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Best Internet Providers in New York City

There are quite a few internet options to choose from in the Big Apple. Here are my picks of the top ISPs in NYC.

Shopping for internet in New York City? As with nearly everything in "the city that never sleeps," you're likely to have more options at hand than most. In fact, 94% of New York City residents have at least three broadband providers to choose from, as fiber-optic, cable, fixed wireless and now 5G connections run throughout most of the city. With more than a couple of internet service providers in your area, it can be a challenge to find the best internet provider for your home, but hopefully this page will help you discover and narrow down your internet options in New York City.

By the way, when I say New York City, I'm mostly referring to New York County, aka Manhattan. Still, most of the top providers listed below are available throughout much of the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island as well. There are also other providers in the greater New York City area, though perhaps less available or less recommended, mentioned farther down the page. And if you're looking for internet specifically in Brooklyn, you might want to skip over to our page covering the best internet providers in Brooklyn. With that out of the way, let's get right to my picks for the best internet providers in New York City.

Sarah Tew/CNET
  • Price range: $40-$120 per month
  • Speed range: 300Mbps-2,000Mbps
  • Perks: Unlimited data, no contracts, free equipment with gig service
  • Why choose it: Fast, 100% fiber connection, leading customer satisfaction, great sign-up bonuses

You'll find Verizon internet throughout New York City, though Verizon Fios, the provider's fiber service, is not available in all locations. Roughly 90% of Manhattan is serviceable for Verizon Fios, including much of Midtown Manhattan, Chelsea, Soho and the Lower East Side. Service starts at $40 per month for symmetrical download and upload speeds of up to 300Mbps. That's a generous amount of speed for an entry-level plan, and the low price makes it one of the best cheap internet plans in New York City.

Speeds of 300Mbps are suitable for most households, especially apartments, but if you need a faster connection for serious streaming, gaming or remote work, Verizon Fios offers a 500Mbps plan and a gig plan, as well. Select areas may also be eligible for Verizon's new multigig plan with speeds up to 2.3Gbps starting at $120 per month. All Fios plans come with unlimited data and no contracts, along with other special promotional offers like free Wi-Fi equipment, gift cards or streaming services, depending on the plan you choose. 

Bonus promotional offers are enticing, but I'd say the company's customer satisfaction record is even more attractive. Both the American Customer Satisfaction Index and J.D. Power placed Verizon Fios at the top among ISPs for customer satisfaction in recent years, so it's safe to say that many New Yorkers are largely satisfied with their Verizon Fios service, even after the free stuff may have lost its value.

Read our Verizon internet review.

 

Verizon Fios
Sarah Tew/CNET
  • Price range: $50-$80 per month
  • Speed range: 200Mbps-940Mbps
  • Perks: Unlimited data, no contracts, modem included
  • Why choose it: Gig speeds available throughout Manhattan and simple, customer-friendly pricing

Like Verizon Fios, Spectrum has a fairly straightforward plan and pricing structure with service terms favorable to the customer, attributes that led to CNET naming Spectrum the best cable internet provider overall. Most New Yorkers will find Spectrum services available at their address, as coverage spans all of Manhattan and Staten Island along with most of Queens. That said, coverage is a little sparser in Brooklyn and nearly nonexistent in the Bronx.

Spectrum's fastest download speeds, up to 940Mbps, are available in more than 99% of service areas, so you can count on the provider for a high-speed connection no matter where you are within Spectrum's service area. Even the slower speed tiers, 200Mbps and 400Mbps, deliver a decent amount of speed for the price, and all plans are free of data caps and contracts.

The only drawback to Spectrum is that it uses a coaxial cable connection. Cable internet comes with significantly slower upload speeds (Spectrum's top out at 35Mbps) and your connection will be susceptible to slowed speeds due to network congestion during peak usage times, which could be anytime in a city that never sleeps.

Read our Spectrum review.

