Best Internet Providers in Washington, DC

Written by  Stephen J. Bronner | Reviewed by  Hallie Seltzer
Stephen J. Bronner Contributor
Stephen J. Bronner is a New York-based freelance writer, editor and reporter. Over his more than a decade in journalism, he has written about energy, local politics and schools, startup success tips, the packaged food industry, the science of work, personal finance and blockchain. His bylined work has appeared in Inverse, Kotaku, Entrepreneur, NextAdvisor and CNET, and op-eds written on behalf of his clients were published in Forbes, HR Dive, Fast Company, NASDAQ and MarketWatch. Stephen previously served as contributors editor and news editor for Entrepreneur.com, and was the VP, Content and Strategy, at Ditto PR. He enjoys video games and punk rock. See some of his work at stephenjbronner.com.
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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.
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What is the best internet provider in Washington, DC?

Residents of our nation's capital have access to three major internet service providers -- Astound Broadband, Xfinity and Verizon Fios -- along with T-Mobile's 5G offering and regional providers like Starry Internet and DC Access. So which one is the best? While it comes down to which providers are available at your address, CNET recommends Verizon Fios as Washington, DC's top internet service provider due to its symmetrical speeds and simple service terms.

Xfinity's 2-gigabit plan, which costs $95 per month with no data caps, is the fastest speed offered to Federal City residents. However, other providers -- like Astound, Verizon and Starry -- also offer speedy plans, so don't fret if Xfinity isn't an option where you live. If you're searching for the cheapest plan, check out Astound's 300 megabits per second plan, costing only $20 a month.

Washington, DC, internet providers compared

ProviderInternet technologyMonthly price rangeSpeed rangeMonthly equipment costsData capContractCNET review score
Astound Broadband
Read full review
DC Access Fixed wireless$50-$11025-200Mbps$99 installation feeNoneNoneN/A
Starry Internet
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Fixed wireless$50-$70200-500MbpsNoneNoneNone7
T-Mobile Home Internet
Read full review
Fixed wireless$60 ($40 for eligible Go5G Plus and Magenta Max mobile customers)72-245MbpsNoneNoneNone7.4
Verizon 5G Home Internet
Read full review
Fixed wireless$60-$80 ($35-$45 with qualifying Verizon 5G mobile plans)50-1,000MbpsNoneNoneNone7.2
Verizon Fios
Read full review
Read full review
Cable$30-$95300-2,000Mbps$15-$25 gateway rental (optional)NoneNone7
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Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

Other available internet providers in Washington, DC

  • DC Access: This local internet provider, founded in 1999, serves the Capitol Hill and Adams Morgan neighborhoods. Its plans are pricier and slower than its larger competitors and have a $99 installation fee, but it doesn't require a contract.
  • Satellite internet: Of course, satellite internet from Hughesnet, Viasat or Starlink is an option wherever you live. But it shouldn't be your first pick – with high prices and slow speeds, there are cheaper and faster options available. 
  • T-Mobile Home Internet: Some DC residents may have access to T-Mobile's home broadband option. Only one plan is available for $60 and offers speeds from 72 to 245Mbps.

Cheap internet options in Washington, DC

Look no further than Astound's 300Mbps plan for $20 a month for the most affordable internet service in the nation's capital. This promotional price will last 24 months, but it offers incredible savings. Astound also provides the best value overall with its $55, 1,500Mbps plan, but the same caveats apply.

What's the cheapest internet plan in Washington, DC?

ProviderStarting priceMax download speedMonthly equipment fee
Astound Broadband 300
Read full review
$20 300MbpsNone
Xfinity Connect More
Read full review
$30 300Mbps$15 (optional)
Starry 200
Read full review
$50 200MbpsNone
DC Access 25 $50 25MbpsNone
Verizon 5G Home Internet
Read full review
$60 ($35 with eligible mobile plan)300MbpsNone
Verizon Fios 300
Read full review
$50 300MbpsNone
T-Mobile Home Internet
Read full review
$60 ($40 with eligible mobile plan)245MbpsNone
Show more (2 items)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

How to find internet deals and promotions in Washington, DC

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

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Washington, DC internet providers, such as Xfinity and Astound Broadband, may offer lower introductory pricing or streaming add-ons for a limited time. Others, however, including Verizon, run the same standard pricing year-round. 

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

Summer sunrise over Washington, DC.
John Baggaley/Getty Images

How fast is Washington, DC broadband?

Federal City sits near the back of the pack compared to the rest of the country regarding download speeds, with a median of about 188Mbps, according to Ookla speed test data. However, a few higher-speed plans are available for under $100 with promotional pricing.

The fastest download speed you'll find in the capital are provided through Xfinity and Verizon Fios which offer 2,000Mbps plan for $95 per month and $110 per month, respectively. For high speeds at a lower price, Astound offers a 1,500Mbps plan at $55 for the first 24 months.

Fastest internet plans in Washington, DC

ProviderStarting priceMax download speedMax upload speedData capConnection type
Xfinity Gigabit X2
Read full review
Astound Broadband 1500
Read full review
$55 1,500Mbps20MbpsNoneCable
Xfinity Gigabit Extra
Read full review
Astound Broadband 1000
Read full review
Starry 500
Read full review
$80 500Mbps50MbpsNoneFixed wireless
Verizon 5G Home Plus Internet
Read full review
$80 ($45 with eligible mobile plan)1,000Mbps75MbpsNoneFixed wireless
Xfinity Gigabit
Read full review
$50 1,000Mbps20MbpsNoneCable
Verizon Fios 2 Gig
Read full review
$110 2,000Mbps1,500MbpsNoneFiber
Show more (3 items)

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.

  • 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 gaming. 
  • 500 to 1,000Mbps allows three or more users to engage in high-bandwidth activities at the same time.

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

How CNET chose the best internet providers in Washington, DC

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 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 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 Washington, DC?

The District of Columbia offers a handful of options for choosing your internet provider, including many with fairly affordable pricing. For most city residents, the choice will come down to Verizon Fios, Astound or Xfinity, which are all competitive in price and speed.

Internet providers in DC FAQs

Which is the best internet service provider in Washington, DC?

Verizon Fios is our choice for the best internet service provider in Washington. It's available in most of the city and offers four service tiers at $50, $70, $90 and $110 per month. Best of all, there's no price trickery here: These rates will be what you pay over the long term.

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Is fiber internet available in Washington, DC?

Fiber internet is available in the nation's capital. It's provided by Verizon Fios, which happens to be our pick for the best ISP in the city. Rates start at $50 and go up to $110.

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What is the cheapest internet provider in Washington, DC?

The cheapest internet in the District of Columbia can be had at a mere $20 per month for Astound's 300Mbps plan. The caveat with this plan is that the low price will only last for your first 24 months, with the rate possibly going up by three to five times after. Fortunately, you can cancel the service before the jump or try to negotiate with the company for a better price.

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Is Verizon Fios or Xfinity better?

According to CNET's Xfinity vs. Verizon Fios article, "Xfinity has a slight advantage over Verizon Fios regarding promotional pricing and gigabit download speeds, but Verizon Fios can be the better long-term internet deal. Stable pricing, not to mention the speed and reliability of a 100% fiber connection, have helped Verizon Fios land the top spot for customer satisfaction in recent years."

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