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Best Internet Providers in North Dakota

 Best Internet Providers in North Dakota


What is the best internet provider in North Dakota?

Midco is the best internet service provider overall for most households in North Dakota because of wide availability, fast speeds and a reputation for good customer service. Midco service isn’t available everywhere in North Dakota, so T-Mobile Home Internet or any of the state’s many local fiber ISPs are also solid picks, depending on what’s available in your area. 

We’ve also found the top options if you’re hunting for the lowest prices or fastest speeds. The cheapest widely available internet plan in North Dakota is Midco’s offering of 250 megabits per second starting at $39 a month (although you may be able to find an even cheaper introductory deal). Midco offers some of the fastest internet around with its 5,000Mbps fiber plan, but availability is limited. Many rural homes and small towns can access gig fiber internet through a local provider, so check your address to see who services your location.

CNET considers speeds, pricing, customer service and overall value to recommend the best internet service in North Dakota across several categories. Our evaluation includes referencing a proprietary database built over years of reviewing internet services. We validate that against provider information by spot-checking local addresses for service availability. We also do a close read of providers’ terms and conditions and, when needed, will call ISPs to verify the details.

Despite our efforts to find the most recent and accurate information, our process has some limitations you should know about. Pricing and speed data are variable: Certain addresses may qualify for different service tiers, and monthly costs may vary, even within a city. The best way to identify your options is to plug your address into a provider’s website. 

Also, the prices, speed and other information listed above and in the provider cards below may differ from what we found in our research. The cards display the full range of a provider’s pricing and speed across the US, according to our database of plan information provided directly by ISPs. At the same time, the text is specific to what’s available in North Dakota. The prices referenced within this article’s text come from our research and include applicable discounts for setting up automatic payments each month — a standard industry offering. Discounts and promotions might also be available for signing a term contract or bundling multiple services. 

To learn more about how we review internet providers, visit our full methodology page.

Best internet in North Dakota

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Speed range

250 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$49 – $79 per month

Our take – Midco pretty much has the Dakotas sewn up regarding broadband coverage. Availability, good top speeds and solid customer service make Midco a top choice for internet in the Peace Garden State. 

... Or call to learn more:

Check with Midco

Speed range

250 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$49 – $79 per month

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Speed range

350 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$50 – $90 per month

Our take – SRT Communications gets a special nod here for its rural coverage and affordable fiber plans, but it’s also a stand-in for the state’s other local fiber ISPs. Many of these ISPs are cooperatives with long service histories in the state. They’ve connected large areas with fast broadband, making North Dakota a great place for people who enjoy rural living but still need a strong internet connection.

... Or call to learn more:

Check with SRT

Speed range

350 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$50 – $90 per month

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Connection

Fixed wireless

Speed range

72 – 245 Mbps

Price range

$60 per month

Our take – North Dakota can be tricky for 5G home internet, but it’s worth noting as an option. T-Mobile and Verizon have rapidly expanded their customer bases for this type of wireless internet. The latest and greatest 5G network coverage is pretty spotty across North Dakota. You can pull down decent speeds for a low price if you live in the right place. Compare with Verizon 5G Home Internet if it’s available to you. Verizon recently expanded its 5G Ultra Wideband network across North Dakota.

... Or call to learn more:

Check with T-Mobile

Connection

Fixed wireless

Speed range

72 – 245 Mbps

Price range

$60 per month

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Speed range

20 – 250 Mbps

Price range

$90 – $120 per month

Our take – North Dakota is a champ for rural fiber internet, but those networks don’t reach everywhere. Check into satellite internet as a last resort if wired broadband or fixed wireless options don’t work for your location. Starlink is a top contender thanks to its potential for higher speeds than the other satellite ISPs. It also won’t lock you into a contract.

... Or call to learn more:

Check with Starlink

Speed range

20 – 250 Mbps

Price range

$90 – $120 per month

North Dakota internet providers compared

Provider Internet technology Monthly price range Speed range Monthly equipment costs Data cap Contract CNET review score
Bluepeak Fiber $50-$100 1,000-5,000Mbps None None None N/A
CenturyLink DSL DSL $55 3-100Mbps $15 (optional) None None 6.7
Dakota Central Fiber $50-$100 250-1,000Mbps $10 (optional) None None N/A
DRN Fiber $82-$157 250-1,000Mbps Varies None Optional N/A
Midco Cable/fiber/fixed wireless  $39-$249 35-5,000Mbps Varies None None N/A
Sparklight Cable $29-$59 300-1,000Mbps $12.50 (optional) 5TB soft cap None 6.9
SRT Communications Fiber/DSL $50-$90 25-1,000Mbps None None None N/A
Quantum Fiber Fiber $50-$75 500-940Mbps None None None 6.7
T-Mobile Home Internet Fixed wireless $60 ($40 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) 50-300Mbps None None None 7.2

