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Best Internet Providers in Tennessee

What is the best internet provider in Tennessee?

Tennesseans know a good ditty when they hear it. How about internet speeds of 300 megabits per second to the tune of $55 per month with no equipment fees, data caps or contracts? Sounds good.

That’s what you’ll get from AT&T Fiber, CNET’s pick for the best internet service provider in Tennessee. Faster plans are also available, up to 5,000Mbps (5 gigabits per second), the fastest speeds you’ll find from any major ISP in the Volunteer State.

AT&T Fiber isn’t the cheapest, however. That title goes to Xfinity, courtesy of its Connect plan, which comes with download speeds up to 75Mbps, starting at $20 per month. WideOpenWest also has a $20 plan with speeds up to 100Mbps, but availability in Tennessee is highly limited.

Whether you’re looking for the cheapest internet, the fastest plan or just an all-around service to fit your needs and your budget, you’ll find a rundown of the best internet providers in Tennessee and what makes them stand out, below.

CNET considers speeds, pricing, customer service and overall value to recommend the best internet service in Tennessee across several categories. Our evaluation includes referencing a proprietary database built over years of reviewing internet services. We validate that against provider information by spot-checking local addresses for service availability. We also do a close read of providers’ terms and conditions and, when needed, will call ISPs to verify the details.

Despite our efforts to find the most recent and accurate information, our process has some limitations you should know about. Pricing and speed data are variable: Certain addresses may qualify for different service tiers, and monthly costs may vary, even within a city. The best way to identify your particular options is to plug your address into a provider’s website. 

Also, the prices, speed and other information listed above and in the provider cards below may differ from what we found in our research. The cards display the full range of a provider’s pricing and speed across the US, according to our database of plan information provided directly by ISPs. At the same time, the text is specific to what’s available in Tennessee. The prices referenced within this article’s text come from our research and include applicable discounts for setting up automatic payments each month — a standard industry offering. Other discounts and promotions might also be available for things like signing a term contract or bundling with multiple services.

To learn more about how we review internet providers, visit our full methodology page.

Best internet providers in Tennessee for 2023

AT&T offers copper-based DSL and 100% fiber-optic services. You’ll want to look for the latter, as AT&T Fiber has the fastest speeds and highest customer satisfaction of any major ISP in Tennessee.

. . . Or call to order: Call to Learn More

Check with AT&T

With service starting at $20 per month for download speeds up to 75Mbps, Xfinity has the cheapest internet plan in Tennessee. Other Xfinity plans are competitively priced as well but keep in mind that renting a router may add $13 to your bill, and a one- or two-year contract may be required to get the lowest rate.

. . . Or call to order: Call to Learn More

Check with Xfinity

While Xfinity’s plans and service terms can be a little confusing, Spectrum keeps things refreshingly simple with fewer plan options to get hung up on, no data caps or contracts and a low router rental fee. 

. . . Or call to order: Call to Learn More

Check with Spectrum

Fiber and cable wired connections are preferred for their speed and reliability, but they aren’t always available (or perhaps, desirable, depending on the provider). In such areas, or if you’re interested in an alternative to traditional wired services, T-Mobile Home Internet may be your best option. 

. . . Or call to order: Call to Learn More

Check with T-Mobile

Top Tennessee internet providers compared

Provider Internet technology Monthly price range Speed range Monthly equipment costs Data cap Contract CNET review score
AT&T DSL, fiber $55-$250 10-100Mbps DSL, 300-5,000Mbps fiber None None None 7.4
Brightspeed DSL, fiber $50-$79 20-100Mbps DSL, up to 940Mbps fiber $15 None None N/A
Frontier DSL, fiber $50-$155 Varies DSL, 500-5,000Mbps fiber None None None 6.3
Google Fiber Fiber $70-$100 1,000-2,000Mbps None None None 7.5
Spectrum Cable $30-$90 100-1,000Mbps $5 (optional) None None 7.2
T-Mobile Home Internet Fixed wireless $50 ($30 with eligible mobile plans) 72-245Mbps None None None 7.4
Verizon 5G Home Internet Fixed wireless $50-$70 ($35-$45 for eligible Verizon Wireless customers) 85-1,000Mbps None None None 7.2
WideOpenWest Cable $20-$95 100-1,000Mbps $10 (optional) Varies, 1.5TB to unlimited None 7.2
Xfinity Cable $20-$85 75-1,200Mbps $13 (optional) 1.25TB or unlimited 1 or 2 years (optional) 7

