Best Internet Providers in Houston

Houston, we have a problem. Although it’s in the top five of the most populated metros in the US, H-Town could barely crack the top 50 on Ookla’s list of the country’s fastest cities for broadband. 

Per the speed-testing site’s most recent reporting, Houston managed to clock in at only No. 49. By contrast, its fellow Lone Star State cities of Austin, Corpus Christi, El Paso and San Antonio all placed in the top 10. Other Texas towns that placed higher on the speed chart — to add insult to injury — include Arlington, Fort Worth, Garland, Irving, Laredo, Lubbock and Plano. Some small consolation: Houston finished well ahead of Dallas, which was in the bottom 10.

Despite the poor showing, Houston offers several high-speed internet choices. You can get hooked up with home internet from fast fiber options, including AT&TFrontier and local internet service provider Tachus. You could hop online via cable connections from Optimum and Spectrum. You could join the 5G home internet movement by trying Verizon 5G Home Internet or T-Mobile Home Internet.

Whatever the options at your specific address — including the alternatives of third-party providers like EarthLink, EIN and Ultra Home Internet — we can help you choose. 

Best internet providers in H-Town

Our pick for the best overall ISP in Houston is AT&T Fiber, but there are other quality providers out there too. Let’s dive into the best internet service providers in Houston.

AT&T Fiber: Best internet provider in Houston

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  • Price range: $55 to $180 a month
  • Speed range: 300 to 5,000Mbps
  • Highlights: Unlimited data, no contracts, equipment included
  • Special offers: $150 gift card if you sign up online 

Longtime Houston residents are probably well aware that while AT&T internet services are prevalent in the area, availability for AT&T Fiber remains limited. Scan through the addresses in the area, and you’ll find pockets of fiber availability throughout various Houston neighborhoods, including Hyde Park, Jacinto City, Northside Village, South Houston and Spring Branch. In other parts of the company’s coverage map, customers are left with AT&T Internet, a DSL service, as the only option. That DSL infrastructure is so outdated that AT&T publicly announced its goal of cutting its copper coverage in half by 2025. 

If you have access to AT&T Fiber, you’re in great shape. AT&T Fiber offers five plans — 300Mbps, 500Mbps, 1,000Mbps, 2,000Mbps and 5,000Mbps — and each features symmetrical upload and download speeds, no data caps, no term agreements and no equipment rental fee. AT&T also is known for offering some decent perks, including the current enticement of a Visa rewards card for those who sign up online.

Read our AT&T home internet review.


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Xfinity: Best internet provider in Houston for availability

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  • Price range: $20 to $300 a month
  • Speed range: 75 to 6,000Mbps
  • Highlights: Lots of plan options, solid customer satisfaction numbers
  • Special offers: Bundle discounts, free streaming content

Comcast’s broadband service is ubiquitous in the Houston metro area, which can be helpful if you’re moving within the city and want to transfer your service rather than go through the rigmarole of setting up a new service. On top of that, Xfinity has earned high customer satisfaction marks in recent reports from J.D. Power and the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

That said, a few things might give you pause. First, as a cable internet provider, Xfinity can’t match the symmetrical speeds of fiber ISPs in the area, including AT&T, Brightspeed and Tachus. Upload speeds will range from 10 to 35Mbps on most plans. Also, in contrast to most other providers in the Bayou City, Xfinity imposes a data cap on its customers. It’s set at a reasonable 1.2TB (more than double what the average US household uses, according to OpenVault’s most recent findings). Still, that might be a limiting factor for larger households and those with heavy internet users and multiple connected devices.

Read our Xfinity review.


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Verizon 5G Home Internet: Best internet provider in Houston for fixed wireless service

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  • Price range: $50 to $70 a month ($25 to $35 for Verizon Unlimited mobile customers)
  • Speed range: 85 to 1,000Mbps
  • Highlights: No data cap, no installation or extra fees, no contracts, equipment included
  • Special offers: Price-lock guarantee (two or three years, depending on the plan you purchase), a free year of Walmart Plus for Verizon 5G Home Plus customers

Verizon has been pushing its 5G internet service, making some big noise when it unveiled its C-band frequency rollout for its Ultra Wideband network. It’s part of the company’s aim to provide a national broadband option beyond the limits of its highly regarded fiber service, Verizon Fios, which is limited to folks in the Northeast.

While you’ll find plenty of Ultra Wideband availability on Verizon’s 5G coverage map, customers will still need to check their address on the Verizon site to confirm if the 5G Home Internet service is available to them. If so, customers will find an appealingly flexible service with no contracts, no extra fees and plenty of perks, including a potential $500 credit toward early termination fees (for those switching out of a contract), price guarantees and a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

Read our Verizon 5G Home Internet overview.


