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Best Internet Providers in Providence, Rhode Island

Written by  Hallie Seltzer
Hallie Seltzer Associate Writer
Hallie Seltzer is an associate writer with CNET's broadband team, covering ISP reviews, provider comparisons and a little bit of everything related to home internet. She is a recent graduate from Rogers State University in Oklahoma with a degree in strategic communications. In her spare time, Hallie enjoys trying new restaurants, watching scary movies and snuggling with her two kitties.
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
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Best internet provider in Providence, RI

Our take Besides being one of the country's largest 5G home internet providers, Verizon offers fiber connecti... Read more

Connection
Fiber
Speed range
300 - 2,000 Mbps
Price range
$50 - $120 per month
Connection
Fiber
Speed range
300 - 2,000 Mbps
Price range
$50 - $120 per month
Show more details
Compare
Compare

Best cable internet in Providence, RI

Our take If you want to bundle your internet and cable service, check out Cox Communications. Cox is the lead... Read more

Connection
Mostly cable, some fiber
Speed range
100 - 2,000 Mbps
Price range
$50 - $110 per month
Connection
Mostly cable, some fiber
Speed range
100 - 2,000 Mbps
Price range
$50 - $110 per month
Show more details
Compare
Compare

Best fixed wireless in Providence, RI

Our take Like Verizon’s 5G network, T-Mobile offers home internet through a fixed wireless connection. While ... 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
Compare
Compare
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What is the best internet provider in Providence?

Verizon Fios is the best internet service provider for most households in Providence. It offers symmetrical speeds up to a gigabit with no data caps, contracts or monthly equipment costs. If a fiber-optic connection from Verizon Fios isn’t available at your address, Cox Communications and T-Mobile Home Internet are also solid picks for home broadband.

If you're shopping for the cheapest plan or the fastest speeds in the area, Cox is the provider you should consider. For $30 per month, Cox customers can reach speeds up to 100 megabits per second, the lowest price you'll pay in Providence for internet access. Cox also offers speeds up to 1 gigabit, costing $110 monthly. Verizon Fios also offers a gigabit plan at a much cheaper price of $90. While $90 a month isn't cheap, the cost per Mbps for Verizon Fios' gigabit plan comes in under 10 cents per Mbps.

If you need more affordable plans, fixed wireless providers such as Verizon and T-Mobile also offer discounted rates for eligible mobile customers.

Best internet in Providence, Rhode Island

Providence internet providers compared

Provider Internet technologyMonthly price rangeSpeed rangeMonthly equipment costsData capContractCNET review score
Cox Communications
Read full review
Cable/Fiber$30-$80100-1,000Mbps$15 (optional)1.25TBNone6.2
T-Mobile Home Internet
Read full review
Fixed wireless$60-$70 ($40-$50 for eligible Go5G Plus and Magenta Max mobile customers)72-245MbpsNoneNoneNone7.4
Verizon Fios
Read full review
Fiber$50-$90 ($25-$65 with select 5G mobile plans)300-940MbpsNoneNoneNone7.6
Verizon 5G Home Internet
Read full review
Fixed wireless$50-$70 ($35-$45 with qualifying Verizon 5G mobile plans)50-300Mbps NoneNoneNone7.2

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

Other available internet providers in Providence

  • Satellite: While this internet connection type offers slower speeds and steep monthly prices, it offers a benefit that other ISPs can’t replicate, and that’s its wide availability. Most residents in Providence have limited broadband options, but connections from Hughesnet, Viasat and the new kid on the block, Starlink, offer coverage almost everywhere. A satellite connection won’t conjure up the fastest speeds, but Starlink is the fastest ISP of the three, reaching download speeds of up to 220Mbps. Starlink is the most costly option as well, with the standard plan costing $120 per month and to lease equipment, it’s gonna cost you $599 upfront. If you want to avoid the two-year contract from Hughesnet, Viasat offers a singular plan that features no term agreements and speeds of up to 150Mbps.
  • Verizon 5G Home Internet: You may not get the fastest speeds with a Verizon fixed wireless connection, but if you want to avoid satellite internet altogether, this might be your best bet. However, coverage is limited throughout the city, according to the latest data from the FCC, only 8% of Providence residents have access to Verizon 5G Home Internet. If available at your address, Verizon offers download speeds of up to 300Mbps for $70 per month. Plans are also straightforward: no data caps, no monthly equipment fees, and no contracts. 

