’t require such fast internet speeds. An average household can likely get away with using multiple devices and streaming movies in HD on a slower (and cheaper) internet plan. That said, there are a few reasons why some consumers would still choose to purchase gigabit internet.
- Your household utilizes a lot of upload speed. With fiber gigabit internet plans, upload speeds are symmetrical, meaning it’s just as fast to upload data as it is to download it. If your household streams regularly or frequently transfers large files, fast upload speeds are essential to avoiding long wait times.
- Your job requires a lot of bandwidth-heavy tasks. Video editors and other media-heavy careers, for example, rely on fast internet speeds to make their work process run more smoothly and efficiently. Since they’re usually downloading and uploading large media files constantly throughout the day, much of the work takes up a significant amount of bandwidth compared to tasks like browsing the web or sending emails.
- You enjoy the convenience of fast internet. Even if gigabit internet isn’t necessary for all users, it makes some tasks easier to complete. For example, a PC gamer might enjoy the convenience of having their favorite games downloaded in just minutes as well as a low-latency multiplayer connection.
The Limits of Speed: Reading the fine print of any internet plan is essential, but it’s even more vital for gigabit internet plans. Plans that offer internet speeds “up to 1 Gbps” may not provide gigabit internet speeds continuously. Instead, these plans are capable of reaching download speeds up to 1 Gbps.
Our Top Picks for Gigabit Internet Providers
AT&T Fiber is our top gigabit internet pick for people who want super-fast internet speeds, immense value, and outstanding customer service. When it comes to gigabit internet, AT&T Fiber is one of the most popular choices because of its fiber internet service. While other internet providers cap out at just 1 Gbps, AT&T Fiber offers plans with symmetrical speeds up to 5 Gbps. AT&T Fiber provides multiple gigabit internet options that can handle bandwidth-heavy tasks, such as hosting large databases and transferring large files continuously.
With these quick speeds, you might assume that AT&T Fiber is extremely expensive for gigabit internet. However, AT&T Fiber plans start at as low as $35 per month, with the Internet 1000 plan costing just $80 per month for speeds up to 1 Gbps. Best of all, while other internet providers will raise your rates after 12 months, AT&T has no price hikes, meaning your rate stays consistent for the duration of your service. Plus, AT&T Fiber tends to come with perks like gift cards to sweeten the deal.
Beyond quick speeds and exceptional value, AT&T is also a fan favorite when it comes to customer service. In 2023, AT&T received the top ranking in the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) compared to all other fiber internet providers. In 2022, AT&T received the top spot in the J.D. Power survey in the south and west regions of the U.S. So, if you ever have a problem, you’re in the right hands.
Whether you’re a gamer, streamer, or at-home entrepreneur, AT&T Fiber has the blazing-fast gigabit internet speeds, reasonable prices, and excellent customer service to keep you satisfied.
Why We Like AT&T Fiber for Gigabit Internet
- Ultra-fast gigabit internet speeds up to 5 Gbps
- Award-winning customer service record
- Low latency and buffer rates
Ultra-fast internet, multiple service options, and wide availability are why Xfinity is our second top pick for gigabit internet providers. Xfinity offers gigabit solutions through both its cable and fiber internet connections. While its cable internet plans can reach up to 1.2 Gbps, Xfinity’s brand-new fiber internet network goes up to 10 Gbps! That said, Xfinity fiber internet is only available in select regions, and signing up costs a pretty penny. However, if you want the fastest gigabit internet around, Xfinity can’t be beaten.
Beyond just offering internet, Xfinity is an all-around home service provider, providing TV, mobile phone, home phone, and home security services with its gigabit internet plans. Therefore, if your household has more than one home service necessity, you can bundle everything together for a significant discount.
What really makes Xfinity a top contender compared to other providers is its vast coverage. One of the major drawbacks to purchasing gigabit internet is that most ISPs offer it through a fiber internet connection, which often has limited access. As the largest cable internet provider in the U.S., Xfinity reaches more households than major competitors like Spectrum. So, if you’re looking for gigabit internet from Xfinity, you’re more than likely within its availability footprint.
If your household has numerous home services and is looking for the speeds of a gigabit provider, then we recommend Xfinity as your internet provider.
