Choosing an internet provider can be a painstaking process that will leave you wanting to bang your head against the wall. How do you know which one is best for you?
To make your selection process a bit easier, we have compared two of the top internet service providers in the northeast U.S; Comcast Xfinity and Verizon Fios.
While both have their pros and cons, we will determine which one is the best and provide you with an overall look into precisely what these companies can provide.
Before you decide what internet provider to go with, it is essential to know exactly what to look for in an internet company. Not every company will have what you are looking for, and some will have better options than others.
What Types of Internet?
Before choosing a provider, the first thing to consider is determining what kind of internet you need and what is available in your area. There are four different kinds of internet available via various providers; DSL, cable, satellite, and fiber optic.
DSL internet is an acronym for digital subscriber line. The internet is provided through an already existing phone line into your home.
While DSL can typically be the least expensive option, there are some drawbacks.
DSL isn’t always available, depending on where you live. Additionally, the internet speeds aren’t very fast, and the farther away you are from the actual service provider, the slower the internet.
Cable is similar to DSL internet; the internet is actually delivered through your cable service. The internet speeds can be faster than DSL, but you are unfortunately sharing with the entire neighborhood.
This means that when everyone is using the internet simultaneously, the internet will be very slow.
This is the slowest kind of internet available. Although pretty stable, it can take a bit of time to get going.
Fiber optic internet is typically argued to be one of the best kinds of internet. With breakneck speeds, the technology is similar to DSL, just a more modern version.
This option is great if you use your internet frequently, like working from home.
What’s available in your area?
Of course, what internet provider you choose is almost entirely determined by what is available where you live. Living in a big city can provide various options and different kinds of internet, while living in a more rural location will likely dwindle your choices.
First, thoroughly research what your options are for internet providers. Then, explore what kind of internet they have available.
Second, ask around. See what provider your friends, family, and neighbors use. Do they have good things to say? What are the things they dislike? How is customer service?
But, don’t stop there. Check out their reviews online. See what the rest of the world is saying.
Depending on how much internet is a part of your life, speed is a huge factor in picking a provider.
Download speeds are typically the ones you want to watch for. Compare download speeds between all the providers in your area.
If you use the internet constantly, slow internet can drive you nuts, especially if you are trying to do something essential, but your internet is taking forever.
Nothing worse than trying to watch the latest episode of your favorite TV show, but it just won’t load!
Data caps are unfortunately relatively standard with some internet providers. Essentially, you are only allowed to download “x” amount of data per month.
Data caps do not suit the majority of households very well, primarily larger households. Data caps are not for people who download and stream a lot.
So, if everyone in your house is a big fan of Netflix and Youtube, a data cap is not going to work out.
Additionally, there are often extra fees when you go over your data cap. However, if you mainly use the internet for emails, a data cap can be an excellent option to save money, as the smaller the cap, the less expensive your plan could be.
There can be additional costs charged by your internet provider, aka hidden costs. These additional fees are usually shoved into your contract in itty bitty writing and written in legal jargon to confuse you.
An example of a hidden cost is that some companies will charge you for the modem or router. Or, there are sometimes installation fees.
Either way, it’s best to ask if there are any additional or hidden costs at the very beginning. Because once you sign that contract, you are legally bound to pay those fees.
Intro deals are a cute little trick to get you as a paying customer. The internet provider in question will start with a great offer miles above all the other providers.
But, that fantastic deal is only for a certain period of time, usually about a year. If you didn’t read carefully, you might be in for a shock when your bill is higher than average.
If you know you are getting an intro deal, be sure to check what the regular price is. When deciding between providers, always compare the regular price to get the best option for yourself.
Bundling can be a great option to save a bit of cash. If you already have your home phone or cellphone plan with a provider, check to see if that same provider also offers internet services.
Often, you will get a discount if you bundle all of your tech services with one provider instead of spreading them all out. It might be less of a hassle as well when it comes time to pay your bill, as it will simply be one bill instead of two or three.
This is an essential factor when picking a provider. Are you going to want a company that leaves you hanging or a company that will help when something goes wrong?
