CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. How we test ISPs

Move Over, Cox: New Data Reveals Spectrum as the Fastest Internet Provider

Trey Paul Senior Editor
Trey Paul is a CNET senior editor covering broadband. His 20+ years of experience as a writer and editor include time at CNET's sister site, Allconnect, and working with clients like Yahoo!, Google, The New York Times and Choice Hotels. An avid movie fan, Trey's career also includes being a film and TV critic while pursuing a degree in New York.
Expertise Home internet and broadband, including plans, providers, internet speeds and connection types. Movies and film studies. Credentials
  • Master's degree in Cinema Studies from NYU and interviews with Conan O'Brien, Stan Lee and some of his biggest Star Trek childhood idols
Trey Paul
2 min read
Ethernet cable

Ookla bases its results on data drawn from millions of consumer-initiated speed tests taken daily throughout the last few months.

Adrienne Bresnahan/Getty Images

What's happening

Each quarter, Ookla compiles the data and insights gathered from millions of customer uses of its Speedtest.net tool.

Why it matters

This is a three-month status check on the speeds Americans get from their internet service providers. As we lean more on our home broadband connections for work and play, we're increasing our need for speed (and reliability) from our ISPs.

The newest Ookla Speedtest Intelligence report, released this week, has tabbed Spectrum as the fastest fixed broadband provider among top US internet service providers, with Spectrum grabbing the spot from Cox, which held it earlier in the year. Spectrum clocked in at a median download speed of 211.66 megabits per second compared with 196.52Mbps for Cox.

These new findings cover data taken from July through September of 2022. ISPs must be included in 3% or more of Ookla's total test samples to qualify as a top provider in this report. So far, for 2022, three different providers have taken the mantle as the fastest ISP: Verizon finished on top to start the year, Cox took the pole position in the next round, and now Spectrum has bragging rights.

List of the top seven fastest ISPs in the US

Looking more closely at the numbers for the third quarter of 2022, Spectrum made a significant jump from its third-place finish last time (at 183.74Mbps) to its top spot here, just shy of 212Mbps. That's the highest increase -- nearly 28Mbps -- of any of the providers listed in the top seven. AT&T, which actually dropped from fifth to sixth place, saw the next-highest growth, moving from 146.64Mbps to 167.32Mbps. Also of note, Optimum made its debut on the list, ringing in at fifth place with a median download speed of 176.03Mbps.

Locating local internet providers

Spectrum also ranked highest in terms of Ookla's Consistency score, which tracks how often a provider meets the minimum broadband standard (currently 25Mbps download, 3Mbps upload -- which itself is an outdated measurement, but that's a discussion for another time). It met that mark just over 91% of the time, with Xfinity and Cox as the only other ISPs to hit 90% or above.

Finally, Spectrum did well regionally, too. It was the fastest fixed broadband provider in 17 of the 100 most populated cities in the country (an increase of six over the last period), including Dallas and San Diego. It was also the fastest ISP in 11 states: California, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Montana, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Locating local internet providers

It'll be interesting to see if we get another new champ when Ookla compiles its next report after the year's close or if Spectrum can hold on to its top spot. 

More CNET home internet coverage