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AT&T vs. Verizon Fios: A Fiber Internet Face-Off

Both telecoms serve high-speed home broadband connections to just under 20 million Americans. We compare what they offer.

Article updated on October 29, 2022 at 6:02 AM PDT

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Written by 
Trey Paul
CNET staff -- not advertisers, partners or business interests -- determine how we review the products and services we cover. If you buy through our links, we may get paid. Reviews ethics statement
Trey Paul Senior Editor
Trey Paul is a CNET senior editor covering broadband. His 20+ years of experience as a writer and editor include time at CNET's sister site, Allconnect, and working with clients like Yahoo!, Google, The New York Times and Choice Hotels. An avid movie fan, Trey's career also includes being a film and TV critic while pursuing a degree in New York.
Expertise Home internet and broadband, including plans, providers, internet speeds and connection types. Movies and film studies. Credentials
  • Master's degree in Cinema Studies from NYU and interviews with Conan O'Brien, Stan Lee and some of his biggest Star Trek childhood idols
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Image of AT&T Fiber
AT&T Fiber
Price range
$55 - $250 per month
Speed range
300 - 5,000Mbps
Connection
Fiber
Key Info
Unlimited data, no contracts, equipment included
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Image of Verizon Fios
Verizon Fios
Price range
$50 - $120 per month
Speed range
300 - 2,000Mbps
Connection
Fiber
Key Info
Unlimited data, no contracts, free equipment with gig service

Usually, a comparison pitting AT&T against Verizon is an examination of their mobile phone services. But these megacompanies are also two of the country's most significant home internet providers

Verizon Fios is Verizon's 100% fiber-optic internet service, while AT&T Fiber features the company's fastest internet speed plans. Verizon and AT&T offer other types of internet connections -- including DSL, fixed wireless and 5G -- but for both companies, the fiber plans give customers the most value. The two telecom's respective coverage maps don't overlap, so you likely won't have to choose between them when shopping for home internet service. However, comparing the two still gives us a good look at the overall state of fiber availability in the US.

On top of that, comparing the speeds, prices, plans, terms and fees gives us an excellent opportunity to see which provider does fiber better. Spoiler alert: This is a close one, so let's get into the specifics to see how they stack up. 

Locating local internet providers

Product image

AT&T Fiber

High availability, low pricing

Our take - Let's start with what AT&T Fiber has going for it compared to Verizon Fios: availability and affordable pricing. AT&T is available to more households than Verizon and boasts greater fiber-optic availability overall. AT&T Fiber plans are also likely to be slightly cheaper.

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Or call to learn more: (855) 778-7790
Product image

Verizon Fios

Stellar customer satisfaction

Our take - Verizon Fios is the premier fiber internet provider in the Northeast, earning J.D. Power's highest rating in the East region in 2022. However, it is worth noting that AT&T is not included in that area. The American Customer Satisfaction Index also placed Verizon Fios at the top for customer satisfaction in 2022, just a few slots above AT&T.

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Or call to learn more: (844) 364-5335

AT&T vs. Verizon Fios: Fiber availability and coverage map

Coverage map
Enlarge Image
Coverage map

This image shows the respective coverage maps for AT&T (orange) and Verizon (blue). Fiber plans aren't available everywhere in these areas, but you'll find them in most major metros.

FCC/Mapbox

At first glance, Verizon Fios and AT&T Fiber are evenly matched regarding availability. Verizon's fiber service reaches just over 15 million customers, and AT&T now claims that approximately 18.5 million customers are eligible for its fiber offering, per its third-quarter results for 2022

However, looking more closely at the actual locations, Verizon Fios can only be found in eight northeastern states -- Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia. Granted, some big cities within that area include Baltimore, Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington, DC. But if you live in the Midwest, south of Virginia or anywhere out West, Verizon Fios isn't an option.

Locating local internet providers

Meanwhile, AT&T Fiber isn't available in the Northeast, but its availability extends to 21 states, more than three times as many as Verizon Fios. Some of the more notable cities within its coverage include Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Nashville, New Orleans, San Francisco and St. Louis

Is AT&T coverage better than Verizon Fios'?

So, while both reach a similar number of customers, AT&T can claim a more widespread availability for its fiber internet service. AT&T CEO John Stankey stated in May 2021 that the company is committed to expanding its fiber footprint to " offer the best fixed-broadband service in the market." Meanwhile, Verizon shared with CNET that much of its immediate expansion plans revolve around adding more cities to its Verizon 5G home internet service.

