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Best Internet Providers in Cincinnati, Ohio

 Best Internet Providers in Cincinnati, Ohio


What is the best internet provider in Cincinnati?

Residents of Cincinnati have limited options when it comes to broadband. Most of the city has access to just two wired internet providers, Spectrum and Altafiber (previously known as Cincinnati Bell). Other options, like 5G home internet from T-Mobile and Verizon and satellite internet providers, also serve select households. Out of those choices, CNET’s pick for the best internet service provider in Cincinnati is Altafiber, based on its speed and pricing.

The cheapest provider in Cincinnati is between Altafiber and Spectrum, offering base plans for $40 per month. However, Altafiber offers 400-megabit-per-second connectivity compared to Spectrum’s 300Mbps. Altafiber is also the fastest ISP in this Ohio city, offering 2 gigabits for $100 monthly. Ultimately, affordability and speed will come down to what’s available at your address.

CNET considers speeds, pricing, customer service and overall value to recommend the best internet service in Cincinnati 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 particular 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 Cincinnati. The prices referenced within this article’s text come from our research and include applicable discounts for setting up monthly automatic payments, 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 Cincinnati, Ohio

Product image Product image
Speed range

300 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$50 – $80 per month

Our take – One of the country’s most widely available internet providers, Charter Communications’ Spectrum Internet is the other primary broadband option for residents of Cincinnati.

... Or call to learn more:

Check with Spectrum

Speed range

300 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$50 – $80 per month

Product image Product image
Speed range

400 – 2,000 Mbps

Price range

$45 – $85 per month

Our take – This ISP, formerly known as Cincinnati Bell, has earned praise from Cincinnati residents for its reliability and speed. As a bonus, Altafiber is local to the city, headquartered in Cincinnati.

... Or call to learn more:

Check with Altafiber

Speed range

400 – 2,000 Mbps

Price range

$45 – $85 per month

Product image Product image
Connection

Fixed wireless

Speed range

85 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$50 – $70 per month

Our take – Many Cincinnati residents have access to 5G options from Verizon and T-Mobile, but we’re giving a nod to the former for offering higher speeds.

... Or call to learn more:

Check with Verizon

Connection

Fixed wireless

Speed range

85 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$50 – $70 per month

Cincinnati internet providers compared

Provider Internet technology Monthly price range Speed range Monthly equipment costs Data cap Contract CNET review score
Altafiber Fiber $40-$100 400-2,000Mbps None None None N/A
Spectrum
Read full review
Cable $40-$60 300-1,000Mbps Free modem; $7 router None None 7.2
T-Mobile Home Internet
Read full review
Fixed wireless $60 ($40 for eligible Go5G Plus and Magenta Max mobile customers) 72-245Mbps None None None 7.4
Verizon 5G Home Internet
Read full review
Fixed wireless $50-$70 ($35-$45 with qualifying Verizon 5G mobile plans) 50-1,000Mbps None None None 7.2

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

Other available internet providers in Cincinnati

  • Hughesnet: If you’re in Cincinnati or its immediate suburbs, you probably don’t need satellite internet. It’s only available at speeds of 50-100Mbps, with prices starting at $50 with a two-year contract and equipment fees.
  • T-Mobile Home Internet: Cincinnati residents can access 5G internet from Verizon and T-Mobile. T-Mobile’s home internet service is available for $50 monthly and offers speeds up to 245Mbps.
  • Viasat: The other major satellite internet company (until SpaceX’s Starlink launches more widely), Viasat’s monthly prices start at $100 with speeds reaching up to 150Mbps based on the plan.

Cheap internet options in Cincinnati

Not including the pricey satellite internet options, Cincinnati residents can expect to pay between $40-$60 for internet service. The most affordable plans in the city come from Altafiber and Spectrum, which both offer $40-per-month service for 400Mbps and 300Mbps, respectively.

What’s the cheapest internet plan in Cincinnati?