 

Spectrum Internet
Sarah Tew/CNET
  • Price range: $35-$50 per month
  • Speed range: 250Mbps-940Mbps
  • Perks: Unlimited data, no contracts, free modem or free service with select plans
  • Why choose it: Low pricing in the first year along with potentially three free months of service

Astound (formerly RCN, now Powered by RCN) has arguably the best internet deal in the New York City area: 500Mbps starting at $35 per month with three months free plus a free modem. Speeds and free stuff aside, the offer is one of the outright cheapest internet plans in New York. Other Astound plans are priced cheaply as well, including the provider's gig service, which starts at $50 per month and includes three free months. 

If you're looking for cheap internet from Astound, you'll find the greatest Manhattan availability from the Upper East Side and Bloomingdale down to the Financial District. Serviceability is a bit scarcer to the north in Harlem, Manhattanville and Sugar Heights, though there are random blocks scattered throughout the coverage map. Those on the northside of Brooklyn or Queens may also be serviceable for Astound internet.

If your New York address is serviceable for Astound, it's worth checking out for the low pricing alone, but beware of potentially steep price increases after the first year. Over time, the $35-per-month, 500Mbps plan will quadruple in price to a regular rate of $151 per month. The spike may not happen all at once, but expect the price to go way up if you stick with Astound after 12 months. The good news is that Astound doesn't enforce long-term service contracts, so there's nothing stopping you from jumping to another provider once your bill goes up.

Read our Astound internet review.

 

Eli Blumenthal/CNET
  • Price range: $50-$70 per month
  • Speed range: 300Mbps-940Mbps
  • Perks: Unlimited data, no contracts, no equipment fees
  • Why choose it: Fair pricing, no added fees or conditions, 50% discount for qualifying Verizon mobile customers

5G technology is great for our phones, but what about for home internet? With Verizon 5G Home Internet, it's possible to get speeds and pricing rivaling a cable or even fiber internet connection. At $50 or $70 per month depending on whether you want a two- or three-year price guarantee (or half as much if you already have an eligible Verizon mobile plan), you can expect download speeds ranging from 300Mbps to 940Mbps.

That's a wide range in possible speeds for a single plan, and the actual speeds you can get will vary by location. Still, even the lowest advertised speed, 300Mbps, is a good deal for $50 per month. If you can get faster speeds, the deal is even more worthwhile. Equipment and unlimited data is also included in the cost.

Currently, you'll find the best 5G Ultra Wideband coverage along the outer edges of Manhattan. It's difficult to bounce 5G signals around and through tall buildings, so the most central locations in Manhattan, starting at around Union Square and going up 5th Avenue through Midtown and the Upper East Side, will have limited 5G availability. On the other hand, areas like Hell's Kitchen, Harlem, Washington Heights and the Lower East Side have excellent Verizon 5G coverage.

Read our Verizon 5G Home Internet review.

 

Sarah Tew/CNET
  • Price range: $30-$80 per month
  • Speed range: 50Mbps-1,000Mbps
  • Perks: Unlimited data, no contracts, no equipment fees
  • Why choose it: Simple, competitive pricing, convenience

Starry Internet service works by beaming wireless internet signals to a fixed location, typically a receiver located at the top of a building. The wireless delivery method helps keep operational costs relatively low, especially when compared with the high cost of laying fiber lines, and Starry passes those savings on to customers with its high-speed, low-cost and low-hassle internet service.

Starry plans start at $30 per month for symmetrical download and upload speeds of up to 50Mbps in select areas, but your New York address is most likely to be serviceable for the provider's flagship plan of 200Mbps down, 100Mbps up starting at $50 per month. Faster plans, 500Mbps and gig service may also be available in select areas throughout NYC, as well as Starry's affordable internet plan, Starry Connect. All plans come with unlimited data, no contract requirements and no equipment fees.

Read our Starry Internet review.

