Google Fiber vs Xfinity: Which Internet Provider is Best For You?
Here’s how to choose between two of the fastest internet providers out there.
Speed: 1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps)–2 Gbps
Internet type: Fiber
Equipment fees: None
Installation fee: None
Speed: 15–1,000 Mbps
Internet type: Cable
Equipment fees: Up to $15.00/mo.
Installation fee: Up to $125.00‡
*Terms and Conditions: Plus taxes and fees. Service not available in all areas. If you live in an apartment or condo, Google Fiber’s ability to construct and provide Fiber is subject to the continued agreement between Google Fiber and the property owner. Upload/download speed and device streaming claims are based on maximum wired speeds. Actual Internet speeds are not guaranteed and may vary based on factors such as hardware and software limitations, latency, packet loss, etc.
†Excludes Xfinity Gigabit Pro. For the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement.
‡Free for self-installation with standard shipping
With its fast and reliable fiber-optic network, Google Fiber has pushed the limits of what customers expect from their internet service providers (ISP) since the first Google Fiber city was announced in 2011. But the catch is there’s a good chance it’s not available in your area. Xfinity’s sprawling cable network, on the other hand, makes it one of the largest and most available ISPs in the country. It’s also one of the fastest options in areas where fiber isn’t available, but its cable-based network is more prone to slowing during busy internet times than fiber is.
Pros and cons: Google Fiber vs. Xfinity
Plans and pricing: Google Fiber vs. Xfinity
Xfinity offers a much wider range of plan options than Google Fiber, which offers only two. If you’re looking for higher speeds, however, Google Fiber offers more speed for the monthly cost.
Google Fiber plans and pricing
|Google Fiber 1 Gig||$70.00/mo.||1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps)||Check Availability|
|Google Fiber 2 Gig||$100.00/mo.||2 Gbps (2,000 Mbps)||Check Availability|
Data as of 5/10/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Plus taxes and fees. Service not available in all areas. If you live in an apartment or condo, Google Fiber’s ability to construct and provide Fiber is subject to the continued agreement between Google Fiber and the property owner. Upload/download speed and device streaming claims are based on maximum wired speeds. Actual Internet speeds are not guaranteed and may vary based on factors such as hardware and software limitations, latency, packet loss, etc
Google Fiber offers incredibly fast speeds for a very reasonable price. Despite its limited availability, Google Fiber has had a huge impact nationwide, popularizing fiber home internet and pushing other ISPs to improve their services to keep up.1 It has only two options for plans, but both have straightforward pricing and offer a great value. The 2 Gbps plan isn’t available in all Google Fiber locations, but like the 1 Gbps plan, its availability is slowly expanding.
Xfinity plans and pricing
|Performance Starter||$20.00–$49.95/mo.*||25 Mbps||View Plan|
|Performance Select||$34.99/mo.*||100 Mbps||View Plan|
|Performance||$40.00–$77.95/mo.*||60–100 Mbps||View Plan|
|Performance Pro||$39.99/mo.*||200 Mbps||View Plan|
|Performance Pro Plus||$49.99/mo.*||200 Mbps||View Plan|
|Blast!||$50.00–$59.99/mo.*||200–300 Mbps||View Plan|
|Extreme||$60.00/mo.*||300 Mbps||View Plan|
|Extreme Pro||$69.99–$70.00/mo.*||600 Mbps||View Plan|
|Extreme Pro Plus||$74.99/mo.*||600 Mbps||View Plan|
|Gigabit||$79.99–$84.99/mo.*||1,000 Mbps||View Plan|
|Gigabit Pro||$299.95/mo.||2,000 Mbps||View Plan|
Data as of 8/4/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*For the first 12 months with 1-year contract.
Xfinity offers a wide variety of plans. Not every plan is available in every location, but most locations offer a range of plans from basic but affordable to fairly robust. While Xfinity’s plans do reach into the higher speeds, these tend to be more expensive than similar plans offered by Google Fiber.
Xfinity’s biggest advantage is its wide availability. Xfinity is one of the largest ISPs in the US, and because its entire network is based on cable connections, it can offer higher speeds and more reliable connections than ISPs that operate DSL networks.
Xfinity has some fiber-to-the-home options similar to Google Fiber, but Xfinity has barely dipped its toes into the world of fiber. While Xfinity boasts one of the largest cable networks in the US, it’s fiber footprint is less than 1% of that of Google Fiber’s, which means it’ss incredibly small. Xfinity’s 2 Gbps fiber plan is also three times the price of Google Fiber’s 2 Gbps fiber plan, so even if you’re one of the few people who has access to Xfinity’s fiber network, we suggest going with a less expensive option.
