Best Internet Providers for Streaming in 2023

AT&T Fiber – Best internet provider for streaming overall

  • Prices: $55 – $180 per month
  • Speeds: 300 – 5,000Mbps
  • Key Info: Unlimited data, no contracts, equipment included

Spectrum – Best live TV streaming add-on

  • Prices: $40 – $70 per month
  • Speeds: 300 – 940Mbps
  • Key Info: Unlimited data, simple pricing, no contracts, modem included, free access to nationwide Wi-Fi hotspots

Frontier Fiber – Best for streaming YouTube TV

  • Prices: $50 – $155 per month
  • Speeds: 500 – 5,000Mbps
  • Key Info: Unlimited data, no contracts, no equipment fee

Cox Communications – Best exclusive streaming device

  • Prices: $40 – $100 per month
  • Speeds: 25 – 2,000Mbps
  • Key Info: 1.25TB monthly data allowance, lots of plan options, unique gaming add-on

Kinetic by Windstream – Best for rural areas

  • Prices: $40 – $70 per month
  • Speeds: 100 – 1,000Mbps
  • Key Info: Unlimited data, no contracts

Verizon Fios – Best internet reliability

  • Prices: $50 – $120 per month
  • Speeds: 300 – 2,000Mbps
  • Key Info: Unlimited data, no contracts, free equipment with gig service

Xfinity – Best cable ISP for streaming

  • Prices: $20 – $300 per month
  • Speeds: 75 – 6,000Mbps
  • Key Info: Data caps on some plans, lots of plan options, solid customer satisfaction numbers

With all the streaming services available and our increasing dependence on them for entertainment, it’s vital to have an internet connection that can keep up. A fiber internet service will be your best bet for speed and reliability, though other connection types can certainly provide the bandwidth for binging as well.  

What’s the best internet service for streaming?

AT&T Fiber is our pick for the overall best ISP for streaming, largely due to its fast speed tiers and extensive fiber network. If you’re in a rural area where fiber internet is unavailable, you may want to consider Kinetic by Windstream. Starting at $40 a month for speeds ranging from 50 to 200MBps, Kinetic is one of the best rural internet providers for streaming. Both AT&T Fiber and Kinetic plans come with unlimited data — something you’ll value if you stream the majority of your entertainment.

Some internet providers are better suited than others, but all providers listed below offer speeds of at least 100Mbps or higher, which should be ample speed for streaming in any picture quality. The providers on our list of the best ISPs for streaming are chosen as particularly good options due to their exceptionally fast speeds, cheap internet pricing or extra streaming-specific perks.

Best internet providers for streaming in 2023

AT&T Fiber

Best internet provider for streaming overall


Price range

$55 – $180 per month

Speed range

300 – 5,000Mbps

Connection

Fiber

Key Info

Unlimited data, no contracts, equipment included

Fiber internet is generally faster and more reliable than any other internet type, making it the ideal internet connection type for streaming. Fiber service can be tough to find and somewhat pricey, but AT&T boasts the highest fiber availability in the US and some of the most budget-friendly plans. 

Along with high availability, AT&T offers the most plan options of just about any fiber provider. Select areas will have the speed options of 300Mbps, 500Mbps, 1Gbps, 2Gbps and 5Gbps. Multigigabit speeds are ideal for larger households that may watch content on 15 or more devices across streaming devices, smart TVs, tablets, phones and more.

Multigigabit service will cost you a bit more than other plans, but you may find the ability for everyone to stream in HD quality or better on a virtually unlimited number of devices to be worth the premium price.

Read our AT&T internet review.

Spectrum

Best live TV streaming add-on


Price range

$40 – $70 per month

Speed range

300 – 940Mbps

Connection

Cable

Key Info

Unlimited data, simple pricing, no contracts, modem included, free access to nationwide Wi-Fi hotspots

Spectrum is CNET’s choice for best cable internet provider overall thanks to its fast speeds, simple pricing and unlimited data — all qualities that make it ideal for streaming, too. Spectrum also offers a low-priced, add-on streaming service to all internet customers who don’t sign up for a traditional cable TV plan.

Spectrum TV Essentials is a streaming add-on with 60-plus live channels starting at around $20 a month. The plan includes popular channels such as A&E, Discovery Channel, HGTV, Lifetime, Nickelodeon and Travel Channel. Local networks are not included, so you may want to invest in a cheap digital antenna to watch your local channels if Spectrum TV Essentials is your only live TV service.

