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Best Internet Providers in Bellingham, Washington

Written by  Amanda Kooser
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.
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
3 Internet providers 90001 Edit Zip
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Best internet provider in Bellingham, WA

Our take Lumen Technologies, the owner of two ISP brands, has two sides to its personality. CenturyLink's old... Read more

Connection
Fiber
Speed range
200 - 8,000 Mbps
Price range
$30 - $165 per month
Connection
Fiber
Speed range
200 - 8,000 Mbps
Price range
$30 - $165 per month
Show more details
Compare
Compare

Broadest coverage in Bellingham, WA

Our take Availability, a decent 1,200Mbps top speed and low introductory prices put Xfinity in the conversati... Read more

Connection
Cable
Speed range
150 - 6,000 Mbps
Price range
$20 - $300 per month
Connection
Cable
Speed range
150 - 6,000 Mbps
Price range
$20 - $300 per month
Show more details
Compare
Compare

Best 5G wireless internet in Bellingham, WA

Our take T-Mobile’s 5G home internet service is an unfussy way to get online. It won’t reach the top speeds o... Read more

Connection
Fixed wireless
Speed range
72 - 245 Mbps
Price range
$60 per month
Connection
Fixed wireless
Speed range
72 - 245 Mbps
Price range
$60 per month
Show more details
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Compare
Showing 3 of 3

Bellingham may have one of the greatest unofficial city nicknames ever: the City of Subdued Excitement. It dates to a mural painted in the '90s, but it's stuck around as a loving tribute to a more relaxed town than its big-city neighbor to the south, Seattle. When it comes to high-speed home internet, though, it might be tough to drum up a lot of enthusiasm due to a lack of ISP competition in the area. 

What is the best internet provider in Bellingham?

The heavyweight home internet contenders in Bellingham are CenturyLink, Quantum Fiber and Xfinity. Thanks to its fiber network, Quantum Fiber squeaks into the best internet service provider position. Xfinity, however, is a worthy foe with fast download speeds and wide availability. 

Whenever you’re done with your scenic cruise along Chuckanut Drive or back from your visit to the Whatcom Museum, take a moment to tour with us through the best ISPs in Bellingham. Let’s see if we can achieve some subdued excitement for fiber, cable, DSL and 5G home internet.

Best internet in Bellingham

Most Bellingham residents (I can’t quite bring myself to call them Bellinghamsters) will choose between DSL, cable or fiber. Quantum Fiber’s fast uploads and straightforward plans earn it a special nod among the best ISPs in the city.

Bellingham internet providers compared

ProviderInternet technologyMonthly price rangeSpeed rangeMonthly equipment costsData capContractCNET review score
CenturyLink
Read full review
DSL$55 30-140Mbps$15 (optional)NoneNone6.7
PogoZone Fixed wireless/fiber$35-$855-1,000MbpsN/ANoneNoneN/A
Quantum Fiber Fiber$50-$75500-940MbpsNoneNoneNone7.3
T-Mobile Home Internet
Read full review
Fixed wireless$60 ($40 with eligible mobile plans)72-245MbpsNoneNoneNone7.4
Xfinity
Read full review
Cable$20-$80150-1,200MbpsVaries1.2 TBVaries7
Ziply DSL$75 Up to 115Mbps$10 (optional)NoneNone7.2
Show more (1 item)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

Other available internet providers in Bellingham

Xfinity, CenturyLink and Quantum Fiber are the biggest competitors in Bellingham, but they’re not the only ISP options in town. Rural residents with few choices should check local provider PogoZone or consider satellite internet if other ISPs don’t work out.

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  • Astound Broadband: A few households in the Bellingham area might be able to get Astound cable internet (formerly Wave Broadband), but it's unlikely. "While Astound serves a significant base of business customers in Bellingham, the company's network reaches a much more limited residential footprint -- and a majority of residential consumers in and around Bellingham do not have access to Astound's network and services," an Astound spokesperson told me. It's still worth noting the ISP's presence in the area.
  • PogoZone: Bellingham is mainly serviced by big ISPs, but there is a local alternative with PogoZone. PogoZone specializes in fixed wireless and services most of Whatcom County, so it should be on the radar for rural residents who need to get online. Speeds will vary with location. The ISP also offers some fiber services in the area. PogoZone doesn't advertise speeds, so you'll need to talk to a sales rep to get details on pricing and plans for your address.
  • Ziply: You won't find Ziply in the main part of Bellingham, but it is an option for some of the surrounding areas primarily via the ISP's DSL network. This has the usual drawbacks of DSL, with the main beef being slow speeds. For example, I found Ziply DSL service to a Bellingham address in the north that maxed out at just 18Mbps for $75 per month. For Ziply's fiber network, you must go to another town, like Ferndale.
  • Satellite internet: When even DSL and fixed wireless don't reach your home, you may need to look into satellite service from Starlink, Hughesnet or Viasat. The downside is that speeds aren't always great and can be expensive. Starlink has the potential for faster speeds than its competitors, but be prepared for a hefty up-front equipment cost of $599. 

