Compared to the rest of the country—or even just the rest of the state—New York City is extremely connected. Over 99% of the city’s residents have access to internet speeds of 250 Mbps or higher compared to 58.19% nationwide.1
New Yorkers in all five boroughs can get access to top-end broadband providers and fast internet speeds. But exactly which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer service in your area depends on your neighborhood. We’ll break down which ISPs you can find in each borough to help you narrow down your decision.
Top providers in the Bronx
Sitting pretty at the top of New York City, the Bronx (BX) is NYC’s northernmost borough and home to the New York Yankees. Optimum and Verizon both have great coverage here, and Spectrum has a respectable footprint. But other providers like Atlantic Broadband and RCN are scarce.
Almost everyone in BX is covered for internet speeds starting at 250 Mbps, and 85.4% of residents have access to fiber internet.2 Aside from in-home internet service, the Bronx also has pretty good Wi-Fi hotspot coverage from Optimum and Spectrum, making it easy to save data and stay connected to the internet all over town.
Optimum has slightly better prices than Verizon and Spectrum for its 200 Mbps and 300 Mbps plans, but its top speeds are slower.* It’s still very fast, but it’s not Verizon’s 940 Mbps fast. So if you’re looking for the fastest connection possible, Verizon and Spectrum are the better ISPs for speed.
Top providers in Brooklyn
Brooklyn, NYC, has 100% coverage for internet speeds of at least 250 Mbps.3 Spectrum, Verizon, Optium, BarrierFree, and Xchange Telecom each individually cover at least 60% of Brooklyn with plenty of overlap. That means Brooklynites can afford to be a little bit choosey.
If you’re looking for fast internet in Brooklyn, your best bets are Spectrum, Verizon, and Optimum. BarrierFree and Xchange have decent coverage of the area, but both are mainly fixed-wireless providers that currently offer relatively expensive internet plans with slow speeds.
Spectrum and Optimum use cable connections, which are better but not as good as fiber. Verizon Fios uses fiber and has competitive upload and download speeds, but it doesn’t have public Wi-Fi hotspots for its users to log in to around the city.
Top providers in Manhattan
Brandenburg Cellular Corporation
Manhattan has the highest population density of the NYC boroughs and the most internet providers. Manhattan has 23 residential ISPs, but most of them have limited service areas in the borough. For example, you can only find Xfinity in a tiny part of Midtown.
Spectrum has the best coverage across Manhattan, with Verizon as a close second. But there are a ton of providers in the area. At least three internet providers are available to 100% of Manhattan residents for internet speeds up to 25 Mbps.4 And nearly three quarters of Manhattanites have the option between three or more providers for speeds starting at 250 Mbps.5
Internet prices are always changing, but at the time of writing, RCN offers the cheapest internet packages in Manhattan, starting at $29.99 for 50 Mbps.*
If you’re looking for something a little faster, Spectrum, Verizon, RCN, Atlantic Broadband, and Brandenburg Cellular Corporation offer either 940 Mbps or 1,000 Mbps speed tiers, though availability depends on your area. Prices for those speeds range from $59.99 to $104.99 per month, with RCN on the low end, Verizon and Atlantic Broadband in the middle, and Spectrum on the high end.*
Top providers in Queens
There’s good internet coverage across New York City’s largest borough, Queens. Just over 92% of residents have three or more options for 100 Mbps internet speeds, and almost all residents have access to speeds faster than 250 Mbps.6
Spectrum and Verizon cover most of the ground in Queens. Atlantic Broadband is present in the northwest third of the borough, and RCN offers service in some neighborhoods around LaGuardia Airport and Flushing Meadows. Optimum has a small footprint on the east and west edges of the borough and around Kissena Park.
Between Spectrum and Verizon, Verizon has slightly lower prices and faster upload speeds. But Spectrum has Wi-Fi hotspots for its customers to use around the city. These are mostly concentrated in Manhattan and Brooklyn, but there are hundreds throughout Queens as well. So you could connect to Wi-Fi at the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden to add that aesthetic photo of your drink to your Instagram story.
Top providers on Staten Island
Almost everyone on Staten Island has the choice between Spectrum and Verizon internet. Beyond that, the place pretty much lives up to its reputation as the forgotten borough, at least as far as the number of internet providers is concerned.
But just because there aren’t many options doesn’t mean the internet service is bad. Spectrum’s Gig (940 Mbps) plan is available to a lot of the borough, as is the Verizon Fios Gigabit (940 Mbps) internet package.
