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Best Internet Providers in Raleigh, North Carolina

 Best Internet Providers in Raleigh, North Carolina


Raleigh, North Carolina, is known for its gorgeous oak trees, giving it its “City of Oaks” nickname, but it also wants to be known as the “Smithsonian of the South” for its art, history and science museums. It’s an anchor of the Research Triangle and a haven for foodies. Add fast fiber internet to the list of perks available to Raleigh residents. No wonder the city often ranks high on “best places to live” lists.

What is the best internet provider in Raleigh?

Another list Raleigh is in the habit of ruling is Ookla’s Speedtest.net ranking of internet speeds for the 100 most populated cities in the US. Raleigh currently resides in first place, beating out cities such as Irvine, California and San Antonio. Ookla gives a shout-out to Google Fiber as the fastest internet service provider in the city, but we’re giving AT&T Fiber the nod as the best ISP in Raleigh because of its wide coverage area. Fiber isn’t the only option, though. Here’s our guide to the best internet providers in Raleigh.

Raleigh’s reputation for high-speed internet rests on the services of AT&T Fiber and Google Fiber. They have Raleigh and the surrounding communities well covered between the two of them. Spectrum blankets the region with cable internet, overlapping with the fiber providers and filling in areas where fiber doesn’t reach.

Note: The prices, speeds and features detailed in the article text may differ from those listed in the product detail cards, which represent providers’ national offerings. Your particular internet service options — including prices and speeds — depend on your address and may differ from those detailed here.

Product image Product image
Speed range

300 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$50 – $80 per month

Our take – While AT&T and Google reach much of Raleigh with fiber, it’s not everywhere. If you’re in a forgotten pocket, look to Spectrum for cable internet with near-gig speeds. Spectrum offers some affordable plans, but watch for rate increases after one or two years. 

... Or call to learn more:

Speed range

300 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$50 – $80 per month

Product image Product image
Speed range

300 – 5,000 Mbps

Price range

$55 – $250 per month

Our take – If there’s room in your budget for fiber internet, go for it. AT&T Fiber delivers speeds up to an impressive 5,000Mbps in parts of Raleigh. While Google Fiber also has a notable presence in the city, AT&T Fiber covers more ground and has a faster top speed, earning it our nod for best ISP.

... Or call to learn more:

Speed range

300 – 5,000 Mbps

Price range

$55 – $250 per month

Product image Product image
Connection

Fixed wireless

Speed range

85 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$50 – $70 per month

Our take – Verizon and T-Mobile are making a strong argument for fixed wireless internet as an affordable alternative to getting online. The speeds won’t knock your socks off, but bundling your internet with an eligible phone plan makes it easy on your pocketbook. While Verizon offers top speeds of 1,000Mbps in some parts of the country, you can expect to get 85 to 300Mbps in Raleigh.

... Or call to learn more:

Connection

Fixed wireless

Speed range

85 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$50 – $70 per month

Internet providers in Raleigh compared

Provider Internet technology Monthly price range Speed range Monthly equipment costs Data cap Contract CNET review score
AT&T Fiber
Read full review
Fiber $55-$250 300-5,000Mbps None None None 7.4
AT&T Internet
Read full review
DSL $55 300-100Mbps None 1.5TB (no data cap for 100Mbps plan) None 7.4
Frontier
Read full review
DSL/fiber $50-$155 10-5,000Mbps None None None 6.3
Google Fiber
Read full review
Fiber $70-$150 1,000-8,000Mbps None None None 7.5
Spectrum
Read full review
Cable $60-$115 100-1,000Mbps Free modem; $7 router (optional) None None 7.2
T-Mobile Home Internet
Read full review
Fixed wireless $60 72-245Mbps None None None 7.4
Verizon 5G Home Internet
Read full review
Fixed wireless $50-$70 50-1,000Mbps None None None 7.2

Show more (2 items)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

All available Raleigh residential internet providers

Fiber is fantastic and Spectrum is everywhere, but there are a few other ISPs to consider when you’re shopping in Raleigh. T-Mobile, in particular, is worthy of consideration as a no-fuss option with simple pricing and a tempting bundle discount.

