Best Internet Providers in Boulder, Colorado

Written by  Trey Paul
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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I grew up just north of Boulder, Colorado, so I’m biased, but I believe it to be one of the country's most unique, beautiful cities. Some might know it as the home of the Colorado Buffaloes college football team, but it can also brag about the speed of its internet connections relative to the rest of the state.

If you live in Boulder (or plan to move there), you have a handful of options, but the two most widely available internet service providers are Xfinity and CenturyLink. CNET’s pick for the best overall internet service provider in Boulder is Xfinity due to its extensive coverage across the city and wide selection of plans. Other options include CenturyLink, which is also widely available but offers only slower DSL plans, fiber plans from Quantum Fiber and 5G home internet offerings from T-Mobile (and, to a lesser degree, Verizon).

Best internet in Boulder in 2023

Boulder residents can expect median download speeds of approximately 236 megabits per second, according to Ookla Speedtest data -- considerably faster than Colorado's statewide median (180Mbps) and the national median (210Mbps). Not too shabby.

Boulder internet providers compared

Provider Internet technologyMonthly price rangeSpeed rangeMonthly equipment costsData capContractCNET review score
Read full review
DSL$55 3-100Mbps$15 (optional)NoneNone6.7
Quantum Fiber Fiber$50-$75 500-940MbpsNoneNoneNoneN/A
Rise Broadband
Read full review
Fixed wireless$45 25-50Mbps$10 modem; $5-$15 router (optional)250GB or unlimitedNone, but required for some promotions6.2
T-Mobile Home Internet
Read full review
Fixed wireless$50 ($30 with eligible phone plans)72-245MbpsNoneNoneNone7.4
Verizon 5G Home Internet
Read full review
Fixed wireless$50-$70 ($35-$45 with eligible phone plans50-1,000MbpsNoneNoneNone7.2
Read full review
Cable$20-$7075-1,200Mbps$15 (optional)1.2TB on some plans1 year for cheapest plan; none for others7
Show more (2 items)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

Other available internet providers in Boulder

Though we think Xfinity, Quantum Fiber and T-Mobile are the best providers in the area, Boulder has other ISP options to consider.

  • Live Wire Networks: This Colorado-based fixed wireless provider serves nearly 90% of the Boulder region. Plans range from 35Mbps (for $25 per month) to 150Mbps for $120 monthly. Equipment rental is included, and there are no data caps or contracts required.
  • Rise Broadband: This fixed wireless provider serves approximately 8% of the Boulder area. There’s a pocket of availability just north of Washington Village, but it’s mainly an option for rural areas beyond city limits. You can get speeds up to 50Mbps with unlimited data.
  • Satellite internet: CNET recommends avoiding satellite internet in cities with cheaper and faster options. That noted, if you live in a rural area where cable and fiber connections aren't available, HughesNet and Viasat are the viable satellite providers in the Boulder area. Services require a two-year contract. Elon Musk’s Starlink features higher download speeds but is available to only 2% of the area, according to FCC data. 
  • Verizon 5G Home Internet: Similar to T-Mobile, Verizon uses its cellular network to provide fixed wireless home broadband. Though it may offer higher max download speeds than T-Mobile (the 5G Home Plus plan features “typical download speeds of 300-1,000Mbps” to T-Mobile’s max of 245Mbps), it’s available to less than 15% of households in Boulder.

Pricing info on Boulder home internet service

The average starting price for internet in Boulder is just under $42 per month -- less expensive than the national average but just a few dollars more per month than its bigger sibling to the south, Denver, which comes in at $39. 

Downtown Boulder, Colorado, surrounded by the Flatiron Mountains.
DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images

Cheap internet options in Boulder

The cheapest internet plan in Boulder is Xfinity’s Connect plan, which features max download speeds of 75Mbps for $20 per month. There are plenty of caveats, however: That promotional price lasts for only one year and doesn’t include an optional $15-per-month charge for equipment rental (which you can waive if you have your own modem and router).

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T-Mobile Home Internet, which starts at $50 monthly, drops to $30 per month when you bundle an eligible cellphone plan, such as Go5G Plus and Magenta Max.

It's worth noting that you might get a discount on any of the plans. The federal government's Affordable Connectivity Program provides low-income households a $30 monthly discount on high-speed internet. Qualifying households will find that money fully covers some of the plans we list below.

What's the cheapest internet plan in Boulder?

Provider Starting monthly priceMax download speedMonthly equipment feeContract
Xfinity Connect
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$20 75Mbps$15 (optional)1 year
Xfinity Connect More
Read full review
$35 200MbpsNoneNone
Rise Broadband
Read full review
$45 25Mbps$10 modem; $5-$15 router (optional)None, but required for some promotions
Quantum Fiber $50 500MbpsNoneNone
T-Mobile Home Internet
Read full review
$50 ($30 with eligible phone plans)245MbpsNoneNone
Verizon 5G Home Internet
Read full review
$50 ($35 with eligible phone plans)300MbpsNoneNone
Xfinity Fast
Read full review
$50 400MbpsNoneNone
Read full review
$55 100Mbps$15 (optional)None
Show more (4 items)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

Boulder broadband speeds

Just about all Boulder households have access to broadband internet speeds of 250Mbps down and 25Mbps upload. As we mentioned earlier, Boulder residents see much higher median download speeds than the rest of the state.

What are the fastest internet plans in Boulder?

Provider Max download speedMax upload speedStarting monthly priceData capContract
Xfinity Gigabit Extra
Read full review
1,200Mbps35Mbps$70 NoneNone
Xfinity Gigabit
Read full review
1,000Mbps35Mbps$60 NoneNone
Quantum Fiber 940Mbps880Mbps$75 NoneNone

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

How CNET chose the best internet providers in Boulder

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 isn't 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. Plans and prices also vary by location, so we input local addresses on provider websites to find the specific options available to 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 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.

What’s the bottom line on internet providers in Boulder?

Xfinity covers nearly every address in the city and features the widest array of plan choices of any provider in the area. That’s why it gets our nod for the best ISP in the city. However, Boulder households have other viable options, including fiber plans from Quantum Fiber and a fixed wireless connection from T-Mobile Home Internet.

Internet providers in Boulder: FAQs

Which is the best internet service provider in Boulder?

CNET's pick for the best ISP in Boulder is Xfinity. It covers almost the whole area, gives customers a wide variety of plans from which to pick and also features the fastest download speed in the city. Quantum Fiber offers only two plans, but its strength is it's the only provider in the area offering symmetrical download and upload speeds. 

Is fiber internet available in Boulder? 

Yes. Quantum Fiber offers two plans: the lowest at 500Mbps for $50 per month and the highest at 940Mbps for $75 monthly. 

Which is the cheapest internet provider in Boulder? 

The provider with the cheapest plan in Boulder is Xfinity, whose Connect plan of 75Mbps starts at $20 per month. However, that plan doesn’t include an equipment rental, so you must factor in an additional $15 monthly charge. You would be better off going with Xfinity’s Connect More plan, which features 200Mbps speeds for $35 per month, including equipment rental. That may not be the cheaper plan on sticker price, but it’s a far better value. 

Which Boulder internet provider offers the fastest plan? 

That title again goes to Xfinity, whose Gigabit Extra plan features 1,200Mbps max download speeds, the fastest plan in Boulder. However, the fastest upload speeds belong to Quantum Fiber’s 940Mbps plan, which features upload speeds up to 880Mbps, far beyond Xfinity’s Gigabit Extra plan, whose uploads only go as high as 35Mbps. 

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