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Best Internet Providers in Alaska

GCI Best internet provider in Alaska
Speeds from 3 - 2,500 Mbps
Prices from $60 - $300 per Month
... Or call to learn more:
Alaska Communications Broadest DSL coverage in Alaska
Speeds from 7 - 2,500 Mbps
Prices from $75 - $180 per Month
... Or call to learn more:
Starlink Best satellite internet in Alaska
Speeds from 20 - 250 Mbps
Prices from $90 - $120 per Month
... Or call to learn more:

Article updated on February 23, 2024 at 6:00 AM PST

Our Experts

Written by 
Amanda Kooser
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
Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
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Alaska’s claims to fame are many and varied. The state is home to rugged natural areas, eight national parks, gorgeous glaciers, the Northern Lights, a booming oil and gas industry, seafood and just over 730,000 people. Almost any choice of internet provider in Alaska will come with some compromises, whether in speed, price or reliability. Rural residents often have to choose between satellite, fixed wireless or DSL connections, with satellite as the only viable option for some.

What is the best internet provider in Alaska?

GCI is CNET’s pick for the best internet service provider in Alaska, thanks to top speeds of 2.5 gigabits per second and the widest (and still growing) availability of any wired provider in the state.

If you're hunting for the lowest prices around or the fastest blazing speeds, we've also found those top options. The cheapest internet in Alaska is Viasat, offering 25Mbps at $50 a month. Besides GCI, the other fastest available internet speed is Alaska Communications offering up to 2,500Mbps starting at $80 a month.

Almost any choice of internet provider in Alaska will come with some compromises, whether in speed, price or reliability. Rural residents often have to choose between satellite, fixed wireless or DSL connections, with satellite as the only viable option for some. While the broadband scene may sound a little bleak, there are reasons for optimism as over $1 billion in federal funding is pouring into the state to improve internet access in underserved communities. 

Our methodology

CNET considers speeds, pricing, customer service and overall value to recommend the best internet service in Alaska across several categories. Our evaluation includes referencing a proprietary database built over years of reviewing internet services. We validate that against provider information by spot-checking local addresses for service availability. We also do a close read of providers' terms and conditions and, when needed, will call ISPs to verify the details.

Despite our efforts to find the most recent and accurate information, our process has some limitations you should know about. Pricing and speed data are variable: Certain addresses may qualify for different service tiers, and monthly costs may vary, even within a city. The best way to identify your options is to plug your address into a provider's website. 

Also, the prices, speed and other information listed above and in the provider cards below may differ from what we found in our research. The cards display the full range of a provider's pricing and speed across the US, according to our database of plan information provided directly by ISPs. At the same time, the text is specific to what's available in Alaska. The prices referenced within this article's text come from our research and include applicable discounts for setting up automatic payments each month -- a standard industry offering. Discounts and promotions might also be available for signing a term contract or bundling multiple services. 

To learn more about how we review internet providers, visit our full methodology page.

Best internet options in Alaska in 2024

3 Internet providers
SORT BY
Product image
Connection
Cable, fiber, fixed wireless
Speed range
3 - 2,500 Mbps
Price range
$60 - $300 per month

GCI

Best internet provider in Alaska

Our take - GCI takes this top spot in a state with few internet options for two big reasons: availability and speed. The Federal Communications Commission National Broadband Map shows GCI services over 70% of Alaska households, making it the most widespread wired ISP in the state. According to GCI’s data, the ISP reaches over 97% of residents. GCI primarily offers fiber-cable hybrid and fiber-to-the-home connections with considerable swings in speed and pricing depending on location. The hybrid network uses a fiber backbone and then runs via cable to the home. GCI also offers wireless internet, with a notable expansion in the Bethel area. 

... Or call to learn more:
Connection
Cable, fiber, fixed wireless
Speed range
3 - 2,500 Mbps
Price range
$60 - $300 per month
Show more details
Product image
Connection
DSL, fiber
Speed range
7 - 2,500 Mbps
Price range
$75 - $180 per month

Alaska Communications

Broadest DSL coverage in Alaska

Our take - Alaska Communications has one of the most widespread DSL networks in the state, but the ISP also operates a small fiber network. DSL is outdated, but it's still a common connection type.