Hearing everyone else’s experiences with that company can shed some light on how they treat their customers. Of course, take online reviews with a grain of salt. There are a lot more negative reviews out there than positive ones.
However, check to see which of the available providers are local to your area. The chances of good customer service will improve tenfold if the provider is local or has a regional office.
If something goes wrong, a local provider can be at your home to fix the issue a lot quicker than a company that is three hours away.
For a lot of people, having reliable internet is the number one factor when picking a provider. If you are a student or working from home, having reliable internet is essential for being productive.Check the average downtimes for the possible internet providers. How often does their internet go down? How long does it take them to get the internet back up and running?
Bandwidth can be pretty crucial to a multi-person household. If everyone is using a device that is connected to the internet, the chances are that you are going to need a decent amount of bandwidth to support everyone’s activities.
Not having enough capacity can slow down your internet speed and make it downright unbearable. Do your research to see what the bandwidth capabilities are for the internet providers in your area.
Comcast Xfinity Overview
The Comcast company has been around since the 1960s if you can imagine that.
The company initially started as a cable service company and was initially named American Cable Systems which was then changed to Comcast Holdings.
They branched out into providing internet service in the 1990s and launched Xfinity in 2010.
Comcast Xfinity offers some of the fastest internet that is widely available across the U.S. The slowest internet speeds they offer is 50 Mbps, and their highest is 2,000 Mbps.
However, most plans provide internet through a cable connection. So far, only their most expensive plan offers internet via a fiber-optic connection and is only available in select areas.
Comcast Xfinity is one of the largest service providers across the United States. Xfinity is available in 36 different states and hundreds of American cities.
Almost all of those states and cities have access to Xfinity’s second-highest speed of internet of 1000mbps.
Just like with any internet service provider, prices are subject to change.
Comcast Xfinity has an insane amount of internet plan options to suit your personal needs and budgets.
For simplicity’s sake, we will be going over Xfinity internet plans for the northeast region of the U.S.
First up, we have the performance starter plan. This plan starts with an introductory price of $65.00/month with 25 Mbps download speeds and 3 Mbps upload speeds.
After one year, the price per month is still $65.00/month. While there is no intro pricing, at least your monthly bill won’t increase after a year.
This plan is probably best for people who don’t rely on or use the internet for anything other than email.
Starting out with an intro price of $29.99/month, the performance plan offers 100 Mbps download speeds and 5 Mbps upload speeds.
After 12 months, the monthly cost is $80.95. So, quite a big jump from the intro price.
The performance plan is geared towards lighter internet users. While still capable of some streaming, it is unlikely that this plan would support use at peak traffic times or a multi-device household.
Now we’re getting into plans with higher internet speeds. The performance pro plan starts at $34.99/month and goes up to $95.95/month after one year.
Offering 200 Mbps download speeds and 5 Mbps upload speeds, this is great for someone who uses the internet daily, but not excessively, and likes speedy connections.
This plan will provide enough speed for good internet performance, but you won’t be overpaying for speed you won’t use.
With an introductory price of $59.99/month, this plan offers 400 Mbps download speeds and 10 Mbps upload speeds.
After 12 months, the monthly price increases to $100.95/month.
400 Mbps is fast internet. This is an excellent plan for working from home or having a multi-device family with higher internet usage.
This could be one of the best options if you live in a larger household where everyone uses the internet almost 24/7.
Starting at $69.99/month and increasing to $105.95/month, this plan offers 800 Mbps download speeds and 25 Mbps upload speeds. It’ll handle multiple people working and learning from home, no problem.
Now we’re starting to get into some intense internet speeds. The gigabit plan provides 1,000 Mbps download speeds and 35 Mbps upload speeds.
This plan is excellent if you have a fully automated smart home or you are someone who plays games a lot.
However, this plan is a bit pricier. Starting at $79.99/month and increasing to $110.95/month, this plan probably isn’t as budget-friendly as others.
The gigabit pro plan offers the fastest internet speed but is also the most expensive plan. Offering no intro plan, it’ll cost you $299.95/month, with 2,000 Mbps download and upload speeds.
However, this plan isn’t yet available to every area and probably offers more than you’ll ever need. This is also the only plan that is available via a fiber-optic connection.
