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Best Internet Providers in Santa Monica, California

Written by  Amanda Kooser
Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
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
4 Internet providers 90001 Edit Zip
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Best internet provider in Santa Monica, CA

Our take Frontier offers both DSL and fiber. This recommendation is for Frontier’s fiber service, which has f... Read more

Connection
Fiber
Speed range
500 - 5,000 Mbps
Price range
$50 - $155 per month
Connection
Fiber
Speed range
500 - 5,000 Mbps
Price range
$50 - $155 per month
Show more details
Compare
Compare

Broadest coverage in Santa Monica, CA

Our take Spectrum’s cable network reaches almost every nook and cranny of Santa Monica. Speeds top out at a g... Read more

Connection
Cable
Speed range
300 - 1,000 Mbps
Price range
$50 - $80 per month
Connection
Cable
Speed range
300 - 1,000 Mbps
Price range
$50 - $80 per month
Show more details
Compare
Compare

Best fixed wireless in Santa Monica, CA

Our take Some apartment buildings in Santa Monica can get Starry’s fixed wireless service. With affordable pr... Read more

Connection
Fixed wireless
Speed range
50 - 1,000 Mbps
Price range
$30 - $80 per month
Connection
Fixed wireless
Speed range
50 - 1,000 Mbps
Price range
$30 - $80 per month
Show more details
Compare
Compare
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What is the best internet provider in Santa Monica?

Frontier is CNET's pick for the best internet service provider overall for many households in Santa Monica because of fast and affordable fiber plans. Service isn't available for that provider everywhere in Santa Monica, so Spectrum or Starry are also solid picks, depending on what's available in your area. 

If you're hunting for the lowest prices or fastest speeds, we've also found those top options. The cheapest internet in Santa Monica is Frontier's 200 megabits per second fiber plan, which costs $30 monthly. Frontier also offers the area's fastest internet speed, its 5,000Mbps fiber plan, which costs $130 per month.

Best internet in Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica internet providers compared

ProviderInternet technologyMonthly price rangeSpeed rangeMonthly equipment costsData capContractCNET review score
AT&T Internet Air
Read full review
Fixed wireless$55 ($35 with eligible mobile plan)75-225MbpsNoneNoneNoneN/A
Frontier
Read full review
Fiber$30-$130200-5,000MbpsNoneNoneNone6.7
Spectrum
Read full review
Cable$50-$80300-1,000MbpsFree modem; $7 router (optional)NoneNone7.2
Starry Internet
Read full review
Fixed wireless$40-$55200-500MbpsNoneNoneNone7
T-Mobile Home Internet
Read full review
Fixed wireless$60 ($40 with eligible mobile plans)72-245MbpsNoneNoneNone7.4
Verizon 5G Home Internet
Read full review
Fixed wireless$50-$70 ($35-$45 for eligible Verizon Wireless customers)50-1,000MbpsNoneNoneNone7.2
Show more (1 item)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

Other available internet providers in Santa Monica

  • AT&T Fiber: You’ll find a small area of AT&T Fiber coverage southeast of the Brentwood Country Club, but it’s more common in nearby communities like Beverly Hills and Inglewood. Plans start at $55 per month for 300Mbps and top out at $250 for 5,000Mbps. There are no data caps, contracts or equipment fees. 
  • AT&T Internet Air: AT&T has only a tiny pocket of fiber coverage in Santa Monica, but it services a wider area with its 5G fixed wireless internet called AT&T Internet Air. There’s one plan at $55 monthly with no data cap, equipment fees or contracts. Expect typical download speeds in the 75-225Mbps range, which is competitive with T-Mobile’s home internet service. 
  • Frontier Internet: Frontier offers DSL internet in some parts of town where its fiber network doesn’t reach. The plan may offer download speeds up to 115Mbps (speeds will vary with location) for $65 monthly. It’s pricey and slow considering what you get, so look to Spectrum before you sign up for DSL.
  • T-Mobile Home Internet: Consider T-Mobile Home Internet if you’re already a phone customer and want to bundle plans for savings. There’s one home internet plan at $60 monthly (sometimes discounted to $50) with typical speeds of 72-245Mbps. T-Mobile has strong 5G Ultra Capacity network coverage all across Santa Monica. There are no data caps or contracts and equipment is included.
  • Satellite internet: If all other internet types fail, look to satellite internet from Starlink, Hughesnet or Viasat. You’re unlikely to go this route if you live in Santa Monica, but it’s an option for remote homes that can’t get fiber, cable, DSL or decent fixed wireless.
Aerial shot of the Santa Monica Pier on the beach of Santa Monica, California.
Luciano Lejtman/Getty Images

Cheap internet options in Santa Monica

Santa Monica residents can access some good home internet deals, starting with Frontier’s $30-per-month 200Mbps fiber plan. If you need more speed, look to Frontier’s $45-per-month 500Mbps plan. That’s a good value. Not everyone in Santa Monica can get fiber, but most homes are eligible for Spectrum and its entry-level $50-per-month 300Mbps cable plan. You won’t get the speedy uploads of fiber, but that’s a reasonable introductory deal for cable. Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T -- the 5G home internet providers in Santa Monica -- are competitive on pricing, especially when you bundle with an eligible phone plan. 