... Or call to learn more:
Connection
DSL, fiber
Speed range
7 - 2,500 Mbps
Price range
$75 - $180 per month
Show more details
Product image
Connection
Satellite
Speed range
20 - 250 Mbps
Price range
$90 - $120 per month

Starlink

Best satellite internet in Alaska

Our take - CNET has highlighted Starlink’s potential when comparing it to other satellite providers. That potential, along with fast top speeds and no contract requirement, earns it recognition as a top ISP for Alaska.

Read full review
... Or call to learn more:
Connection
Satellite
Speed range
20 - 250 Mbps
Price range
$90 - $120 per month
Show more details

Alaska internet providers compared

Provider Internet technologyMonthly price rangeSpeed rangeMonthly equipment costsData capContractCNET review score
Alaska Communications Cable, Fiber$60-$80 Fiber; $85-$185 Cable250-2,500Mbps Fiber; 10-75Mbps Cable (varies by location) NoneVaries, 250GB CableNone N/A
Borealis Broadband Fixed wirelessVaries; $50 starting price 100-500Mbps (varies by location)None1TB2-yearsN/A
GCI Cable$90-$190250-2,500MbpsNoneVaries2-yearsN/A
Hughesnet
Read full review
Satellite$50-$80 ($75-$110 after 12 months)50-100Mbps (varies by location)$15-$20 or $300-$450 one-time purchase 100-200GB2-years6
SpitwSpots Fixed wireless$89-$199; $99-$249 (Plus)10-150Mbps; 18-300Mbps (Plus)$9NoneVariesN/A
Starlink
Read full review
Low orbit satellite$90-$120; $140-$1,500 (Priority); $150-$5,000 (Mobile)100-220Mbps$599 one-time purchase (or $2,500 for priority)Unlmited; 1TB-6TB (Priority)None N/A
Viasat
Read full review
Satellite$50-$20025-150Mbps$10 or $300 one-time purchase60-500GB2-years6.1
Show more (3 items)

Rural internet options in Alaska

Provider Connection typePrice rangeSpeed rangeData capAvailability
Borealis Broadband Fixed wirelessVaries; $50 starting price100-500Mbps (varies by location)1TBAnchorage, Eagle River
Bristol Bay Communications Group DSL$30-$300512Kbps-10MbpsNoneBristol Bay area
Bush-Tell DSL$39-$229512Kbps-6MbpsVaries up to 100GBGrayling, Holy Cross, Kalskag, Stony River areas 
Cordova Telecom Cooperative DSL$40-$1238-100MbpsVariesCordova area
Mountain Beam Fixed wireless$30-$180 for 30-day period8-48MbpsNoneFairbanks area
MTA DSL$70-$180Varies250GB or unlimitedAnderson, Wasilla, Talkeetna, Palmer, Eagle River
SpitwSpots Fixed wireless$89-$199; $99-$249 (Plus)10-150Mbps; 18-300Mbps (Plus)NoneAnchor Point, Soldotna and Fairbanks areas
Show more (3 items)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data

Internet breakdown by city in Alaska

It’s hard to cover the broadband options of an entire state like Alaska and give individual cities the attention they deserve. That’s why we also compile lists of the best internet providers across different cities in Alaska. We tackle details such as internet connection types, maximum speeds, cheapest providers and more. Check back later if you don’t find the city you’re looking for below. We’re working to add more locations every week. 

Cheap internet options in Alaska

You won’t find bargain basement prices on internet service in Alaska. Many of the services that come in on the cheap side in the contiguous 48 states aren’t available in this northern state. That means no bundling bargains with the likes of 5G home internet service from Verizon 5G Home Internet or T-Mobile Home Internet. If your monthly internet bill is under $100 for a decent speed level, then you’re doing pretty well in Alaska. GCI and Alaska Communications have plans for under a hundred, but speeds will vary based on location and the type of internet connection.

What's the cheapest internet plan in Alaska?

