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Best Internet Providers in Dallas

Everything's bigger in Texas, as they say, so let's dive into the many broadband options for the DFW, including AT&T, Optimum, Spectrum and more.

My grandmother lived in Dallas, and I can still taste the fantastic barbecue we'd devour whenever my family would visit her. Oh, that delicious Texas brisket. Wait, I'm here to talk about broadband, not mouthwatering barbecue. Thankfully, Dallas has quite a few home internet options, too.

That said, Big D disappoints when you compare its home internet speeds to some of the other top cities in the US. The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan area is the country's fourth largest population, but according to Ookla's most recent reporting, Dallas only managed a 93rd-place finish among the 100 most populated cities in the US. That puts it right after Chicago, Illinois and just before Denver, Colorado. No shame there, right? However, it's well behind many Texas towns like San Antonio, Austin and Corpus Christi, which all made the top 10.

Though it may be slow compared to its Lone Star State companions, Dallas still offers plenty of high-speed internet hookups. You can get connected with fast fiber options from providers like AT&T and Frontier. You can find consistently speedy cable connections from Optimum (Suddenlink) and Spectrum. You could even lean into the growing 5G home internet movement and try Verizon 5G Home Internet or T-Mobile Home Internet.

No matter where you live within the DFW, CNET can help you navigate your choices. Let's take a look at the best internet service providers in Dallas.

Sarah Tew/CNET
  • Price range: $55 to $180 a month
  • Speed range: 300 to 5,000Mbps
  • Highlights: No contracts, no data caps and all equipment included
  • Special offers: $150 reward card when ordering online, up to $200 if signing up for 1 Gig or above 

AT&T's internet service has a sizable foothold in the area, widely available throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth city limits. It's also worth noting that Dallas is one of the 100 cities where AT&T has also rolled out its multi-gig plans. That's all great news. But still, many neighborhoods across the metropolitan area are not serviceable for fiber and therefore are left with AT&T's DSL service as the only option. Is that bad? Well, AT&T has already stated its goal of cutting its copper coverage in half by 2025, so that lets you know how outdated it has become.

On the flip side, it's tough to beat AT&T Fiber, if you can sign up for it. The five plans offered -- 300Mbps, 500Mbps, 1,000Mbps, 2,000Mbps and 5,000Mbps -- all feature symmetrical upload and download speeds, unlimited data and no annual contracts or additional monthly fees for equipment. Also, new customers will receive an AT&T Visa Reward Card ($150 for the two lowest tiers and $200 for 1 Gig and up). 

Read our AT&T home internet review.

 

You're receiving price alerts for AT&T Home Internet
Sarah Tew/CNET
  • Price range: $50 to $90 a month
  • Speed range: 300 to 940Mbps
  • Highlights: Unlimited data, no contracts, free access to Spectrum's nationwide Wi-Fi hotspots
  • Special offers: Bundle discounts, free Peacock Premium for a limited time

While AT&T boasts a wide footprint within Dallas-Fort Worth, Charter's broadband service Spectrum wins out for being even more ubiquitous throughout DFW. Even more appealing, customers won't have to fret over whether they're serviceable for fiber or the lesser DSL -- all Spectrum homes will have access to its reliable cable internet connections. 

Spectrum aims to win over customers by keeping things simple. There are three plan options -- 300, 500 or 940Mbps download speed -- and your monthly costs include a modem rental and unlimited data. Though you will need to add $5 per month for a Wi-Fi router (which you can skip if you have your own), and your monthly bill will go up by $25 after your first 12 months, you're not tied into a term agreement with Spectrum. If you want to compare service with another provider, you can, but the consistency Spectrum and its cable connections provide is a welcome alternative to the less-reliable satellite, DSL and fixed wireless services you'll find in the area.

Read our Spectrum Internet review.

