Best Internet Providers for Streaming 2022

  • Best overall
    • Fast fiber speeds
    • Limited availability
    • Max fiber speed: 2,000 Mbps
    • Prices: $70.00–$100.00/mo.*
    Read Review
  • Best availability
    • Wide variety of plans
    • Expensive fiber plan
    • Max cable speed: 1,200 Mbps
    • Prices: $25.00–$70.00/mo.
  • Best reliability
    • Low latency
    • Expensive gigabit plan
    • Max fiber speed: 2,000 Mbps
    • Prices: $49.99–$89.99/mo.
    Read Review

Our pick: Which internet provider is best for streaming?

Google Fiber is the best internet provider for streaming. It offers some of the fastest speeds available in the US and is extremely reliable. It also got the best speed scores nationwide in our Fastest Internet Providers 2022 report.

But Google Fiber is still hard to get. It’s limited to just 11 locations for now, including Atlanta and Salt Lake City. We list other options for the best internet provider for streaming if Google Fiber isn’t available in your area.

Is Google Fiber available where you live?

Enter your zip code below to see if Google Fiber—or any of our other favorites for streaming—is available where you live.

The 3 best internet providers for streaming

Compare provider prices and speeds

ProviderPriceMax download speedReliability satisfaction scoreGet it
Best overall$70.00–$100.00/mo.*2,000 MbpsN/A
Best availability Xfinity $25.00–$70.00/mo.1,200 Mbps*3.6View Plans
Best reliability$49.99–$89.99/mo.2,000 Mbps3.8

Unlike many other online activities, streaming video is really reliant on only two things: download speed and network reliability. Fortunately, internet providers are good at delivering both.

Most internet providers now offer gigabit download speeds, which is enough bandwidth for everyone in your house to watch a different TV show or movie simultaneously. You can also calculate exactly how much speed you need for each streaming service that you use, but a gigabit internet plan will always keep all your bases covered.

Best overall—Google Fiber

Best overall

$70.00–$100.00/mo.*

Specs:

  • Fiber network
  • Up to 2,000 Mbps (2 Gbps) download speeds
  • Symmetrical upload and download speeds

Google Fiber is a residential fiber-to-the-home service. The connection is all fiber from your home to Google’s network, so you’re not sharing a connection with all your neighbors on the block. If you like to sit down after a long day of work and binge Netflix without any buffering, you’ll appreciate the consistency of Google’s fiber connection.

The downside is that Google Fiber is available in only a handful of cities, so most people in the US don’t have access to it. That’s because Google pressed pause on its home fiber service expansion in 2016 and didn’t resume until 2020, so it has a small fiber footprint compared to its competitors. Google’s 2 Gbps plan made its debut at the end of 2020.

The bottom line is that Google Fiber is the best internet for streaming video if it’s available in your area. The prices are irresistible, too, when you compare similar fiber internet plans from Google’s competitors.

Pros

  • Fast download speeds
  • Reliable connections

Cons

  • Limited availability

Best availability—Xfinity

Best availability

$25.00–$70.00/mo.*

Specs:

  • Hybrid fiber-coax network
  • Up to 1,200 Mbps (1.2 Gbps) download speeds
  • Slower upload speeds than fiber

View Plans

Comcast Xfinity has a wide variety of cable internet plans ranging from 50 Mbps to 1,200 Mbps in speed, depending on where you live. Like other modern cable internet providers, Xfinity’s backbone uses fiber until it switches over to the traditional cable TV lines at some point—unless you live in a dusty little town where there’s no fiber at all.

Xfinity also offers a true fiber-to-the-home connection with its Gigabit X3 plan. Xfinity recently upgraded its fiber internet to a 3,000 Mbps max internet speed in the Northeast, but it costs a hefty $299.99 per month. However, Xfinity’s fiber-to-the-home service is rather scarce—it covers just 0.02% of Xfinity’s three service regions combined.

Gigabit (1,000 Mbps) cable plans can already support simultaneous 4K streaming to multiple devices—up to 40 screens, in fact—so we don’t suggest tripling your bill to get even more bandwidth from Xfinity’s expensive fiber plan. Still, if 3 Gbps lights your eyes up like Las Vegas, then you can find out more about availability by calling 1-800-934-6489 (1-800-XFINITY).

Pros

  • Wide availability
  • Fast download speeds

Cons

  • Less reliability at peak hours
HSI badge deals

Xfinity Deal: $30 Internet + Streaming

Get Xfinity internet and streaming for as low as $30/mo. when you add a regularly priced Xfinity Mobile plan (starting at $45/mo.). Plus, get extra perks like unlimited data and no-cost equipment for plans with speeds 300 Mbps and above.

Available through 2022

PlanSpeedPriceBundle Discount
Connect50 Mbps$30/mo.$10Order Online
Connect More100 Mbps$40/mo.$10Order Online
Fast*300 Mbps$50/mo.$20Order Online
Superfast**600 Mbps$65/mo.$25Order Online
Ultrafast**900 Mbps$70/mo.$25Order Online
Gigabit Extra**1200 Mbps$80/mo.$30Order Online

See Disclaimers at the bottom of the page.

