Best Internet Provider Near Me – Update: this report uses data collected in 2020. For more up-to-date information, check out our latest customer satisfaction survey.
When looking for a new internet plan, one of the best ways to find out which provider is right for you is to ask current customers how they feel about their service. We do this regularly so you don’t have to. You can also check out our 2018 survey to compare results.
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To find the best ISPs for customer satisfaction in 2020, we surveyed more than 2,800 US internet users to find out which ISPs have the most satisfied customers. Overall, EarthLink customers are the most satisfied with their internet service, but Verizon and Optimum customers aren’t crazy either.
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Skip: Best Overall | Speed |: Installation and Installation |: Reliability | Calculation |: Technical Support | Customer Service | Appendix |: Equipment |: Method |: Are you satisfied with your internet service?
Our survey asked customers to rate their satisfaction with their internet service providers in eight different categories on a scale of one to five. These total scores are the averages of the scores in each category.
This is the first time EarthLink has appeared in our customer satisfaction survey, and the ISP crushed it. Customers ranked it above all other providers in six of our eight categories; EarthLink was ranked third for both speed and reliability.
There are several reasons why customers may be particularly satisfied with EarthLink Internet service. First of all, an ISP does not have “teaser” prices at the beginning of your contract, only to raise prices later. And EarthLink has no data caps.
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An interesting thing about this result is that EarthLink has many variations in its Internet services. It offers everything from dial-up to fiber internet, and its plans and prices vary in the US depending on its partner companies.
EarthLink’s ratings for setup and installation, billing, technical support, and customer service are all significantly higher than the competition. And these areas will all be standardized on EarthLink, regardless of service type or region. So while it didn’t score highly on important factors like speed and reliability, EarthLink gets the top spot because of how well it treats and communicates with its customers.
Speed has historically been Xfinity’s top category in our surveys. And Xfinity’s customer satisfaction has increased since our last report, 4.18 in 2018 vs. 4.21 in 2020. As a popular cable internet provider, Xfinity is often the only option for fast internet speeds in the neighborhood (as is the case with this writer).
Another thing to note in Xfinity’s favor is that it has stopped disrupting its users’ internet during peak hours since our last customer satisfaction survey, which may partly explain its higher rating this year.
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Overall, the speed category has the highest average customer satisfaction score, and it’s exactly the same average as in our 2018 survey (3.99 out of 5). But while the average remained the same, many ISPs switched locations. For example, 2018 leaders Optimum and RCN have lost some ground.
This is a comparison of customer satisfaction with their internet speed, not internet speed. If you want to know which ISPs bring the heat, check out our guide to the fastest ISPs.
Installation and setup meetings are often your first look at how your ISP treats its customers. And EarthLink gets a few things right that put it ahead of other providers in the eyes of its customers. EarthLink’s standard setup fee for one is just $79.95. Many other providers, including Mediacom, Verizon, AT&T and Xfinity, charge up to $99 for the same thing.
Other factors that can affect someone’s satisfaction with their fitting and installation include how long they have to wait for an appointment, in what time window the technician will come (shorter window), the appointment itself and the fees associated with the visit. . You may also want to consider whether the company allows you to do your installation yourself. Many vendors have a self-install option, but EarthLink requires professional installation.
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Verizon Home Internet ranked first in customer satisfaction with Internet reliability, but it’s a close call. Optimum and EarthLink are very close behind, with only a 0.01 difference between each of the top three.
The reliability of your Internet can affect how you feel about almost every other aspect of service. What good are fast speeds if you’re stuck? Even the friendliest call to customer service can do little to alleviate the frustration of not getting the service you’re paying for when your ISP’s network is down.
Fortunately, customers are quite happy with their internet reliability. The reliability category average is the second highest in this report with a total of 3.91. A third of the suppliers here are over four. That’s pretty impressive and well above the category average of 3.86 in our 2018 survey.
Nobody likes to pay, of course, which may explain the fact that this category has the lowest average customer satisfaction score (3.39 out of 5). It also had our lowest average of 2018.
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EarthLink again scores highly for this category, possibly for its no “teaser” pricing policy. EarthLink’s lack of data caps (and therefore overpricing) may also be a factor in the mix. Overall, this shows that most EarthLink customers feel they are getting value for their money.
At the other end of the spectrum, Mediacom has data caps and fairly steep price increases after the first year. This may be why customers are less satisfied, even though Mediacom’s starting prices are lower than EarthLink’s prices for similar speeds.
Technical difficulties can cause interruptions in internet service and great frustration. If the solution is not to turn the modem off and on again, you want your provider’s technical support to be able to solve your problem quickly.
EarthLink customers are satisfied with their provider’s technical support, even if it is only available between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. every day. There is a large gap between it and the second highest ranked provider. EarthLink has 4.01 and Verizon has 3.89, a difference of 0.12. That is quite significant, as the largest gap over the next eight points is 0.04.
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This indicates that EarthLink customers are not only more satisfied with the ISP’s technical support, but they are also much more satisfied than customers of other Internet companies.
The two main customer service providers, EarthLink and Verizon Home Internet, do not have 24/7 phone customer service hours. EarthLink is open for support from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. every day, and you can call Verizon from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. On Sundays. However, both have online and chat options available outside of these hours.
In addition to being able to reach customer service, resources such as online support articles and interactions during calls and meetings also contribute to customer satisfaction with customer service.
People don’t like apps to manage their ISPs. In fact, mobile app satisfaction received the second lowest average score in our survey.
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EarthLink takes the top spot again, although the MyEarthLink app for iOS and Android has pretty underwhelming reviews overall.
The Mediacom Connect app actually has a higher rating than MyEarthLink in both the App Store and Google Play at the time of writing. But that didn’t save it from finishing last in the category, even though Sparklight doesn’t even have a mobile app for residential customers.
Most ISPs offer customers the option of either renting home network equipment (gateway or modem) or purchasing your own. We find it interesting, but not surprising, given the rest of the survey results, that EarthLink came out on top in this category because it requires most of its customers to rent equipment.
It’s a sore spot that has caused some frustration at other companies that maintain similar policies, such as Frontier’s fiber-optic Internet services. But EarthLink does. Part of that may be due to its below-average rent. Renting a modem from EarthLink costs just $6.95 per month, compared to up to $15 per month from other ISPs.
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We surveyed more than 2,800 people in the United States, between 100 and 200 customers of each ISP listed, and asked them to rate their satisfaction with their Internet service. The survey contained eight categories that we asked participants to rank on a five-point scale, where one means NOT satisfied and five means VERY satisfied.
We averaged the scores and compiled them here to show how satisfied internet customers are with different ISPs.
Note that these scores reflect anecdotal evidence, not tested performance. For example, a higher customer satisfaction score for internet speed may not indicate faster speed than a brand with a lower score. it’s more about how the ISP’s speeds meet customer expectations. And since scores are averages, your own experience with any of these providers may vary.
Note that there are thousands of ISPs in the US and not all of them are covered in this report. Accuracy is key
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