Why We Like Xfinity for Gigabit Internet
- Offers gigabit internet through fiber and cable connections
- Fastest gigabit internet on the market
- Wide connection availability
If you’re looking for a reliable gigabit internet plan with unlimited data and without a contract, Verizon Fios might be the best gigabit provider for you. Even though Verizon’s gigabit internet offerings are a little slower than AT&T or Xfinity, Verizon Fios still has internet plans with speeds reaching up to 2 Gbps. Moreover, Verizon Fios internet is affordable, with plans starting at just $24.99 per month. As long as Verizon is within your coverage area, you can access one of the most reliable networks available.
Along with fast and reliable internet, Verizon’s gigabit internet comes with unlimited data, meaning you can stream and download files to your heart’s content. While this practice is relatively common with gigabit internet plans, it’s not always the case, so it’s a nice added benefit.
The cherry on top for Verizon is its no-contract policy. All Verizon Fios plans are available without a contract, so you pay monthly for your plan without the need for hidden costs or fees. This is especially great if you decide to switch to a different plan later and don’t want to wait for your contract to expire before making your purchase. On top of that, Verizon Fios plans usually come with a multi-year price lock, so you can keep your costs low.
Verizon Fios gigabit internet is an excellent alternative to AT&T Fiber and Xfinity if you live in one of the states where Verizon offers coverage.
Why We Like Verizon Fios for Gigabit Internet
- Fast and reliable internet speeds
- No contracts required
- Unlimited data
Other Gigabit Home Internet Providers
While those three providers are our top picks, they aren’t the only ISPs in town offering gigabit internet plans. Here are some other gigabit internet providers we still think are worth mentioning:
- Spectrum: While it doesn’t have the massive footprint of Xfinity, Spectrum is a close second with its cable internet network. Plus, Spectrum does offer a gigabit plan. That said, upload speeds on Spectrum’s network will pale in comparison to a fiber provider.
- CenturyLink: Similar to Verizon Fios, CenturyLink offers gigabit internet plans without contracts or data caps. It’s a great next-best option if Verizon Fios is unavailable in your area.
- Frontier: Frontier offers a variety of gigabit internet plans that also come with unlimited data, and it’s on par with the price of other gigabit internet plans out there. When purchasing from Frontier, it’s important to note any hidden fees or costs with your plans.
Tips for Picking the Perfect Gigabit Internet Provider
When choosing which gigabit internet provider would be best for you, there are several things to consider, especially if it’s your first time purchasing internet or you’re looking to upgrade your current plan. We put together the following tips to help you choose:
- Decide whether gigabit or multi-gig is best for you. Standard internet plans are usually okay for an average household with multiple streaming devices. However, a multi-gig internet plan might be better if your internet use requires bandwidth-heavy tasks, such as multimedia production or database management.
- Consider the equipment costs. If your internet is more powerful, you’ll need the equipment to match. Some internet providers will offer free equipment and installation with the purchase of an internet plan. In contrast, other plans may require you to purchase equipment separately, specifically for a gigabit connection. In any case, it’s essential to keep the equipment cost in mind on top of the prices for gigabit internet.
- Check the coverage area for all gigabit internet plans available. Gigabit internet is usually provided through fiber internet, which doesn’t offer as much coverage as other internet types. Before committing to gigabit internet, ensure the specific plan you purchase is available in your area.
Frequently Asked Questions About Gigabit Internet Providers
Which internet provider offers the best gigabit internet plan?
AT&T Fiber is our top choice for gigabit internet plans. It offers quality fiber internet and provides exceptional customer service. The best gigabit internet plan for you may vary depending on your specific internet needs, so check your local area to see which ISPs are available near you.
What activities most likely require gigabit internet?
Jobs that require downloading or uploading large files on a regular basis would require gigabit internet, such as video editors or companies that specialize in multimedia production. Software engineers who manage large databases also benefit from gigabit internet’s fast internet speeds as well as its low latency and buffer rates.
How expensive are gigabit internet plans?
While gigabit internet plans are more expensive compared to non-gigabit plans, they’re much more affordable than Gig+ and multi-gig plans. Some ISPs offer deals and discounts for gigabit internet users to keep the price low. Most gigabit internet plans start at around $80 per month.
How fast is gigabit internet?
Starter gigabit internet plans usually range from 940 Mbps to 1 Gbps in terms of download speeds. If you purchase a Gig+ or multi-gig internet plan, you can expect to experience speeds between 2 Gbps and 10 Gbps.
How does cable and fiber gigabit internet differ?
Fiber gigabit internet comes through fiber-optic cables, while cable gigabit internet comes through coaxial cables. With fiber gigabit internet, you’ll get symmetrical download and upload speeds, while cable internet is asymmetrical, meaning download speeds will far outreach upload speeds.