Read our Spectrum internet review.

Frontier Fiber

Best for streaming YouTube TV


Price range

$50 – $155 per month

Speed range

500 – 5,000Mbps

Connection

Fiber

Key Info

Unlimited data, no contracts, no equipment fee

Frontier Fiber has arguably the best entry-level plan of any major fiber internet provider: up to 500Mbps starting at $55 with no data caps or added equipment fees. That’s plenty of speed for streaming in HD or 4K on multiple devices, and the low cost and free equipment could save you money to put towards an extra streaming service or two.

All Frontier Fiber plans also come with the bonus of $10 off a monthly subscription to YouTube TV for one year. With an impressive channel selection and picture quality, YouTube TV is one of CNET’s top picks when it comes to streaming live and on-demand content. A subscription will run you $65 per month, but again, you can shave $10 off that monthly price for one year by signing up for a Frontier Fiber plan.

Read our Frontier internet review.

Cox Communications

Best exclusive streaming device


Price range

$40 – $100 per month

Speed range

25 – 2,000Mbps

Connection

Mostly cable, some fiber

Key Info

1.25TB monthly data allowance, lots of plan options, unique gaming add-on

There’s nothing particularly special about internet service from Cox Communications. Plans, pricing and speeds are on par with any other cable ISP, but the provider does stand out with its exclusive streaming device, which plugs into your TV like a Roku.

The Cox Contour Stream Player is available with all Cox internet plans with speeds of 100Mbps or higher for just $5 extra per month. 

The streaming device comes preloaded with popular streaming apps, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Peacock, Max and Discovery Plus. The device also supports 4K streaming, a voice remote and custom guide settings to help you quickly find what you want to watch.

Read our Cox internet review.

Or call to order:
(877) 855-2595

Kinetic by Windstream

Best for rural areas


Price range

$40 – $70 per month

Speed range

100 – 1,000Mbps

Connection

Fiber

Key Info

Unlimited data, no contracts

Internet options are limited in rural areas, so finding a provider with speeds and data suitable for streaming can be a challenge. Satellite internet, a popular internet option in rural areas, often fails to deliver the speeds needed for quality streaming, not to mention the low data allowances. DSL internet is another popular choice in rural areas, but speeds can still be an issue unless Kinetic by Windstream is available in your area.

Kinetic offers the fastest DSL speeds of any major provider, up to 200Mbps in select areas. Speeds of 100Mbps or higher — ample speed for streaming — are available to around 65% of households serviceable for Kinetic. Additionally, Kinetic has an expanding fiber network, dedicated to rural and suburban areas, that can deliver speeds up to 1,000Mbps. 

Another perk to Kinetic internet service is that all plans have unlimited data. While many providers on this list also offer unlimited data, a plan with no data cap can be tougher to come by in rural areas where satellite and fixed wireless services often have strict monthly limits.

Read our Kinetic by Windstream internet review.

Verizon Fios

Best internet reliability


Price range

$50 – $120 per month

Speed range

300 – 2,000Mbps

Connection

Fiber

Key Info

Unlimited data, no contracts, free equipment with gig service

Few things are worse than having your favorite show interrupted by the dreaded buffering ring. A high-speed connection, and one that is consistently reliable, is the best defense against buffering, and that’s just what customers can expect with Verizon Fios. 

Verizon Fios claims to have a 99.99% reliability, which means you can count on getting through that series finale without a significant service interruption ruining your experience. Additionally, Verizon Fios plans come with plenty of speed — 300Mbps, 500Mbps and gig service — to stream in HD or 4K.

For a limited time, the Verizon Fios 1 Gig plan comes with the option to receive a Disney Plus subscription free for six months.

Read our Verizon internet review.

Xfinity

Best cable ISP for streaming


Price range

$20 – $300 per month

Speed range

75 – 6,000Mbps

Connection

Cable

Key Info

Data caps on some plans, lots of plan options, solid customer satisfaction numbers

Xfinity has the best cable internet coverage of any ISP. While cable internet isn’t quite as preferred as fiber, it’s still capable of speeds that are plenty fast for streaming. Xfinity has multiple plans to choose from, so you can pick the one that best delivers the speeds you need for streaming.

Xfinity also offers an exclusive streaming device to all internet customers. Xfinity Flex is available for $5 a month and comes loaded with dozens of popular streaming apps, supports 4K streaming and features an “award-winning” voice remote. A free subscription to Peacock Premium is also included, a $5 monthly value.

