ZDNet independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.Our process
'ZDNet Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNet's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNet nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNet's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
Money.com released its annual 100 Best Places to Live in the U.S., and a Charlotte neighborhood secured fifth place. Charlotte, NC, has old-world southern charm and bustling cosmopolitan vibrancy. Additionally, there are several noteworthy internet service providers in Charlotte, NC.
If you're a resident (or about to become one) of Charlotte, one of the first services you'll probably be in search of is internet service. There are plenty of providers offering everything from DSL to cable broadband to high-speed fiber-optic service -- how will you know which one is best for you?
Our review of Charlotte internet providers can help you explore and compare your options.
If you prefer to keep your home phone, internet and TV on one bill, AT&T is a good option. The provider offers a small selection of affordable bundles to meet your needs.
Take a closer look at what AT&T has to offer in Charlotte, NC:
Price: Internet prices start at $50 per month for 100 or 300Mbps download speeds. The fastest tier comes in at $70 per month.
Speed and Data: AT&T Fiber is available in Charlotte at three speeds. Choose from 100 or 300Mbps with a generous data limit of 1TB. Or upgrade to their highest-tier plan of 1000Mbps download speeds and no data cap.
Plans/Packages: AT&T will throw in free installation when you sign up for a package. AT&T will throw in free installation, saving you $99. The Internet and U-verse TV package features fiber optic internet and 180 channels of U-verse TV for $79.99 per month with no data limits on internet usage. Add digital home phone services to the bundle and pay just $99.98 per month.
Contract Options: AT&T requires a 12-month service agreement for internet service or the bundles they offer.
Google's foray into internet services ranks them as providers with the most (and best) features in our review. Google Fiber is only available in 18 cities at this time, but that number is set to expand. When you sign up for Google Fiber high-speed internet, you'll also receive free installation and 1TB of free cloud storage.
Google Fiber features:
Price: Google Fiber in Charlotte costs $70 per month for fast 1000Mbps speeds.
Speed and Data: Most data providers only promote their download speeds, which are considerably faster than their upload speeds. Google Fiber is unique because they claim 1000Mbps download and upload speeds, making uploads of photos and files just as fast as downloading a video game or movie. Besides lightning-fast download and upload speeds, Google Fiber doesn't throttle speeds or cap data.
Plans/Packages: You can add Fiber Phone for an extra $10 per month.
Contract Options: Google Fiber doesn't require any contracts or commitments.
Spectrum Internet service is available to all Charlotte residents. The internet provider wins our award for widest coverage because 100% of Charlotte residences are eligible for Spectrum internet.
Price: Spectrum offers 200 Mbps speeds for $49.99 per month to Charlotte area residents. The internet service plan also comes with free access to Spectrum hotspots nationwide. You can connect any of your devices when you're away from home to an available hotspot and save on your mobile data.
Speed and Data: Charlotte residents can expect Spectrum internet speeds up to 200 Mbps.
Plans/Packages: Besides internet services, you can add Spectrum TV for live streaming of your favorite channels. You can use your TV subscription wherever you are through the Spectrum TV app.
Contract Options: Spectrum doesn't require you to commit to a contract. Internet prices are guaranteed for the first 12 months of service, but you may cancel at any time.
Choosing an internet provider based solely on price often comes with drawbacks -- lower speeds or limitations on your monthly data usage. Windstream tops our list for best value because they have one of the lowest prices for high-speed internet without many inconvenient restrictions you'd expect when choosing a low-cost provider.
Price: Windstream provides internet to all Charlotte residents, starting at $37 per month for the first year and $45 per month after.
Speed and Data: Windstream advertises a speed of 100Mbps, although the average project range of streaming is 73 to 125Mbps. There are no data caps or overage charges, so you don't have to worry about that affecting online streaming habits.
Plans/Packages: For extra savings, you can bundle DIRECTV and phone service with your internet. The home phone service includes unlimited calls nationwide.
Contract Options: Windstream doesn't require you to sign a long-term contract -- plus, you can cancel the service at any time.
How did we find the best internet providers in Charlotte?
We analyzed a dozen companies to find the best internet providers in Charlotte. Some of the key features we looked for are:
Coverage: Internet providers who offer widespread coverage throughout Charlotte make our list of best internet providers. Transferring your service if you move is a perk of being signed up with a provider with larger area coverage.
Value: We weighed the pricing vs features of all the available Charlotte internet service providers in determining which offer readers the most value. Some of the features we looked at were speed, packages, contract lengths, and data caps.
Customer Satisfaction: Satisfaction ratings from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) and J.D. Power were also considered. Because most internet service providers earned mediocre customer satisfaction ratings, we examined industry averages to understand better which internet providers resolved customer service issues best.
What is Google Fiber?
Google Fiber is Google's new high-speed internet service. It's only available in select cities, including Charlotte, North Carolina.
Packages start at $50 per month for 100 to 1000Mbps.
How fast is internet service in Charlotte?
Depending on the Charlotte, NC neighborhood, you'll have access to speeds of up to 1000Mbps.
Is fiber internet faster than broadband cable?
Yes, fibre internet is faster than broadband cable. Fiber optic internet is delivered straight to your home through fibers that can carry light.
Broadband internet is carried on coaxial cable wires and is shared with other neighborhood users, potentially slowing down your speeds when several users are online at once.
What is a data cap?
The larger the movie or music files you stream, or the more photos or videos you may upload or download, the more data or bandwidth you use. Many internet providers will limit the amount of monthly data.
If you reach your limit, your internet provider may shut off your internet or slow your speed down.