However, 6Mbps is fairly restrictive, particularly if there are several internet users in your home, and you might find a cheaper, faster deal with another internet technology, such as cable. Frontier also offers a more reasonably-paced 25Mbps DSL package for $34.99 per month. And you might be won over by the flexibility Frontier offers. It doesn’t require contracts, so you can leave at any time without incurring exit fees.
Frontier DSL is available to more than 30 million people in 25 states, with the most widespread coverage in the Midwest.
Cox’s entry-level cable internet package, the “Internet Starter” pack, costs just $19.99 per month. The price is unbeatable—in fact, it’s the cheapest internet plan from all mainstream providers. However, the 10Mbps speed will cramp the style of anyone who wants to stream video content or shares an internet connection with family members or roommates. Those who need a little more speed can upgrade to Cox's 50Mbps “Essential” plan for $29.99 per month.
Cox internet is available to around 20 million people in 18 states, including Arizona, California, Kansas, and Virginia. It usually targets large metropolitan areas in the state it serves.
Xfinity also offers economical cable, with more widespread coverage. Its “Performance Starter” deal costs just $24.99 per month for speeds of 25Mbps and a roomy 1 TB data allowance. Xfinity cable internet reaches more than 100 million people in 39 states. However, you’ll need to sign up for a 12-month contract to qualify for the lowest prices, and Xfinity’s prices can vary by region. Plug your ZIP code into our comparison engine to see what Xfinity deals are available to your address.
The cheapest DSL internet provider is also the most economical choice for fiber. Frontier’s Simply FiOS package costs just $29.99 per month. Speeds are limited to just 50Mbps, much less than fiber is capable of delivering, but it’s the most affordable way to get the other benefits of the technology: symmetrical download and upload speeds, no loss of speed over distance, low latency, reliability even in storms and extreme weather.
Frontier’s fiber plans are available in eight states, including California, Florida, Texas, and the Pacific Northwest. Unfortunately, you’ll need to sign up for a two-year contract to get Frontier FiOS.
If you want the most speed for your buck, telecommunication giant AT&T may be your best bet. In some areas, you can get gigabit fiber, with 940Mbps download speeds, from AT&T for just $49.99 per month. In comparison, competitors charge from $70 to over $100 per month for similar gigabit connections.
But be warned: AT&T charges a flat rate for its internet and then gives you the speed its infrastructure supports in your area. For 25 million people, primarily in large cities in the Midwest and South, that’s its 940Mbps fiber connections. For others across the 22 states AT&T serves, it’s DSL with speeds ranging from 25Mbps to 100Mbps.
If you can get AT&T fiber, it’s an incredible deal—market-leading speeds for a price other providers charge for much lower packages. It’s the cheapest way to get a gigabit connection. The plans are less competitive for DSL, particularly if your area is stuck in the slow lane with 25Mbps speeds.
Satellite internet, available everywhere you can see the sky to the South, is a good option for those who live in rural areas not served by other internet technologies or where DSL and cable become too slow over long distances. Traditionally, satellite internet was very expensive and slow. It’s come down in price dramatically over the last few years as it’s picked up pace. For a budget satellite option, Viasat is your best bet. Its 12Mbps entry-level package costs just $30 per month.
It’s one thing to sign up for a cheap internet plan now, but you might see your bills creep up over subsequent years, especially when your introductory period ends. Those who are conscious of their costs in the future might want to consider CenturyLink. CenturyLink charges $49 per month for its DSL, which delivers speeds of between 15Mbps and 100Mbps, depending on the area. That's certainly not the cheapest around but CenturyLink has one big selling point. It promises to continue charging you only that amount for as long as you stick with them. If you sign up now, CenturyLink could prove to be the cheapest internet plan of the future. It's a particularly good choice for those who don't want to search for a new plan and switch provider every year.