 

New York City internet provider details


Price range Speed range (Mbps) Equipment cost Approximate availability CNET review score
Spectrum $50-$80 200-940 $5 (skippable) 99% 7.2
Verizon Fios $40-$90 300-2,300 $15 (skippable) 92% 7.6
Verizon 5G $50-$70 300-940 None 65% N/A
Starry $30-$80 50-1,000 None 55% N/A
T-Mobile $50 35-115 None 40% N/A
Astound $35-$50 100-940 $5 (skippable) 36% 7
Consolidated Communications $33-$70 25-1,000 $12 8% N/A
gettyimages-1394866067
Getty Images

Other internet providers in New York City

These internet providers may also be available at your New York City address. 

Consolidated Communications -- Largely a DSL-based rural internet provider, Consolidated Communications also offers fiber internet service in select parts of New York City. Availability is spotty in Manhattan, but those in the Bloomingdale and Lincoln Square districts will have the best coverage. Where available, the provider is worth considering for its $70-per-month gig service, but you'll probably want to pass on lower speed tiers in favor of Spectrum or Verizon Fios.

Optimum -- The second-largest cable internet provider in the greater New York City area, Optimum is available to much of Brooklyn and the Bronx, but not Manhattan. Optimum speeds and pricing are comparable to Astound, including a gigabit plan starting at $50 per month. Optimum also employs a fiber network through much of New York City with 100% fiber connections available to roughly 1 million residents.

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet -- Like Verizon's 5G home internet service, T-Mobile's coverage area reaches a good portion of NYC, save for the dead zones between and inside tall buildings. Though the two are in the same price range and share roughly the same service features, T-Mobile is not as fast as Verizon 5G, with max speeds ranging from 33 to 182Mbps.

Verizon Internet -- Verizon's DSL service fills in the gaps where Verizon Fios isn't yet available. Speeds are slow for the price, so you'd be better off checking out other internet options -- possibly Verizon 5G if you want to stick with Verizon, or cable internet from Spectrum or Astound.

Xchange Telecom -- Available in Central Park and throughout much of Lower Manhattan, Xchange Telecom primarily uses a fixed wireless network, but fiber or DSL service may also be available at select addresses. Pricing and speeds will vary by location.

Satellite internet -- For the sake of truly covering all your internet options, I'm mentioning satellite internet from HughesNet and Viasat here. Technically, they are available, but there are too many other faster, cheaper and all-around better internet options in New York City to even consider satellite internet. 

New York City internet pricing

Do Manhattan residents pay higher internet bills than in the surrounding boroughs or across the Hudson? Not necessarily. As I mentioned above, many of the top ISPs in Manhattan are also available in surrounding areas, so pricing tends to be about the same throughout New York City. Jersey City does have access to Xfinity, which has slightly cheaper pricing than Spectrum, but Astound and Optimum are generally cheaper than Xfinity, at least for the first year.

Most affordable internet plans in NYC

Plan Starting price Max speeds Equipment fee
Starry Basic $30 50Mbps down, 50Mbps up None
Consolidated Communications 25Mbps $33 25Mbps down, 25Mbps up $12
Astound 250Mbps $35 250Mbps down, 15Mbps up $5 (skippable)
Verizon Fios 300Mbps $40 300Mbps down, 300Mbps up $15 (skippable)
Verizon 5G Home Internet $50 300Mbps-940Mbps down, 50Mbps up None
Spectrum Internet $50 200Mbps down, 10Mbps up $5 (skippable)
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet $50 35Mbps-115Mbps down, 6Mbps-23Mbps up None

Low-income internet options in New York City

Along with the Affordable Connectivity Program, which grants qualifying households up to $30 per month to spend on internet service, there are a number of affordable internet programs available in New York City.

Starry has perhaps the best, and easiest to qualify for, affordable internet plan in the area. Starry Connect is available to any residents within a building that has been approved for the low-income internet service. The plan features symmetrical download and upload speeds up to 30Mbps starting at $15 per month with no equipment fees, data caps or contract requirements.

Other New York City internet providers, including Astound, Spectrum and Verizon Fios, offer their own affordable internet plans. Here's where you can find more information about each provider's low-income internet service:

New York City internet speeds

Multigigabit internet plans are popping up in cities across the US, including New York City, where Verizon Fios offers up to 2.3Gbps in select areas. That said, aside from Verizon Fios, no major internet provider in the greater NYC area offers anything higher than a single gig. At least not yet.

