A Guide to the Most Popular Broadband Plans

It wasn’t long ago when broadband internet access was a unicorn. Everyone wanted it, but it was hard to find. Thankfully, those days are far in the rearview mirror, and the technology has become ubiquitous. According to the FCC, 14.5 million, or only 4.3% of American households don’t have access to fixed terrestrial broadband.

The latest Census numbers don’t quite agree. Having broadband access isn’t the same as having internet, but that’s a topic for a different day. For this article, we’ll assume that the reader has access to at least a few broadband plans.

The FCC also defines broadband (high-speed) internet as a connection that reaches 25 Mbps (megabits per second) download speed and at least 3 Mbps upload speed. In truth, those speeds are nowhere near the robustness they used to be for today’s internet users. The nature of the internet is such that you might need closer to 50 Mbps or even 100 Mbps to accomplish your daily online activities, especially if you are a heavy streamer, download and watch high-definition videos, or need a crystal clear video conference connection for work.

The best and worst states by access to terrestrial broadband

You're in the right place if you’re looking for a new (or your first) broadband plan. We’re going to make sure you don’t leave here without understanding the most popular broadband plans, why they are popular, and what features you should watch for while taking into account what your most common online activities tend to be.

What Should You Look for in a Broadband Plan?

Broadband internet comes in a few different flavors like DSL, cable, fiber optic, fixed wireless, 5G wireless, satellite, and even dial-up. Forget about dial-up. It’s so slow as to be almost unusable. 

The rest would qualify as broadband. When choosing a broadband plan, keep in mind that you’re looking for the right one for your needs. There’s no one size fits all that is perfect for everyone. A lot depends on how you use the internet. A retiree who only dabbles with email and social media can make do with a milder plan than someone who is on and off video conference calls all day.

Luckily, the broadband industry is set up for potential customers to make easy comparisons—review sites present plan and feature comparisons in simple charts. You’ll want to pay attention to typical features: speed, price (including extra fees), reliability, customer support, and availability.

Choosing the Right Broadband Plan for You

We’ve already mentioned that the right broadband plan for you might not be suitable for your neighbor or the gal across the street. It typically comes down to how much speed and bandwidth you need for the things you like to do online.

Low bandwidth activities include email, social media, reading, and light browsing. High bandwidth activities would consist of watching 4K movies, downloading large video files, video conferencing, gaming, video streaming, or even having a lot of devices connected and consuming bandwidth at one time.

Let’s break it down.

Most popular online activities

Best Broadband Plans for Families

Families have particular needs regarding internet access, especially if several kids are old enough to have a smartphone grafted to their palm. Do you or your significant other work remotely? Better take the bandwidth demands of that into account.

You might have 10 or 15 devices connected to the internet at any time: phones, televisions, tablets, laptops, etc. It adds up.

How do you decide what broadband plan is the best for your situation?

Cost is almost always a concern, but a multi-person household is likely to come with high bandwidth demands. This is likely the most critical feature. If your plan doesn’t have enough, expect a lot of frustration from buffering, sticking, and hanging up. No one wants that.

For family connections, all else being equal, you will want a lot of bandwidth. Here are a few family-friendly broadband plans for your consideration:

The AT&T Internet is an excellent all-purpose plan at a moderate price. If you have access to fiber and don’t mind paying a bit more, the AT&T Fiber plan can enhance your connection considerably. If you do a lot of video conferencing, the 50/50 Verizon plan includes a higher upload speed to ensure your connection is always clear.

Best Broadband Plans for Business Owners

A business has particular internet needs that differ from the average consumer. In particular, 100% uptime, fast speeds of more than 100 Mbps, and excellent customer support. 

Here’s the deal. Almost every business now relies on the internet to take payments. If there is a problem with the connection, your business is shut down for all practical purposes. That’s why responsive support is so important. You don’t expect your connection ever to go down, but if it does, you better have a plan for a quick recovery.

Why more speed than a typical home internet plan? Because a slow or clogged-up internet connection costs you sales. Figure out the maximum bandwidth you’re likely to need and then increase it by 50%.

Check out these business-friendly internet plan options.

If you want to dip your toes into the fiber optic water, the Century Fiber Gigabit plan lets you do so at a modest price. Should you wish to go all in with the fastest internet connection available, the Fiber 2 Gig plan is available in a growing number of places. Keep in mind fiber optic service is not available everywhere. You may be limited by geography. Lastly, if you’re pinching pennies, the WOW Internet 100 plan offers good speed at an affordable price.

Best Broadband Plans for Gamers

Generally speaking, gamers want a lot of speed. The reality is that it’s not the sheer banana peel download speed they need but rather a solid upload speed to defeat the real enemy called lag. Lag is the time it takes for your signal to make a round trip to the game server.

When internet service providers talk about speed, they usually refer to download speed, but that’s only half of the equation. Great download and average upload speeds result in lag and can get you killed - in the game of course - because the game has not registered an action you might have already made.

So, let’s take a look at good gaming plans. 