How many members of your household use the internet?

  • AT&T Internet: Remember those AT&T Fiber dry spots I mentioned earlier? Those areas may be serviced by AT&T’s outdated DSL network instead. Speeds can vary greatly. You may only get 10Mbps in some areas of Raleigh for the standard price of $55 a month. So basically, this is me saying, please look for a better option. Only go with AT&T DSL if you don’t have faster fiber, cable or fixed wireless available to you.
  • Frontier Internet: Frontier’s DSL network sneaks into Raleigh from the northwest so that you will find it as an option up around Brier Creek and Bethesda and around the Durham area. Speeds, however, can be variable. You may only be able to pull down speeds of 12Mbps, or you may be able to get 25Mbps. The price is $50 a month. Residents of Durham can look for Frontier’s faster fiber offerings, which are much preferable to DSL. Raleigh folks, however, will want to skip the Frontier DSL and opt for Google or AT&T fiber, if available, or Spectrum’s speedier cable plans.
  • Google Fiber: AT&T Fiber’s toughest competitor is Google Fiber, which doesn’t quite match AT&T’s top speed or availability across town. However, it’s worthy of strong consideration if it services your address. While Google Fiber has speeds of up to 8,000Mbps in some areas of the US, you’ll be looking at speeds up to 2,000Mbps in Raleigh. That will cost you $100 a month, or you can get 1,000Mbps service for $70 a month. There are no contracts or data caps, and equipment is included, making it one of the best deals for fast, reliable internet. 
  • T-Mobile Home Internet: Availability of either T-Mobile or Verizon home internet services is a roll of the dice that depends on your address and whether any slots are available. Verizon made our best list thanks to its speeds, but check into T-Mobile if you’re interested in trying fixed wireless internet and Verizon isn’t available. T-Mobile costs $60 a month for typical speeds up to 245Mbps. Equipment is included and there are no data caps. It’s a particularly good deal for T-Mobile phone customers. Bundle an eligible phone plan and get your internet for just $30 a month.
  • Satellite internet: Starlink, Viasat and Hughesnet are competitors in the satellite internet market. They likely won’t be your first choice for getting online unless you’re in a rural area with few options. However, digital nomads with a home base in Raleigh might consider Starlink’s on-the-go plan for staying connected while traveling.

Raleigh city skyline at dusk. Raleigh city skyline at dusk.

Walter Bibikow/Getty Images

Raleigh broadband at a glance

Raleigh residents are in the enviable position of having two major fiber providers competing for their dollars. It’s hard to go wrong with either AT&T Fiber or Google Fiber, but pricing is a factor that can influence which ISP you go with. It may push you to explore options from Spectrum, Verizon or T-Mobile.

Pricing info on Raleigh home internet service

The average starting price for home internet in Raleigh is around $50 a month. It will cost you a little more to get started with fiber. AT&T’s 300Mbps runs $55 a month while Google’s lowest-cost plan is $70 for 1,000Mbps. Look to Spectrum, Verizon and T-Mobile if you’re searching for budget options. 

Cheap internet options in the Raleigh metro area

One of the cheapest ways to get online is to bundle Verizon or T-Mobile home internet with an eligible phone plan. That knocks your home internet price down to as low as $25 for Verizon and $30 for T-Mobile. If you’re shopping for Google Fiber, keep an eye out for the ISP’s Neighborhood 100 Meg plan, which is available in some areas. It’s for households with an annual income under $40,000, and it only costs $20 a month. You’ll be asked to confirm your income when you sign up. 

What’s the cheapest internet plan in Raleigh?

