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Best Cable Internet Providers of 2024: Comparing the Top ISPs


Spectrum – Best cable internet provider overall

  • Prices: $30- $90 per month
  • Speeds: 100 – 1,000Mbps
  • Key Info: Unlimited data, simple pricing, no contracts, modem included, free access to nationwide Wi-Fi hotspots

Or call to learn more: (855) 800-4017

Xfinity – Fastest cable internet provider

  • Prices: $20 – $120 per month
  • Speeds: 75 – 2,000Mbps
  • Key Info: Data caps on some plans, lots of plan options, solid customer satisfaction numbers

Or call to learn more: (855) 861-3990

Mediacom – Best rural cable ISP

  • Prices: $25 – $80 per month
  • Speeds: 100 – 1,000Mbps
  • Key Info: Up to 6TB monthly data allowance, low introductory rates, no contracts

Or call to learn more: (888) 962-4198

Cox Communications – Best cable internet for gamers

  • Prices: $40 – $100 per month
  • Speeds: 25 – 2,000Mbps
  • Key Info: 1.25TB monthly data allowance, lots of plan options, unique gaming add-on

Or call to learn more: (877) 451-6113

WideOpenWest – Best cheap cable internet

  • Prices: $20 – $95 per month
  • Speeds: 100 – 1,200Mbps
  • Key Info: Good promo prices, no contracts, unlimited data on some plans

Call to Learn More (877) 508-8980

“Cable” has become so synonymous with “TV service” that it’s easy to confuse cable internet with a TV and internet bundle. However, cable internet is broadband through and through. It just uses a coaxial cable — yes, the same one as for your cable TV — to deliver service. In fact, it’s the most widely available internet connection outside of satellite internet, covering 89% of US households and 97% of urban areas. As such, there’s a good chance that you have available cable internet access in your area. And it’s not a bad option, if you don’t want to shell out the big bucks for fiber optic internet.

Regardless of the available cable internet provider at your address, service is likely to come with a few internet speed options including a gigabit speed tier and lots of data (or unlimited data) from each. All cable ISPs aren’t the same, however, as you’ll find pricing, service terms and customer satisfaction vary by provider. Considering these factors and others, select cable ISPs rise to the top — here’s my pick of the best cable internet provider options out there.

Top cable internet service provider overview

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Provider Starting price range Download speed range Upload speed range Equipment fee Data cap Contract
Spectrum $50-$90 200-940Mbps 10-35Mbps $5 None None
Xfinity $20-$85 50-1,200Mbps 3-35Mbps $14 1.2TB 1 year (for lowest pricing in select locations)
Mediacom $20-$80 60-1,000Mbps 5-50Mbps $12 200GB-6TB None
Cox $50-$100 100-940Mbps 3-35Mbps $12 1.28TB 1 year (for lowest pricing in select locations)
WOW $10-$65 50-1,000Mbps 5-50Mbps $14 None None

Speed range

100 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$30- $90 per month

Our take – Spectrum doesn’t have the cheapest internet plan, but speeds are high — download speeds start at 200Mbps — and Spectrum ends up with an average cost per Mbps lower than many rival providers, including Xfinity and Cox. The high speeds and low cost per Mbps, along with unlimited data, no contracts and a low equipment fee of just $5 puts Spectrum firmly on our list of the best internet providers.

Or call to learn more: (855) 800-4017

Check with Spectrum

Speed range

100 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$30- $90 per month

Speed range

75 – 2,000 Mbps

Price range

$20 – $120 per month

Our take – Comcast Xfinity is not only the largest cable internet provider, it’s also the fastest in many areas. The Xfinity Gigabit plan offers download speeds up to 1,200 megabits per second, 20% faster than the 940 or 1,000Mbps plans available from most other cable ISPs, and for around the same price (or lower). Xfinity also offers an even faster plan, Gigabit Pro, that advertises speeds up to 6,000Mbps, but the plan is only available to those with access to Xfinity’s highly limited fiber internet service.

Or call to learn more: (855) 861-3990

Check with Xfinity

Speed range

75 – 2,000 Mbps

Price range

$20 – $120 per month

Speed range

100 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$25 – $80 per month

Our take – Other than Mediacom’s cheap internet plan — which starts at just $20 per month for speeds up to 60Mbps — there’s nothing particularly special about the provider, but it does boast terrific availability. Where providers like Xfinity, Spectrum, Cox and Optimum primarily stick to the big cities, Mediacom caters to much of America’s heartland, extending broadband availability to rural areas throughout much of the Midwest and South. 