AT&T vs. Verizon Fios: Comparing fiber plans, prices and speeds 

AT&T and Verizon Fios offer different plan options for their fiber internet services. Let's dive in and see how they compare. 

AT&T Fiber plans and pricing

PlanMax speedsMonthly priceEquipment feeData capContract
AT&T Fiber - Internet 300
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300Mbps download, 300Mbps upload$55 NoneNoneNone
AT&T Fiber - Internet 500
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500Mbps download, 500Mbps upload$65 NoneNoneNone
AT&T Fiber - Internet 1000
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940Mbps download, 880Mbps upload$80 NoneNoneNone
AT&T Fiber - Internet 2000
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2Gbps download, 2Gbps upload$125 NoneNoneNone
AT&T Fiber - Internet 5000
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5Gbps download, 5Gbps upload$225 NoneNoneNone

Verizon Fios plans and pricing

PlanMax speedsMonthly priceEquipment feeData capContract
Fios 300 300Mbps download, 300Mbps upload$50 NoneNoneNone
Fios 500 500Mbps download, 500Mbps upload$70NoneNoneNone
Fios Gigabit Connection 940Mbps download, 880Mbps upload$90NoneNoneNone

I'll say it: This looks like a win for AT&T. The entry-level speed for both providers starts at 300 megabits per second, and, in this case, Verizon Fios' 300Mbps plan is $5 cheaper than what AT&T offers. But that's the only place it wins on the sticker price. AT&T's 500Mbps plan is $5 cheaper than Verizon's similar speed tier, and its gigabit plan is $10 less monthly. Once AT&T announced its new multigig plans, that tilted the competition markedly to the AT&T side. Granted, Verizon also recently touted a 2Gbps plan, but it's only available in the New York City area at the moment.

But it doesn't stop there. AT&T also has the edge when it comes to cost. To both Verizon's and AT&T's credit, the price is the price. There's no promo deal or "Act now before it's too late" type of pushy play. I appreciate that straightforward approach -- ISPs are known for gimmicky pricing that beckons you in with short-term savings but then ratchets up your bill exponentially down the road. 

What do we find if we compare apples to apples and examine the cost per Mbps? Let's start by looking at the cheapest plans. Verizon Fios 300 is $50 a month, while AT&T Internet 300 is $55 a month. That's a win for Verizon. But if you look at all the plans together, it's a different picture. The average cost per Mbps between all five of AT&T's fiber plans is 10 cents compared with 14 cents for Verizon Fios. Both represent decent customer value, but AT&T also gets the edge here.

There's one small caveat: Verizon offers a $25 discount on all its Fios tiers if you subscribe to select Verizon 5G mobile plans. In that case, you could get the Fios 300 for $25, Fios 500 for $45 and the gigabit plan for $65. That could tilt the savings back into Verizon's corner very quickly.

AT&T vs. Verizon Fios: Factoring in terms and fees

Before I get to more good stuff about both providers' fiber internet service (cue neon lights: No contracts and no data caps!), let's look at the additional fees and terms you'll want to familiarize yourself with. 

Monthly modem fees 

Based on plan pricing, AT&T Fiber has the edge over Verizon Fios. But there's no definitive advantage when considering the additional monthly cost of the modem/router. Neither AT&T nor Verizon charges an additional fee for your gateway equipment. Verizon used to charge an equipment fee of $15 a month for its Verizon router, and AT&T would stick its customers with an additional $10 fee. But in 2022, both providers removed those fees. Chalk this one up as a draw between AT&T and Verizon, but a clear win for consumers.

One-time installation fee 

With Verizon Fios, your setup charge will be $99, which is waived if you order online. Similarly, AT&T charges $99 for its installation, which is also typically waived via online promotions.

No data caps to drag you down 

Customers of both providers will get unlimited data with all plans. You won't need to stress about possible data overage fees or fear any throttling issues once you hit an arbitrary threshold. 

Disney Plus logo on an iPad screen

Verizon's gigabit plan comes with six free months of Disney Plus.

Sarah Tew/CNET

AT&T vs. Verizon Fios: Let's line up the perks

In addition to unlimited data, Verizon Fios and AT&T Fiber customers are free of contract constraints. While not technically a perk, it's definitely a relief knowing you won't have early termination fees looming over you. But let's see what else these two ISPs offer potential fiber customers.

