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Best Internet Providers in South Carolina

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
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 South Carolina

Our take Spectrum has the best availability of any wired internet provider in South Carolina, but the cable I... 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 fiber internet provider in South Carolina

Our take AT&T Fiber impresses with its fast speeds, competitive pricing and industry-leading customer satisfa... Read more

Connection
Fiber
Speed range
300 - 5,000 Mbps
Price range
$55 - $250 per month
Connection
Fiber
Speed range
300 - 5,000 Mbps
Price range
$55 - $250 per month
Show more details
Compare
Compare

Best broadband coverage in South Carolina

Our take T-Mobile Home Internet doesn’t have the speed and reliability to rival most cable and fiber internet... 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
Showing 3 of 5

What is the best internet provider in South Carolina?

For folks in South Carolina, Spectrum is CNET's pick for the best internet provider, due to its widespread availability throughout the state, fast speeds and customer-friendly service terms. More than a million and a half South Carolina homes are serviceable for Spectrum internet, according to the Federal Communications Commission, and download speeds up to 1,000Mbps are available throughout all service areas.

AT&T also has a large presence in the Palmetto State and may prove to be the better choice for speed and overall value, particularly if a fiber-optic connection is available at your address. Other national ISPs, including Xfinity, Kinetic and WideOpenWest, also serve South Carolina and are worth considering along with the many regional providers that offer service throughout the state.

As a lifelong resident of the Carolinas, I know firsthand the benefits of living in South Carolina. We've got some of the lowest taxes in the South, the best beaches on the East Coast and the top schools in academics and athletics in the nation. Internet service can be decent too, depending on where you live in the state. You'll find my picks for the best internet providers in South Carolina below, followed by recommendations for cheap and fast internet plans in the state.

South Carolina internet providers compared

The above internet providers do a decent job of covering South Carolina, but they aren’t the only ones you may encounter depending on where you live. Here’s a look at all potential internet options throughout the Palmetto State.

South Carolina ISP quick comparison

ProviderMonthly price rangeDownload speed range (Mbps)Connection type
AT&T Internet
Read full review
$55 10-100Copper (DSL)
AT&T Fiber
Read full review
$55-$250300-5,000Fiber
Comporium
Read full review
$30-$135100-5,000Cable, fiber
HTC $50-$75500-1,000Fiber
Hughesnet
Read full review
$50-$9015-100Satellite
Kinetic by Windstream $40-$7050-1,000Copper (DSL), fiber
T-Mobile Home Internet
Read full review
$60 72-2455G wireless
Spectrum
Read full review
$50-$90300-1,000Cable
Starlink
Read full review
$120 25-220Low-orbit satellite
Verizon 5G Home Internet
Read full review
$50-$7050-1,0005G wireless
Viasat
Read full review
$70-$30012-100Satellite
West Carolina Rural Telephone $50-$80250-1,000Fiber
WideOpenWest $20-$95100-1,200Cable
Xfinity  $20-$100150-2,000Cable
Show more (9 items)

An overview of other South Carolina ISPs

AT&T Internet: AT&T’s copper-based service has a broader customer base in South Carolina than AT&T Fiber, but speeds are slower for the same starting price. Consider it if no other wired connection types are available at your address.

Comporium: Primarily a cable provider with some fiber-to-the-home mixed in, Comporium serves Rock Hill and Lancaster along with select areas north of Spartanburg and west of Columbia. Pricing and speeds are on par with other local providers. I have Comporium, and I have no complaints.

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Horry Telephone Cooperative: The go-to for fiber internet in Myrtle Beach. HTC offers fast, symmetrical speeds (500Mbps, 750Mbps and 1Gbps) at reasonable rates. Check them out if you’re moving to or around the Grand Strand. 

Kinetic by Windstream: You’ll find Kinetic service around Lexington, Kershaw, Saint Matthews and in the northwesternmost part of the state. The fiber service is preferred, but DSL is also a decent option, with rural internet speeds faster than most. 

Starlink: Like other satellite internet services, Starlink is available throughout South Carolina. Unlike other satellite internet services, speeds can reach up to 200Mbps or higher and latency is estimated to be much lower at 25 to 60ms or over 100ms in “certain remote locations,” according to Starlink’s service description.

Verizon 5G Home Internet: Verizon’s home internet service advertises faster maximum speeds than T-Mobile for around the same monthly price ($50 for 50-300Mbps, $70 for 85-1,000Mbps), but service is currently limited to parts of Columbia and Greenville.

Viasat: Satellite internet from Viasat is a bit more expensive than Hughesnet, but you may get faster speeds and a higher monthly data allowance for the extra cost. Compare Hughesnet and Viasat plans closely if satellite service is your only broadband option.

West Carolina Rural Telephone: Serving the Clemson/Seneca area and communities along the Georgia border down to Augusta, West Carolina Tel offers fiber-optic service with speeds ranging from 250Mbps to 1Gbps for $50 to $80 per month with no contracts or data caps.

WideOpenWest: A leader in low introductory pricing, WideOpenWest adds some cable internet competition to the Charleston and Mount Pleasant areas.

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Getty Images

What’s the best rural internet in South Carolina?

I’ve driven 77 and 85 (and Highway 521 down past Lancaster and Highway 9 to the beach) enough times to know South Carolina has some beautiful but remote areas. What’s the best way to get internet in these rural areas

5G home internet: T-Mobile’s home internet service covers many South Carolina households, according to the FCC. 5G may not be available to the entire coverage area (T-Mobile still relies on its 4G LTE network sometimes), but the potential speeds, pricing and service terms could be the best you’ll find in rural areas.