Read our Xfinity internet review.

What internet speeds do you need for streaming?

It depends on the streaming service and video quality you want to stream in. Below, you’ll find the minimum recommended speeds for some of the most popular streaming services, so you can find options and get the best internet for streaming all your favorite content.

Streaming service Minimum recommended speed for streaming
Apple TV Plus 3-25Mbps
Amazon Prime Video 1-5Mbps
DirecTV Stream 8Mbps per streaming device
Disney Plus 5-25Mbps
ESPN Plus 2Mbps or higher
Hulu 3-16Mbps
Netflix 5Mbps or higher
Max 5-50Mbps
Spotify 1Mbps
YouTube TV 3-25Mbps

Show more (5 items)

As you can see, streaming, whether it be TV or music, doesn’t require a ton of speed. It’s important to note, however, that the recommended speeds reflect actual, not advertised, speeds. So, if your internet plan advertises “speeds up to 50Mbps,” the actual speeds to your streaming device are likely to be much slower, especially when using Wi-Fi and connecting multiple devices. Ideally, you’ll want an internet service provider and plan with advertised speeds well above the recommended speeds for the best streaming experience. 

How we chose the best ISPs for streaming

Determining the best internet providers for streaming is similar to how CNET evaluates any ISP: We start with what’s available. Typically, that boils down to which providers have the greatest serviceability of a particular connection type or which providers cover a considerable, multistate area and serve more than 1% of US households.

We then narrow down that list of providers by comparing speeds, pricing, customer satisfaction records, special offers and service details such as data caps, contract requirements and price increases. Eventually, certain providers rise to the top in particular categories, whether that be the best cheap internet providers, best fiber providers or, in this case, the best ISPs for streaming.

Check out CNET’s guide to how we review internet providers to learn more. 

Other ISPs to consider for streaming

The providers featured above aren’t the only ones that may be available in your area and good for streaming. If any of the following ISPs are available at your address, you’ll want to consider them as well.

Astound: Low pricing, fast speeds and unlimited data make Astound a great choice for an internet service that will support streaming. I’d just recommend watching your bill as closely as your shows. Astound has some of the steepest price increases of any major ISP. 

CenturyLink: Like Kinetic, CenturyLink has a large DSL network and growing fiber presence that caters mostly to suburban and rural areas. The provider doesn’t have quite the same speed potential, though starting prices are around $10 a month higher than Kinetic.

Google Fiber: You’ll have more than enough speed for streaming with Google Fiber as the ISP’s lowest tier advertises download speeds up to 1,000Mbps. Such speeds are faster than many homes need, however, and the $70 starting price may be more than you want to pay each month. 

Mediacom: A cable internet provider primarily serving rural areas of the Midwest, Mediacom has multiple plan options with speeds suitable for streaming. Beware of the data cap, however. Each Mediacom plan has one.

Optimum: Fast download speeds and low introductory pricing make Optimum tempting, but a history of low customer satisfaction may make you think twice. If you want to stream, Optimum will do the job, but be sure to check out other options before signing up. 

T-Mobile and Verizon 5G: Speeds and connection reliability vary widely by location with 5G internet. Depending on where you live, 5G internet from T-Mobile, Verizon or possibly AT&T may work for streaming, or it won’t.

Ziply Fiber: Is 10,000Mbps fast enough for you? You can get that, along with other, perhaps more practical speed tiers, from Ziply Fiber. The ISP is the fastest in the northwest region, if not nationwide, and offers unlimited data with each of its high-speed plans.

Internet for streaming recap

You don’t need a lot of speed for streaming, but faster speeds and a reliable connection will make for the best experience. When shopping for an internet provider that can keep up with your streaming demands, I’d recommend looking to fiber providers like AT&T, Frontier, Verizon and others first. 

Fiber isn’t available everywhere, however, and many cable ISPs including Cox, Spectrum and Xfinity offer plans capable of meeting nearly any streaming need. Kinetic and CenturyLink are solid choices for streaming in rural areas as well, and 5G home internet may meet your needs as well depending on the speeds you can get.

Best internet providers for streaming FAQs

What internet connection type is best for streaming?

What internet speed do I need for streaming?

Does streaming use a lot of data?

Is satellite internet good for streaming?

What’s the best internet for live streaming or gaming?

Why is my video lagging even with a fast internet connection?

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