Show more (5 items)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

Other available internet providers in Tennessee

  • AT&T Internet: AT&T’s copper-based (DSL) side has a larger coverage area than AT&T Fiber, but you’ll probably want to explore other options as service starts at $55 per month for the fastest speeds available, typically only around 10 to 100Mbps.
  • Brightspeed: After taking over operations from Lumen (CenturyLink, Quantum Fiber) in Tennessee, Brightspeed has continued offering DSL and fiber internet, mostly in the eastern part of the state around Johnson City. As with AT&T and other DSL/fiber providers, I’d recommend checking out the fiber service but passing on the DSL if possible.
  • Frontier: Again, pass on the DSL if possible, but check out Frontier Fiber where available (mostly around Cookeville). The speeds, pricing and service terms are as good as any, but availability in Tennessee is highly limited.
  • Google Fiber: Finally, a fiber-only provider. If you want gigabit internet (speeds of 1Gbps and 2Gbps are available in Nashville, though faster speeds of 5Gbps and 8Gbps may come soon), Google Fiber is the way to go.
  • WideOpenWest: Also known as WOW, WideOpenWest is a cable provider with speeds and pricing to rival any. However, availability in Tennessee leaves something to be desired, as the Knoxville area is the only presence WOW has in the state.
  • Verizon 5G Home Internet: Verizon’s home internet service doesn’t have the same broad coverage as T-Mobile, but it does offer faster speeds and two plan options: 50 to 300Mbps starting at $50 per month and 85 to 1,000Mbps starting at $70 per month. Qualifying Verizon mobile customers can receive a discount on home internet service. 
  • Satellite internet: Some parts of Tennessee will not have any practical home internet options other than satellite. HughesNet and Viasat are the obvious options for satellite internet. Yet, Starlink and its fleet of low-orbiting satellites may be the best choice for speed, latency and data from a satellite provider.

Tennessee internet options by city

It’s hard to cover the internet options of an entire state like Tennessee while giving individual cities the in-depth attention they deserve. That’s why we’ve also put together lists of the best internet providers in cities across the US, including those in Tennessee. If you don’t find your hometown below, check back later. We’re working to add more every day.

Cheap internet options in Tennessee

Xfinity and WOW have plans starting at $20 per month, the cheapest of any major provider in Tennessee. Other providers, such as Spectrum, AT&T and Frontier, may have a higher starting price but come with more speed than the cheapest plans from Xfinity or WOW.

When shopping for cheap internet in Tennessee, keep in mind that equipment fees and service terms like data caps (and overage fees) can add to the total cost of internet. Also, be aware of price increases — when they will happen and by how much.

Cheapest internet plans in Tennessee

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Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

How to find internet deals and promotions in Tennessee

The best internet deals and the top promotions in Tennessee depend on what discounts are available when you’re looking. Most deals are short-lived, but we look frequently for the latest offers. 

Tennessee internet providers such as Xfinity may offer lower introductory pricing or streaming add-ons for a limited time. Many, including AT&T Fiber, Spectrum and Google Fiber, run the same standard pricing year-round. 

For a more extensive list of promos, check out our guide on the best internet deals. 

How fast is Tennessee broadband?

Recent Ookla speed test data placed Tennessee 11th fastest among US states, with median download speeds of 218Mbps in Q3 2023. That’s around 5Mbps faster than the national average of 213Mbps and faster than all neighboring states, excluding North Carolina (225Mbps).

Nashville was listed as the fastest city in the state with median download speeds of 225Mbps, though Memphis also made the top 100 list with speeds of 176Mbps.

The speed test results are averages, and many factors can affect the results. While speeds around 218Mbps are suitable for most households and internet activities, many may prefer faster speeds. Here’s a look at the fastest internet plans from the top ISPs in Tennessee.

Fastest internet plans in Tennessee

Plan Starting price Max download speed Max upload speed Data cap Connection type
Frontier Fiber 5 Gig $155 5,000Mbps 5,000Mbps None Fiber
AT&T Fiber 5000 $250 5,000Mbps 5,000Mbps None Fiber
Google Fiber 2Gbps $100 2,000Mbps 1,000Mbps None Fiber
Xfinity Gigabit Extra $85 1,200Mbps 35Mbps 1.25TB or none Cable
WOW Internet 1.2 Gig $95 1,200Mbps 50Mbps None Cable
Spectrum Internet Gig  $90 1,000Mbps 35Mbps None Cable
Verizon 5G Home Plus Internet $70 ($45 with qualifying Verizon 5G mobile plans) 85-1,000Mbps 50-75Mbps None Fixed wireless
Brightspeed Fiber $79 940Mbps 940Mbps None Fiber

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Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

What’s a good internet speed?

