Best Internet Providers in Customer Satisfaction 2020
See what folks like you think of some of the top internet service providers across the US.
A lot of internet service providers (ISPs) have bad raps—which are often well deserved. But internet network options are limited by area, so we’re stuck in “can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em” relationships with our internet providers.
But ISPs aren’t static entities—their networks, personnel, and technologies change all the time—so your experience can change too. The data from this survey can give you a clearer picture of how people feel about each ISP today.
This year, we teamed up with Pollfish to survey thousands of customers (200 per company) about their satisfaction with their ISPs. We’ve gathered all that info to see how your internet options serve their customers right now.
If you want the fastest speeds and best service, it may be time to reconsider a grudge you have towards an ISP. That internet company that did you wrong years back may have mended its ways. And now it probably has gig speeds too.
Don’t miss out on your ideal internet experience. Check out our survey results, and then enter your zip code below to find the best internet providers near you.
Our survey includes questions about not only speed and reliability, but also customer support. This variety helps us get a complete picture of the internet providers and what your experience with them may be like.
Overall customer satisfaction
Each year, we tally up the results from our questions on internet speed, reliability, installation and setup, customer support, monthly bill, and overall value. (Modem satisfaction doesn’t make the cut because many folks use their own modem, not their ISP’s.)
While in past years typically the same ISP performed well in some others and poorly in others, this year ISPs either did great in every category or . . . not great at all.
In short—if you read only this section of the article, you’ll know a lot about how internet services compare.
2020’s best in overall satisfaction: Verizon Fios
For the second year in a row, Verizon Fios tops the charts of our customer satisfaction survey. While tied for first with Xfinity in internet speed, it leads the way in reliability, customer support, and monthly bill prices.
Verizon Fios has a powerful fiber network, and it’s one of the only places to get matched upload and download speeds (that’s super helpful if you’re an online gamer or remote worker).
But fabulous tech aside, Verizon Fios manages to do one of the hardest things for an internet company—it makes its customers happy. Considering other ISPs topping all sorts of “most hated companies” lists, that’s a commendable feat.
2020’s lowest in overall satisfaction: Mediacom
In 2019, Mediacom was second-to-last on our scoreboard. Now it’s dropped to last place—and by a large margin.
While Mediacom’s internet plans have speeds and prices that sit innocently in the middle of what the other providers offer, our survey participants don’t seem satisfied with their experience.
Honestly, we can’t blame them. We don’t recommend Mediacom starting packages since the data caps are prohibitively low.
How would you rate your ISP’s internet speed?
2020’s best internet speed: Verizon Fios, Xfinity, and AT&T
With its 100% fiber network, Verizon Fios offers high-speed internet with matched upload and download speeds—something most providers can’t or won’t do.
But even though Xfinity’s upload speeds are crummy, it bumped up its download speeds in many areas this year. Since customers are playing the same price for faster speeds, Xfinity’s internet speeds are more satisfactory than before.
We’re not surprised to see AT&T reprising its third-place position. AT&T has some fiber in its network, and though its speeds vary by area, AT&T’s plans come with the fastest speeds it can offer in that area.
How would you rate your ISP’s internet reliability?
2020’s most reliable internet: Verizon Fios, Xfinity, and AT&T
Verizon, Xfinity, and AT&T? Well, come on in, your seats are still warm.
These three providers are standout in reliability due in large part to their network service type. All three are either partially or entirely fiber-based.
The fiber cables they use to serve up internet consist of fine strands of glass or plastic. The information you want travels in the form of light, which is a lot faster and more reliable than the analog signals you get through DSL and copper coaxial cable.
While Xfinity and AT&T use some cable and DSL respectively to bulk up their networks, Verizon Fios’s system is 100% fiber. That total fiber usage can give you an even better internet experience than the hybrids.
No internet service type is perfect, but fiber can handle tons of users and their internet needs. Since these three providers have so much fiber in their networks, it’s not surprising to see them lead in speed or reliability.
Did you rent your ISP’s modem or buy your own?
How satisfied are you with your ISP’s modem?
2020’s best modem: Xfinity, Verizon Fios, and Spectrum
Since in most cases your provider doesn’t force you to rent a modem from them, not all of our survey participants have one from their ISP. So we figured it wasn’t fair to include these results in the overall score.
But here at CableTV.com, we think modems are super interesting—at least, this writer assumes that’s why we’ve written so many articles about them. And our intense passion for modems is why we included this question.
Our participants from Spectrum, Optimum, and Xfinity were most likely to get their modems from their providers. But while Spectrum and Xfinity users seem satisfied with their modems, Optimum users seem less than thrilled.
If you don’t like the internet equipment your provider supplies, try buying your own to save on monthly costs and get a better connection.
Installation and setup
How would you rate your ISP’s installation and setup?
2020’s best installation and setup: Xfinity, Verizon Fios, and Spectrum
Sometimes getting started is the hardest part of any task. If your provider makes it challenging to schedule installation and setup, it leaves a bad impression.