Bellingham broadband at a glance

Xfinity and CenturyLink dominate Bellingham home internet, but you may find an alternative internet home with T-Mobile or PogoZone. Pricing varies between the ISPs, but there are some very affordable ways to get online and some good-value plans to consider. 

Sailboat anchored in Bellingham Bay, Boulevard Park in Bellingham, Washington.
Alan Majchrowicz/Getty Images

Pricing details on Bellingham home internet service

Limited choice in ISPs also means limited options for plans. Xfinity, however, has a wide variety of plans and pricing, and its cheapest options come in at under $40 per month. If you have breathing room in your budget, look into Quantum Fiber’s intro-level 500Mbps fiber plan for $50 per month. That’s a decent value, but you might also consider hopping up to the $70-per-month level for the full 940Mbps upload and download speeds.  

Cheap internet options in Bellingham 

Regarding low introductory prices for home internet, Xfinity has you covered. It’s tough to find anything cheaper than the Xfinity Connect 75Mbps plan, but it’s only a great deal if you have your own equipment and don’t need to drop an extra $15 per month on gear rental. Instead, check into the 200Mbps plan for $35 monthly with an xFi Gateway included. Be sure to brush up on your negotiation skills for when your price rises down the line.

What's the cheapest internet plan in Bellingham?

ProviderStarting priceMax download speedMonthly equipment feeContract
Xfinity Connect
Read full review
$20 150Mbps$15 (optional)1-year
Quantum Fiber $50 500MbpsNoneNone
T-Mobile Home Internet
Read full review
$60 ($40 with eligible mobile plan)245MbpsNoneNone

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

How fast is broadband in Bellingham?

A recent peek at Ookla’s Speedtest.net data showed Bellingham with a median fixed-internet download speed of just under 182Mbps. It’s possible to top a gig in download speed if you go with Xfinity’s fastest plan at 1,200Mbps. Quantum Fiber comes in just under the gig level. CenturyLink’s DSL network may be widespread, but speeds can be lacking. 

Fastest internet providers in Bellingham

Xfinity offers the fastest residential internet in town with a top speed of 1,200Mbps. Quantum Fiber goes up to 940Mbps, but it has the advantage of equally fast uploads, while Xfinity’s upload speed maxes out at 35Mbps. Bellingham residents don’t yet have access to some of the multigig plans that have popped up in other cities. If sheer download speed is your goal, Xfinity is the ISP to consider.

What are the fastest internet plans in Bellingham?

ProviderMax download speedMax upload speedStarting priceData capContract
Xfinity Gigabit Extra
Read full review
1,200Mbps35Mbps$80 1.2 TBNone
Xfinity Gigabit
Read full review
1,000Mbps35Mbps$75 1.2 TBNone
Quantum Fiber 940Mbps940Mbps$70 NoneNone

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

How CNET chose the best internet providers in Bellingham

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. So 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. 

But 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, though 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 Bellingham?

Bellingham is mostly a two-ISP town. There’s Xfinity and CenturyLink (which includes fiber service from Quantum Fiber). However, local provider PogoZone is available as an alternative if you’re not happy with your service from the bigger competitors. Xfinity has reasonable speeds with wide availability. Quantum Fiber is a strong option if you can get it. If it’s down to CenturyLink DSL or Xfinity cable, you’ll likely be happier with Xfinity’s speedier offerings.

Internet providers in Bellingham FAQs

Is fiber internet available in Bellingham?

Quantum Fiber is your ticket to residential fiber internet in Bellingham. It’s not available everywhere in town, but it’s a good value for those who can get it. The top speed is 940Mbps for both downloads and uploads for $70 per month.

Which internet provider in Bellingham offers the fastest plan?

Xfinity’s 1,200Mbps Gigabit Extra is the speed king for Bellingham, but only if we’re sticking to downloads. When it comes to uploads, Quantum Fiber's symmetrical 940Mbps plan keeps your data moving in both directions.

Is CenturyLink or Xfinity better in Bellingham?

The answer to this question depends on CenturyLink's internet connection to your home. CenturyLink DSL is an older network; speeds can be at a crawl, depending on your location. If it's DSL versus Xfinity's faster cable network, prioritize Xfinity. If it's between Quantum Fiber (a sibling company to CenturyLink) and Xfinity, you may prefer Quantum Fiber's speedy uploads and more straightforward plans and pricing. Read CNET's comparison of CenturyLink and Xfinity home internet.

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