What is the best internet provider in Santa Fe?
Xfinity is the best internet provider in Santa Fe, with both the fastest and cheapest plans in the city. It’s available almost everywhere, but be prepared for your monthly bill to spike once you hit your third year of service. If you don’t want to worry about those kinds of headaches, T-Mobile guarantees your price won’t increase as long as you maintain service, but its speeds might not be enough for households with a lot of devices using the internet at once. NMSurf is a step up down from Xfinity and T-Mobile, but it still provides better value than satellite or DSL service from CenturyLink.
Best internet in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe internet providers compared
|Provider||Internet technology||Monthly price range||Speed range||Monthly equipment costs||Data cap||Contract||CNET review score|
|CenturyLink||DSL||$55||Up to 100Mbps||$15 (optional)||None||None||6.7|
|NMSurf||Fixed wireless||$40-$50||25-100Mbps||$20||None||1-2 years (optional)||NA|
|T-Mobile Home Internet||Fixed wireless||$50 ($30 with eligible mobile plans)||72-245Mbps||None||None||None||7.4|
|Verizon 5G Home Internet||Fixed wireless||$50-$70 ($35-$45 for eligible Verizon Wireless customers)||85-1,000Mbps||None||None||None||7.2|
|Xfinity||Cable||$20-$80||75-1,2000Mbps||$15 (waived on most plans)||Unlimited with Xfinity equipment||Optional||7|
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Source: CNET analysis of provider data
Other available internet providers in Santa Fe
- CenturyLink: CenturyLink only offers DSL plans in Santa Fe, which is considered a slower type of connection. Speeds go up to 100Mbps at most addresses in the city, which is a decent option for smaller households. I’d still recommend going with NMSurf if you can’t get Xfinity or T-Mobile, but CenturyLink is a significant step up from the satellite providers.
- Satellite internet: Typically reserved for rural areas without any other options, satellite providers like HughesNet and Viasat offer service everywhere in Santa Fe, but there’s not much to recommend about them. They’re more expensive than the other options, and slow speeds and data caps make things like streaming and video conferencing difficult. Starlink is a faster option with unlimited data, but it’s $120 a month with an upfront equipment cost of $599.
- Verizon 5G Home Internet: If it was more widely available, Verizon would easily be one of our top picks in Santa Fe. It offers some of the fastest speeds in the city at reasonable prices, but it’s currently only available to 9% of households.
Cheap internet options in Santa Fe
There are seven internet plans available in Santa Fe for $50 a month or less. That’s the same as nearby cities like Albuquerque and Colorado Springs and two more than Phoenix. Xfinity’s Connect and Connect More are some of the cheapest plans you’ll find anywhere, but they increase to $51 and $63, respectively, by year 3.
Source: CNET analysis of provider data
How to find internet deals and promotions in Santa Fe
The best internet deals and the top promotions in Santa Fe depend on what discounts are available during that time period. Most deals are short-lived, but we look frequently for the latest offers.
Santa Fe internet providers such as Xfinity may offer lower introductory pricing or streaming add-ons for a limited time. Many, however, including T-Mobile and NMSurf, run the same standard pricing year-round.
For a more extensive list of deals, check out our guide to the best internet deals.
How fast is Santa Fe broadband?
Santa Fe residents don’t have as many options for high-speed internet plans as other cities of its size. Only Xfinity and Verizon offer gig speeds, and the latter is only available to about 1 in 10 residents. That said, most houses can make do with much less than 1,000Mbps of download speed, although 35Mbps of upload speed may still be limiting for houses with multiple people videoconferencing or online gaming.
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, 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 engage in high-bandwidth activities like videoconferencing, streaming and online gaming simultaneously.
- 500 to 1,000Mbps allows three or more users to engage in high-bandwidth activities like videoconferencing, streaming and online gaming simultaneously.
How CNET chose the best internet providers in Santa Fe
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. So 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.
This guide leverages an in-house artificial intelligence tool called RAMP, which is trained on our own writing and uses our database to generate content about specific internet service providers that our writers can use in determining and presenting our picks for a given guide. Check CNET’s AI policy for more information about how our teams use (and don’t use) AI tools.
Because our database is not exhaustive, we go to the FCC’s website to check the primary data for ourselves and make sure we’re considering every ISP that provides service in an area. Plans and prices also vary by location, so we input local addresses on provider websites to find the specific options available to 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 our pre-publication fact-check.
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 it comes to 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 also take into account real-world speed data from sources like Ookla and FCC reports.
To explore our process in more depth, you can visit our How we test ISPs page.
What’s the final word on internet providers in Santa Fe?
Santa Fe has limited internet options for a city of its size. Xfinity is the best internet provider by a mile — it offers both the cheapest and fastest plans in the area, and customers are generally happy with its service. If you can’t get Xfinity — or you’re just sick of its post-promo-period price hikes — T-Mobile is a solid backup option, with speeds up to 245Mbps for a flat $50 a month. NMSurf is a step down from T-Mobile and Xfinity, but the local provider still offers better value than DSL or satellite options.