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Houston, we have a problem. Although it’s in the top five of the most populated cities in the US, H-Town couldn’t crack the top 50 on Ookla’s list of the country’s fastest cities for broadband. Per , Houston managed to clock in at only No. 53. By contrast, its fellow Lone Star State cities of , Corpus Christi, Irving and San Antonio all placed in the top 10. Other Texas towns that placed higher on the speed chart — to add insult to injury — include Arlington, El Paso, Fort Worth, Garland, Lubbock and Plano. Some small consolation: Houston managed to finish three slots ahead of Dallas. 

Despite the poor showing, Houston also offers several high-speed internet choices. You can get hooked up with home internet from fast  including  and local provider, . You could hop online via  from (formerly ) and . You could even join the  movement by trying or .

Whatever the options at your specific address — including the alternatives of third-party providers like ,  and — we can help you choose. Let’s dive into the best internet service providers in Houston.

Sarah Tew/CNET

  • Price range: $55 to $180 a month
  • Speed range: 300 to 5,000Mbps
  • Highlights: Unlimited data, no contracts, equipment included
  • Special offers: $150 gift card if you sign up online, free HBO Max for gig plan 

Longtime Houston residents are probably well aware that while AT&T internet services are prevalent in the area, availability for AT&T Fiber remains limited. Scan through the addresses in the area and you’ll find pockets of fiber availability throughout a variety of Houston neighborhoods, including Hyde Park, Jacinto City, Northside Village, South Houston, Spring Branch and more. In other parts of the company’s coverage map, customers are left with AT&T Internet, a DSL service, as the only option. That DSL infrastructure is so outdated that . 

If you have access to AT&T Fiber, you’re in great shape. AT&T Fiber offers five plans — 300Mbps, 500Mbps, 1,000Mbps, 2,000Mbps and 5,000Mbps — and each features symmetrical upload and download speeds, no data caps, no term agreements and no equipment rental fee. AT&T also is known for offering some decent perks, including the current enticement of a $150 Visa Reward Card for those who sign up online. There’s a bonus for customers of the gig plan or above: you’ll receive a free subscription to HBO Max (worth $15 a month, $180 a year) that lasts as long as you remain an AT&T internet customer. Most ISPs will cut you off after a free year.

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AT&T Home Internet

Sarah Tew/CNET

  • Price range: $20 to $300 a month
  • Speed range: 50 to 6,000Mbps
  • Highlights: Lots of plan options, solid customer satisfaction numbers
  • Special offers: Bundle discounts, free streaming content

Comcast’s broadband service is ubiquitous in the Houston metro area, which can be helpful if you’re moving within the city and want to transfer your service rather than go through the rigamarole of setting up a new service. On top of that, Xfinity has earned high customer satisfaction marks in recent reports from both and the .

That said, a few things might give you pause. First, as a cable internet provider, Xfinity can’t match the symmetrical speeds of fiber ISPs in the area, including AT&T, Quantum Fiber and Tachus. Upload speeds will range from 5Mbps to 35Mbps on most plans. Also, in contrast to most other providers found in the Bayou City, Xfinity imposes a data cap on its customers. It’s set at a reasonable 1.2TB (which is more than double what the average US household uses, according to ). Still, that might be a limiting factor for larger households and those with heavy internet users and multiple connected devices.

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Xfinity Internet

Sarah Tew/CNET

  • Price range: $50 to $70 a month ($25 to $35 for Verizon Unlimited mobile customers)
  • Speed range: 300 to 940Mbps
  • Highlights: No data cap, no installation or extra fees, no contracts, equipment included
  • Special offers: Price-lock guarantee (two or three years, depending on the plan you purchase), subscription to The Disney Bundle — Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and Hulu — for either six months or a year

This year, Verizon has been pushing its 5G internet service, making some big noise . It’s part of the company’s aim to provide a national broadband option beyond the limits of its highly regarded fiber service of Verizon Fios, which is limited to folks in the Northeast.

While you’ll find plenty of Ultra Wideband availability on , customers will still need to check their address on to confirm if the 5G Home Internet service is available to them. If so, customers will find an appealingly flexible service with no contracts, no extra fees and plenty of perks, including a potential $500 credit towards early termination fees (for those switching out of a contract), price guarantees, streaming subscriptions and a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

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Houston internet providers compared

Internet technology

Monthly price range

Speed range

Equipment costs

Data cap

Astound Broadband/enTouch

Cable

$26-$87

300-940Mbps

$12 a month (skippable)

None

AT&T

DSL/fiber

$55-$180

10-5,000Mbps

None

None

CenturyLink/Quantum Fiber

DSL/fiber

$49-$65

20-940Mbps

$15 a month (skippable)

None

Frontier

DSL/fiber

$33-$150

9-2,000Mbps

None

None

Optimum/Suddenlink

Cable

$30-$50

300-940Mbps

$10 a month (skippable)

None

Spectrum

Cable

$50-$115

200-940Mbps

Free modem; $5 router

None

Tachus

Fiber

$65-$90

100-1,000Mbps

None

None

Verizon 5G Home Internet

Fixed wireless

$50-$70

300-940Mbps

None

None

Xfinity

Cable

$20-$300

50-6,000Mbps

$14/month (skippable)

1.2TB

What are the other internet options in Houston?

