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Best Internet Providers in Rio Rancho, New Mexico

Written by  David Anders
David Anders Senior Writer
David Anders is a senior writer for CNET covering broadband providers, smart home devices and security products. Prior to joining CNET, David built his industry expertise writing for the broadband marketplace Allconnect. In his 5 plus years covering broadband, David's work has been referenced by a variety of sources including ArcGIS, DIRECTV and more. David is from and currently resides in the Charlotte area with his wife, son and two cats.
Expertise Broadband providers | Home internet | Security Cameras
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What is the best internet provider in Rio Rancho?

High-speed internet options are limited in Rio Rancho, so the best provider for your home will likely come down to what’s available in your area. Sparklight will be the best internet service provider for most Rio Rancho residents, as the cable internet provider has the best high-speed coverage in the area. 

Sparklight stands out for its speed and affordability, making it a solid choice if it's available at your addess. With service starting at $35 per month and speeds ranging from 300 to 940 megabits per second, Sparklight is both the cheapest internet provider and the fastest in Rio Rancho.

Quantum Fiber equals Sparklight in terms of download speed with its 940Mbps plan and has the advantage of symmetrical upload speeds, but availability is highly limited. Fellow Lumen Technologies brand CenturyLink has better coverage in the area, although speeds on its DSL-based network are much slower than Sparklight.

T-Mobile Home Internet and Verizon 5G Home Internet are the best fixed wireless ISPs in Rio Rancho, but NM Surf could be a practical option, as well. Other fixed wireless ISPs serve the Rio Rancho area, but speeds are too slow and pricing is too high for the speeds you get to recommend them here.

Best internet in Rio Rancho, New Mexico

Rio Rancho, New Mexico, internet providers compared

Provider Internet technologyMonthly price rangeSpeed rangeMonthly equipment costsData capContractCNET review score
CenturyLink
Read full review
DSL$55 20-100Mbps$15 (optional)NoneNone6.7
NM Surf Fixed wireless$70-$110100-400Mbps$5None1-2 yearsN/A
Quantum Fiber Fiber$50-$75500-940MbpsNoneNoneNone6.7
Sparklight
Read full review
Cable$50-$70100-940Mbps$13 (optional)5TB soft capNone6.9
T-Mobile Home Internet
Read full review
Fixed wireless$50 ($30 with eligible mobile plans)72-245MbpsNoneNoneNone7.4
Verizon 5G Home Internet
Read full review
Fixed wireless$60-$80 ($35-$45 for eligible Verizon Wireless customers)50-1,000MbpsNoneNoneNone7.2
Show more (2 items)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

What's the cheapest internet plan in Rio Rancho?

Plan Starting priceMax download speedMonthly equipment fee
Sparklight Freedom Connect 300
Read full review
$35 300Mbps$13 (optional)
Quantum Fiber 500 $50 500MbpsNone
T-Mobile Home Internet
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$50 ($30 with eligible mobile plans)245MbpsNone
Sparklight Freedom Connect 600
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$55 600Mbps$13 (optional)
CenturyLink Internet
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$55 100Mbps$15 (optional)
Verizon 5G Home Internet
Read full review
$60 ($35 with eligible mobile plans)300MbpsNone
Show more (2 items)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

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How to find internet deals and promotions in Rio Rancho

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

Rio Rancho internet providers, such as Sparklight, may offer lower introductory pricing for a limited time. Many providers, including CenturyLink and Quantum Fiber, run the same standard pricing year-round. 

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

Fastest internet plans in Rio Rancho

Plan Starting priceMax download speedMax upload speedData capConnection type
Verizon 5G Home Plus Internet
Read full review
$80 ($45 with eligible mobile plans)1,000Mbps75MbpsNoneFixed wireless
Sparklight 1 Gig
Read full review
$65 940Mbps50MbpsNoneCable
Quantum Fiber $75 940Mbps940MbpsNoneFiber
Sparklight Freedom Connect 600
Read full review
$55 600Mbps30MbpsNoneCable
Quantum Fiber 500 $50 500Mbps500MbpsNoneFiber
T-Mobile Home Internet
Read full review
$50 ($30 with eligible mobile plans)245Mbps31MbpsNoneFixed wireless
NM Surf Tsunami Wave $70 100Mbps25MbpsNoneFixed wireless
Show more (3 items)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

View of Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
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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 and 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 Rio Rancho

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. 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.

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 answer to those questions is often layered and complex, the providers who come closest to “yes” on all three are the ones we recommend. When selecting the cheapest internet service, we look for the plans with the lowest monthly fee, although 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.

Internet providers in Rio Rancho FAQs

What is the best internet service provider in Rio Rancho, New Mexico?

Sparklight is the best internet service provider in Rio Rancho. High-speed availability is Sparklight’s main selling point in the area. Still, the ISP also stands out among the competition for its low introductory pricing and selection of speeds ranging from 300 to 940Mbps.

Is fiber internet available in Rio Rancho?

Fiber internet is available to a select few households in Rio Rancho. According to the most recent FCC data (December 2023), only around 3% of Rio Rancho residences are eligible for fiber internet service. 2, an encouraging sign that fiber availability is growing in the area. Quantum Fiber is the Rio Rancho area’s primary fiber internet provider.

Who is the cheapest internet provider in Rio Rancho?

Sparklight has the lowest introductory rate on broadband in Rio Rancho, with service starting at $35 monthly for download speeds up to 300Mbps. Other Sparklight plans, 600 and 940Mbps, are also priced competitively (starting at $55 and $65 per month, respectively). Sparklight rates are good for 18 months, after which prices will increase by $15 to $25, depending on your chosen plan. Keep in mind that renting equipment from Sparklight will add $13 to your monthly bill.

Which internet provider in Rio Rancho offers the fastest plan?

Sparklight and Quantum Fiber offer the fastest internet plans in Rio Rancho, with speeds up to 940Mbps. Quantum Fiber has the advantage of symmetrical upload and download speeds, but Sparklight has significantly greater availability in the area and lower introductory pricing ($65 compared to $75 with Quantum Fiber). 

Verizon 5G Home Internet offers the fastest maximum speed at 1,000Mbps, but actual speeds are likely to be much lower as its Home Plus plan advertises a range between 85 and 1,000Mbps.

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