What is the best internet provider in Texas?
The best internet service provider for your home will depend on what’s available in your area, but we at CNET find AT&T, specifically AT&T Fiber, to be the best ISP for most Texas households. AT&T Fiber has the best selection of competitively priced high-speed plans, not to mention the highest customer satisfaction, of any major Texas internet provider.
AT&T Fiber also reigns alongside Frontier Fiber and Google Fiber as the fastest internet providers in Texas, with max download speeds of 5,000 megabits per second. For those who prioritize cost over speed, you’ll find Xfinity to have the absolute cheapest plan starting at $20 per month, though speeds aren’t great (75Mbps) and you’ll have to sign a one-year contract. Astound is the better choice for cheap internet in Texas as it offers 300Mbps starting at $25 per month and no contract.
Where AT&T Fiber is unavailable, Spectrum and Astound are decent choices for cable internet, or you can look to Verizon’s 5G home internet for an alternative to the traditional wired service. Wireless home internet like that of T-Mobile is also ideal for residents of rural areas who’d rather avoid committing to satellite internet, if possible.
Best internet providers in Texas for 2023
Texas internet providers compared
|Provider||Internet technology||Monthly price range||Speed range (Mbps)||Monthly equipment costs||Data cap||Contract||CNET review score|
|AT&T||DSL, fiber||$55-$250||10-100 DSL, 300-5,000 fiber||None||1.5TB (DSL), none fiber||None||7.4|
|Brightspeed||DSL, fiber||$50-$59||20-100 DSL, up to 940 fiber||$15||None||None||N/A|
|Frontier||DSL, fiber||$50-$155||Varies DSL, 500-5,000 fiber||None||None||None||6.3|
|Kinetic||DSL, fiber||$40-$180||15-100 DSL, 500-2,000 fiber||$10 (optional)||None||None||6.7|
|Nextlink||Fixed wireless||$50-$140||25-500||$9||None||1-2 years||N/A|
|Rise Broadband||Fixed wireless||$45-$55||25-50||$10||250GB (none optional)||None||6.2|
|T-Mobile Home Internet||Fixed wireless||$50 ($30 with eligible mobile plans)||72-245Mbps||$5 (optional)||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||75-1,200||$15 (optional)||1.25TB||Not required||7|
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Source: CNET analysis of provider data.
Brightspeed: After recently taking over Texas operations from Lumen Technologies (CenturyLink, Quantum Fiber), Brightspeed is a new DSL and fiber ISP serving the Denton, Killeen, Kingwood and San Marcos areas. Pricing starts at $50 to $59 per month, depending on the available service type at your home.
Frontier Communications: I’d consider Frontier Fiber to be one of the best internet providers in Texas if it had just a little wider availability. Its 500Mbps, entry-level plan is available for just $50 per month in select areas and is one of the best internet deals around. Faster speeds are also available and similarly priced better than much of the competition.
Google Fiber: Gigabit speed enthusiasts in Austin and San Antonio will appreciate Google Fiber’s plan selection: 1 or 2Gbps starting at $70 and $100, respectively. Austin residents will also have a 5Gbps option starting at $125 per month. All plans are free of equipment fees, data caps and contracts.
Kinetic by Windstream: As a fiber internet provider, Kinetic has the speed and pricing to rival any other. As a DSL provider, the speed potential and service terms are tough to beat. Expect to pay between $40 to $70 per month for either service type unless you opt for the 2-gig fiber plan for $180 per month.
Optimum: Texas residents may have known this cable provider better as Suddenlink, but parent company Altice recently united its home internet services under the Optimum brand. Look for three plan options (300, 500 and 940Mbps for $40 to $80 per month), but beware a poor reputation for customer satisfaction.
Xfinity: The nation’s largest cable internet provider doesn’t have a huge presence in Texas, but it is the primary cable ISP in the Houston area and on the Texas side of Shreveport. Expect five to six plan options starting at $20 to $80 per month for speeds of 75 to 1,200Mbps.
Rural internet options in Texas
From Alpine to Zephyr, Texas has more than its share of small towns and rural areas. Reliable broadband in such areas can be tough to come by, but nonsatellite connections are available to roughly 90% of Texas households, according to the FCC.
In some rural areas, that equates to cable, DSL and possibly even fiber connections. In others, fixed wireless is the primary connection type. The remaining 10%, however, may have to rely on satellite internet. Here’s a look at possible internet options — aside from T-Mobile, our pick for the best rural ISP listed above — found in rural parts of Texas.
Nextlink: Fixed wireless service covers much of the Texas Triangle, though those to the west, as far as San Angelo and Sweetwater, may be eligible for service. Speeds and pricing vary by the network (Standard or Enhanced), ranging from 25 to 100Mbps for $50 to $90 per month to 50 to 500Mbps starting at $70 to $140 per month.
