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Best No-Contract Internet Providers of 2020

Optimum

Best for lifetime pricing

RCN

Best for speed

Data effective 1/22/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Bottom line: cheap, no-contract internet depends on where you live

Optimum offers fast packages that won’t ever go up in price after you sign up. RCN has one of the most affordable gig packages out there. And Mediacom’s Xtream Access Internet 60 plan is just plain cheap.

What do all these quality internet providers have in common? They all offer no-contract plans that allow you to bow out whenever you want.

Best no-contract internet plans

Specs and features comparison

Swipe Left to See All →
PlanPriceMax download speedMax upload speedData cap
Optimum 200
Get plan
$44.99/mo.*200 Mbps35 MbpsUnlimited
RCN Gig Internet
Get plan
$49.99–$68.33/mo.940 Mbps20 MbpsUnlimited
Mediacom
Internet 60

Get plan
$39.99/mo.60 Mbps5 Mbps400 GB
Suddenlink Internet Gig
Get plan
$84.99/mo.^1,000 Mbps50 MbpsUnlimited
Spectrum Internet
Get plan
$44.99/mo.100 Mbps10 MbpsUnlimited

Data effective 1/21/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Plus taxes, fees, and other charges. Price For Life. Customer must remain in good standing and up to date on bill payments to remain on Price For Life.
†For the first 12 months.
‡Plus activation, installation and monthly modem rental fees.
^Plus taxes, fees, and other charges. Price for Life. Customer must remain in good standing and up to date on bill payments to remain on Price For Life.

Best no-contract internet providers

  • Optimum—Best for lifetime pricing
  • RCN—Best for speed
  • Mediacom—Honorable mention for cheap internet packages
  • Suddenlink—Honorable mention for speed
  • Spectrum—Honorable mention for broadband under $50
  • CenturyLink—Honorable mention for lifetime pricing
  • Xfinity—Honorable mention for advertising no-contract plans
  • Cox—Honorable mention for advertising one no-contract plan

While Optimum and RCN have the best no-contract internet plans, they’re not available everywhere. There are other no-contract options though, so don’t lose hope. Your dream internet plan could be closer than you think.

You can check out Spectrum for its well-balanced package with fast internet and unlimited data caps. If you gotta go fast, Suddenlink’s gig speeds might be more expensive than RCN’s, but they still come without data caps, so they’re worth a look.

Or you can guarantee that your ongoing payments will never rise with CenturyLink’s price-for-life deals.

Xfinity and Cox don’t have anything extra special to recommend them, but thanks to their transparent advertising and online checkout, you can get a no-contract plan without a salesperson blocking you out.

Keep scrolling for details on Optimum, RCN, and Mediacom’s best no-contract plans, or check your ZIP code to double-check which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer service in your area:

Please enter a valid zip code.

Optimum 200

Best for lifetime pricing

The specs

  • Max download speed: 200 Mbps
  • Max upload speed: 35 Mbps
  • Data cap: Unlimited
  • Price: $44.99/mo.*

*Plus taxes, fees, and other charges.Price for Life. Customer must remain in good standing and up to date on bill payments to remain on Price for Life.

Pros

  • Contract buyout up to $100
  • Affordable price that won’t go up
  • Reputation for reliable online gaming

Cons

  • Limited availability

If you want no-contract internet because you hate to be tied down, the Optimum 200 package offers tons of freedom and a great download speed for the price.

Optimum will give you $100 to escape your current internet contract and switch to this one, or up to $500 if you bundle Optimum internet service with TV.

Then the low price of $44.99 per month locks in as long as you stay with the Optimum 200 plan. And you won’t have to worry about going over a data allowance—something that can cost you a lot in hidden fees with other providers.

Why is lifetime pricing important for no-contract plans?

With most internet providers, you agree to a set monthly payment for one to two years. But unless your no-contract agreement stipulates otherwise, the internet provider can hike up your charges at any time—even a month into your plan.

If you don’t want the responsibility of keeping a sharp eye on your bill every month, a price-for-life agreement will take that weight off your shoulders.

Optimum is also one of the best ISPs for gaming, thanks to its low latency and jitter.

Now, if only this author lived in the handful of New England states where you can get this deal, their headshot ratio would be peachy keen.

There are plenty of no-contracts alternatives to Optimum that have some of its strengths but none that have all of them:

  • Alternatives for lifetime pricing: CenturyLink, Suddenlink
  • Alternative for contract buyout: Spectrum
  • Alternatives for affordable broadband: RCN, Mediacom, Suddenlink, and Spectrum
  • Alternatives for no data caps: RCN, Spectrum, and Suddenlink
  • Alternatives for reliable online gaming: RCN and Suddenlink

To see which of the services above—if any—are available in your area, enter your ZIP code below:

Please enter a valid zip code.

*See Optimum.com for details. Subject to change.