Verizon Fios offers a free, six-month subscription to Disney Plus for new gigabit customers. Additionally, as I mentioned above, all Fios customers can save an additional $25 per month if they bundle their Fios fiber internet plan with enrollment in select Verizon 5G mobile plans.

AT&T also knows how to entice customers with some sparkly items. First, all new fiber customers who sign up online will receive an AT&T Visa Reward Card ($150 for the 300 and 500 plans, $200 for gigabit and above). Second, all fiber customers will get free access to AT&T's nationwide network of more than 30,000 hotspots. 

Comparatively, Verizon's free Disney Plus offer is worth $8 a month, or $48 for the six-month freebie. Over at AT&T, you'll get a gift card between $150 and $200. Whether you're partial to having access to the content available on Disney Plus or the cool cash of a gift card is a matter of taste. But on pure value, there's no debating the higher monetary worth of AT&T's benefit. Advantage AT&T.

ACSI rankings of US customer satisfaction with internet service providers
Enlarge Image
ACSI rankings of US customer satisfaction with internet service providers

The American Customer Satisfaction Index shows Verizon Fios and AT&T at the top among all ISPs and above the industry average.

ACSI

AT&T vs. Verizon Fios: High customer satisfaction for two internet providers 

I've said it before, but it bears repeating -- internet service providers are regularly at the bottom of all industries regarding customer satisfaction scores. With that clearly in mind, it's still worth noting that both Verizon Fios and AT&T Fiber typically trade places back and forth at the top of most ISP rankings. 

AT&T showed up well in J.D. Power's US Residential Internet Service Provider Satisfaction Study for 2022. It claimed the pole position in two regions -- the South and West -- and had an average score of 738 out of 1,000 possible points. The only ISP with a score that could compete was Verizon, with 758, which was good for first place in the East region. 

Over at the American Customer Satisfaction Index, the latest metrics show Verizon Fios at the top of the charts with 72 out of 100 points. AT&T, tied with Verizon Fios for first place last year, slipped to third with 69 points. But both providers regularly score above the industry average as tracked by the ACSI. 

What's our final verdict on AT&T vs. Verizon Fios?

If this were a race, it would certainly be a photo finish. I'm inclined to give a slight edge to AT&T based mainly on the value of its cheaper cost per Mbps and the higher value of its perks. But as I noted at the start, regarding availability, neither provider's fiber service plays in the same sandbox. So, in reality, no customers will face the choice of AT&T Fiber or Verizon Fios. If your address is serviceable for either of these fiber internet offerings, rest assured that you've got access to one of the premier internet offerings in the country.

AT&T Fiber vs. Verizon Fios FAQs

Which is cheaper? AT&T Fiber or Verizon Fios?

Verizon Fios has the cheapest plan between the two providers: Its 300Mbps tier is currently $50 per month, whereas the similar speed tier with AT&T is $55 a month. That said, all other AT&T plans are slightly cheaper than the equivalent tier on Verizon Fios. Additionally, when considering all the fiber plans that AT&T offers versus the total package of plans from Verizon Fios, AT&T has a cheaper cost per Mbps at 10 cents to Verizon's 14 cents.

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Is AT&T Fiber faster than Verizon Fios?

The answer to that question depends on your location and address. Based simply on the number of speed plans offered, AT&T Fiber is faster than Verizon Fios. In approximately 100 cities, AT&T offers two multi-gigabit speed tiers -- a 2Gbps plan and a 5Gbps option. On the other hand, Verizon Fios offers a 2Gbps plan in only one region, New York City. But if you're a Verizon Fios customer in NYC and you move to Youngstown, Ohio (which doesn't currently have the multi-gig speeds), then Verizon Fios would be the faster provider. So, it's all about location, location, location.

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Do you need to sign a contract with AT&T Fiber or Verizon Fios?

If you sign up solely for internet service, neither AT&T nor Verizon Fios requires you to sign a term agreement. You can go month to month without fear of penalty or termination fees. However, both providers currently have promotional offers that might warrant signing a contract. For example, many AT&T bundle discounts require a contract, and Verizon also has a deal for money off your Fios service if you sign up for certain 5G mobile plans, some of which feature two-year agreements.

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Prefer to speak with an expert live? Call (855) 277-9918 for availability in your area.