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Houston internet providers compared

Internet technology Monthly price range Speed range Equipment costs Data cap
Astound Broadband Cable $26-$60 400-1,200Mbps $12 a month (skippable) None
AT&T DSL/fiber $55-$180 10-5,000Mbps None None
Brightspeed DSL/fiber $50-$65 20-940Mbps $15 a month (skippable) None
Frontier DSL/fiber $55-$155 9-2,000Mbps None None
Optimum Cable $40-$80 300-940Mbps None None
Spectrum Cable $50-$90 200-940Mbps Free modem; $5 router None
Tachus Fiber $65-$90 100-1,000Mbps None None
Verizon 5G Home Internet Fixed wireless $50-$70 300-940Mbps None None
Xfinity Cable $25-$300 75-6,000Mbps $14/month (skippable) 1.2TB

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All available Houston residential internet providers

Beyond the three picks above, several other broadband choices exist in the Houston metro area. Some can be found only in small pockets of the city, while others are mainly located in the city suburbs. There are some compelling choices here, even though they’re not as widely available.

  • Astound Broadband: This cable internet provider, known regionally as Grande, offers some of Houston’s most competitive starting rates. Its starting price of $26 a month for a 400Mbps plan comes out to an affordable 7 cents per Mbps. By comparison, Xfinity’s cheaper $20 per month plan features download speeds of only 75Mbps and therefore has a much higher cost per Mbps of 27 cents. The Astound 1.2Gbps plan is also the cheapest in the city, starting at $60 monthly. The rub is that Astound’s price increases are some of the steepest in the industry. For example, the company’s Houston rate card reveals that Astound prices its 400Mbps plan at $78 per month after your promo expires. The gig plan sees a slightly less severe jump from $60 per month to $97 monthly, but still, beware the bait and switch. 
  • Brightspeed: Somewhat similar to AT&T but without as deep a presence. You’ll want to research this because, depending on your location, you may be dealing with DSL service (which can be as low as 20Mbps), or if you’re in the Kingwood area, you might see the company’s much more compelling fiber product.
  • Consolidated Communications: You won’t find this fiber provider within city limits, but its affordable plans are available to customers in the suburbs of Conroe and Katy. Plans range from 50Mbps to 1Gbps for $25 to $60 monthly. There are no contracts required and no data cap enforced. There is an additional equipment fee of $10 a month.
  • Frontier: Frontier has a scattered presence in the greater Houston area. You won’t find it downtown, but you can get its DSL and fiber-optic service in the northeast outskirts of Baytown, Beach City, Cove and Crosby. You’ll also find it in the southern portion of the metro area in League City and Sante Fe. If Frontier Fiber is available — it features symmetrical plans of 500Mbps, 1Gbps or 2Gbps speeds ranging from $55 to $155 per month — it’s a very appealing choice. But if Frontier DSL is your only option, try other alternatives.
  • Kinetic by Windstream: This DSL and fiber provider is available in just a few small pockets within the Houston city limits. Most of that availability is in the southern suburb of Sugar Land. You’ll mostly deal with its DSL service rather than the faster fiber-optic plans.
  • Optimum: First off, I can imagine you might be confused. Suddenlink is the provider you’re probably familiar with in the Houston area. However, its parent company, Altice USA, renamed it Optimum in 2022. In any case, Optimum service is scattered lightly throughout the metro area but has a heavier density north of the city in Conroe and Kingwood. This cable ISP is notable for its highly competitive starting rates, some of the most affordable in the area.
  • Spectrum: Charter Communications’ ISP has some of the more customer-friendly, straightforward terms you’ll find for cable internet service. There are no contracts, no data caps and a free modem rental included in your monthly price, ranging from $50 to $90. It also includes free access to Wi-Fi hotspots across the country. Spectrum service is available north of the city, mainly in Magnolia, Spring, Tomball and The Woodlands. 
  • Tachus: This local ISP, founded in 2018, is notable for its community presence and commitment to building 100% fiber-to-the-home networks within the greater Houston metropolitan area. It’s now available to over 50,000 homes in Atascocita, Conroe, East Montgomery County, Kingwood, Magnolia, Oak Ridge County North and The Woodlands. There are three fiber plans — 100Mbps, 500Mbps and 1Gbps — ranging from $65 to $90 a month, with no data caps and no contracts. A modem rental is included in the monthly price, but you’ll need to provide your own router.
  • T-Mobile Home Internet: T-Mobile uses its 5G and 4G LTE networks to power its fixed wireless home internet product, which is available to over 40 million homes nationwide. Check your address on the T-Mobile site to see if you’re serviceable, though. I have T-Mobile cell service at home, but I’m still not eligible for the home internet service. In any case, it’s an intriguing offering that includes installation fees, taxes and equipment rental under its $50-a-month fee, with no data caps or contracts.
Houston skyline at dawn

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Houston internet details at a glance

Now that you have an overview of the internet service providers available in Houston, let’s talk more specifically about the cheapest internet plans available and the fastest internet options you can find in the city. 

Typical pricing for Houston internet 

The average starting price for internet service in Houston is just over $45 a month, which is right about in the middle of other markets we’ve covered thus far, including Brooklyn ($36 a month), Los Angeles ($38 a month), Denver ($39 per month), San Francisco ($40 a month), New York City ($41 monthly), Seattle ($42 per month), Dallas and Philadelphia (about $43 a month), Phoenix ($46 per month), Atlanta ($47 a month), Orlando ($48 per month) and Charlotte, Chicago, Las VegasSan Diego and St. Louis (all about $50 a month). 

