How to Find the Best Internet Providers in Your Area

Stephen LaytonJanuary 12, 2017
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The faster the speed, the fewer the options for internet service. The Federal Communications Commission reported in 2014 that most Americans only have access to one or two choices for wired broadband service — which includes various types of “always-on,” high-speed internet, as opposed to dial-up.

What’s available in your area

To start finding what’s available near you, we'd recommend typing in your ZIP code at these sites:

These sites — which have no affiliation with NerdWallet — may make money when you click through to their recommendations. However, they seem to have the most accurate information out of the many internet provider search sites available.

There’s also a government-maintained broadband search site at broadbandmap.fcc.gov, but the data are several years old.

Choosing the best internet service

After you figure out which providers serve your area, make sure you understand the different types of internet service.

In many places, you’ll receive the fastest and most reliable internet speeds from either a cable company or a phone company’s DSL service. Fiber optic internet, one of the fastest internet delivery technologies, may be available but is less common. If you’re far from a metro hub, satellite internet may be your best option.

Choosing the best internet service for you depends on what’s available near you, what speed you need and how much you want to spend.

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