Speed and reliability are two major factors that consumers consider when choosing an internet service. A new study by Highspeedinternet.com, a firm that tracks the pros and cons of internet service providers (ISPs), has rated the major services on their speed.
The study found that Google Fiber is the undisputed leader. It boasts an average download speed of 160 Mbps and advertises a maximum speed of 2000 Mbps. There’s just one problem -- it has limited availability in the U.S. Where it is available, it costs between $70 and $100 per month.
Xfinity is the most widely available internet service, according to the study. It has an average download speed of 131.6 Mbps and advertises a maximum speed of 2,000 Mbps. It has a wide range of plans, but they all have data caps. It costs between $24 and just under $300 a month.
Verizon Fios offers the most widespread U.S. coverage when it comes to fiber-optic connections. Fios’ average download speed clocked in at 138 Mbps and advertises speeds up to 940 Mbps. It costs between $25 and $300 a month.
Metronet also makes the list of the five fastest internet services. It has an average download speed of 135.2 Mbps with a maximum advertised speed of 1,000 Mbps. Its 200 Mbps plan costs right at $50 a month and has no data caps.
Metronet is popular with ConsumerAffairs reviewers, earning 4.2 out of 5 stars. Jacob, of Greenwood, Ind., is a fan.
“MetroNet’s speed is second to none and I haven't had an issue with the service,” he wrote in a ConsumerAffairs post. “It’s been great dealing with the reps.”
Cox Internet also gets attention for its speed. Its average download speed is 134.5 Mbps, with a maximum advertised speed of 940 Mbps. Its base package starts at around $30 a month.
But speed isn’t the only thing that makes users happy. Highspeedinternet.com’s customer satisfaction survey, released last month, ranked Earthlink, AT&T, and Verizon as the top three ISPs in terms of customer satisfaction.
While Earthlink gets its share of five-star reviews from ConsumerAffairs reviewers, it actually places behind the other companies in the study. Here’s how ConsumerAffairs reviews and ratings rank the five ISPs.
Google Fiber: 4.0 stars out of 5
Verizon Fios: 3.9 stars out of 5
Xfinity: 3.8 stars out of 5
AT&T: 3.8 stars out of 5
Earthlink: 3.7 stars out of 5
The study also found that bundling internet services with other media and communication services is popular with consumers. Fifty-eight percent of internet users said they bundle their internet with TV service from the same provider, and they tended to have higher rates of satisfaction than those who buy their services separately.