Cheap internet options in Providence

The average starting monthly price in Providence is around $47 per month. Cox has a $30-per-month plan for 100Mbps, which is the cheapest internet plan in the area. That's not all. Verizon Fios offers a $50-per-month plan for 300Mbps. Eligible mobile customers can knock $15 to $25 off their monthly bill with fixed wireless providers Verizon and T-Mobile.

What’s the cheapest internet plan in Providence?

Provider Starting monthly priceMax download speedMonthly equipment fee
Cox 100
Read full review
$30100Mbps$15 (optional)
Verizon Fios 300
Read full review
$50 ($25 with select 5G mobile plans)300MbpsNone
Verizon 5G Home Internet
Read full review
$50 ($35 with eligible mobile plan)100MbpsNone
T-Mobile Home Internet
Read full review
$60 ($40 with eligible mobile plan)245MbpsNone

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

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How to find internet deals and promotions in Providence

The best internet deals and the top promotions in Providence depend on the discounts available during that period. Most deals are short-lived, but we look frequently for the latest offers. 

Providence internet providers, such as Cox, may offer lower introductory pricing or streaming add-ons for a limited time. Others, including Verizon and T-Mobile, run the same standard pricing year-round. 

For a more extensive list of promos, check out our guide on the best internet deals

gettyimages-182246157

Photo by DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images

How fast is Providence broadband?

In the latest Ookla speed test data, Providence came in with a fixed median download speed of285Mbps. That’s not bad, but nearby Hartford performed much better at 292Mbps. Whereas, Boston was below the fold, coming in at just 247Mbps. Still, Providence didn’t do too well in comparison with its state, Rhode Island, at 289Mbps.

Fastest internet plans in Providence

Provider Starting priceMax download speedMax upload speedData capConnection type
Cox 1 Gig
Read full review
$1101,000Mbps35Mbps1.25TBCable
Verizon Fios 1 Gig
Read full review
$90 ($65 with select 5G mobile plans)940Mbps880MbpsNoneFiber

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

What’s a good internet speed?

Most internet connection plans can now handle basic productivity and communication tasks. If you're looking for an internet plan that can accommodate videoconferencing, streaming video or gaming, you'll have a better experience with a more robust connection. Here's an overview of the recommended minimum download speeds for various applications, according to the FCC. Note that these are only guidelines -- and that internet speed, service and performance vary by connection type, provider and address.

For more information, refer to our guide on how much internet speed you really need.

  • 0 to 5Mbps allows you to tackle the basics -- browsing the internet, sending and receiving email, streaming low-quality video.
  • 5 to 40Mbps gives you higher-quality video streaming and videoconferencing.
  • 40 to 100Mbps should give one user sufficient bandwidth to satisfy the demands of modern telecommuting, video streaming and online gaming. 
  • 100 to 500Mbps allows one to two users to simultaneously engage in high-bandwidth activities like videoconferencing, streaming and online gaming. 
  • 500 to 1,000Mbps allows three or more users to engage in high-bandwidth activities at the same time.

How CNET chose the best internet providers in Providence

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? We start by researching the pricing, availability and speed information drawing on our own historical ISP data, the provider sites 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 the time of publication.

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 answers to those questions are often layered and complex, the providers that come closest to “yes” on all three are the ones we recommend. When it comes to 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 Providence?

Depending on your specific address, you may not have many broadband options. But if Verizon Fios is available, put it at the top of your list. Verizon Fios offers gigabit speeds and features unlimited data, no contracts and no monthly equipment fees. If you want to avoid the price increase with Cox Communications, Verizon 5G Home Internet is also a solid alternative.

Internet providers in Providence FAQs

What is the best internet service provider in Providence?

Verizon Fios is the best internet service provider in Providence. According to the latest data from the FCC, Verizon Fios provides coverage to 86% of Providence households. While Verizon and Cox offer coverage to most addresses in the area, Verizon Fios takes the No. 1 spot by offering symmetrical speeds and unlimited data.

Is fiber internet available in Providence?

Yes. Approximately 86% of residents in Providence have access to fiber-optic connections, according to the latest data from the FCC. Verizon Fios is the largest fiber provider in Providence, but select households in the city might be serviceable for Cox’s small fiber network.

Who is the cheapest internet provider in Providence?

Cox offers the cheapest internet plan in Providence: $30 per month for 100Mbps of speed. The next best thing is a $50-per-month plan for 300Mbps in download speeds from Verizon Fios.

Which internet provider in Providence offers the fastest plan?

The fastest speed you’ll find in Providence belongs to Cox, offering 1,000Mbps in download and 35Mbps in upload. Verizon Fios also offers a gigabit plan but download speeds are slower, coming in at just 940Mbps.

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