Show more (6 items)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

Rural internet options in North Dakota

  • CenturyLink: CenturyLink’s legacy DSL network stretches outward to cover some rural areas around Dickinson, Bismarck, Jamestown, Valley City, Fargo and Grand Forks. It may be one of the few wired options for some locations, but it has some downsides. Speeds typically max out at 100Mbps but may be drastically slower depending on location. The monthly fee is $55, with an optional $15-per-month equipment lease. CenturyLink’s vastly faster sibling service, Quantum Fiber, is available in a few scattered areas around the state, but it’s hard to find.
  • Dakota Central: There are many local fiber ISPs in North Dakota, and not all are included in this guide. Dakota Central brings gig-level fiber to a chunk of land around Carrington and Jamestown. Typical plans range from 250Mbps for $50 per month to 1,000Mbps for $100 per month. Speeds up to 10,000Mbps may be available. There’s a one-time connection charge of $25. You can add a router for $10 monthly or bring your own. There are no data caps or contracts. 
  • DRN: DRN’s fiber network stretches across part of the southeast and includes the communities of Ashley, Lisbon, Oakes and Verona, among others. Prices start at $82 per month for 250Mbps and top out at $157 monthly for a gig. All speeds are symmetrical. There’s a $95 activation fee, but you can waive that if you agree to a one-year contract. A router is included, but you can upgrade to fancier gear for $7 monthly. There are no data caps.
  • Midco: Midco’s fixed wireless networks stretch across the far eastern side of the state. There’s one plan available starting at $39 per month for speeds of 35-100Mbps. Unlimited data is included. Wi-Fi equipment costs $11 per month. Fixed wireless is a fallback choice if wired options don’t reach your address (or if DSL is too slow) and you don’t want to resort to satellite internet. Here’s how fixed wireless compares to other types of internet connections.
  • Polar Communications: Polar’s territory runs from the state’s northeast corner to Walcott. Plans start at $58 per month for 100Mbps fiber and go up to $108 for a gig. Add about $10 to those numbers to include Wi-Fi equipment. There are no contracts or data caps.
  • Red River Communications: Red River covers the southeast corner of North Dakota with fiber plans starting at $70 per month for 250Mbps. The gig plan costs $108 per month. Speeds are symmetrical and there are no data caps.
  • RTC: RTC offers fiber internet to a broad area along the state’s western side, including towns like Watford City and New Town. Plans start at $80 monthly for 100Mbps and top out at $125 monthly for a gig. Speeds are symmetrical, data is unlimited and Wi-Fi gear is included. 
  • Satellite Internet:  Starlink, Viasat and Hughesnet compete to provide internet connections to remote areas nationwide that aren’t served by faster or more affordable options. North Dakota is fortunate to have a lot of rural fiber coverage, but it doesn’t reach everywhere. That’s where satellites can swoop in and save the day, but it can be costly, and speeds may be slow. Compare with any DSL or fixed wireless options you might have. 

A freight train heads west through the scenic Badlands of North Dakota at Sully Springs on a summer afternoon. A freight train heads west through the scenic Badlands of North Dakota at Sully Springs on a summer afternoon.

Mike Danneman/Getty Images

Internet breakdown by city in North Dakota

It’s hard to cover the broadband options of a state and give individual cities the attention they deserve. That’s why we also compile lists of the best internet providers in cities across the US, including those in North Dakota. We tackle details such as internet connection types, maximum speeds, cheapest providers and more. Check back later if you don’t find the city you’re looking for below. We’re working to add more locations every week. 

Cheap internet options in North Dakota

In Fargo, Sparklight offers a $29-per-month introductory deal for 300Mbps service. That price is good for a year, then goes up to $55 monthly. For more widely available plans, look to Midco and its 250Mbps tier for fiber or cable. Starting prices will vary with where you live in North Dakota, but I found offers of $39 or $49 monthly. Midco sometimes runs even cheaper limited-time deals. I’ve seen the 250Mbps plan for as low as $23 per month for the first three months of service. 

What’s the cheapest internet plan in North Dakota?

Plan Starting monthly price Monthly equipment fee Max download speed
Sparklight $29 $12.50 (optional) 300Mbps
Midco $39 Varies 250Mbps
Bluepeak 1 Gig Fiber $50 None 1,000Mbps
T-Mobile Home Internet $60 ($40 with eligible mobile plans) None 245Mbps
Verizon 5G Home Internet $50 ($35 with eligible mobile plans) None 100Mbps
Quantum Fiber $50 None 500Mbps

Show more (2 items)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

How to find internet deals and promotions in North Dakota

The best internet deals and top promotions in North Dakota depend on what discounts are available during a given time. Most deals are short-lived, but we look frequently for the latest offers. 