Provider Starting priceMax download speedMonthly equipment fee
Viasat Choice 25
Read full review
$5025Mbps$10 a month or $300 one-time purchase
Hughesnet Select Plan
Read full review
$50 ($75 after 12 months)50Mbps$15 a month or $300-one time purchase
Alaska Communications Fiber 250 $60250MbpsNone
Alaska Communications Internet Now $8510MbpsNone
GCI Fast $90250MbpsNone
Show more (1 item)
An aerial view of the town of Ketchikan, Alaska, with Deer Mountain in the background.
Virsuziglis/Getty Images

Alaska broadband details at a glance

Many rural Alaska ISPs have roots in long-time telephone cooperatives that have evolved to offer internet services. That’s why DSL is a common option for these local companies. There are some drawbacks with legacy DSL networks, like slower top speeds than you would get with cable or fiber. DSL can be serviceable when there are few other options. FCC data suggests that 100% of residents can access broadband speeds, defined as at least 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up. That number includes the reach of satellite internet, which isn't a great solution for everyone due to expense or lack of a clear view of the sky. 

The story of fiber in Alaska is pretty slim at the moment. The FCC shows only about 7% of residents can access fiber. If we look at gig speeds and higher, that drops to just 5%. What little fiber access there is tends to be focused on more populated areas. There are some unexpected pockets of fiber. Local ISP Copper Valley Telecom services Valdez, a city of under 4,000 people, with speeds up to 1,000Mbps. Fiber is always at the top of home internet wish lists, but Alaska’s terrain and remote areas make it a challenging place to build extensive fiber networks.

How to find internet deals and promotions in Alaska

The best internet deals and top promotions in Alaska depend on what discounts are available during a given time. Most deals are short-lived, but we look frequently for the latest offers. 

Large providers run the same standard pricing year-round in some parts of the country. The smaller and more local providers in Alaska, such as GCI, do not follow a certain timeline when changing their prices.

For a more extensive list of promos, check out our guide on the best internet deals.

How fast is Alaska's broadband?

When it comes to home internet, Alaska comes in at 49 for Ookla’s Q4 2023 Speedtest.net ranking of internet speeds for the 50 states (and Washington, DC). Alaska ranks at the bottom of the list with a median download speed of 119Mbps. The US overall is at 231Mbps. That's quite a difference. Ookla lists GCI as Alaska’s fastest provider, with a respectable median download speed of 284Mbps.

Fast internet can be hard to come by in the Last Frontier. About 100% of Alaska homes can access internet speeds of at least 100Mbps, according to the FCC. Move up to 250Mbps, and that dips to 67%. If fast internet is a must for you and you’re moving to Alaska, you’ll want to do some homework about where to land. Your best bet for gig speeds will be in the bigger cities. As of January 2024, Ookla city-level data showed Anchorage with a median fixed internet download speed of 231Mbps, Fairbanks was 245Mbps, and Juneau logged 176Mbps. Those numbers can change over time. 

With limited options, switching to a faster provider is not always feasible. You can make the most of your internet connection by following these steps to speed up your Wi-Fi.   

Fastest internet plans in Alaska

Provider Starting priceMax download speedMax upload speedData capConnection type
Alaska Communications Fiber 2500 $802,500Mbps2,500MbpsNoneFiber
GCI Red Unlimited $1902,500Mbps75MbpsNoneCable
Alaska Communications Unlimited 1 Gig $701,000Mbps100MbpsNoneFiber
GCI Fastest $1651,000Mbps 40Mbps1TBCable

What's a good internet speed?

Most internet connection plans can now handle basic productivity and communication tasks. If you're looking for an internet plan that can accommodate videoconferencing, streaming video or gaming, you'll have a better experience with a more robust connection. Here's an overview of the recommended minimum download speeds for various applications, according to the FCC. Note that these are only guidelines and that internet speed, service and performance vary by connection type, provider and address.

For more information, refer to our guide on how much internet speed you really need.

  • 0 to 5Mbps allows you to tackle the basics: browsing the internet, sending and receiving email and streaming low-quality video.
  • 5 to 40Mbps gives you higher-quality video streaming and videoconferencing.
  • 40 to 100Mbps should give one user sufficient bandwidth to satisfy the demands of modern telecommuting, video streaming and online gaming. 
  • 100 to 500Mbps allows one to two users to simultaneously engage in high-bandwidth activities like videoconferencing, streaming and online gaming. 
  • 500 to 1,000Mbps allows three or more users to engage in high-bandwidth activities at the same time.

How CNET chose the best internet providers in Alaska

Internet service providers are numerous and regional. Unlike the latest smartphone, laptop, router or kitchen tool, it's impractical to personally test every internet service provider in a given city. What's our approach? For starters, we tap into a proprietary database of pricing, availability and speed information that draws from our own historical ISP data, partner data and mapping information from the Federal Communications Commission at FCC.gov. 

