Fastest internet service providers in NYC
RCN offers internet at speeds up to 1000 Mbps
Spectrum offers internet at speeds up to 940 Mbps
Verizon offers internet at speeds up to 940 Mbps
Optimum offers internet at speeds up to 400 Mbps
Verizon Fios is the fastest internet provider available in NYC, according to our 2020 analysis of the fastest internet providers in the Northeast. Its fiber-optic internet plans offer download speeds up to 940 Mbps and upload speeds up to 880 Mbps. According to FCC data gathered in June 2019, 73.21% of Brooklyn and 50.52% of Manhattan has access to gigabit internet.8 Gigabit coverage in Queens hangs out under 10%, and Staten Island and the Bronx both have less than 5% coverage.9 Those numbers might seem low, but they don’t account for providers who offer speeds slightly slower than 1,000 Mbps in those areas.
For example, Spectrum, RCN, and Verizon Fios don’t quite hit gigabit internet status—even if “gigabit” is in the plan name. Their download speeds max out at 940 Mbps, but that’s so fast and so close to 1,000 Mbps that it hardly makes a difference when it comes down to it. Both offer speeds that are pretty darn close to gigabit throughout a large part of New York City.
The truth is most people don’t necessarily need that fast of an internet connection. It’s nice if you can afford it, but there are also more reasonable (and less expensive) options. Optimum’s 200–400 Mbps internet plans and RCN’s 50 Mbps package still give you enough bandwidth to do what you need to do without charging a fortune.*
How much internet speed do I need?
- Streaming music
- Ideal for single user
- Streaming HD videos
- Casual gaming
- Ideal for 1-2 people
- Ultra HD streaming
- Frequent gaming
- Ideal for 2-4 people
- Streaming multiple shows in HD
- Simultaneous gaming
- Ideal for 4+ people
When you see providers like Optimum advertising download speeds up to 1,000 Mbps, you might think that you need every last one of those Mbps. But that usually isn’t the case.
As you can see in the table above, most common internet activities like binge-watching Netflix, posting your lunch on Instagram, and online gaming can happen with a comparably slow internet connection. How much speed you need depends more on how many things you need to do online at the same time and how many people are connected to your network.
For example, you need more bandwidth if you and your three roommates are all going to be online at the same time than you would for just you. (Just as long as you’re not streaming in HD, downloading all of Avatar: The Last Airbender to binge-watch, queueing for a round of Overwatch, uploading hilarious beauty tutorial fails to YouTube, and mining bitcoin all at the same time).
If you don’t know what speed you need, you can test your current internet speed to give yourself a reference point and take it from there. You can also use our How Much Speed Do You Need? tool for a personalized recommendation based on how you use the internet.