Best reliability—Verizon Fios

Best availability

$49.99–$89.99/mo.*

Specs:

  • Fiber network
  • Up to 2,000 Mbps download speeds

Verizon Fios is a fiber-to-the-home internet service located in the northeastern US. It’s capable of delivering ultrafast upload speeds of up to 880 Mbps—cable internet is just 35 Mbps max. Verizon Fios also ranked high in our annual customer satisfaction survey in terms of internet speed, reliability, and other categories.

Verizon offers five fiber internet plans ranging from 200 Mbps to 940 Mbps. It’s the best internet connection for online gaming, as its latency is the lowest based on proprietary data we gathered from our speed test (you can get the app from the Apple App Store and Google Play).

Unfortunately, Verizon’s fixed broadband services are limited to just seven states in the northeast—from Virginia to New York.2 Verizon’s slower DSL service—which it no longer offers to new customers—covers around 87% of its entire service area. Verizon Fios is available to just two-thirds of Verizon’s service area.

Still, we highly suggest Verizon Fios if it’s in your area, especially if you play games online (like Halo Infinite and Destiny 2).

Pros

  • Very reliable network
  • Fast download speeds

Cons

  • Limited availability

What makes an internet connection good for streaming?

You need a good internet connection for streaming video, especially if you’re streaming in Ultra HD (4K). But you don’t have to worry about all the technical details that make a big difference for playing games online or video conferencing.

Most internet service providers have been improving their networks to better handle the bandwidth needed for video streaming. The software on your televisions and computers has also gotten better at preloading (buffering) behind the scenes so you get smooth video, even if there are fluctuations in the network.

These factors make picking the best internet for streaming video much easier and also give you a lot of options. Let’s take a look at two of the most important considerations: download speed and reliability.

Download speed

Speed is the most important thing to consider when looking for the best internet connection for streaming. A 50 Mbps connection can support two Ultra HD movies streamed from Netflix or Amazon Prime Video simultaneously, but they’ll hog your entire bandwidth, which you don’t want. A faster connection can handle those two streams plus whatever else your other devices need.

That said, you’ll find plans with so much speed, there’s no way you could possibly use it all. So if you get a gigabit plan but have only two devices that will stream Ultra HD (or lower) content, you’ll never use the entire bandwidth provided with your plan. You can safely downgrade the plan and not sacrifice your picture quality.

How much speed do you really need?

We provide the minimum requirements for popular services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max in our handy How Much Speed Do You Need guide.

Reliability

You usually don’t think about the reliability of your internet connection until it has a problem. This is especially true when streaming video, as a sudden loss in speed can cause your video to lose quality or pause until the connection comes back up to full. It doesn’t matter if your connection has a lightning-fast top speed if that’s not the speed you’re getting when you sit down to stream.

Some types of connections are inherently more reliable than others. Fiber-to-the-home is by far the best internet for streaming video you can get, as it isn’t slowed by increased network traffic or distance.

Another good way of judging reliability is by looking at customer surveys and other online ratings. This can give you a feel for not only the reliability of a connection throughout the day but also how often the network is impacted by maintenance, natural disasters, and other service outages.

Our verdict: Get Google Fiber if you can

Google Fiber is one of the fastest and most reliable connections you can get, and it’s reasonably priced. If it’s available in your area, you should definitely get it. If it’s not available, Verizon Fios or another local fiber internet provider is your best second choice.

See if Google Fiber is available in your area.

FAQ about the best internet for streaming

What is the best speed to stream video?

A speed of 25 Mbps is the best speed for video streaming because it’s enough to give you perfect 4K video playback. But if you’re also streaming on multiple devices or doing other online tasks at the same time, you’ll need additional bandwidth.

Test your speed

Use our tool to know exactly how much speed you need for all your online activities.

What is a good upload speed for streaming?

A good upload speed for streaming Netflix and Hulu is 1–3 Mbps. You don’t need a lot—just enough for your device to communicate with the streaming service’s servers.

If you’re livestreaminjg to Twitch or a similar service, then you’ll need more upload speed. Twitch recommends 6 Mbps if you want to stream 1080p content at 60 frames per second (FPS).3 A 720p livestream at 30 FPS needs a minimum of 3 Mbps in upload speed.

If you do a lot of livestreaming, the best solution is to get a connection like fiber that has symmetrical upload and download speeds.

How much speed do I need to stream Netflix or Hulu?

Netflix recommends 3 Mbps for standard definition (SD) and up to 25 Mbps for Ultra HD (4K). Hulu suggests a minimum of 3 Mbps for its general library and up to 16 Mbps for Ultra HD content.

Of course, these minimum requirements apply to a single device. If you have multiple devices streaming Netflix in 4K simultaneously, you’ll need 50 Mbps or more. For more information, see our guide to how much speed you need to stream video.