Rise Broadband: Rise also covers much of the Texas Triangle via fixed wireless service, plus areas as far south as Victoria and Lake Jackson, and as far northwest as Lubbock and Pampa. With typical speeds of 25, 50 and 100Mbps, it’s not the fastest service, but the pricing ($45 to $55 per month) and data cap (250GB per month with unlimited options available) are a clear winner over satellite.
Satellite internet: Texas is such a big state, running internet connections to every home is simply not possible or practical. For those situations, satellite internet from HughesNet or Viasat may be your best bet for broadband. Service isn’t cheap (starting at $50 to $150 for HughesNet and $70 to $300 for Viasat) or particularly fast, but it will get you online. Satellite newcomer Starlink may be a solution for faster speeds and lower latency, but don’t expect much relief by way of pricing.
Internet breakdown by city in Texas
It’s hard to cover the internet options of an entire state, especially one the size of Texas, while giving individual cities the in-depth attention they deserve. That’s why we’ve also put together lists of the best internet providers in cities across the US, including many in Texas. If you don’t find your hometown below, check back later. We’re working to add more every day.
Cheap internet options in Texas
The cost of internet in Texas will depend on the available providers in your area and the plan you choose, plus extra fees for equipment and possibly data. That said, most Texas residents can anticipate paying at least $50 per month for home internet, and costs can easily reach $100 or more on higher speed tiers.
Xfinity has the cheapest plan outright, starting at $20 per month for speeds up to 75Mbps, but again, I’d recommend Astound and its 300Mbps, $25 per month plan if it’s available. Here’s a look at those plans and other cheap internet plans in Texas.
Source: CNET analysis of provider data.
How to find internet deals and promotions in Texas
The best internet deals and the top promotions in Texas depend on what discounts are available at the time. Most deals are short-lived, but we look frequently for the latest offers.
Texas internet providers such as Astound and Frontier may offer lower introductory pricing or other perks for a limited time. Many, however, including AT&T, Optimum and Spectrum, run the same standard pricing year-round.
For a more extensive list of deals, check out our guide on the best internet deals.
How fast is Texas broadband?
Recent Ookla speed test data places Texas as the 13th fastest state with median speeds of around 209Mbps down and 28Mbps up. Spectrum had the fastest median speed in the state at 257Mbps, though it’s worth noting that there are many factors that can affect speed test results, such as technology type and testing over Wi-Fi.
AT&T Fiber, Frontier Fiber and Google Fiber offer the fastest speed tier with symmetrical speeds up to 5,000Mbps. Kinetic is close behind with a 2,000Mbps plan while max speeds from cable providers Astound, Xfinity and Spectrum range from 940 to 1,500Mbps.
Fastest internet plans in Texas
|Provider||Starting monthly price||Max download speed (Mbps)||Max upload speed (Mbps)||Data cap||Connection type|
|Google Fiber 5 Gig||$125||5,000||5,000||None||Fiber|
|Frontier Fiber 5 Gig||$155||5,000||5,000||None||Fiber|
|AT&T Fiber 5000||$250||5,000||5,000||None||Fiber|
|Kinetic 2 Gig||$180||2,000||2,000||None||Fiber|
|Xfinity Gigabit Extra||$80||1,200||35||1.25TB or none||Cable|
|Optimum 1 Gig||$80||940||35||None||Cable|
|Verizon 5G Home Plus Internet||$70 ($45 with qualifying Verizon 5G mobile plans)||85-1,000||75||None||Fixed wireless|
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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 simultaneously.
How CNET chose the best internet providers in Texas
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.
But it doesn’t end there. We go to the FCC’s website to check our data and ensure we’re considering every ISP that provides service in an area. We also input local addresses on provider websites to find specific options for residents. To evaluate how happy customers are with an ISP’s service, we look at sources including the American Customer Satisfaction Index and J.D. Power. ISP plans and prices are subject to frequent changes; all information provided is accurate as of the time 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 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 page on how we test ISPs.
What’s the final word on internet providers in Texas?
Fiber internet, from AT&T — our pick for the best ISP in Texas — or others like Frontier, Google Fiber or Kinetic, is often going to be the top choice for high-speed internet in the Lone Star State thanks to the fast, reliable speeds, competitive pricing and favorable service terms that often come with it.
That said, cable providers Xfinity and Astound offer the cheapest internet plans in Texas, while Spectrum has the best coverage and pricing transparency of any of the state’s major cable ISPs. If you’re looking for an alternative to the big cable or fiber internet providers, consider Verizon’s 5G home internet service.
Residents of Texas’ more rural areas should consider fixed wireless internet, like that of T-Mobile, Nextlink and Rise Broadband. If no practical options are available, there’s always satellite.