 

Spectrum Internet
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  • Price range: $50 a month ($30 if you subscribe to eligible Magenta Max plans)
  • Speed range: 33 to 182Mbps
  • Highlights: Unlimited data, equipment included and no term agreement or extra fees
  • Special offers: Price Lock guarantee, 15-day Test Drive, free Paramount Plus subscription for a year, 50% off YouTube TV (for Magenta Max customers)

T-Mobile has been aggressively pushing its 5G home internet service in 2022, even introducing a Home Internet Lite version in August to help make the product available to more households. But let's stick with T-Mobile Home Internet, a viable option for those only previously eligible for satellite or DSL service. It also targets traditional ISP service by offering a free, 15-day trial so potential customers can try it without having to break their current contracts and commitments. Additionally, T-Mobile offers a price-lock guarantee, so you don't have to plan for a nagging bill increase that many internet providers hit you with after 12 months.

What's the catch, you might ask? Although T-Mobile has decent coverage over the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area, you'll still need to check that it's available at your location. To make sure, you can enter your address on the T-Mobile Home Internet site. If you're already a T-Mobile customer, you can just plug in your mobile number. 

Read our T-Mobile home internet review.

 

Internet providers in Dallas overview


Astound Broadband/Grande AT&T Frontier Rise Broadband Spectrum T-Mobile Home Internet
Internet technology Cable DSL/fiber DSL/fiber Fixed wireless/fiber Cable Fixed wireless
Monthly price range $20-$60 $55-$180 $45-$150 $25-$100 $50-$90 $50
Speed range 50-1,200Mbps 10-5,000Mbps 10-2,000Mbps 25-1,000Mbps 300-940Mbps 33-182Mbps
Monthly equipment costs $15 (skippable) None None $10 modem; $5-$15 router (skippable) Free modem; $5 router None
Data cap None None None 250GB or Unlimited None None
Contract None None None None, but required for some promotions None None
CNET review score N/A 7.4 6 6.2 7.2 N/A

Are there additional internet providers in Dallas?

There are many more broadband choices in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area beyond our top three picks. Some are outside the Dallas city limits but can be found well within the immediate suburbs. Others may only be in small pockets even further away from the city center. In most cases, each provider offers something enticing, even if there are some glaring issues as well.