Customer service is pretty average and comparable to most internet providers. According to Consumer Reports, people rated Comcast Xfinity as 64/100, which isn’t great.
Verizon Fios Overview
Founded in 2005, Verizon is a telecommunications company situated in New York City. Verizon Fios is a fiber-optic internet service with ultra-fast internet speeds and reliability.
While Verizon doesn’t offer the same speeds as Comcast, Verizon internet speeds vary from 200 Mbps to 940 Mbps, typically more than enough.
This is a downside of Verizon Fios. The fiber-optic network is currently only available in nine states in the northeast and mid-Atlantic.
Verizon also has a DSL option, but it is nowhere near as fast as the fiber optic connection.
Verizon Fios doesn’t have the same range of packages that Comcast Xfinity does. However, it could be argued that these plans provide greater value for your money.
So, let’s take a look at the three different plans offered by Verizon Fios.
This is the basic plan available. Only $39.99/month, this plan offers 200 Mbps download and upload speeds.
This plan could be ideal for a moderate internet user who isn’t big on streaming services such as Netflix.
This is the middle of the road plan. Going for $59.99/month, you get 400 Mbps download and upload speeds.
These speeds can support more intense internet usage, streaming, gaming, and a multi-device household.
Being the most expensive plan at $79.99/month, this plan provides 940 Mbps download speeds and 880 Mbps upload speeds.
This plan can support a multi-device household, gaming, and streaming. This plan is ideal for working from home and having a more extensive family with intense internet users.
Verizon Fios is highly rated by consumers and has received the “Highest Customer Satisfaction with Residential Internet Service in the East. 8 Years in a Row” award.
Pros and Cons
Both Comcast Xfinity and Verizon Fios have their strengths and weaknesses. We’ve created a pros and cons list for both companies so you can decide which factors matter most to you.
- Comcast Xfinity offers a wide range of internet plans to suit everyone’s needs. This doesn’t even include the bundling packages they are offering. Xfinity offers additional packages where you can bundle your internet, cell phone, home phone, etc.,
- Xfinity also provides the highest speed of internet currently available for home internet. Depending on which plan you choose, you can have internet speeds of 2,000 Mbps.
- Comcast also provides many freebies with their plans, such as their streaming device and Peacock Premium.
- Unfortunately, Xfinity plans vary from state to state and city to city. This means that depending on where you live; you could be paying more for the same plan as someone in a different state or city.
- Xfinity also has data caps on all their internet plans. That means if you go over your monthly data allowance, you could be charged extra fees.
- In addition, Comcast will charge you to rent their equipment, such as their modem, which will also increase your monthly bill.
- Comcast does have the no-contract option, but usually at a higher price.
- Depending on what you are looking for, Verizon can offer you higher internet speeds for your money. Verizon provides the “Verizon Mix and Match” package, meaning you can combine TV and phones with flexible bundles.
- Verizon also offers their plans without a need for an annual contract, which means you aren’t trapped and can switch providers at any time.
- A significant bonus for Verizon Fios is that there are no data caps, which means no extra fees if you go over your allowance.
- If you go with the highest plan available, the cost of renting the router is included.
- The price for packages remains the same, unlike Comcast, where the price varies per region.
- Verizon Fios is only available in select states, so you might not even have the option of choosing them.
- There are fewer plans available and none which go lower than 200 Mbps. This might not be ideal if you are a very casual internet user.
Overall, Verizon Fios outranks Comcast Xfinity with their plan pricing, customer service, no hidden fees or data caps, and fiber optic connection.
However, Comcast Xfinity is much more available to consumers as they are available in over 36 states. In comparison, Verizon is only offered in 9 states across the U.S. Additionally, Comcast has a wider variety of plans available, which could be a determining factor depending on how many Mbps you need.
So, which is better? If possible, go with Verizon Fios. All of their plans provide internet through a fiber-optic connection, and you will get more internet for less money.
While Comcast does offer 2,000 Mbps, very few people need that kind of speed.
With their outstanding customer service and no annual contract, you will likely have a better customer experience with Verizon over Comcast.