Provider Starting price Max download speed Monthly equipment fee Contract
Spectrum Internet Assist
Read full review
$20 (must meet eligibility requirements) 30Mbps Free modem; $7 router None
Verizon 5G Home Internet
Read full review
$50 ($35 with eligible mobile plan)  300Mbps None None
Frontier Internet
Read full review
$50 Varies None None
AT&T Fiber 300
Read full review
$55 300Mbps None None
T-Mobile Home Internet
Read full review
$60 ($40 with eligible mobile plan)  245Mbps None None

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

Fastest internet providers in Raleigh

Wanna go fast? AT&T Fiber’s got your back with a 5,000Mbps plan that’s available in Raleigh. That’s in stark contrast to the other end of the speed spectrum. Pokey DSL service in some locations may only reach 10Mbps. But chances are good your Raleigh address qualifies for fiber, or at least Spectrum’s cable offerings that reach up to 940Mbps. 

AT&T Fiber and Google Fiber duke it out for the fastest ISP in Raleigh, but AT&T has an edge with the wide availability of its 5,000Mbps plan. Google Fiber is catching up in some markets but hasn’t yet hit that speed in Raleigh. AT&T’s offering comes with a hefty price tag of $180 a month, which may encourage you to consider a different option, like AT&T’s 2,000Mbps plan for $110 or Google Fiber’s rival 2,000Mbps plan that trims that to $100 monthly. Check out our guide to the best multi-gigabit internet plans.

What are the fastest internet plans in Raleigh?

Provider Max download speed Max upload speed Starting price Data cap Contract
AT&T Fiber 5000
Read full review
5,000Mbps 5,000Mbps $250 None None
AT&T Fiber 2000
Read full review
2,000Mbps 2,000Mbps $150 None None
Google Fiber
Read full review
2,000Mbps 2,000Mbps $100 None None
Google Fiber
Read full review
1,000Mbps 1,000Mbps $70 None None
AT&T Fiber 1000
Read full review
1,000Mbps 1,000Mbps $80 None None
Spectrum Internet Gig
Read full review
1,000 Mbps 35Mbps $60 None None

Show more (1 item)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

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. 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 FCC.gov.

It doesn’t end there: We use 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 answers to those questions are 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, although 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 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 Raleigh?

In case it’s not obvious already, I’m a fan of fiber. It’s fast. It’s reliable. Upload speeds are just as fast as download speeds. Your decision on whether to go with AT&T Fiber or Google Fiber may be made for you if just one of those ISPs services your address. If both do, consider the price (Google’s plans are a little cheaper) and speed (AT&T tops out at a faster 5,000Mbps). If it comes down to it, Spectrum almost certainly services your Raleigh home, but future price hikes aren’t appealing. I’ve also tested out and been happy with fixed wireless, so don’t sleep on Verizon or T-Mobile as an affordable alternative.

Internet providers in Raleigh FAQs

Is fiber internet available in Raleigh?

Raleigh is fortunate to have two major fiber providers at work in the city. AT&T Fiber and Google Fiber offer simple, no-strings-attached plans and speeds to keep everyone from gamers to remote workers happy.


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Which internet provider in Raleigh offers the fastest plan?

AT&T Fiber is the king of the hill for residential internet speeds in Raleigh, with its 5,000Mbps plan for $250 a month. Whether you need all that speed is a question only you can answer. Households with multiple heavy internet users, remote workers that need to upload massive files and serious gamers may be able to justify the expense.


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Is AT&T Fiber or Google Fiber better in Raleigh?

Choosing between AT&T Fiber and Google Fiber is a bit of a toss-up. They both earned similar CNET review scores, with AT&T coming in at 7.4 and Google Fiber at 7.5. There are no contracts, equipment fees, or data caps with either one. AT&T offers a more affordable fiber entry point with its 300Mbps plan for $55 a month. That’s a good deal for budget buyers, but Google’s faster plans cost slightly less than the AT&T equivalents. One big point to note is that AT&T hits 5,000Mbps in Raleigh, so power users may be tempted to try that out over Google Fiber. 


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