High-speed internet plans in NYC

Plan Max speeds Starting price Data cap
Verizon 2Gig 2.3Gbps down, 2.3Gbps up $120 None
Consolidated Communications 1Gig 1,000Mbps down, 1,000Mbps up $70 None
Starry Gigabit 1,000Mbps down, 500Mbps up $80 None
Spectrum Gig 940Mbps down, 35Mbps up $80 None
Astound 940Mbps Internet 940Mbps down, 20Mbps up $50 None
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet 115Mbps down, 23Mbps up $50 None

How to get faster internet in New York City

If your New York City internet speeds aren't quite up to what you want or what you think they should be, there are a few ways you can try to improve them. 

  • Reset your equipment -- The first and easiest thing to do is reset your router. To do so, simply unplug it for a few seconds, then plug it back in and let it reboot. Note that some devices have a battery backup, so you may also have to also remove the battery for a full reboot.
  • Upgrade your equipment -- It's possible your router simply isn't capable of handling the speeds you get, due to the square footage of your residence or number of connected devices. If you rent equipment, consider asking your provider for an upgrade, or you may want to purchase your own new mesh router system.   
  • Check for unauthorized users or devices -- You can see the devices connected to your network by accessing your router's settings online or via an app. If you don't recognize all of the connected devices, restrict any that are unknown and change your Wi-Fi password
  • Switch ISPs -- Fiber internet, like Verizon Fios, is often more reliable and gives more consistent speeds than other internet types, including cable. If your cable connection is frequently slow, upgrading to a fiber ISP may deliver better speed results, even if the max speed tiers between the two are the same. 
  • Upgrade to a faster plan -- Upgrading to a faster plan should provide a significant speed boost. Check out CNET's guide to finding the right internet speed for your home.
  • Use a wired connection when possible -- No matter how good your Wi-Fi router is, using a Wi-Fi connection will just about always result in slower speeds than what your internet provider is sending to the modem or ONT device. Try connecting your computer, smart TV, gaming console or other devices directly to the router or Wi-Fi extender using an Ethernet cord for a faster connection, and free up some Wi-Fi bandwidth for other devices.

New York City internet FAQs

Does New York City have fiber internet?

Yes. Nearly 92% of Manhattan residents may have access to fiber-optic internet service. Verizon Fios is the largest fiber internet provider in New York City, though fiber service may also be available from Optimum, Astound, Xchange Telecom, Consolidated Communications or other ISPs in the area.

Can I get free Wi-Fi in New York City?

There are a number of public places throughout New York City that offer free Wi-Fi service. In addition to cafes, restaurants, hotels and other businesses with complimentary Wi-Fi, all NYC public library branches and several locations in Lower Manhattan, including Fulton Street Plaza, Bowling Green, Trinity Churchyard and Pier 15, have free public Wi-Fi access.

If you're looking for free home Wi-Fi, you'll need a wired internet connection to get Wi-Fi in your home. While some NYC internet service providers and plans are cheaper than others, there are no outright free home internet services available in the city. A temporary free internet connection may be available from Spectrum, Optimum or Xfinity depending on your location and needs. Learn more at nyc.gov.

Is Verizon Fios or Spectrum better?

Verizon Fios has an advantage over Spectrum thanks to its 100% fiber-optic network. Verizon also has a lower starting price than Spectrum ($40 compared with $50) and faster speeds with its cheapest plan (300Mbps compared with 200Mbps). You'll also get symmetrical or near-symmetrical download and upload speeds with Verizon Fios, whereas Spectrum's max upload speeds fall far short of its download speeds. 

Spectrum does have lower introductory pricing for gig service and a monthly equipment fee $10 lower than with Verizon Fios. As a cable internet provider, Spectrum is also a great choice for bundling internet and TV

In short, both providers have their pros and cons, but I believe I'd choose Verizon Fios over Spectrum. In any case, it's always a good idea to fully evaluate your home internet needs and the available options in your area before committing to a particular internet provider.

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