Why is my video choppy on a fast connection?

Your video may be choppy due to congestion between your streaming device—an Apple TV, Roku TV, Sling TV, smart TV, and so on—and the service. There may be problems with your internet provider or problems with your network equipment. Perhaps you reached your monthly data allowance and your internet service provider is throttling your connection.

The first thing you should do is run our speed test using a wired device connected to your modem. If the speeds look correct, run the test again by connecting to the router. If there’s a drastic difference in more than one test, then you may need to power cycle, reset, or replace your router. Check out our guide to the best routers for streaming for replacement suggestions.

If you see strange results when running our test from the modem, call your internet provider or contact the company online. Also, providers like Spectrum offer an app that displays notifications about outages.

Keep in mind that certain types of connections slow down in certain situations. Cable can slow down at peak hours if there’s a lot of internet traffic. Satellite connections can be disrupted by the weather.

Are you always having issues with your internet?

You may need to switch to a more reliable provider. EarthLink topped the reliability chart in our annual customer satisfaction survey followed by Verizon and AT&T. Enter your zip code below to see what’s available to you.

Why does my video have more issues during live streaming?

You have more issues with live broadcasts because the video isn’t downloaded before it’s viewed.

When you stream content from Netflix, Hulu, and similar services, the remote server sends a tiny chunk of the overall video—a few seconds worth—to your device. It’s temporarily stored as a cache and accessed by the app used for playback. Once that two-second chunk is viewed, the app goes to the next chunk downloaded from the streaming service. This buffer ensures smooth viewing.

Live streaming doesn’t have this buffering mechanism. These broadcasts—like live TV shows streamed from YouTube TV and Hulu Live TV—are more influenced by latency and instability. So, if your connection drops out or you get a sudden increase in latency, your device just has to wait for the stream to come back. Plus, you can’t play back whatever you missed until the broadcast is saved as a downloadable video you can stream later.

To avoid interruptions on live broadcasts, choose an internet connection that’s reliable and has low latency, like fiber.

Disclaimers

For Xfinity Fast internet plan w/ mobile deal

* Limited time offer. Restrictions apply. Not available in all areas. Limited to Fast Internet for new customers. Pricing requires enrollment in both automatic payments and paperless billing. Mobile discount limited to new Xfinity Mobile customers. Xfinity Mobile requires residential post-pay Xfinity Internet. xFi Gateway, Unlimited Data and Flex device included for 24 mos. Additional devices extra. After 24 mos. regular rates apply to all services and devices. Streaming subscriptions not included. All devices must be returned when service ends.

For Xinity Superfast, Ultrafast, and Gigabit Extra internet plans w/ mobile deals

** Offer ends 06/26/2022. Limited time offer. Restrictions apply. Not available in all areas. New residential customers only. Paperless Billing and Automatic Payments with bank account required, otherwise monthly service charge automatically increases by $10 (or $5 if enrolling with credit or debit card information). Discount will appear on statement within 45 days of enrollment. Equipment, installation, taxes and fees, and other applicable charges extra, and subject to change during and after the promo. After promo, or if any service is canceled or downgraded, regular rates apply (subject to change). Service limited to a single outlet. May not be combined with other offers. Internet: Actual speeds vary and are not guaranteed. For factors affecting speed visit www.xfinity.com/networkmanagement. Flex: Not available in all areas or to current Xfinity Video customers. Requires post-paid subscription to Xfinity Internet, excluding Internet Essentials. Pricing subject to change. Limited to 3 devices. 1 device included, additional devices $5/mo. per device. All devices must be returned when service ends. Separate charges apply to On Demand and certain streaming services. Viewing will count against any Comcast data plan. Mobile discount: Must sign up for Xfinity Mobile and activate a new line within 90 days of order and maintain the line to receive mobile discount for 24 months. Discount applied to Internet bill and will appear on statement within 30 days of Xfinity Mobile line activation. If Xfinity Mobile or Xfinity Internet is canceled, or Internet service is changed to a tier lower than the Xfinity Internet tier in this order within the 24 months, the multi-product discount will be removed.

For Xfinity Mobile Broadband Disclosures visit: www.xfinity.com/mobile/policies/broadband-disclosures. 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee applies to one month’s recurring service and standard installation charges up to $500. ©2022 Comcast. All rights reserved.

Sources

  1. Federal Communications Commission. Fixed Broadband Deployment map. Accessed August 26, 2020.
  2. Federal Communications Commission. “Fixed Broadband Deployment.” Accessed December 14, 2021. 
  3. Twitch. “Broadcasting Guidelines.” Accessed December 14, 2021.

Author -

Peter Christiansen writes about satellite internet, rural connectivity, livestreaming, and parental controls for HighSpeedInternet.com. Peter holds a PhD in communication from the University of Utah and has been working in tech for over 15 years as a computer programmer, game developer, filmmaker, and writer. His writing has been praised by outlets like Wired, Digital Humanities Now, and the New Statesman.

Editor - Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for HighSpeedInternet.com for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.