Xfinity, Verizon Fios, and Spectrum tend to start things off on the right foot, according to our survey participants. We think these notable reasons are why these providers excel in installation and setup:
- Although Xfinity’s professional installation is $89.99, it makes a big push for self-installation. It even has a bunch of guides on its website to help make self-install approachable.
- If you order your Verizon Fios plan online, you don’t have to pay an installation fee.
- At $49.99, Spectrum has one of the cheapest professional installation fees around. If you’re more of a DIYer, the self-install kit is only $9.99.
How would you rate your ISP’s customer support?
2020’s best customer support: Verizon Fios, Xfinity, and Frontier
Verizon Fios and Frontier were both leaders in customer support last year, and this year Xfinity climbed up all the way from second-to-last place to join them.
Verizon Fios makes it super easy to contact a representative, whether by phone, app, chat, or social media. We have links to all the ways you can reach them in our Verizon Fios customer service review.
Xfinity, however, goes all out on providing customer service by chat—so much so that our own Xfinity customer service page has many ways to solve your Xfinity problems, but not a phone number in sight.
Trust us, we’re not thrilled about that. But at least the Xfinity customers we surveyed don’t seem to mind the chat-based service.
Frontier has a well-developed support center, including a handy support wizard to help you find solutions on your own. It also offers chat, scheduled calls, and lo and behold, an actual phone number. Cheers, Frontier.
For the service that you receive, how would you rate your ISP’s monthly bill?
2020’s best monthly bill: Verizon Fios, Xfinity, and Frontier
Verizon Fios’s plans are simple. There are only three internet plans to choose from, and they’re all are super fast—and affordable. Its starting plan is Internet 200/200 for $39.99 per month with Autopay, plus tax and equipment charges. That’s a steal.
Although Xfinity’s plans aren’t the cheapest around, their download speeds per dollar are superb.
You can snatch up 100 Mbps with Xfinity’s Performance Select plan for $34.99 per month for the first 12 months with a one-year agreement. This writer has found that plan to be ideal for working from home.
While Frontier’s speeds vary widely by area, you can snag almost all of them for less than $50 per month. Its starting fiber plan, Simply FiOS 50/50, is only $29.99 per month for 24 months with a two-year agreement. It’s hard to beat getting fiber internet for the cost of dining out.
In your experience, rate your ISP’s overall value.
2020’s best value: Xfinity, Verizon Fios, and AT&T
This category is different from our overall customer satisfaction score, since here the survey participants chose their score, while ours is an average of a few answers.
Still, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Xfinity, Verizon, and AT&T customers rated their internet providers as having the most overall value. After all, Mother Goose always says “Where high speeds and low monthly bills lead, value is sure to follow.”
At least, we’re pretty sure that’s how the nursery rhyme goes.
Do you bundle TV service with your provider’s internet service?
2020’s most likely to bundle: Optimum, Xfinity, and Frontier
This question is another that doesn’t affect our overall score—it’s value lies in uncovering which providers make it worthwhile to add TV to an internet plan.
Optimum encourages new customers to bundle its internet and TV with a contract buyout of up to $500. If you’re having a hard time getting out of your current contract, that extra cash should ease most, if not all, of your early termination fees.
Xfinity has fairly standard TV options, but now it’s branching out into the streaming world with the new Xfinity Flex. The Flex still has some kinks to work out, but it’s free to all of Xfinity’s internet customers.
Frontier offers its own TV packages and also makes it easy to bundle Frontier internet plans with DISH TV. There’s a lot of ways to bundle with Frontier, so it’s no surprise that so many of its customers do.
Notable changes in the past year
Since we last took this survey, we’ve seen a few changes:
- Overall, customer satisfaction across all ISPs was about 0.05 stars less in 2020 than in 2019.
- Our top three in overall satisfaction stayed the same, although Xfinity jumped to 2nd place over AT&T.
- This year, Xfinity customers were far more satisfied with the ISP’s monthly bill and customer service than they were in 2019. Those high scores played a significant role in Xfinity climbing the ranks.
- Suddenlink dropped dramatically in internet speed customer satisfaction. However, Suddenlink has discontinued one of its slowest plans and increased the rate on its mid-speed plan from 200 Mbps to 300 Mbps. We’ll see if it makes a difference in next year’s score.
- Although Frontier declared bankruptcy in April 2020, its customers gave it similar scores to the 2019 survey. We’re . . . not sure what to think about that just yet. But we’re keeping an eye on it.
Our final take
It’s been exciting to watch ISPs offer faster and faster internet speeds over the last few years. Where gig speeds used to be the big thing, now you’d be hard-pressed to find a major provider without a gig plan.
We’re excited to see what changes come about in the next year. Technology like 5G and SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet promise to change the internet landscape—eventually.
For now, let’s find you an ISP that’ll take care of you. Enter your zip code below to see your internet service options.