Extra fees: Google Fiber vs. Xfinity
|Equipment Fee||Installation Fee||Other Fees|
|Xfinity||Up to $15.00/mo.||Up to $125.00|
(Free for self-installation with standard shipping)
|$10.00 late payment fee|
$10.00/50 GB overage fee
$30.00/mo. for unlimited data
Data as of 9/7/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
While Xfinity offers many plans priced lower than Google Fiber’s, it does have equipment fees and upfront installation costs that cut into your savings. If you’re going with an Xfinity plan to save some money on your monthly bill, make sure you take fees into account so you don’t end up paying more for less. You can also purchase your own router to save on equipment rental fees.
Google Fiber doesn’t have any fees beyond your normal monthly bill, including late fees. The ISP gives you a free router and free installation when you sign up. If your outstanding balance is unpaid for more than 40 days, your account will be suspended.3 Fortunately, there are no additional fees to reinstate a suspended account, either. You just have to pay your remaining balance in full.
Internet types: Google Fiber vs. Xfinity
Google Fiber operates an all-fiber network, so you’re always going to get the same high speeds and reliable connection, no matter where you are.
Xfinity’s network mostly delivers cable internet, which gives you good download speeds with slower upload speeds. Xfinity also offers fiber connections for it’s 2,000 Mbps plan that’s available in some locations, but the availability is extremely limited.
Data caps: Google Fiber vs. Xfinity
Google Fiber doesn’t have any data caps, which means you can use it as much as you need without worrying about throttled speeds or overage fees.
Xfinity cable plans have a data cap of 1.2 TB (1,200 GB) in most of its coverage areas except the Northeast region, where data caps have been delayed until 2022.2 This might seem like a lot of data to go through in a month, but a terabyte of data can go by surprisingly fast if you stream video on a regular basis.
If 1.2 TB isn’t enough monthly data for you, you can get unlimited data for an additional monthly fee of $30. Those who sign up for Xfinity’s rare Gigabit Pro fiber plan get unlimited data included, just like Google Fiber customers.
Contracts: Google Fiber vs. Xfinity
Google Fiber doesn’t require a contract, so you simply pay on a month-to-month basis. Most Xfinity plans require a 12- or 24-month contract; however, it does offer no-contract internet plans as well if you don’t want to be locked in with one provider or think you might move soon.
Installation: Google Fiber vs. Xfinity
|Google Fiber||Free professional installation||Check Availability|
|Xfinity||$39.99 professional installation|
Free for self-installation with standard shipping
Google Fiber offers free professional installation to new customers, and its technicians do an amazing job, keeping all the cables neat and tidy.
Xfinity offers professional installation for $39.99, which is still a very low price. If you don’t want to pay even that much, Xfinity offers a free self-installation option as well, which it makes easy with an app that gives you step-by-step instructions.
Availability: Google Fiber vs. Xfinity
When it comes to availability, few ISPs can match Xfinity, which has a network that runs from coast to coast and covers over a third of the US population.4 Its reach doesn’t extend very far into rural areas, but if you live near a big city and have cable hookups at your house, there’s a good chance you have access to Xfinity internet.
Availability is the main weakness of Google Fiber. Its network is available in only a few Google Fiber cities, bringing access to less than 1% of the US population.4 Although its network is expanding, Google Fiber is still a relatively small ISP and faces an uphill battle when it comes to increasing its coverage.
Final call: Google Fiber vs. Xfinity
If you have access to both Google Fiber and Xfinity in your area, we recommend going with Google Fiber to get the most speed and reliability for the cost. Those with very basic internet needs might save some money by going with a cheaper Xfinity plan, but be aware of extra fees and potential contracts so you don’t end up paying more for less.
Our HighSpeedInternet.com editorial team bases our analyses on customer input from our annual customer satisfaction survey, results from our speed test tool, and proprietary internet provider data on speeds and pricing. To strengthen our research, we look closely at provider contracts to get hard-to-find information on price hikes, data caps, and extra fees, and we keep tabs on the latest news reports and online reviews. When applicable, we also rely on our personal experiences testing these services.
- Blair Levin and Larry Downes, Harvard Business Review, “Why Google Fiber Is High-Speed Internet’s Most Successful Failure,” September 7, 2018. Accessed May 10, 2021.
- Comcast. “We’re Giving Our Northeast Customers More Time,” February 18, 2021. Accessed August 5, 2021.
- Google Fiber Help. “Pay Your Outstanding Balance.” Accessed August 5, 2021.
- Federal Communications Commission. “Fixed Broadband Deployment,” June 2020. Accessed August 5, 2021.
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. HighSpeedInternet.com utilizes paid Amazon links.
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Author - Peter Christiansen
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.