Or call to learn more: (888) 962-4198

Check with Mediacom

Speed range

100 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$25 – $80 per month

Connection

Cable, some fiber

Speed range

25 – 2,000 Mbps

Price range

$40 – $100 per month

Our take – Cox Communications is the third-largest cable internet provider in the US, behind Xfinity and Spectrum. As far as speeds and pricing go, Cox is more or less comparable to any other cable ISP — but the provider’s appeal to online gamers is something you won’t find anywhere else.

Or call to learn more: (877) 451-6113

Check with Cox

Connection

Cable, some fiber

Speed range

25 – 2,000 Mbps

Price range

$40 – $100 per month

Speed range

100 – 1,200 Mbps

Price range

$20 – $95 per month

Our take – Thanks to its current promotional offers, which take anywhere from $10 to $15 off the standard price for the first year, WideOpenWest boasts some of the cheapest pricing you’ll find from any cable internet provider. 

Call to Learn More (877) 508-8980

Speed range

100 – 1,200 Mbps

Price range

$20 – $95 per month

Best cable ISPs honorable mentions

These cable internet providers also offer decent pricing and speeds. If any are available in your area, they are also worth a look. 

Astound

Astound, formerly known as RCN, is available in a few major cities including Boston, Chicago and Washington, DC. Unfortunately, plans, prices and speeds vary by each location, but customers can expect these factors to be comparable to other major cable companies.

Atlantic Broadband

As the name implies, Atlantic Broadband offers service primarily along the East Coast. Introductory pricing ranges from $40 to $80 per month for speeds ranging from 50Mbps to 1,000Mbps. 

Optimum

Optimum is one of the largest cable ISPs in the US, covering much of the greater New York City area along with smaller markets in 21 states since parent company Altice rebranded Suddenlink under the Optimum brand. Pricing and service terms are comparable to most major cable internet providers, but pricing has gone up while customer satisfaction and upload speeds have gone down in recent years.

Sparklight

Formerly known as Cable One, Sparklight is another cable provider that largely serves rural and suburban areas. Plans range from $39 for up to 100Mbps to $125 per month for gig service, which is a bit higher than most ISPs.

Best cable ISPs recap

Cable internet boasts almost the same availability as DSL but can deliver much faster speeds and better connection quality, making it a top choice for broadband, especially in markets where fiber is unavailable. For the most part, cable ISPs have similar speeds and pricing, but those featured in our list of the best — Xfinity, Spectrum, Mediacom, Cox and WOW — stand out for their exceptional speeds, customer-friendly service terms and/or unique services. 

Read more: The best high-speed ISPs for gigabit internet

Cable internet FAQs

Is cable internet better than fiber optic?

Cable internet is available to twice the number of households as fiber optic and can support similar download speeds, but its advantages over fiber largely end there. Fiber internet typically comes with faster upload speeds and better speed reliability than cable, often for a lower price than you’ll pay for cable internet, depending on which providers are available in your area.

Why are cable internet upload speeds so slow?

Cable internet providers use coaxial cables, the same ones used for cable TV, to run internet service the last mile or so to your home. These cables do not have the same bandwidth capacity as fiber-optic cables and therefore cannot support symmetrical download and upload speeds. As a result, cable internet upload speeds often range from 1 to 50Mbps, though the download speeds may be much higher.

Why do I only have one cable internet provider?

Operating costs are the biggest obstacle preventing multiple cable providers from offering service in the same market. However, more people have access to more than one provider with cable internet than any other service type (excluding satellite). According to the FCC, multiple cable internet providers are available to around 7% of US residents, compared to less than 4% with fiber and 3% with DSL service.

Which cable internet service is available near me?

Cable internet providers operate in specific locations, so the ISP near you will depend on your address. That said, there are a few cable internet providers that are available in more areas than others. Xfinity boasts the largest availability, covering 36% of the US population. Spectrum is right behind Xfinity at 33%, followed by Cox (7%), Altice brands Optimum and Suddenlink (5.6% total), RCN (2.6%), WideOpenWest (2.3%) and Mediacom (2%). There are also dozens of regional cable internet providers that operate in hyper-local markets that your address could be serviceable for.

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