It doesn’t end there. We go to the FCC’s website to check our data and ensure we consider every ISP that provides service in an area. We also input local addresses on provider websites to find specific options for residents. We look at sources, including the American Customer Satisfaction Index and J.D. Power, to evaluate how happy customers are with an ISP's service. ISP plans and prices are subject to frequent changes; all information provided is accurate as of publication. 

Once we have this localized information, we ask three main questions: 

  • Does the provider offer access to reasonably fast internet speeds? 
  • Do customers get decent value for what they're paying? 
  • Are customers happy with their service? 

While the answer to those questions is often layered and complex, the providers who come closest to “yes” on all three are the ones we recommend. When selecting the cheapest internet service, we look for the plans with the lowest monthly fee, although we also factor in things like price increases, equipment fees and contracts. Choosing the fastest internet service is relatively straightforward. We look at advertised upload and download speeds and consider real-world speed data from sources like Ookla and FCC reports.

To explore our process in more depth, visit our how we test ISPs page.

What's the final word on internet providers in Alaska?

Alaska poses a lot of challenges to the expansion of high-speed and affordable broadband. The terrain can be unforgiving, the weather can be extreme and many communities are in remote areas. Fortunately, there has been a focus on broadband expansion, especially in these remote areas. Cordova Telecom Cooperative announced last year it would be installing a submarine fiber optic cable from Cordova to Juneau to deliver fiber to Pelican, Yakutat, Gustavus and Hoonah. The project could take five years to complete. Alaska will also receive $100 million in US Department of Agriculture funding to build out fiber (and some wireless) internet in the Bethel, Yukon-Kuskokwim, Kusilvak and Hoonah-Angoon areas. GCI’s work to bring fiber-based wired connections to remote communities is also notable. In December of last year, GCI connected over 4-thousand Alaskans to access speeds of up to 2.5Gigs through its Aleutians Fiber Project. Regarding improving broadband, Alaska has nowhere to go but up.

Residents can expect to choose from a range of DSL, satellite and fixed wireless plans. Although, options are limited in most remote areas, Alaskans typically have access to satellite providers like Starlink which offer speeds up to 100Mbps starting at $90 a month. GCI offers top speeds of 2,500Mbps for $190 a month.

Internet in Alaska FAQs

Does Alaska have good internet?

According to broadband rankings, Alaska is at the bottom for internet speeds nationwide. Lack of access in rural communities and limited and expensive plans make accessing “good,” affordable and fast internet difficult. Hefty federal funding is coming to the state to improve broadband access. 

What is the cheapest internet provider in Alaska?

The cheapest internet provider in Alaska is Viasat. Choice 25 plan is the lowest plan and offers speeds of 25Mbps for $50 a month. You can get more speed with Hughesnet's select plan which features 50Mbps at $50 a month for the first 12 months.

Which internet provider in Alaska offers the fastest plan?

It depends. Answering this question starts with finding out which ISPs service your address. You may find you only have access to either GCI or Alaska Communications, making this a simple question to answer. GCI offers download speeds of up to 2,500Mbps in most areas, putting GCI over the top for many. I’m a huge fan of fiber-to-the-home broadband, so I'd recommend Alaska Communications’ fiber offering if it's available. Unlike GCI, Alaska Communications' Fiber 2500 plan offers equal download and upload speeds of up to 2,500Mbps.

Is fiber internet available in Alaska?

Yes, but It all depends on your location. Some areas only have access to DSL and satellite connections. Alaska Communications is one of the few ISPs that offer fiber plan tiers.

What internet provider has the best coverage in Alaska?

GCI has the best coverage in Alaska. The FCC National Broadband Map shows GCI services over 70% of Alaska households, making it the most widespread wired ISP in the state. According to GCI’s data, the ISP reaches over 97% of residents.

GCI’s coverage area includes cities like Anchorage and Fairbanks, but the ISP also reaches smaller towns like Sitka and Nome. GCI is actively expanding its network of fiber-cable hybrid connections and fiber-to-the-premises services.

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Why do we ask for your address?
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Prefer to speak with an expert live? Call (833) 875-4492 for availability in your area.