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Best Fiber Internet Providers of 2022: AT&T to Ziply Fiber

Fiber-optic service delivers arguably the best home internet connection, and these are the best fiber providers. It's the best of the best.

When shopping for internet in your area, you might want to start with checking to see if a fiber-optic provider is available. Fiber internet typically comes with superior reliability and speed potential, including fast upload speeds, compared to other connection types such as cable internetDSL or even 5G home internet. Pricing isn't bad either as plans from most fiber internet providers fall in the 5-to-20-cent-per-Mbps range, which is among the lowest you'll find from any provider of a different connection type.

All fiber internet providers use similar technology, but you'll find that prices, speed tiers and terms of service vary among providers -- and that's why certain fiber providers stand out above the rest. Each of the best internet providers listed below uses a fiber to the home network, which all but guarantees the best connection quality, speed and reliability. Additionally, these providers stand out for their exceptional pricing, availability, customer satisfaction and other factors. We update this list periodically.

Read more: Internet Speed: How Much Do You Really Need?

Sarah Tew/CNET
  • Price: $55 to $180 a month
  • Speeds: 300 to 5,000Mbps
  • Data cap: None
  • Contract: None

AT&T has the greatest availability of any fiber provider, extending service to more than 16 million potential customers across 21 states. The provider also boasts some of the lowest pricing on fiber internet service when you take into account its new multigig tiers announced in January

At $180 a month for speeds up to 5,000 megabits per second, AT&T's Internet 5000 plan boasts a 4-cents-per-Mbps cost that is hard to pass up, but not every household needs that much speed. All plans, from the budget-friendly 300Mbps plan to multigig service, come with unlimited data and require no contract

The fast speed, relatively low pricing and customer-friendly service terms have earned AT&T high customer satisfaction ratings in recent years. The American Customer Satisfaction Index gave AT&T a score of 71 out of 100 in 2021, sharing the top spot with Verizon Fios. AT&T's ACSI score did drop a couple points in 2022, but the provider is still ahead of the majority of ISPs and well above the industry average of 64.

AT&T Home Internet
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  • Price: $40 to $90 a month
  • Speeds: 300 to 940Mbps
  • Data cap: None
  • Contract: None

Verizon Fios is a close second to AT&T in terms of speed, pricing and service terms, but it lacks the same breadth of coverage. Though available to nearly the same number of potential customers as AT&T Fiber, Verizon Fios primarily serves the mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions. 

Those lucky enough to live in a Verizon Fios service area will likely find the fiber internet service is hard to beat, especially for those looking for a low-cost connection. Starting at just $40 a month, the lowest-price Fios internet plan comes with concurrent download and upload speeds of up to 300Mbps. The next speed tier is also a decent value -- $65 a month for up to 500Mbps -- but at $90 per month, gigabit service is priced the same or a touch higher than you'll find with other fiber providers. 

Whichever Fios plan you sign up for, expect some enticing extras with your order, like free streaming subscriptions or gear. All plans currently come with a free Disney Bundle subscription, which includes Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus for one year, or a wireless headset and/or a DualSense controller. Signing up for gigabit service also comes with the added bonus of free Wi-Fi router and extender rental.

Verizon Fios
Sarah Tew/CNET
  • Price: $70 to $100 a month
  • Speeds: 1,000 to 2,000Mbps
  • Data cap: None
  • Contract: None

Google Fiber is still around and resuming expansion after a multiyear hiatus. Where available, Google Fiber offers fiber internet service starting at $70 a month and a 2Gbps plan starting at $100 a month. Both come with equipment included at no extra cost, no data caps and no contracts.

Gig service is pretty standard for fiber internet providers, and Google Fiber's price is right in the middle of the pack. I'm more impressed by Google Fiber's 2-gig plan, which is one of the best deals you'll find on high-speed internet. You won't have many speed options with Google Fiber, especially if you're looking for slower, cheaper plans, but if you value high speeds, you can't go wrong with Google Fiber.

Sarah Tew/CNET
  • Price: $50 to $150 a month
  • Speeds: 500 to 2,000Mbps
  • Data cap: None
  • Contract: None

Frontier FiberOptic isn't as widely available as some of the other providers on the list, but Frontier Communications has recently expanded its coverage to include 19 states. The expansion represents a major improvement for Frontier, as its fiber service was long restricted to parts of California, Florida, Indiana and Texas. Frontier recently began offering multigig service in all fiber internet service areas, becoming the first major provider to roll out multigig service across an entire service area at once.

Frontier's new multigig plan is priced a little higher than others at $150 a month for speeds up to 2,000Mbps, but the two lower tiers -- 500Mbps starting at $45 a month and gig service starting at $70 a month -- are as good a value as you'll find from any major provider.