Beyond the three picks above, alpha777 there are several other broadband choices in the Houston metro area. Some can be found only in small pockets of the city, while others are mainly located in the city suburbs. There are some compelling choices here, even though they’re not as widely available.

  • : This cable internet provider offers some of Houston’s most competitive starting rates. Its starting price of $26 a month for a 300Mbps plan comes out to an affordable 9 cents per Mbps. By comparison, Xfinity’s cheaper $20 per month plan features download speeds of only 50Mbps, and therefore has a much higher cost per Mbps of 40 cents. The enTouch gig plan is also the cheapest you can find in the city, starting at $50 a month. The rub is that Astound’s one-year price increases are some of the steepest in the industry. For example, reveals that Astound prices that 300Mbps plan at $72 per month after your promo expires. The gig plan sees a slightly less severe jump from $50 per month to $87 per month, but still, beware the bait and switch. 
  • : Somewhat similar to AT&T but without as deep a presence. You’ll want to do your research on this one because, depending on your location, you may be dealing with CenturyLink’s DSL service (which can be as low as 20Mbps) or, if you’re in the Kingwood area, you might see the company’s much more compelling fiber product, Quantum Fiber.
  • : You won’t find this fiber provider within city limits, but its affordable plans are available to customers in the suburbs of Conroe and Katy. Plans range from 50Mbps to 1 Gig for $25-$60 a month. There are no contracts required and no data cap enforced. There is an additional equipment fee of $10 a month.
  • : Frontier has a scattered presence in the greater Houston area. You won’t find it downtown, but you can get its DSL and fiber-optic service in the northeast outskirts of Baytown, Beach City, Cove and Crosby. You’ll also find it in the southern portion of the metro area in League City and Sante Fe. If Frontier FiberOptic is available — it features symmetrical plans of 500Mbps, gigabit or 2Gbps speeds ranging from $50 to $150 per month — it’s a very appealing choice. But if Frontier DSL is your only option, try other alternatives.
  • : This DSL and fiber provider is available in just a few small pockets within the Houston city limits, and the majority of that availability can be found in the southern suburb of Sugar Land. You’ll mostly deal with its DSL service rather than the faster fiber-optic plans.
  • : First off, don’t let me confuse you. Suddenlink is the provider you’re probably familiar with in the Houston area. However, its parent company Altice recently announced plans . In any case, Suddenlink service is scattered lightly throughout the metro area but has a heavier density north of the city in Conroe and Kingwood. This cable ISP is notable for its highly competitive starting rates, some of the most affordable you can find in the area.
  • : Charter Communications’ ISP has some of the more customer-friendly, straightforward terms you’ll find for cable internet service. There are no contracts, no data caps and a free modem rental included in your monthly price, ranging from $50 to $115 a month. It also includes free access to Wi-Fi hotspots across the country. Spectrum service is available north of the city, mainly in Magnolia, Spring, Tomball and The Woodlands. 
  • : This local ISP, founded in 2018, is notable for its community presence and commitment to building 100% fiber-to-the-home networks within the greater Houston metropolitan area. It’s now available to over 50,000 homes in Atascocita, Conroe, East Montgomery County, Kingwood, Magnolia, Oak Ridge County North and The Woodlands. There are three fiber plans — 100Mbps, 500Mbps and 1 Gig — ranging from $65 to $90 a month, with no data caps and no contracts. A modem rental is included in the monthly price, but you’ll need to provide your own router.
  • : T-Mobile uses its 5G and 4G LTE networks to power its fixed wireless home internet product, which it . Check your address on the  to see if you’re serviceable, though. I have T-Mobile cell service at home, but I’m still not eligible for the home internet service. In any case, it’s an intriguing offering that includes installation fees, taxes and equipment rental under its $50 a month fee, with no data caps or contracts.
Houston skyline at dawn

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Drilling down into the details of Houston home internet

Now that you have an overview of the internet service providers available in Houston, let’s talk more specifically about the cheapest internet plans available and the fastest internet options you can find in the city. 

Houston internet pricing

The average starting price for internet service in Houston is just over $45 a month, which is right about in the middle of other markets we’ve covered thus far, including ($36 a month),  ($38 a month), ($39 per month), ($42 per month), and, all approximately $50 a month — , , and (all approximately $50 a month). 

