/>
X
Home & Office
Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET's expert staff finds the best discounts and price drops from reputable sellers on a regular basis. If 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.

Close

What are the best home broadband deals and how fast are they really?

Choosing the right home broadband can be complicated with confusing speed jargon. ZDNET rounded up the best home broadband deals to save you time and money.
Optimum 1 GigInternet | Gig-speed broadband for $65 per month
optimum-1-giginternet
Optimum 1 GigInternet
Gig-speed broadband for $65 per month
View now View at Optimum
Verizon Fios Internet | 1-Gig with extras for $65 per month
verizon-fios-internet
Verizon Fios Internet
1-Gig with extras for $65 per month
View now View at Verizon
AT&T Fiber 5 Gig | 5,000Mbps for $180 per month
at-t-fiber-5-gig
AT&T Fiber 5 Gig
5,000Mbps for $180 per month
View now View at AT&T
Verizon 300Mbps package | Reasonable speeds at $24.99 per month
verizon-300mbps-package
Verizon 300Mbps package
Reasonable speeds at $24.99 per month
View now View at Verizon
Frontier Internet | $49 per month
frontier-internet
Frontier Internet
$49 per month
View now View at Frontier

It's difficult enough to purchase a new laptop or TV, but at least those devices have a straightforward, one-time cost. When shopping for home broadband, there are many factors to consider during your decision-making process: Contracts, rental fees, hidden costs, sign-up bonuses, included streaming subscriptions, and more. 

Plus, when you find a service that seems like a good fit, it may not be available at your address. 

Skip the headache of shopping for home broadband with our simple guide to the best broadband deals available right now.

Also: Baby, these space heaters keep the cold outside with Wi-Fi connectivity

We found the best deals for home broadband that include sign-up bonuses, gigabit speeds, budget-friendly plans, and more. While we can't guarantee every service will be available where you live, but these providers blanket the country with their networks.

Tech specs: Speed: 940Mbps download / 940Mbps upload (in select areas, wired), 940Mbps download / 35Mbps upload (in all others) | Promo price: $65 per month (with enrollment) | Included extras: $200 Visa gift card, one Gateway, one WiFi extender if required

If you're running a massive number of connected devices, or if you're a streaming aficionado trying to avoid hiccups in your 4K (or even 8K) streams, then you should consider a gigabit-level connection.

Optimum 1 GigInternet offers plenty of space to connect all your devices, but it may be overkill if you only have a few. Optimum's offer price of $65 per month is available if you enroll in automatic payments and paperless billing, or $80 per month if you don't. Customers may also receive a $200 Visa gift card to sweeten the deal. 

Also, Optimum is part of a US Federal Government program that offers a $30 p/m subsidy to qualifying households to help them pay for internet access. Those who qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program may be able to sign up free for a 300Mbps internet service.

Tech specs: Speed: 940Mbps download / 880Mbps upload | Promo price: $65 - $90 per month (10-year price guarantee, available for a limited time) | Included extras: Amazon Echo Show 10, $300 off a Stream TV soundbar, Beats Studio Buds

Verizon's 1-gig FiOS plan isn't the cheapest on this list, but there is a 10-year price guarantee with its current promotion. The cheapest deal, internet for $65 per month, is only available for existing Verizon 5G Play More, 5G Do More or 5G Get More plan customers. 

What makes this deal noteworthy? Verizon is currently offering a slate of included extras for new sign-ups. The extras include an Amazon Echo Show 10, a pair of Beats Studio Buds, and $300 off a Stream TV soundbar (audio: Bang & Olufsen). In addition, customers can choose between six months of Disney Plus with 2TB of Verizon cloud storage or a $50 Xbox gift card with a free MoCA Ethernet adapter. Alternatively, you can subscribe to everything for an extra $10 per month. 

If you're an existing mobile customer without a 5G plan, you can still save $10/mo, bringing the cost down to $80.

Tech specs: Speed: 5,000Mbps download (where available) 5,000Mbps upload | Promo price: $180 per month | Included extras: $200 gift card

AT&T Fiber is expensive, there's no denying it. But if you're a heavy user and live in a household full of gamers, streaming devices, and people working from home, you need better speed and bandwidth than typical home deals offer. 