RCN Gig Internet

Best for speed

RCN | Cabletv.com

The specs

  • Max download speed: 940 Mbps
  • Max upload speed: 20 Mbps
  • Data cap: Unlimited
  • Price: $49.99–$68.33/mo.*

*For the first 12 months.

Pros

  • Incredibly affordable prices for gig speeds
  • No data caps
  • Reputation for smooth online gaming

Cons

  • Prices that vary by area
  • Limited availability

RCN offers service in several large cities, and while its package costs vary by location, its gig plan is a steal wherever you live:

  • Boston—$59.99/mo.
  • Chicago—$59.99/mo.
  • DC Metro—$49.99/mo.
  • Lehigh Valley—$54.99/mo.
  • New York— $68.33/mo.
  • Philadelphia—$49.99/mo.

Unlike gig plans from Mediacom and CenturyLink, with RCN you don’t have to worry about going over a data cap while you’re cruising with such high internet speeds. With RCN’s unlimited data, you can stream videos to your heart’s content.

Other perks include RCN’s two-year price lock and its reputation as an excellent service for online gaming.

If you don’t live in an RCN area, but you want those fast speeds, there are other no-contract gig internet options. Maybe one offers service near you.

No-contract gig internet plans

Swipe Left to See All →
PlanMax download speedMax upload speedData capData cap
RCN Gig Internet
Get plan
940 Mbps20 MbpsUnlimited$49.99–$68.33/mo.*
Suddenlink Internet Gig
Get plan
1,000 Mbps50 MbpsUnlimited$84.99/mo.
Spectrum Internet Gig
Get plan
940 Mbps35 MbpsUnlimited$104.99/mo.*
Mediacom Internet 1 Gig
Get plan
1,000 Mbps50 Mbps6,000 GB$79.99/mo.*
CenturyLink Fiber Internet
Get plan
940 Mbps940 Mbps1,000 GB$65/mo.

*For the first 12 months.
†Plus taxes, fees, and other charges.Price for Life. Customer must remain in good standing and up to date on bill payments to remain on Price For Life.
‡Rate requires paperless billing and excludes taxes. Additional fees apply. Speeds may not be available in your area. Maximum download/upload speed of up to 940 Mbps via a wired connection.

To see if any of these ISPs are in your area, enter your ZIP code below:

Please enter a valid zip code.

What to look for in no-contract internet providers

When you’re looking for a no-contract internet provider, you’re likely to run into some jargon. Let’s break down what these phrases mean.

Download speeds

Download speed refers to how much information you can download every second. The higher the number, the faster your browser can open a webpage.

The FCC set 25 Mbps download speed as the standard for broadband internet. But if you have smart home devices or a lot of people using the internet in your home, you’ll want more than the broadband standard.

A plan with a 100 Mbps download speed is more than enough for most households, but you can get plans as fast as 1,000 Mbps.

Upload speeds

Upload speed refers to how much information you can upload every second. The higher the number, the faster you can upload pictures and videos to the internet.

The FCC set 3 Mbps upload speed as the standard for broadband internet. Unless you’re uploading large pictures and videos to the internet (or a lot of little ones at once), you probably won’t need more than that.

Data cap

A data cap—or data allowance, as many ISPs call it so it doesn’t seem like a bad thing—is how much information your ISP allows you to upload and download every month.

There are usually penalties for going over data caps, such as fines or slower internet speeds.

But most data caps are about 1,000 GB (or 1 TB), which is more than three times what the average US household needs. Unless a data cap is under 500 GB, you probably won’t have to worry about it very often.

Our final take

Many ISPs will let you dodge contracts, so take advantage of this if you’re not staying in one place for long. Look for the providers we’ve mentioned in this article, especially Optimum and RCN—the top no-contract internet providers out there.

To see the ISPs in your area, you can put in your ZIP code below. We use it to pull your options from our database of significant internet providers—and never send your ZIP code to anyone else.

Please enter a valid zip code.

No-contract internet FAQ

What is the lowest monthly rate for no-contract internet and home phone service in Miami Beach?

There are no advertised no-contract deals for internet and phone in Miami Beach.

But if you’re willing to get a contract, local provider Atlantic Broadband offers the best deal—50 Mbps download internet and unlimited local and long-distance phone for $49.99 per month.

How much does no-contract internet cost?

No-contract internet deals from major providers cost between $24.99 and $111.95 per month. Your rate will vary based on your location, provider, and plan.

What is the best no-contract internet?

Optimum’s high speeds, low prices, unlimited data, and lifetime pricing make it the best no-contract internet. If you make the switch from a competing provider, Optimum will even help buy out your old contract.

How can I get no-contract internet?

Go for a provider that advertises its plans as contract-free. If you don’t have a no-contract internet provider in your area, try calling your available ISPs. They may allow you to get a no-contract plan for an extra charge.

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