Founded in September 1630, Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States. Although Boston is well-known as a center of culture and industry, the actual city proper only extends about 50 square miles. That means the people who call Boston home usually live in tight quarters compared to most places in the nation, and the same goes for businesses in the area.
When space is limited, the competition is high, and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who do business in the city must compete in a steep playing field, which can work to the benefit of the consumer. As a result, Boston's home state of Massachusetts has one of the highest internet speed connections in the US, according to Statista. We've compiled the best choices for internet service in Boston that will fit the needs of everything from casual internet users to people who require high-speed connections for their home office.
The three best internet providers in Boston
- Verizon Fios — Best for high-speed
- Xfinity — Best for availability
- RCN — Best for flexible plans
The best Boston internet providers: summed up
|Defining trait||High-speed||Availability||Flexible plans|
|Connection type||Fiber||Cable/fiber; WiFi||Cable|
|Download speeds (Mbps)||100, 300, 940||25, 100, 200, 300, 600, 1,000||100, 250, 500, 940|
|Prices starting at||$39.99||$39.99||$29.99|
|Contract length||None or 12–24 months||None or 12-24 months||None|
|Data cap||None||One terabyte||None|
Best for high-speed
Verizon Fios uses a 100% fiber-optic network to deliver high-speed internet to its customers. For most of the Internet's recent history, DSL and cable have been the two main kinds of internet connection, while fiber-optic is a long-awaited third choice for consumers. However, Verizon Fios has limited availability and potential buyers should make sure that it's available in their area.
If available, Fios is a solid choice for people who need fast internet that will perform at maximum Mbps. Fios utilizes fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) to connect internet users directly to the company's wider fiber network, which shaves off more time in between clicking a website over the connection and delivering that website's information to your computer at home.
- Price: $39.99 – $79.99
- Speed and Data: 100 Mbps – 940 Mbps/No data cap
- Plans/Packages: 100 Mbps Speed, 300 Mbps Speed, Gigabit Connection
- Contract Options: No contract, 12 months, 24 months
Best for availability
Comcast Xfinity uses a cable connection for their internet services. This company is available far and wide, and most Bostonians should have no trouble accessing Xfinity's internet offerings, including WiFi, regardless of where the person lives. Due to their size and coverage, Xfinity has become known as one of the gold standards for ISPs based in the U.S.
Xfinity has the most choices available on internet plans, and it offers many bundles with its services, as well. Although most of Xfinity's internet service is operated through cable connections, the company's highest-speed packages—Gigabit and Gigabit Pro—actually use a Hybrid Fiber-Coax (HFC) network, which gives users even more reliability and connection speed.
- Price: $39.99 – $299.99
- Speed and Data: 15 Mbps – 1,000 Mbps/One terabyte data cap
- Plans/Packages: Performance Starter, Performance Plus, Performance Pro, Blast! Pro, Extreme Pro, Gigabit, Gigabit Pro
- Contract Options: No contract, 12 months, 24 months
Best for flexible plans
RCN uses a cable connection to bring its internet service into homes and businesses. Operating mostly around New England, this company has the smallest coverage range out of the three ISPs, but it does have a significant presence in Boston, so anyone interested should check to see if RCN is available in the area.
This company is a good bet for more casual internet users or people who change living arrangements frequently because RCN doesn't require a contract for any of their plans, and the installation process is fairly straightforward and inexpensive. Cancel anytime without worrying over cancellation fees and the headache of getting out of a costly contract.
- Price: $29.99 – $54.99
- Speed and Data: 15 Mbps – 940 Mbps
- Plans/Packages: 100 Mbps Internet, 250 Mbps Internet, 500 Mbps Internet, Gig Internet
- Contract Options: No contract required
How we found the best internet providers in Boston
Finding the best internet service providers in Boston means focusing on what each company does best and what makes them stand apart from the competition. We dug into the details to determine key features that will help consumers decide which choice is best for them.
- Coverage: Coverage is essential for an ISP. If the company doesn't provide coverage in the desired location, then the service will be unavailable. Fios, Xfinity, and RCN all cater to the Boston area. Although all choices are available in parts of Boston, it's a safe bet that Xfinity will have the highest rate of coverage, due to the company's ubiquity in most metropolitan areas.
- Value: The value each ISP offers to consumers depends on what type of internet service is needed. When it comes to deals and bundles, Xfinity is a great choice, due to the sheer amount of choices the company offers. As far as speed and reliability go, Fios's fiber-optic connection is hard to beat. Casual internet users or people on the move might choose RCN, due to the ease of signing up and canceling the service at any time.
- Customer satisfaction: When it comes to customer satisfaction, the internet service provider industry is notorious for having low satisfaction ratings. We looked at the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) and J.D. Power to find out how these companies measured up. At ASCI, Fios scored 70 out of 100 for 2018 and 2019, which is the highest mark of any ISP on the list. Xfinity scored 60 and 61 out of 100 for 2018 and 2019, respectively, and RCN did not receive an individual score as it is ranked in the "all others" category at 64 percent for 2019. We also looked at J.D. Power's 2019 U.S. Internet Service Provider Satisfaction Study for the East region of the U.S., and Verizon came in first with an overall satisfaction ranking of five out of five. Comcast Xfinity came in third with an overall satisfaction rating of three out of five, while RCN was not included on the list.
How many internet service providers are there in Boston?
Although Verizon, Xfinity, and RCN are three of the major ISPs operating in Boston, a quick internet search will yield over 25 different choices, so there are plenty of options for Bostonians.
What is the most common kind of internet connection in Boston?
Cable and DSL are the most commonly available internet connections in the Boston area. While fiber internet is available in parts of Boston, its limited network makes Cable and DSL the most widely used internet connections.
Is WiFi available for home internet service in Boston?
Most ISPs available in Boston like Xfinity offer WiFi capabilities with its home internet services, and WiFi automatically comes with many of the plans depending on the provider's equipment.