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Best Internet Providers in Bismarck, North Dakota

Written by  Joe Supan
Joe Supan Senior Writer
Joe Supan is a senior writer for CNET covering home technology, broadband, and moving. Prior to joining CNET, Joe led MyMove's moving coverage and reported on broadband policy, the digital divide, and privacy issues for the broadband marketplace Allconnect. He has been featured as a guest columnist on Broadband Breakfast, and his work has been referenced by the Los Angeles Times, Forbes, National Geographic, Yahoo! Finance and more.
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Bismarck residents don’t have a ton of options when it comes to picking an internet plan -- at least compared to bigger cities. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still excellent options, according to CNET’s analysis of locally available internet service providers.

Midco, our pick for the best internet in Bismarck, recently announced that it would invest $200 million to expand its fiber network in North Dakota, with the goal of servicing 10-gigabit speeds by 2030. Multiple other providers in the state's capital currently offer gig speeds, the connections required to stream and game from several devices at once. That’s a rarity in a US city of this size -- and you should be able to access fast, reliable internet at just about any address in the area.

Our team considers speeds, pricing, customer service and overall value to recommend the best internet service in Bismarck across a variety of 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 is variable: Certain addresses may qualify for different tiers of service and monthly costs may vary, even within a city. The best way to identify your particular options is to plug your address into a provider's website. 

Note that 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, while the text is specific to what’s available in Bismarck. 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. Other discounts and promotions might be available as well, for things like committing to a contract or bundling with a cellphone plan. 

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

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Best internet providers in Bismarck

The best internet providers in Bismarck strike a balance between speed, price and availability. Those listed below are widely available in the area, but you’ll still need to check your address to see what plans you can get.

Overview of Bismarck internet providers

Provider Internet technologyMonthly price rangeSpeed rangeMonthly equipment costsData capContractCNET review score
CenturyLink
Read full review
Fiber$50-$70100-940Mbps$15; none for gig planNoneNone6.7
Midco Cable$49-$79250-1,000Mbps$9-$11NoneNoneN/A
T-Mobile Home Internet
Read full review
Fixed wireless$50 ($30 with eligible phone plan)72-245MbpsNoneNoneNone7.4
Verizon 5G Home Internet
Read full review
Fixed wireless$50-$70 (50% off with eligible phone plan)85-1,000MbpsNoneNoneNone7.2

Source: CNET analysis of provider data

What other internet options are there in Bismarck?

There are a few other options available for internet in Bismarck. They provide inferior service and higher prices, though, and CNET’s analysis suggests you're better off with one of the four highlighted above. If your address isn't eligible for one of those, here are other options to explore:

  • Earthlink: Internet service from Earthlink uses the networks of other providers. In Bismarck, Earthlink primarily uses CenturyLink’s DSL network. When I checked a few addresses around town, the top speeds I could find through Earthlink were 10Mbps -- well below what most households need.
  • Satellite internet: Satellite internet is available almost everywhere in the country but comes with long contracts, slow speeds, low data caps and high latency. HughesNet has a slightly better track record with outages than its main rival, Viasat, but neither are great options. The newer Starlink service from SpaceX provides faster speeds, but equipment costs a hefty $599 upfront.
  • Verizon 5G Home Internet: Like T-Mobile, Verizon leverages its 5G cellular network to provide home internet. Speeds can get up to 1,000Mbps at some addresses, but it’s currently only available to about 4% of Bismarck households.
North Dakota State Capitol building in Bismarck.
Dennis Macdonald/Getty Images

Pricing details on Bismarck home internet service

Bismarck residents can expect to pay between $49 and $79 per month for internet service, depending on the provider and connection type. On average, starting prices for internet in Bismarck are around $50 monthly.

Cheapest internet plans in Bismarck

Provider Starting priceMax download speedMonthly equipment feeContract
Midco $49 250Mbps$9-$11None
CenturyLink
Read full review
$50 100Mbps$15 None
T-Mobile Home Internet
Read full review
$50 ($30 with eligible phone plan)245MbpsNoneNone
Verizon 5G Home Internet
Read full review
$50 ($25 with eligible phone plan)300MbpsNoneNone

Source: CNET analysis of provider data

Internet speeds in Bismarck

Residents of Bismarck can expect to find a wide range of options for their internet needs, with the highest speeds available being up to 1,000Mbps. While that's more than enough speed for most people, fiber providers like AT&T and Frontier offer speeds up to 5,000Mbps in some cities.

Fastest internet plans in Bismarck

Provider Max download speedMax upload speedStarting priceData capContract
Midco 1,000Mbps250Mbps$79 NoneNone
CenturyLink
Read full review
940Mbps940Mbps$70 NoneNone

Source: CNET analysis of provider data

There are only two internet providers that offer gig speeds in Bismarck, but they’re both excellent deals. Midco has surprisingly fast upload speeds of 250Mbps for a cable internet company -- more than enough for almost any household -- while CenturyLink’s gig plan is one of the most affordable you’ll find anywhere in the country. 

What’s the final word on internet providers in Bismarck?

Compared to other cities of its size, Bismarck residents have it pretty good when it comes to internet service. There are two excellent options, Midco and CenturyLink, that are widely available and offer a variety of choices. CenturyLink’s 100Mbps plan for $50 per month is one of the most affordable plans you’ll find in the area, but Midco’s plans all offer great value, too.

How CNET chose the best internet providers in Bismarck

Internet service providers are numerous and regional. Unlike the latest smartphone, laptop, router or kitchen tool, it's impractical to personally test every ISP 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. 

This guide leverages an in-house artificial intelligence tool called RAMP, which is trained on our own writing and uses our database to generate content about specific internet service providers that our writers can use in determining and presenting our picks for a given guide. Check CNET’s AI policy for more information about how our teams use (and don’t use) AI tools.

Because our database is not exhaustive, we go to the FCC’s website to check the primary data for ourselves and make sure we’re considering every ISP that provides service in an area. We also input local addresses on provider websites to find the specific options available to residents. To evaluate how happy customers are with an ISP's service, we look at sources including the American Customer Satisfaction Index and J.D. Power. ISP plans and prices are subject to frequent changes; all information provided is accurate as of the time of our prepublication fact-check.

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

  1. Does the provider offer access to reasonably fast internet speeds? 
  2. Do customers get decent value for what they're paying? 
  3. 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. To explore our process in more depth, visit our how we test ISPs page.

Bismarck internet FAQs

Which is the best internet service provider in Bismarck?

The best internet service provider in Bismarck is Midco, according to CNET's analysis. Midco has four plans to choose from, and they’re widely available across the entire city. CenturyLink is another good option, offering fiber-optic internet plans with speeds up to 940Mbps, unlimited data and no contracts. Additionally, T-Mobile offers wireless internet with download speeds ranging from 72 to 245Mbps and excellent promotional offers for T-Mobile wireless customers.

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Is fiber internet available in Bismarck?

Yes, fiber internet is available in Bismarck. CenturyLink offers fiber-optic internet plans with speeds up to 940Mbps, unlimited data and no contracts.

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Who is the cheapest internet provider in Bismarck?

The cheapest internet provider in Bismarck is Midco. Its cheapest plan starts at $49 per month for 250Mbps, but you’ll pay an extra $9-$11 per month if you rent a modem/router from it. (You also have the option to purchase your own.)

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Which internet provider in Bismarck offers the fastest plan?

Midco and CenturyLink both offer gig speed plans in Bismarck. CenturyLink provides download and upload speeds of 940Mbps, while Midco has download speeds of 1,000Mbps and upload speeds of 250Mbps.

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