Most internet connection plans can now handle basic productivity and communication tasks. If you’re looking for an internet plan that can accommodate videoconferencing, streaming video or gaming, you’ll have a better experience with a more robust connection. Here’s an overview of the recommended minimum download speeds for various applications, according to the FCC. Note that these are only guidelines — and that internet speed, service and performance vary by connection type, provider and address.

For more information, refer to our guide on how much internet speed you really need.

  • 0 to 5Mbps allows you to tackle the basics — browsing the internet, sending and receiving email, streaming low-quality video.
  • 5 to 40Mbps gives you higher-quality video streaming and videoconferencing.
  • 40 to 100Mbps should give one user sufficient bandwidth to satisfy the demands of modern telecommuting, video streaming and online gaming. 
  • 100 to 500Mbps allows one to two users to simultaneously engage in high-bandwidth activities like videoconferencing, streaming and online gaming.  
  • 500 to 1,000Mbps allows three or more users to engage in high-bandwidth activities at the same time.

How CNET chose the best internet providers in Tennessee

Internet service providers are numerous and regional. Unlike the latest smartphone, laptop, router or kitchen tool, it’s impractical to personally test every ISP in a given city. So what’s our approach? We start by researching the pricing, availability and speed information drawing on our own historical ISP data, the provider sites and mapping information from the Federal Communications Commission at FCC.gov.

But it doesn’t end there. We go to the FCC’s website to check our data and ensure we’re considering every ISP that provides service in an area. We also input local addresses on provider websites to find specific options for residents. We look at sources, including the American Customer Satisfaction Index and J.D. Power, to evaluate how happy customers are with an ISP’s service. ISP plans and prices are subject to frequent changes; all information provided is accurate as of the time of publication.

Once we have this localized information, we ask three main questions:

  1. Does the provider offer access to reasonably fast internet speeds?
  2. Do customers get decent value for what they’re paying?
  3. Are customers happy with their service?

While the answer to those questions is often layered and complex, the providers who come closest to “yes” on all three are the ones we recommend. When selecting the cheapest internet service, we look for the plans with the lowest monthly fee, though we also factor in things like price increases, equipment fees and contracts. Choosing the fastest internet service is relatively straightforward. We look at advertised upload and download speeds and consider real-world speed data from sources like Ookla and FCC reports.

What’s the final word on internet providers in Tennessee?

Depending on where you live in Tennessee, multiple options may be available for home internet. AT&T Fiber would be my first choice for home internet in Tennessee, but Xfinity, Spectrum and T-Mobile are also top ISPs in their own ways. 

Others, such as Brightspeed, Google Fiber and Frontier may better suit your needs, though availability is highly limited in the state.

Internet providers in Tennessee FAQs

What is the best internet service provider in Tennessee?

AT&T Fiber has the best plan selection, including the fastest speed tier, of any major provider in the state. Service also comes with free equipment, unlimited data, no contacts and no set price increase after 12 months — individual perks that aren’t uncommon, but less often, you’ll get all that from the same ISP.

Is fiber internet available in Tennessee?

Yes. Roughly half of Tennessee households are wired for fiber internet service. AT&T is Tennessee’s largest fiber internet provider, though Brightspeed, Frontier, Google Fiber and others also offer fiber internet in parts of the state.

Who is the cheapest internet provider in Tennessee?

Xfinity and WOW have the cheapest starting price for internet in Tennessee ($20 per month). WOW offers more speed (100Mbps compared to 75Mbps with Xfinity), but Xfinity’s plan is much more widely available to Tennessee residents.

What internet provider in Tennessee offers the fastest plan?

Chattanooga-based ISP EBP has the fastest residential speed tier in Tennessee (and probably nationwide) at 25Gbps. Among major ISPs, AT&T and Frontier have the fastest plans in the state, each offering max download and upload speeds of 5,000Mbps starting at $250 and $155 per month, respectively. While Google Fiber has rolled out a faster plan, 8Gbps, in select areas, it is not currently available in Nashville.

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