  • Astound Broadband: This cable internet provider, known locally as Grande Communications but now part of parent company Astound Broadband, features some of DFW's most compelling and competitive promo rates. The starting price of $26 a month for a 300Mbps plan is a very affordable 9 cents per Mbps. In contrast, Spectrum's 300Mbps plan starts at $50 per month and AT&T Fiber's 300Mbps plan clocks in at $55 monthly. The same holds with Astound's fastest plan, a 1,200Mbps tier with a promo price of $60 per month. That's a stellar 5 cents per Mbps. However... Astound also features some of the steepest one-year price increases in the industry. The Astound/Grande rate card reveals that your 300Mbps plan could rise to $78 per month after your promo period. That's stark. 
  • CenturyLink/Quantum Fiber: CenturyLink's DSL service (which can be as low as 20Mbps) isn't compelling, but if you're located in the suburbs of Decatur, Denton, Krum or Ponder, you should be serviceable for the company's more exciting (and much faster) fiber product, Quantum Fiber. It offers two plans -- 200Mbps and 1 gig -- for $49 and $65 per month, respectively. That gig plan is very competitively priced, though you will need to pay extra monthly for your equipment, unless you use your own.
  • Frontier: Frontier features some solid serviceability in the northern portion of the Dallas metro area. You won't find it downtown, but you can get its DSL and fiber-optic service in the northeast outskirts of Baytown, Beach City, Cove and Crosby. You'll also find it in League City and Sante Fe, down in the southern portion of the metro area. If Frontier FiberOptic is available -- it features symmetrical plans of 500Mbps, gigabit or 2Gbps speeds ranging from $50 to $150 per month -- it's a very appealing choice. But if Frontier DSL is your only option, you might want to keep looking.
  • Optimum: Let me be clear -- Suddenlink is the provider you're probably familiar with in the Dallas area. However, its parent company, Altice USA, recently renamed it to Optimum. In any case, Optimum cable internet service can be found in some scattered areas within the city (including the Arts District and University Park), but you'll mostly find it east of Dallas in Balch Springs, Forney, Rockwall and Terrell. Optimum also supplies broadband service to some areas north of DFW, including Cross Roads, Little Elm, McKinney and Prosper. 
  • Rise Broadband: This fixed wireless provider is one of the top options in the region for rural broadband. In almost all areas it services, you can access either a 25Mbps plan or 50Mbps tier for $25-$35 monthly. If you live within the city limits of Dallas or Fort Worth, you should have plenty of other, faster options, but Rise Broadband is widely available across numerous suburban and rural communities circling the DFW area. Of note, Rise Broadband does offer a fiber connection in the southern suburb of Ferris. Customers can access plans between 100-1,000Mbps for $60-$100 per month.
  • Satellite internet: Typically, if you live in a big metro area like Dallas, I wouldn't even broach the topic of satellite internet. You're bound to find more reliable connections, faster speeds and cheaper prices than are awaiting you with a satellite internet connection. However, the DFW is a large area, and some on the rural periphery may not have the same options. While HughesNet and Viasat are steady choices, both require two-year contract commitments and feature data restrictions. Starlink, Elon Musk's new satellite provider on the block, is more intriguing as it features faster speeds, no contracts and no data caps. But the Starlink availability map shows the Dallas-Fort Worth area as on the waiting list until sometime in 2023. 
  • Sparklight: While this cable broadband provider doesn't have a significant presence in Big D, it can be found in Fort Worth and McKinney. Plans range from 200 to 940Mbps for $45-$110 per month. While no term contracts are required for service, Sparklight prices fall short of the area's other cable providers (Astound, Optimum and Spectrum), and customers also have to deal with a data cap.
  • Verizon 5G Home Internet: Verizon has been just as ambitious with its 5G home internet product as T-Mobile, though perhaps not quite as aggressive in pursuing rural communities. As such, Verizon fell short of our top list because it might not serve communities on the outskirts of the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area as well as T-Mobile can. That said, if you are serviceable for Verizon 5G Home Internet, you'll find faster speeds than T-Mobile (average of 300Mbps to T-Mobile's 33-182Mbps) and a similar, straightforward approach for $50 per month, including no data caps, no contracts and no equipment fees. Also, customers can shave 50% off their monthly bill if they have a qualifying Verizon Unlimited mobile plan.
Dallas city skyline glimmering during the daytime
Valerie Macon/Getty Images

What are some other details to know about internet providers in Dallas?

When looking at the various ISPs available in any given city, it's great to get an overview like the one above. However, when it comes right down to it, most people want to know about two specific questions. What are the cheapest internet plans available? What are the fastest internet options? Let's talk more about the answers as they relate to the internet providers in Dallas. 

Here's the kind of pricing to expect for Dallas home internet service

The average starting price for internet service in Dallas is approximately $43 per month, which is right about in the middle of other markets CNET has covered thus far, including Brooklyn ($36 a month), Los Angeles ($38 a month), Denver ($39 per month), Seattle ($42 per month), Houston ($45 monthly) and, all approximately $50 a month -- Charlotte, Chicago, San Diego and St. Louis

As for the absolute lowest starting price in the Dallas area, that currently belongs to Astound Broadband. It features a 50Mbps plan with a promo price of $20 for the first year. That doesn't include an additional $15 monthly for your equipment, which can be avoided if you have your own compatible modem and router. Residents in downtown Dallas won't be able to get Astound's cheap internet, but serviceability reaches out to Allen, Denton, Flower Mound, Frisco, Little Elm, McKinney and The Colony. 

When exploring cheap internet options, consider that all of the providers I've listed participate in the Federal Communication Commission's Affordable Connectivity Program. It's a $30 monthly discount to provide affordable, high-speed internet to low-income households. Some providers even offer a low-cost internet plan targeted at the same disadvantaged communities. Combined with the ACP benefit, you could get your broadband service for free. 

What's the cheapest internet in Dallas?

