Compare internet providers in NYC
Most areas of NYC are covered by more than one internet provider, so how do you choose? Beyond internet speeds and prices, we did a little digging into internet reliability, customer satisfaction, and noteworthy features to help you find the perfect fit.
What is the best internet provider in NYC?
- Verizon — Fast upload and download speeds
- Spectrum — No data caps or contracts
- Optimum— Highly reliable
- RCN — Highest customer satisfaction
There is no outright best internet provider for everyone, but there can be one that’s better for you. Availability, price, and download speeds are all very important, but if those all look the same across your options, each provider has its strengths.
Take Verizon Fios, for example. Its nearly equal upload and download speeds make it the best option for people who do a lot of photo or video uploading or file sharing.
Most ISPs—including Spectrum, Optimum, and Viasat—give you much less upstream bandwidth than the advertised download speed, but not Verizon. It was also rated the best ISP in the East by J.D. Power.
Verizon Fios has the advantage of using a fiber-optic network. Fiber internet is generally faster and more reliable than other types of internet, including cable (Optimum and Spectrum), DSL (Verizon DSL), and satellite (Viasat and HughesNet).
Cable networks can get congested and slow when too many people use them at the same time. And satellite internet has high latency because its data has to travel thousands of miles. Fiber uses light signals to transfer data, so it’s much faster, but the downside is that most areas of NYC don’t have access to fiber, and Verizon’s DSL service is not nearly as good.
If you don’t have access to fiber but need ridiculously fast speeds, cable ISPs Spectrum and RCN offer internet plans reaching up to 940 Mbps and 1,000 Mbps respectively.*
Spectrum covers most of NYC and gets respect because it doesn’t force contracts or data plans on its customers. Plus, its network of Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the city let you use your internet plan both inside and outside your home.
RCN is present only in parts of Manhattan and some neighborhoods in Queens, but it was the highest-rated provider in our 2018 customer satisfaction survey.
Optimum doesn’t offer the fastest speeds—its highest speed plan goes up to only 400 Mbps—but its cable network is highly reliable. Taking it back to our 2018 customer satisfaction survey for a second, Optimum customers are more satisfied with their internet reliability and speed than any other ISP’s customer base. Optimum also has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).