Like AT&T and Verizon Fios, Frontier FiberOptic plans come with unlimited data and require no contract. Unlike many other providers, Frontier includes the equipment cost with the price, so other than taxes, Frontier plan pricing is very much "What you see is what you pay." 

Frontier Communications
Sarah Tew/CNET
  • Price: $37 to $67 a month
  • Speeds: 25 to 1,000Mbps
  • Data cap: None
  • Contract: None

One disadvantage of fiber-optic service is that it's typically only available in select neighborhoods of larger cities. If you're living in the suburbs or a rural area, then your best chance to get fiber-optic internet is likely Kinetic by Windstream. Roughly a third of Windstream's network -- which spans rural and suburban areas across 18 states -- is fiber optic.

Windstream is one of the best rural internet providers, bringing high-speed connections to places likely underserved by cable or by other fiber internet providers. Those in a Kinetic service area will also appreciate the low pricing -- $37 a month for speeds of up to 200Mbps where available, and gigabit service for only $67 a month -- along with unlimited data and no contract requirements.

Kinetic Internet
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  • Price: $50 to $65 per month
  • Speeds: 200 to 940Mbps
  • Data cap: 1TB monthly
  • Contract: None

Though AT&T Fiber and Verizon Fios are available to more people, CenturyLink's fiber network covers more areas, with fiber service that spans an impressive 25 states. Like Windstream, CenturyLink also operates primarily in suburban and rural areas, bringing high-speed fiber connections to areas that may not otherwise have access to them. 

Unfortunately, people living in CenturyLink fiber service areas only have two plan options: 200Mbps starting at $50 a month or gigabit service starting at $65 a month. While more plan options would be nice -- especially a lower-price plan like what you see from Frontier and Verizon Fios -- CenturyLink's gigabit speed plan is still a pretty good deal. At $65 a month for speeds up to 940Mbps, CenturyLink is one of the cheapest fiber providers for gigabit service.

CenturyLink

Fiber internet honorable mentions

  • EarthLink: EarthLink makes use of the fiber networks installed by other providers or municipal fiber-optic networks, which means available speeds and service quality can vary widely from one region to the next. In select areas, EarthLink offers fiber service with speeds of up to 1 gigabit for around $100 a month.
  • Ziply Fiber: Ziply Fiber came about in May 2020 when Frontier Communications sold its internet networks in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington to Wave Capital. While the low pricing -- $20 a month for speeds of up to 50Mbps and $60 a month for gigabit service -- is impressive, as are its new multi-gig speed tiers, it's still a little early to determine how Ziply Fiber compares with other major fiber providers. We're keeping an eye on this one, so stay tuned.
  • Xfinity: Comcast Xfinity's fiber service is also somewhat limited in availability and offers an impressive max speed of up to 3,000Mbps. The catch? The plan comes with an equally jaw-dropping price of $300 a month.

Let's sum it up

If fiber internet service is available in your area, it's probably worth getting, especially if any of the providers listed above is an option. AT&T is easiest to recommend thanks to its high availability, low costs and favorable service terms, but Verizon Fios is a close second with low pricing, high customer satisfaction and lots of perks for signing up. Google Fiber, Frontier FiberOptic, Windstream and CenturyLink round out the list of ideal options, while providers like EarthLink, Ziply Fiber, and others are worth a look, too, if available in your area.

Close up of fiber optic cables
Andrew Brookes/Getty Images

Fiber internet FAQs

What is fiber internet?

Fiber-optic internet sends internet signals via thin glass wires either straight to the home (FTTH) or to a node just outside the home (FTTN). The technology allows higher bandwidth and faster data transmission than any other connection type, and has the unique capability of delivering symmetrical or near-symmetrical download and upload speeds. Fiber internet uses a different type of modem than DSL or the DOCSIS equipment used for cable. In fact, fiber technically doesn't use a modem at all, but an Optical Network Terminal that performs the same function. 

Is fiber the best internet to get?

Yes. Fiber-optic internet offers speeds and reliability that other internet connection types simply cannot, and you can get it for around the same monthly price as cable internet or DSL service. The one drawback is availability: Fiber-optic service is only available to about 43% of US residents, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

Is fiber internet expensive?

Starting prices for fiber internet plans typically range from $30 to $50 a month, with gigabit service ranging from $60 to $80 a month. While there are cheaper plans available with cable or DSL internet service in select areas, fiber service is likely to come with better speed and connection quality for the price.

Read more: The best Wi-Fi router of 2022.

 

When will fiber be available near me?

If fiber hasn't reached your address yet, I'm sorry to say you'll just have to be patient, as providers are actively expanding their fiber networks across the US. You're more likely to see fiber come to your neighborhood if you live in a city or densely populated area, but providers like Windstream and CenturyLink show that fiber access in suburban and rural areas is also obtainable.

Read more: Life in the slow lane: Welcome to the internet in rural America.

 

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