Provider Starting price Max download speed Monthly equipment fee Contract
Astound Broadband/Grande $20 50Mbps $15 (skippable) None
Rise Broadband $25 25Mbps $10 modem; $5-$15 router (skippable) None
Optimum $40 300Mbps None None
Frontier $45 500Mbps None None
Sparklight $45 200Mbps $11 (skippable) None
CenturyLink/Quantum Fiber $49 200Mbps $15 (skippable) None
T-Mobile Home Internet $50 115Mbps None None
Spectrum $50 300Mbps Free modem; $5 router None
Verizon 5G Home Internet $50 300Mbps None None
AT&T Fiber 300 $55 300Mbps None None

Here are the types of internet speeds you can find in Dallas

As I mentioned earlier in the article, Dallas landed in the bottom 10 in Ookla's reporting on the median download speeds for the top 100 cities in the US. However, that doesn't mean that Dallas lacks high-speed options. Some Dallas residents will have access to AT&T's super-fast Fiber 5000 plan (5 gigabits). Not only is it super-fast, but it has a superb value of 4 cents per Mbps. At $180 per month, that's not cheap, but you'll get a lot for your money. But you don't need to go all out to get a fast internet plan. Here are some of your other speedy options.

What are the fastest internet plans in Dallas?

Provider Starting price Max download speed Max upload speed Data cap Contract
AT&T Fiber 5000 $180 5,000Mbps 5,000Mbps None None
AT&T Fiber 2000 $110 2,000Mbps 2,000Mbps None None
Frontier FiberOptic 2 Gig $150 2,000Mbps 2,000Mbps None None
Astound Broadband/Grande $60 1,200Mbps 50Mbps None None
AT&T Fiber 1000 $80 1,000Mbps 1,000Mbps None None
Rise Broadband $100 1,000Mbps 1,000Mbps None None
CenturyLink/Quantum Fiber $65 940Mbps 940Mbps None None
Astound Broadband/Grande $50 940Mbps 50Mbps None None
Sparklight $110 940Mbps 50Mbps None None
Optimum Gig $80 940Mbps 35Mbps None None
Spectrum Internet Gig $90 940Mbps 35Mbps None None

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

As we say in our CNET home internet reviews, fiber internet trumps cable broadband, so if you have access to any of the AT&T Fiber plans -- or, if you're in the suburbs, Frontier Fiber or Quantum Fiber -- that's going to be your best bet. However, cable providers like Spectrum, Astound, Optimum and Sparklight offer reliable connections and plenty of fast plans to suit just about any household. Be sure to avoid data caps, if you can, and if you're serviceable for providers like AT&T, CenturyLink or Frontier, make sure you can get their fiber plans and don't have to settle for a slower, spottier DSL connection. 

Internet providers in Dallas FAQs

Who is the cheapest internet provider in Dallas?

It all depends on how you look at it. If you're looking for the lowest price offered by a provider, that would be Astound Broadband's 50Mbps plan. It rings in at $20 per month. However, that plan isn't available to everyone in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Rise Broadband's fixed wireless option of 25Mbps for $25 monthly is an option for more people within DFW.

Is fiber internet service available in Dallas?

Yes. Several internet providers offer fiber connections within the greater Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro area. AT&T has the fastest plan with its Fiber 5000 tier, but Frontier and CenturyLink/Quantum Fiber also feature symmetrical plans in various locations throughout DFW. One thing to note is that all three ISPs also have DSL plans, so do your homework to ensure you're getting their fiber offering and not a DSL plan.

Which internet provider in Dallas offers the fastest plan?

AT&T has the fastest plan in Big D with its Fiber 5000 tier, featuring 5-gigabit symmetrical download and upload speeds of 5,000Mbps. It also has a 2 gig plan, which Frontier matches. Among cable internet providers, Astound Broadband boasts a 1,200Mbps plan, the fastest cable internet package in the Dallas metro area. Lastly, per Ookla's second-quarter 2022 findings, the provider with the fastest average download speeds in Dallas is AT&T, clocking in with a median download speed of just over 229Mbps.

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