North Dakota internet providers, like Midco, T-Mobile Home Internet and Sparklight, may offer lower introductory pricing or streaming add-ons for a limited time. Others, including CenturyLink, tend to run the same standard pricing year-round. 

For a more extensive list of promos, check out our guide on the best internet deals. 

How fast is North Dakota broadband?

North Dakota fared better than South Dakota in a recent Ookla Speedtest.net ranking of median download speeds for US states. While South Dakota landed in 43rd place (average download speed of 151Mbps), North Dakota delivered a respectable showing of 27th place (average download speed of 191Mbps). Midco’s wide coverage, gig and multi-gig top speeds play a role in that. Another factor is fiber coverage in rural areas and smaller towns. You don’t have to live in one of the state’s biggest cities to get fast internet.

Fastest internet plans in North Dakota

Plan Starting price Max download speeds Max upload speeds Connection type
Bluepeak 5 Gig $100 5,000Mbps 5,000Mbps Fiber
Midco Fiber Internet 5 Gig $249 5,000Mbps 5,000Mbps Fiber
Bluepeak 2 Gig $65 2,000Mbps 2,000Mbps Fiber
Midco Fiber Internet 2 Gig $129 2,000Mbps 2,000Mbps Fiber
Bluepeak 1 Gig  $50 1,000Mbps 1,000Mbps Fiber
Dakota Central $100 1,000Mbps 1,000Mbps Fiber
DRN $157 1,000Mbps 1,000Mbps Fiber
SRT Communications $90 1,000Mbps 1,000Mbps Fiber
Midco Fiber Internet Gig $49 1,000Mbps 1,000Mbps Fiber
Midco Gig Internet $49 1,000Mbps 50Mbps Cable
Quantum Fiber $75 940Mbps 940Mbps Fiber
Sparklight $59 940Mbps 50Mbps Cable

Show more (8 items)

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 and 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 simultaneously engage in high-bandwidth activities like videoconferencing, streaming and online gaming. 
  • 500 to 1,000Mbps allows three or more users to engage in high-bandwidth activities at the same time.

How CNET chose the best internet providers in North Dakota

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. 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. 

It doesn’t end there; we go to the FCC’s website to check our data and ensure we consider every ISP that provides service in an area. We also input local addresses on provider websites to find specific options for 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 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 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 consider real-world speed data from sources like Ookla and FCC reports.

To explore our process in more depth, visit our how we test ISPs page.

What’s the final word on internet providers in North Dakota?

Many households in North Dakota have Midco cable, fiber or fixed wireless internet as an option. The service is solid, and the speeds range from reasonable for cable or fixed wireless to crazy-fast regarding fiber. Other providers like Quantum Fiber and Bluepeak have a small presence in North Dakota, but you’re most likely to encounter Midco as a top option. 

The story of broadband runs deep and wide across North Dakota. The state’s rural areas are well served by fiber internet. A patchwork of local ISPs covers small towns and remote homes alike. Here’s a partial list of these providers: BEK Communications, Dakota Central, DRN, SRT Communications, Polar Communications, Northwest Communications, MLGC and Consolidated Telcom. You’ll find symmetrical speeds of at least a gig (and sometimes more). That’s plenty fast enough to turn your rural hideaway into an internet fast lane.

Internet providers in North Dakota FAQs

Who is the cheapest internet provider in North Dakota?

Of widely available internet plans, look to Midco’s 250Mbps tier as an affordable option. Introductory pricing for either fiber or cable usually starts at $39 per month, but you may spot bigger discounts occasionally. Verizon and T-Mobile offer bundle discounts when you combine 5G home internet with an eligible phone plan.  

Which internet provider in North Dakota offers the fastest plan?

Midco’s 5,000Mbps fiber plan is one of the fastest in North Dakota but has limited availability. Check on Bluepeak’s 5,000Mbps fiber plan if you’re in Grand Forks, as well. Many of the local ISPs that service the state’s rural areas offer gig fiber speeds. 

Is fiber internet available in North Dakota?

Among bigger-name ISPs, Quantum Fiber and Midco have a limited fiber footprint in North Dakota. There are gems in rural areas thanks to the many local fiber ISPs that service small towns and remote locations throughout the state. Dakota Central, DRN and SRT Communications are examples.

What internet provider has the best coverage in North Dakota?

Midco’s cable, fiber and fixed wireless networks cover over 63% of North Dakota households, according to the FCC. The fiber network is the least widespread of the three connection types, but it offers the fastest speeds at up to 5,000Mbps.



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