Cheap internet options in Space City

Xfinity offers the lowest starting price in Houston — its Connect plan (75Mbps) has a promo price of $25 for the first two years and then $50 a month after that. It’s also widely available throughout the Houston metro area and the Bayou City burbs. 

It should also be noted that almost all providers listed participate in the Federal Communication Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides a $30-a-month discount to qualifying households to provide affordable, high-speed internet. Some providers even offer a low-cost internet plan targeted at low-income homes and communities. When combined with the ACP benefit, you might be able to get internet service for free. 

What are the cheapest internet plans in Houston?

Provider Starting price Standard price Max download speed Equipment fee Contract
Xfinity $25 $50 75Mbps $14/month (skippable) 1 year
Astound Broadband $26 $78 400Mbps $12/month (skippable) None
Frontier $55 $55 500Mbps None None
Optimum $40 $110 300Mbps None None
Brightspeed $50 $50 100Mbps $15/month (skippable) None
T-Mobile Home Internet $50 $50 182Mbps None None
Spectrum $50 $75 300Mbps Free modem; $5 router None
Verizon 5G Home Internet $50 $50 300Mbps None None
AT&T Fiber 300 $55 $55 300Mbps None None
Tachus $65 $65 100Mbps None None

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What kind of internet speeds can you get in Houston?

Per the Ookla stats mentioned at the top of this article, Houston isn’t among the top 40 cities with the fastest internet speeds. That’s not to say you won’t be able to find enough speed to do all the things you need to do online. 

Download speeds

Houston – 137 Mbps

TX – 152 Mbps

US – 133 Mbps

Upload speeds

Houston – 56 Mbps

TX – 67 Mbps

US – 46 Mbps

*Data sourced from M-LAB speed tests taken by real users in Houston.

Fastest internet providers in Houston

Some Houstonians will have access to the splashy 5Gbps plans unveiled by AT&T and Frontier in 2022. And while Comcast boasts its own multi-gig plan with upload and download speeds of 6,000Mbps, it’s available only at addresses the cable company has wired for fiber. The most recent FCC disclosures from June 2021 peg that percentage at approximately 4% of Comcast addresses.

What are the fastest internet plans in Houston?

Provider Max download speed Max upload speed Starting price Data cap Contract
Xfinity Gigabit Pro 6,000Mbps 6,000Mbps $300 None 2 years
Frontier Fiber 5 Gig 5,000Mbps 5,000Mbps $165 None None
AT&T Fiber 5000 5,000Mbps 5,000Mbps $180 None None
AT&T Fiber 2000 2,000Mbps 2,000Mbps $110 None None
Frontier Fiber 2 Gig 2,000Mbps 2,000Mbps $110 None None
Astound Broadband 1,200Mbps 50Mbps $60 None None
Xfinity Gigabit Extra 1,200Mbps 35Mbps $80 None None
Consolidated Communications 1,000Mbps 1,000Mbps $60 None None
AT&T Fiber 1000 1,000Mbps 1,000Mbps $80 None None
Tachus Gig 1,000Mbps 1,000Mbps $90 None None
Xfinity Ultrafast 1,000Mbps 35Mbps $75 None None
Brightspeed Fiber 940Mbps 940Mbps $65 None None
Astound Broadband 940Mbps 50Mbps $50 None None
Optimum Gig 940Mbps 35Mbps $80 None None
Spectrum Internet Gig 940Mbps 35Mbps $90 None None

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What’s the final verdict on Houston internet providers?

Comcast’s cable internet offering of Xfinity has Houston covered with the most extensive availability across the metro area. But as we say in our CNET home internet reviews, a fiber internet connection outperforms cable almost every time. So, if you can access a fiber provider in the area — including AT&T Fiber, Brightspeed Fiber, Consolidated Communications, Frontier Fiber or Tachus — don’t hesitate to sign on the virtual dotted line. 

Best internet providers in Houston FAQs

Which internet service provider has the most coverage in Houston?

More than a dozen different ISPs are in the greater Houston metro, including satellite internet providers like HughesNet and Viasat. Of those providers, Xfinity covers the most extensive area. You can find Comcast’s cable service as far as Conroe to the north, East Bernard to the west, Baytown to the east and Freeport and Galveston to the south.

Can you get fiber internet service in Houston?

Yes. You can find fiber internet throughout H-Town. Houston’s top fiber internet providers include AT&T, Brightspeed Fiber, Consolidated Communications, Frontier Fiber and Tachus. It should also be noted that a small percentage of Xfinity locations are also eligible for fiber service, but it first requires a site survey to ascertain if the address is serviceable.

What internet provider has the fastest speeds in Houston?

The fastest internet speed you can currently get in Houston is 6Gbps (6,000Mbps), provided by Xfinity’s Gigabit Pro plan. However, as of mid-2021 (the most recent FCC data available), only 4% of Xfinity addresses were wired for fiber and thus eligible for that plan — and you’ll have to schedule a site survey to determine if your address is one of the lucky ones. Finally, per Ookla’s latest findings, the provider with the fastest average download speeds in Houston is AT&T, with a median download speed of approximately 220Mbps.

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