Cable Internet Providers

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cable internet connection explained

About cable internet

Over 200 companies in America provide broadband using a cable internet connection. Cable internet providers offer service to 89% of the population, so you very likely have a cable internet provider in your area.

As the name suggests, cable internet works by using the same analog cables traditionally used to deliver cable television. These copper coaxial cables travel from your home to the a neighborhood node, and then to your service provider. Cable internet has a wider bandwidth than DSL, and unlike fiber, it’s already installed in most homes, which makes cable service convenient for getting high-speed internet with minimal installation. And if you’re interested in getting cable TV as well, bundling cable services can often save you money over getting the services separately.



Cable internet is available in all 50 states with coverage of 89% of the US population.


Cable internet provides a wide offering of speeds, including speeds much faster than DSL. Cable internet speeds can reach as high as 1,000 Mbps.


Customer service

Cable companies get a bad rap for customer service. While some of the complaints are valid, many issues can be avoided by understanding how prices will change after the initial promotional period expires.


Cable internet services can get expensive after the promotional pricing period expires, especially if you have TV service too.

Final analysis

Cable internet providers deliver good speed and are widely available, just make sure you read your service agreement before signing up so you aren’t blindsided by fees and price hikes.

Cable providers: Buyers guide

When you’re looking for an internet service provider (ISP), it’s important to narrow down your search by zip code because coverage may vary depending on your location—even within a service area for a single provider. However, don’t assume that a narrow search means limited options. In addition to cable providers, there are likely DSL, fiber, and satellite providers available at your address. We’ll help you compare all your options so you get the best service at the right price. Enter your zip code below to compare plans and choose the best fit.

Find cable providers in your area:

How easy is it to set up cable?

With a cable TV and internet provider in your area, all you’ll need is some simple equipment, like a modem and router for internet and a cable box for TV. Depending on what cable providers are available where you live, you may be able to rent equipment from them at a low price.

Most cable companies will send a representative to your home to install the TV, phone, and internet equipment. Usually the service provider will set up an installation date shortly after you order the package. The setup should take no longer than an hour. After the setup, the representative will give you a brief overview of how to use the equipment, which is usually straightforward. If you have any technical problems after the representative leaves, call the support line for additional instructions.

If you are feeling tech savvy, many companies provide instructions and equipment for self-installation. For more information, check your cable provider’s website or our internet self-installation guides.

What about cable TV and internet providers’ availability and coverage?

Per a 2014 survey, 88.8% of the US has access to cable. Although cable internet availability does not cover the entire span of the country, its availability is spreading as providers increase their networks. This should be heartening because, from avid gamers to the periodic web surfer, cable internet caters to a wide range of users.

What are the advantages of bundling with cable companies?

Cable companies tend to make bundling TV, phone, and internet easy, which means lots of savings for you. Not only are bundles cheaper than buying the services individually, but they’re also convenient because you don’t have to deal with more than one supplier—that cuts out hassle and paperwork. Use our site to compare prices and check for providers offering phone, internet, and cable bundles.

If I already have cable TV, can I simply add internet?

Almost always! Unless you have a very obscure provider, you can feel confident that your cable TV provider will make it easy for you to bundle TV and internet. They can usually throw in a home phone too. To see what bundling can save you, enter your zip code below to search for cable internet providers in your area.

To see internet providers where you live, search by zip code

Here are examples of internet service providers (ISPs) who are also cable TV providers:

Are there any alternatives to cable internet available to me?

The best way to check this is to search by your zip code. If you’re in a more rural area, satellite internet and TV might be an option you want to pursue. Although satellite isn’t ideal for internet speed, it can do the job in a pinch. If you’re in a metropolitan area, you might have access to fiber internet and TV, which is far faster than DSL and most cable networks.

Top 5 Cable Providers Summary

ProductUser ratingMax speed%Coverage
#1Xfinity3.88/51,000 Mbps 1 (Gbps)32%
#2Time Warner Spectrum3.81/5100 Mbps20%
#3Charter3.48/5400 Mbps9%
#4Cox Communications3.0/51,000 Mbps 1 (Gbps)7%
#5Optimum4.0/51,000 Mbps 1 (Gbps)4%
User rating3.88/5
Max speed1,000 Mbps 1 (Gbps)
ProductTime Warner Spectrum
User rating3.81/5
Max speed100 Mbps
User rating3.48/5
Max speed400 Mbps
ProductCox Communications
User rating3.0/5
Max speed1,000 Mbps 1 (Gbps)
User rating4.0/5
Max speed1,000 Mbps 1 (Gbps)