What’s the cheapest internet plan in Santa Monica?

ProviderStarting priceMax download speedMonthly equipment fee
Frontier
Read full review
$30 200MbpsNone
Spectrum
Read full review
$50 300MbpsFree modem; $7 router (optional)
Starry Internet
Read full review
$40 200MbpsNone
Verizon 5G Home Internet
Read full review
$50 ($35 with eligible mobile plans)300MbpsNone
AT&T Internet Air
Read full review
$55 225MbpsNone
T-Mobile Home Internet
Read full review
$60 ($40 with eligible mobile plans)245MbpsNone
Show more (1 item)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

How to find internet deals and promotions in Santa Monica

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

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Santa Monica internet providers, such as Spectrum, T-Mobile Home Internet and Frontier, may offer lower introductory pricing or streaming add-ons for a limited time. Others, including Starry and Verizon, tend to run the same standard pricing year-round. 

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

How fast is Santa Monica broadband?

Santa Monica is a good place to live if you need fast home internet. A recent Ookla speed test report shows the city pulling down a median fixed internet speed of nearly 286Mbps. California overall had 254Mbps downloads and Los Angeles logged 222Mbps. Frontier’s fast fiber network helps Santa Monica’s numbers. Even if you can’t get fiber, Spectrum still offers gig downloads all across town. If fast uploads are a must for you, prioritize fiber when shopping.

Fastest internet plans in Santa Monica

ProviderStarting priceMax download speedMax upload speedData capConnection
Frontier Fiber 5 Gig
Read full review
$130 5,000Mbps5,000MbpsNoneFiber
Frontier Fiber 2 Gig
Read full review
$100 2,000Mbps2,000MbpsNoneFiber
Frontier Fiber 1 Gig
Read full review
$65 1,000Mbps1,000MbpsNoneFiber
Spectrum Internet Gig
Read full review
$80 1,000Mbps35MbpsNoneCable
Verizon 5G Home Plus Internet
Read full review
$70 ($45 with qualifying Verizon 5G mobile plans)1,000Mbps75MbpsNoneFixed wireless

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 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 Santa Monica

Internet service providers are numerous and regional. Unlike the latest smartphone, laptop, router or kitchen tool, it's impractical to personally test every internet service provider in a given city. 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. 

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 publication. 

Once we have this localized information, we ask three main questions: 

  • Does the provider offer access to reasonably fast internet speeds? 
  • Do customers get decent value for what they're paying? 
  • 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.

What’s the final word on internet providers in Santa Monica?

Frontier ticks a lot of boxes for home internet. You get fast, symmetrical speeds and affordable, no-fuss plans. Frontier’s customer service has improved in recent years, but it still doesn’t have the strongest reputation. Spectrum is Frontier’s main competitor in Santa Monica. It has an availability advantage but much slower upload speeds and maxes out a gig for downloads. If the option is available to you, give fiber a shot. If not, go with Spectrum or look into 5G home internet, especially if you can get fast downloads from Verizon. Apartment dwellers should check with Starry to see if the ISP reaches your building. It has good speeds, simple plans and a solid customer service reputation.

Internet providers in Santa Monica FAQs

What is the cheapest internet provider in Santa Monica?

Frontier offers a good deal on fiber internet with its 200Mbps tier. You’ll pay $30 monthly, a nice price for symmetrical speeds.

Which internet provider in Santa Monica offers the fastest plan?

Frontier claims the fastest home internet plan in Santa Monica with its symmetrical 5,000Mbps fiber plan, which costs $130 per month. AT&T Fiber also has a 5,000Mbps plan, but availability is extremely limited in the city.

Is fiber internet available in Santa Monica?

Frontier doesn’t reach everywhere in Santa Monica, but its fiber network covers a lot of ground. Frontier also operates a DSL network, but fiber’s fast, symmetrical speeds are a superior option. There’s also a small pocket of AT&T Fiber, but it’s scarce in Santa Monica.

What internet provider has the best coverage in Santa Monica?

Spectrum’s cable network has the broadest coverage in Santa Monica. It reaches nearly 91% of homes in the city, according to FCC data.

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