  • 50/50 Mbps by Verizon: (50 Mbps DSL connection at $69/month)
  • Fiber 2 Gig: (2000 Mbps fiber optic connection for $149.99/month)
  • WOW Internet 100: (100 Mbps cable connection at $39.99 for the first year)

The 50/50 Mbps plan offers a nice balance of upload and download speed. If you want to blow the hinges off the doors of your gaming opponents and have some coin to blow, the Fiber 2 Gig plan is about as nice as they come. For the more budget-minded, the WOW Internet 100 plan gets you a decent speed for less than $40 for the first year.

Best Broadband Plans for Remote Workers

The number of remote workers increased dramatically in the spring of 2020 when the pandemic broke out and sent millions of workers home to do their business. When your livelihood depends on it, you need a solid internet connection.

A pie chart showing the number of employees that have been asked to work remotely since Covid-19

The most important feature to check out is the download AND upload speed. Remote workers typically need a system that will support equally fast download and upload speeds. Video meetings and conferencing demand it. If your upload speed lags, which is often the case with many broadband plans, it shows up in low quality to the person viewing your connection. It’s the same lag problem that gamers run into, and only one thing fixes it - good upload speed.

Here are a few broadband plans that do the trick for someone who works from home.

The three plans featured here focus on plenty of download and upload speed. A fiber connection will always be the highest-performing type of internet, so there’s that. And at $65, its pricing is in line with the others. 

Keep in mind that it would be impossible to write this article and consider all the local and regional options. Not every provider is available in every location. There might be better plans to be found with a local provider so take a little time to scope them out.

The 10 Most Popular Broadband Plans

We’ll finish this article with a list of America's ten most popular broadband plans. These can and likely will change from year-to-year and even month to month. Consider this a snapshot of a moment in time, and always do your research before signing up.

  • Centurylink Fiber Gigabit: (Best for high-bandwidth users. Popular for taking advantage of the newest internet technology.)
  • AT&T Fiber 500: (Best for high upload speed needs like gamers or remote workers. Popular for high availability.)
  • WOW Internet 100: (Best for the budget-conscious user. Great price guaranteed for two years.)
  • 50/50 Mbps by Verizon: (Best for high upload speed needs like gamers or remote workers. Good combination of high availability - since it is a DSL connection - and good upload speed.)
  • Internet Preferred 150 by Cox: (Best for high bandwidth users who don’t need a fiber optic connection. Cable connection with great speed AND availability.)
  • AT&T Internet: (Best for small families or light users. Popular for a moderate price.)
  • Fiber 2 Gig: (Best for super high-bandwidth users. Nobody really needs a 2 Gbps connection, but plenty don’t mind paying for it.)
  • Frontier Internet: (Best for light internet users who primarily use email and social media. There is a two-year price guarantee with the plan.)
  • HughesNet 30 GB: (Best for those who live in rural areas and are light internet users. It’s a satellite connection available in many places where other types of broadband don’t go.) 
  • Spectrum Internet: Best for families and other relatively high bandwidth users. It’s a pretty big bang for your buck regarding the speed-to-price ratio.)

Remember that “most popular” internet plans is a very subjective metric. The ten we listed here might not look like the ten another broadband writer would list. However, this is a good starting point that won’t steer you wrong.

Final Thoughts

In our post-pandemic world, where more people than ever before are working from home, broadband plans have become a necessity rather than a convenience. The most important determiner of what plan you should get starts with figuring out what is available in your location.

Some national providers offer plans in multiple states but aren’t available everywhere. For example, even mega-company AT&T only serves 22 states with internet service. Once you figure out what broadband plans are available to you, the actual vetting process begins.

The easiest way to complete this first step is to enter your zip code in this internet service provider aggregator and receive a list of those nearest you. From there, you can begin determining which is the best fit for your online lifestyle.


What is the fastest broadband plan available?

The fastest broadband plan available on the consumer market currently is a 2 Gbps fiber connection

Is broadband better than Wi-Fi?

Broadband and Wi-Fi are two different things. Broadband is the internet signal that comes into your house or business. Wi-Fi is the process by which that signal is turned into wireless frequencies that allow you to connect to your devices in various areas of the house.

How long does my broadband contract last?

Typical broadband contracts run from one to three years.

How many devices can I use with my home broadband network?

There is no limit on how many devices you can use with your broadband plan. The thing to watch for is how much bandwidth you have and how much your devices use. For example, you're fine if you have a 50 Mbps plan and have 197 devices on it that combined only use 45 Mbps. However, if you have two devices using 60 Mbps, you have problems.

Do I need a gigabit broadband plan?

It’s very unlikely that you need that much speed. Most internet users, even heavy users, do just fine with a 50 - 100 Mbps connection. That allows for high bandwidth activities like watching streaming 4K movies, gaming, and video conferencing.

InternetAdvisor Team

We are passionate about aggregating large, accurate data sets and providing it all to our users in an easy-to-use format. Simply put, shopping is easier for the consumer when he/she knows all available options. We are not beholden to any single provider and therefore are dedicated to transparency and giving you unbiased information on all providers.

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