New York’s state mammal is the beaver, a fitting symbol for an industrious, hard-working place that loves to build things. We’re not just talking about skyscrapers, subways and bridges. New Yorkers have built rich digital lives around work and play, and for that to thrive, you need fast, reliable internet access.
ISP options in New York State are very location-dependent, but CNET’s got some recommendations for you. Whether you’re streaming movies in Ithaca or coding in Brooklyn, we’ve got you covered. CNET’s pick for the best internet provider overall is Spectrum Internet due to the wide availability of its cable internet, but we’re also big fans of fiber internet from Verizon Fios if you can get it.
There are dozens of ISPs servicing New York, ranging from big names like Verizon to small, local providers. CNET examines customer service, speed, pricing and overall value before recommending the best broadband in your neck of the woods. Let’s make like beavers and get busy checking out the best internet providers in the Empire State.
Best internet options in New York
The best internet provider for you is the one with the best combination of speed and price at your address. Your choices may be limited, so use our guide to get an idea of what’s available across the Empire State, then see which ISPs service your home and go from there. All prices listed on this page reflect available discounts for setting up paperless billing. If you decide not to go with automatic monthly payments, your price will be higher.
Note: The prices, speeds and features detailed in the article text may differ from those listed in the product detail cards, which represent providers’ national offerings. Your particular internet service options — including prices and speeds — depend on your address and may differ from those detailed here.
Rural internet options in New York
|Hudson Valley Wireless
|New York Capital Region
|Oneida County Telephone Co.
|Finger Lakes region
Show more (4 items)
Source: CNET analysis of provider data
There’s a lot more to New York than big cities. The state boasts large stretches of scenic small towns and rural areas. Folks living there need fast, reliable internet, too. Fixed wireless has typically been a go-to option for rural areas. Verizon and T-Mobile are big national 5G wireless providers, but they still tend to service cities more than rural areas. You might get lucky, otherwise look to a local or regional provider.
You’ll notice quite a few small fiber ISPs on our list for rural broadband options across the state. New York has a forward-thinking approach to rural internet thanks in part to the New NY Broadband Program and its successor, the ConnectALL initiative. These programs have been funding broadband expansion into underserved areas. This is taking the form of the growth of fiber networks in some counties. Fiber build-outs can take time, so availability is still very dependent on location.
Satellite internet can be slow and expensive, which is why it’s often a last resort for rural homes. The contenders are Starlink, Viasat and HughesNet. The good news is satellite can reach areas that are otherwise unserved by other ISPs. You’ll need a clear view of the sky and a willingness to pay a premium to get connected. We give HughesNet a special nod thanks to its reliable speeds while Starlink is notable for its higher max download speeds.
Head on over to the New York State PSC Broadband Map and plug in your address to find ISPs that service your home. This is a good way to learn about smaller local providers that you may have overlooked.
New York broadband at a glance
The broadest broadband coverage across New York comes from cable providers — notably Spectrum and Optimum — but fiber is expanding in the state. In early 2023, Verizon Fios announced the availability of its multi-gig home internet plan in all five boroughs of New York City. Homes with fiber access are most likely to be in the populous big cities, but the state has been pushing fiber build-outs to smaller communities, so you don’t necessarily have to live in a place with skyscrapers to get fast internet.
How fast is New York broadband?
FCC data paints a rosy picture for internet access in New York by showing that 100% of residential units can access broadband speeds. But let’s look at that a little closer. For the FCC, 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up qualify as broadband. That speed would drive hard-core gamers and heavy internet users up the wall. Satellite internet also figures into the equation, so rural residents may be able to access that speed level via satellite, but it might not be an appealing option thanks to the expense.
The FCC data on gig speeds is a bit less rosy. Only about 21% of residences can get at least 1,000Mbps down and 100Mbps up. Ookla’s speed test averages put New York in eighth place for the fastest median download speeds over fixed broadband among US states. New York’s 214Mbps median download makes for a strong showing. The fastest provider is Verizon, our choice for the best ISP in New York City, thanks to its reliable fiber network. If you’re over in the Buffalo or Rochester areas, check in with Greenlight Networks for fast fiber speeds. Large areas of the Empire State will find their best bet for broadband is through Spectrum. It’s not going to hit fiber’s max speeds, but it covers many places where fiber doesn’t reach.
Internet pricing in New York
A typical starting price for home internet service in New York is around $50. Some ISPs edge in below that, like with Astound Broadband’s sweet 600Mbps deal starting at $40 per month in parts of New York City. Rural residents may be looking at premium prices for satellite, but many of the state’s smaller fiber providers start at $60 per month. That’s much preferable to satellite or fixed wireless if your home has access.
Many residents won’t have much choice in ISP. If you’re stuck with a cable provider you don’t care for, then check into T-Mobile or Verizon home internet as an affordable alternative. Both have plans starting at $50 per month and offer generous savings when bundled with an eligible mobile plan. If you’re locked into a provider that hikes your price, then it’s time to make a little noise and try to negotiate your way back down to a more affordable monthly fee. Here are eight ways to save on your internet bill.
Internet for low-income households in New York
Everyone should have access to affordable internet, no matter their financial circumstances. The federal Affordable Connectivity Program gives eligible households $30 ($70 on tribal lands) off their monthly internet bill. That can mean cheap or free home internet in New York. The state maintains a searchable list of affordable internet options where you’ll find links to providers and plans like Spectrum’s Internet Assist or Frontier’s Lifeline program. It may be easiest to just check in with your ISP about ACP options, whether it’s a special low-cost plan or a discount on a faster plan.
The Future of broadband in New York
New York is working to bring fast, affordable broadband to unserved and underserved areas, especially in rural parts of the state. That work will get a boost thanks to New York’s nearly $665 million slice of a $42 billion federal investment through the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment program. The money is part of the massive Infrastructure Act.
New York maintains its own broadband map of the state, which highlights areas that are lacking in broadband or that have limited choices. The data shows roughly 130,000 locations are still unserved. Those areas will be a focus for broadband expansion. New York has set a higher bar than the FCC for what it considers high-speed internet. The state is aiming to bring speeds of at least 100Mbps down and 10Mbps up to all residents. Funding is a key component of improving New York’s broadband, but it also takes time and effort. Change won’t be instantaneous, but New Yorkers in areas that have typically been overlooked can look forward to a brighter broadband future.
How CNET chose the best internet providers in New York
Internet service providers are numerous and regional. Unlike the latest smartphone, laptop, router or kitchen tool, it’s impractical to personally test every ISP in a given city. So what’s our approach? We start by researching the pricing, availability and speed information drawing on our own historical ISP data, the provider sites and mapping information from the Federal Communications Commission at FCC.gov.
But it doesn’t end there. We go to the FCC’s website to check our data and ensure we’re considering every ISP that provides service in an area. We also input local addresses on provider websites to find specific options for residents. To evaluate how happy customers are with an ISP’s service, we look at sources including the American Customer Satisfaction Index and J.D. Power. ISP plans and prices are subject to frequent changes; all information provided is accurate as of the time of publication.
Once we have this localized information, we ask three main questions:
- Does the provider offer access to reasonably fast internet speeds?
- Do customers get decent value for what they’re paying?
- Are customers happy with their service?
While the answer to those questions is often layered and complex, the providers who come closest to “yes” on all three are the ones we recommend.
To explore our process in more depth, visit our how we test ISPs page.
Internet in New York FAQs
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