According to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) data, Staten Island has better fiber internet coverage than any other borough, and more than 99% of the population has access to internet speeds of at least 250 Mbps.7
Compared to your other options, BarrierFree’s fixed-wireless internet is both more expensive and slower. But it’s available for a large chunk of the borough, if you need another option.
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.
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 offers internet plans reaching up to 940 Mbps.*
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’s fiber and cable network 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).
Featured customer reviews from NYC
“I called the hotline concerning our billing statement and I received the BEST costumer service!”
“Service is excellent, never have had a service interruption unless for power failure over the 4-5 years we have had them.”
“Optimum provides adequate internet for the home. They are awesome in the amount of hotspots available to subscribers. This is great as to avoid using data.”
“Spectrum over-promises, under-performs, and under-delivers.”
“Internet speeds are frustratingly inconsistent. The variance is between one hundred Mbs and one point zero Mbs. Periods between four PM and eleven PM are particularly problematic.”
“If I were able to find another internet service provider, I would do so. We are paying for 100mb/second, but only receive intermittent service, usually at 20mb/sec when it actually is available.”
The fastest residential internet plans in New York City reach speeds up to 1,000 Mbps or 1 Gbps, also known as gigabit internet. According to FCC data gathered in 2017, 72.72% of Brooklyn and 46.12% of Manhattan has access to gigabit internet.8 Gigabit coverage in Queens hangs out around 10%, and Staten Island and the Bronx both have less than 1% 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?
Ideal for single user
Streaming HD videos
Ideal for 1-2 people
Ultra HD streaming
Ideal for 2-4 people
Streaming multiple shows in HD
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 The Office to binge-watch before its move away from Netflix, queueing for a round of Overwatch, uploading hilarious beauty tutorial fails to YouTube, and mining bitcoin all at the same time).
The Internet Service Providers (ISPs) available in New York are listed above. You can enter your ZIP code to see a list of ISPs available in your area. Once you pick a provider, you can call it to find out the speeds it offers at your specific address.
What is the best internet provider in New York?
Verizon offers the fastest internet speeds in New York and has the highest ratings from J.D. Power. It’s probably your best bet. RCN also scored well in several customer satisfaction metrics.
How much is Verizon Fios internet only in New York?
You can find Verizon Fios stand-alone internet packages starting as low as $39.99 per month.* That package will require a 1-year contract and setting up Auto Pay.* All ISP offers are subject to change, so if you see a package you like, don’t hesitate.
You can change the name of your Verizon home Wi-Fi network (SSID) using the My Fios App, the My Verizon website, or by logging in to the router itself. Verizon published some easy instructions for changing your SSID, complete with links to all the options we mentioned above.
Just know that once you change your Wi-Fi network’s name or password, you’ll have to log in again with all your connected devices.
Is Spectrum Internet good?
According to our customer satisfaction survey, Spectrum is a middle-of-the-road ISP. It’s pretty close to average in most categories, but it scores well for technical support and customer service. It offers just one internet package with a speed of 100 Mbps.* That’s faster than the average package but nowhere near the gigabit speeds offered by Verizon or Xfinity.
Spectrum isn’t a bad provider, but whether it’s your best choice depends on what else is available in your area. Most New Yorkers will have a better option.
What is Spectrum home Wi-Fi?
Some Spectrum customers are surprised to find a charge for home Wi-Fi on their bill. The home Wi-Fi charge is basically a fee for maintaining your home network if you use a Spectrum router.
While Spectrum issues a free modem, if you want a modem with a Wi-Fi router, you’ll have to pay the home Wi-Fi fee. The fee is usually small and presumably goes to covering the costs of helping customers troubleshoot their Spectrum home Wi-Fi networks.
You can avoid this fee by using your own router to create your Wi-Fi network. But, if you do, Spectrum tech support may not be able to help you with calibration or maintenance.
You can also make sure you’re not paying for more speed than you need. Use our How Much Internet Speed Do I Need? tool for a personalized internet speed recommendation based on how you use the internet.
It’ll ask you a few questions, give you a speed recommendation, and then let you compare the prices of all the providers offering plans in your area that meet your speed needs.
How do I get internet without cable?
You have plenty of options for getting internet service without cable. Most phone companies offer internet service. In New York, that means Verizon primarily. But even cable companies like Spectrum, Xfinity, and RCN offer internet-only packages.
If you’re looking for a wireless internet service, you can look into a satellite provider, like Viasat. Also, some mobile phone companies will let you use your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot, but that service can be inconsistent.
*Data effective 07/26/2019. Prices and availability subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas.
Customer reviews of internet providers in NYC