Xfinity offers the lowest starting price in Houston — its Connect plan (50Mbps) has a promo price of $20 for the first year and then $50 a month after that. It’s also widely available throughout the Houston metro area and the Bayou City burbs. 

It should also be noted that almost all of the providers listed above are participating in the Federal Communication Commission’s , which provides a $30 a month discount to qualifying households to provide affordable, high-speed internet. Some providers even offer a low-cost internet plan targeted at low-income homes and communities. When combined with the ACP benefit, you might be able to get internet service for free. 

What’s the cheapest internet in Houston?

Provider

Starting price

Standard price

Max download speed

Equipment fee

Contract

Xfinity

$20

$50

50Mbps

$14/month (skippable)

1 year

Astound Broadband/enTouch

$26

$72

300Mbps

$12/month (skippable)

None

Optimum/Suddenlink

$30

$110

300Mbps

$10/month (skippable)

None

Frontier

$33

$50

9Mbps

None

None

CenturyLink/Quantum Fiber

$49

$49

200Mbps

$15/month (skippable)

None

T-Mobile Home Internet

$50

$50

115Mbps

None

None

Spectrum

$50

$75

200Mbps

Free modem; $5 router

None

Verizon 5G Home Internet

$50

$50

300Mbps

None

None

AT&T Fiber 300

$55

$55

300Mbps

None

None

Tachus

$65

$65

100Mbps

None

None

Houston internet speeds

Per the Ookla stats mentioned at the top of this article, Houston isn’t in the top 50 among cities with the fastest internet speeds. That’s not to say you won’t be able to find enough speed to do all the things you need to do online. In fact, some citizens will have access to the splashy 5-gig plan recently unveiled by . And while Comcast boasts a triple-gig plan with upload and download speeds of 3,000Mbps, it’s available only at addresses the cable company has wired for fiber. The from December 2020 peg that percentage at just 0.2% of Comcast addresses.

What are the fastest internet plans in Houston?

Provider

Starting price

Max download speed

Max upload speed

Data cap

Contract

Xfinity Gigabit Pro

$300

6,000Mbps

6,000Mbps

1.2TB

2 years

AT&T Fiber 5000

$180

5,000Mbps

5,000Mbps

None

None

AT&T Fiber 2000

$110

2,000Mbps

2,000Mbps

None

None

Frontier FiberOptic 2 Gig

$150

2,000Mbps

2,000Mbps

None

None

Consolidated Communications

$60

1,000Mbps

1,000Mbps

None

None

AT&T Fiber 1000

$80

1,000Mbps

1,000Mbps

None

None

Tachus Gig

$90

1,000Mbps

1,000Mbps

None

None

Astound Broadband/enTouch

$50

940Mbps

50Mbps

None

None

Optimum/Suddenlink Gig

$50

940Mbps

35Mbps

None

None

CenturyLink/Quantum Fiber

$65

940Mbps

940Mbps

None

None

Spectrum Internet Gig

$90

940Mbps

35Mbps

None

None

What’s the verdict on Houston internet providers?

Comcast’s cable internet offering of Xfinity has Houston covered with the most extensive availability across the metro area. But as we like to say in our CNET home internet reviews, a fiber internet connection outperforms cable almost every time. So, if you can access a fiber provider in the area — including AT&T Fiber, Consolidated Communications, Frontier FiberOptic, Quantum Fiber or Tachus — don’t hesitate to sign on the virtual dotted line. 

Houston internet FAQs

Which internet service provider has the most coverage in Houston?

More than a dozen different ISPs are in the greater Houston metro, including satellite internet providers like HughesNet and Viasat. Of those providers, Xfinity covers the most extensive area. You can find Comcast’s cable service as far as Conroe to the north, East Bernard to the west, Baytown to the east and Freeport and Galveston to the south.

Can you get fiber internet service in Houston?

Yes. You can find fiber internet throughout H-Town. Houston’s top fiber internet providers include AT&T, Consolidated Communications, Frontier FiberOptic, Quantum Fiber, and Tachus. It should also be noted that a small percentage of Xfinity locations are also eligible for fiber service, but it first requires a site survey to ascertain if the address is serviceable.

What internet provider has the fastest speeds in Houston?

The fastest internet speed you can currently get in Houston is 6 gigs (6,000Mbps), provided by Xfinity’s Gigabit Pro plan. However, as of the end of 2020, only 0.2% of Xfinity addresses were wired for fiber and thus eligible for that plan — and you’ll have to schedule a site survey to determine if your address is one of the lucky ones. Finally, per Ookla’s first-quarter 2022 findings, the provider with the fastest average download speeds in Houston is Tachus, with a median download speed of over 243Mbps.

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