Provider Starting monthly price Max download speed Monthly equipment fee
Spectrum Internet 100
Read full review
$40 300Mbps $7 (optional)
Altafiber Fioptics 400Mbps $40 400Mbps None
Verizon 5G Home Internet
Read full review
$50 ($35 with eligible mobile plan) 300Mbps None
T-Mobile Home Internet
Read full review
$60 ($40 with eligible mobile plan) 245Mbps None

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

How to find internet deals and promotions in Cincinnati

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

Cincinnati internet providers, such as Altafiber and Hughesnet, may offer lower introductory pricing or streaming add-ons for a limited time. Many, however, including Spectrum and Verizon, run the same standard pricing year-round. 

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

Cincinnati, Ohio, at sunrise with sternwheelers in the foreground. Cincinnati, Ohio, at sunrise with sternwheelers in the foreground.

Larry Knupp/Getty Images

How fast is Cincinnati broadband?

With limited options, it’s no surprise that Cincinnati’s median download speeds are low compared with other American cities and even those in Ohio. The Queen City places 90th on Ookla’s list of internet speeds in the nation’s 100 most populous cities, with median download speeds of about 183 megabits per second and upload speeds of about 30Mbps. Not bad, but not great. Thankfully, high-speed internet options are available in the city.

Need fast download speeds? Look at Altafiber’s 2,000Mbps plan for $100 per month, available at certain addresses. If you don’t have access to that plan, Altafiber also offers 1,000Mbps for $70 monthly. Verizon’s higher tier 5G internet at $70 per month tops out at 1,000Mbps, while Spectrum’s 1,000Mbps plan costs $60.

Fastest internet plans in Cincinnati

Provider Starting price Max download speed Max upload speed Connection type
Altafiber Fioptics 2 Gig $100 2,000Mbps 1,000Mbps Fiber
Altafiber Fioptics 1 Gig $70 1,000Mbps 500Mbps Fiber
Verizon 5G Home Plus Internet
Read full review
$70 ($45 with eligible mobile plan) 1,000Mbps 50Mbps Fixed wireless
Spectrum Internet Gig
Read full review
$60 1,000Mbps 35Mbps Cable

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.

  • 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 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.

For more information, refer to our guide on how much internet speed you really need.

How CNET chose the best internet providers in Cincinnati

Internet service providers are numerous and regional. Unlike the latest smartphone, laptop, router or kitchen tool, it’s impractical to personally test every ISP in a given city. So what’s our approach? We start by researching the pricing, availability and speed information, drawing on our own historical ISP data, the provider sites 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 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:

  1. Does the provider offer access to reasonably fast internet speeds?
  2. Do customers get decent value for what they’re paying?
  3. 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 Cincinnati?

For most Cincinnati residents, the choice of ISP will come down to either Altafiber or Spectrum. However, some city residents can access 5G internet from T-Mobile and Verizon. Prices start around $40, and higher speeds are available for those willing to pay up to $100 monthly.

Internet providers in Cincinnati FAQ

Which is the best internet service provider in Cincinnati?

Due to its variety of speeds and affordability, our pick for the best ISP in Cincinnati goes to Altafiber. Residents have reported they are happy with its service, and as a bonus, the company is headquartered in the Queen City. Its 2,000Mbps plan for $100 is a lot of speed for the price.


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Is fiber internet available in Cincinnati?

Yes. It comes from Altafiber, our pick for the best internet service provider in the city. Altafiber’s service comes in various plans, starting at 400Mbps and going up to a speedy 2,000Mbps, with prices ranging from $40 to $100. Altafiber’s plans are competitive on both speed and price compared to the other options in Cincinnati.


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Is Verizon or T-Mobile better for home broadband?

If you’re in a rare situation with access to Verizon and T-Mobile’s 5G internet, you have a decision to make. If you want higher speeds, we recommend Verizon. But for a price-for-life guarantee (and other additional perks), T-Mobile might sway you. Check out CNET’s article comparing Verizon 5G Home and T-Mobile Home Internet for more detailed information.


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