DSL: AT&T and Kinetic are the main DSL providers in South Carolina. Speeds are slower than you’d get with cable or fiber internet, but DSL may serve as a workable broadband solution in rural areas where such connections are unavailable. 

Satellite internet: It’s nearly always an option wherever you are, but satellite internet speeds are low while data caps and prices are high compared to other types of internet. I’d recommend exploring other potential options before settling on satellite service.

Internet breakdown by city in South Carolina

It’s hard to cover the broadband options of an entire state and give individual cities the attention they deserve. That’s why we also compile lists of the best internet providers in cities across the US, including those in South Carolina. We tackle details such as internet connection types, maximum speeds and cheapest providers. Check back later if you don’t find the city you’re looking for below. We’re working to add more locations every week. 

Cheapest internet plans in South Carolina

What you pay for internet each month will depend on where you live and the provider and plan you choose, but you can expect to pay at least $20 to $30 per month for home internet, plus taxes and fees. In many areas throughout South Carolina, home internet plans start at $40 to $55 per month, and if you’re in a rural area, the cheapest internet plans could cost $60 to $120 per month, depending on the provider you go with.

What are the cheapest internet plans in South Carolina?

PlanStarting monthly priceMax download speeds (Mbps)Equipment fee
WOW Just the Basics
Read full review
$30 100$14 (optional)
Xfinity Connect
Read full review
$20 75$15 (optional)
Comporium Internet Essential
Read full review
$30 100None, $10 for Premium Wi-Fi
Kinetic 200 $50 200$10 (optional)
Spectrum Internet
Read full review
$50 300$7 (optional)
HTC Tier 1 $50 500None
Verizon 5G Home Internet
Read full review
$50 ($35with qualifying mobile discount)50-300None
WCTel 250Mbps Package $50 250$8 (optional)
AT&T Fiber 300
Read full review
$55 300None
AT&T Internet
Read full review
$55 100None
T-Mobile Home Internet
Read full review
$60 ($40 or $50 with qualifying mobile discount)72-245None
Show more (6 items)

South Carolina internet speeds

Broadband speeds, defined as at least 100Mbps down and 20Mbps up, are available to 100% of South Carolina households, according to the FCC. Satellite internet inflates that number a bit as only 90% can get those speeds over a wired connection such as DSL, cable or fiber. Faster speeds are available to most residents with 89% of the state eligible for download speeds of 250Mbps or higher and upload speeds of 25Mbps or higher. 

Recent Ookla speed test data ranks South Carolina 16th among US States for the fastest median download speeds at 224Mbps. That’s lower than the national average (254Mbps) and our northern neighbor (North Carolina clocked 231Mbps, good for seventh overall), but faster than nearby Georgia (188Mbps, 38th). 

What are the fastest internet plans in South Carolina?

PlanMax download speeds (Mbps)Starting monthly price
AT&T Fiber 5000
Read full review
5,000$225
Xfinity Gigabit x2
Read full review
2,000$100
WOW Internet 1.2 Gig
Read full review
1,200$95
Kinetic Gig 1,000$70
HTC Tier 3 1,000$75
WCTel 1Gbps Package 1,000$80
Spectrum Internet Gig
Read full review
1,000$60
Comporium Zipstream
Read full review
1,000$76
Verizon 5G Home Plus
Read full review
85-1,000$70
Show more (4 items)

A fiber internet connection will be your best bet for fast speeds in South Carolina and comes with the added advantage of symmetrical (or close) download and upload speeds. Cable internet from providers such as Comporium, Spectrum, Xfinity and WOW is still plenty fast, but expect slower upload speeds ranging from 10 to 50Mbps. Cable internet can also be more susceptible to slowed speeds due to network congestion during peak usage times.

How CNET chose the best internet providers in South Carolina

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 South Carolina?

Spectrum is CNET’s pick for the best internet provider in South Carolina due to its high availability, fast speeds and favorable service terms like low equipment fees and unlimited data. 

AT&T Fiber, T-Mobile Home Internet and Xfinity, along with regional providers like Comporium, HTC and WCTel, may be the best ISPs for your home, depending on your needs and your location.

Those in rural areas may want to consider DSL from AT&T or Kinetic and 5G from T-Mobile before resorting to satellite internet. If no such connections are available, look to Hughesnet, Viasat or satellite newcomer Starlink for home internet service.

Internet providers in South Carolina FAQs

Is internet in South Carolina any good?

Broadband speeds (100Mbps down, 20Mbps up) are available to all South Carolina households, according to the FCC. Cable and fiber internet providers such as AT&T, Kinetic and Xfinity are available throughout much of the state. They are capable of much faster download speeds, up to 1,000Mbps or higher in some areas.

Recent Ookla speed test data ranks South Carolina 16th among US states for the fastest median download speeds at 224Mbps.

Does South Carolina have fiber internet?

Yes. Fiber internet connections are available to nearly two thirds of South Carolina households, per the most recent FCC data. AT&T is the largest fiber provider in the state, although some areas may be serviceable for fiber internet from Kinetic, HTC or WCTel.

Is AT&T or Spectrum better?

Many South Carolina households will be serviceable for AT&T and Spectrum. A good rule of thumb is fiber is preferable to cable internet, and cable is better than DSL, so the best provider for your home will likely come down to which AT&T connection type is available at your address. 

If AT&T Fiber is available, the pricing, service terms and overall value are better than Spectrum. On the other hand, if your address is only serviceable for AT&T Internet, a copper-based service, Spectrum will likely be the faster, more reliable provider.

Check out our AT&T versus Spectrum comparison page for a more in-depth look at how the two providers stack up.

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