If you maintain automatic billing and paperless bills, you can get AT&T's Fiber 5 Gig option for $180 per month. Alternatively, there's also a 2 Gig plan for $110 per month. It's worth noting an installation fee of up to $99 may apply.

Tech specs: Speed: 300Mbps download (depending on location) 300Mpbs upload | Promo price: $24.99 per month (with automatic billing and some 5G plans), $49.99 without | 10 year price guaranteeIncluded extras: $100 off Stream TV Soundbar, free Amazon Echo Dot

You might be looking for a budget-friendly connection that can handle streaming, voice calls, and tasks when you're working from home. If you have an existing Verizon 5G plan, you can get a 300Mbps Fios line for $24.99 per month.

The $99 setup fee is waived if you order this package online. Plus, the telecom giant is offering customers $100 off a Stream TV Soundbar and a free Amazon Echo Dot to sweeten the pot.

Tech specs: Speed: 500Mbps download (depending on location) 500Mbps upload | Promo price: $49.99 per month (with AutoPay), $54.99 without | No annual contract Fiber optic network Included extras: Free eero 6 WiFi router

Frontier Internet is a deal worth considering. If you want to avoid an annual contract, the ISP might be for you. Plus, it won't throttle your line during times of peak demand. Frontier's typical Internet plan offers 500Mbps of speed via fiber optic cabling for $49.99 per month, as long as you enable AutoPay. The company also throws in a Eero 6 WiFi router for free.

How did we choose these home broadband deals?

While scouring the internet for the best home broadband deals, ZDNET first focused on affordability. Many of us are feeling the sting of the rising cost of living in an uncertain global economy -- but being able to save a few dollars here and there can help.

If you live with your family or friends, paying a bit more for improved speeds may be worth it. Plus, you need a package that can handle multiple devices and streaming, especially if you're a remote or hybrid worker. 

Let's not forget the products and services thrown in to sweeten the pot. We noticed that some deals come with gift cards or free tech. 

How do I know how what speed I really need?

Providers will try to sell you top-tier plans, but you may not actually need all of that speed. For many, 1Gbps plans are a no-brainer and a necessity -- if they're available in your area. But for many use cases, more speed can simply be unwarranted spending. 

We recommend taking a solid look at your usage. If you live alone or just run a couple devices, 100Mbps is likely more than enough for you. Plus, careful network management can powerfully connect households (but expect the occasional buffering wheel to appear). 

For most multi-person households, 300Mbps+ is a safe bet. It offers headroom for growing device collections at a price lower than 1Gbps options.

You'll want 1Gbps if you frequently download massive games, constantly stream multiple 4K movies, livestream professionally, or simply need the best server performance at home.

Is cable, fiber, or wireless broadband better?

It would be easy to write a 50-page report on the relative merits of each network. To boil it down to the absolute must-know facts, we'll focus on the biggest pros and cons. 

Cable

  • Pros: Widely available, already installed in many homes, typically offers up to 300Mbps speeds with some areas as high as 1Gbps
  • Cons: Copper infrastructure requires adjacent telecom poles in most municipalities, speeds struggle to keep up with fiber and wireless

Fiber:

  • Pros: Fastest terrestrial speeds available, only technology with widely-deployed multi-gigabit services, underground network hardware available in select areas
  • Cons: Narrowest availability, requires elaborate in-home installation, costs are typically higher than cable (depending on local availability)

Wireless

  • Pros: Can reach near-gigabit speeds, plug-and-play network setup, available in multi-unit dwellings and other areas where terrestrial cable/fiber is hard to run
  • Cons: Limited availability (although this is rapidly changing), speeds can fluctuate more than terrestrial alternatives, prone to interference and disruption

Should I avoid contracts?

If possible, yes. Contracts lock you into pricing that may seem great at first, but prices often balloon before the contract term ends. It's important to read the fine print.

With contract-free plans, you don't have to worry about price changes because you can always ditch the carrier for greener pastures. Contract-free plans also make providers work harder to keep your business, because they know you're not obligated to stay with an early termination fee hanging over your head.

Depending on which providers are available in your area, it's not always possible to avoid contracts. In that case, we recommend trying to limit them to one year and ensuring that the initial price lasts throughout the entire contract term.

Editorial standards