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Best No-Contract Internet Providers of 2021

We found which providers will give you the fastest download speeds without long-term agreements.

Best value: Optimum

Price: $35.00–$75.00/mo.
Download speed: 100–940 Mbps
Data cap: None

Cheapest: RCN

Price: $22.00–$59.99/mo.
Download speed: 50–940 Mbps
Data cap: None

Best for fiber: AT&T

Price: $35.00–$60.00/mo.
Download speed: 10–940 Mbps
Data cap: 1 TB

Best for lifetime pricing: CenturyLink

Price: $50.00-$65.00/mo.
Download speed: 15–940 Mbps
Data cap: None

Data effective as of publish date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Our top no-contract internet providers all have low prices and allow you to bow out whenever you want. Optimum offers fast packages, while RCN and AT&T have affordable fiber internet plans. On CenturyLink, you’ll get long-term price guarantees, and you won’t have to deal with future price increases.

Best no-contract internet providers

  • Optimum—Best value for cable internet
  • RCN—Cheapest
  • AT&T—Best for fiber internet
  • CenturyLink—Best for lifetime pricing

Best no-contract internet plans

Specs and features comparison

Price Max download speed Data cap
$35.00–$75.00/mo. 100–940 Mbps Unlimited View Optimum plans
$22.00–$59.99/mo. 50–940 Mbps Unlimited View RCN plans
$35.00–$60.00/mo. 10–940 Mbps 1 TB View AT&T plans
$50.00–$65.00/mo. 15–940 Mbps Unlimited View CenturyLink plans

Data effective as of publish date. Not all offers available in all areas.

With Optimum, you’ll have affordable no-contract cable internet plans that come with excellent minimum download speeds. Although RCN has limited availability, it still offers some of the cheapest internet plans around.

AT&T and CenturyLink have excellent fiber internet plans along with decent, if occasionally inconsistent, DSL networks. With both providers, you’ll also have peace of mind since there are no scheduled price increases.

Keep scrolling for details on the 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.

Best value for cable internet: Optimum

Price:
$35.00–$75.00/mo.
Download speed:
100–940 Mbps
Data cap:
None

Pros

  • Contract buyout up to $500
  • Affordable price that won’t go up
  • Reputation for reliable online gaming

Cons

  • Limited availability
  • Prices that vary by area

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

Optimum will give you up to $500 to escape your current contract and switch to its plans. 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 month-to-month internet plan 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 greater New York region where you can get this deal, their headshot ratio would be peachy keen.

We’d recommend the Optimum 300 plan, which offers excellent 300 Mbps download speeds for only $39.99 per month. It’s a great deal compared to other ISPs like Xfinity that charge $50.00 monthly for comparable download speeds.

View Optimum plans

Cheapest: RCN

Price:
$22.00–$59.99/mo.
Download speed:
50–940 Mbps
Data cap:
None

Pros

  • Incredibly affordable prices for gig speeds
  • No data caps

Cons

  • Prices that vary by area
  • Limited availability

RCN offers internet service in several large cities, and while its package costs vary by location, its gig plan is a steal wherever you live. At $49.99–$59.99 monthly, it’s one of the cheapest gig internet plans on the market, and we’d recommend it if your neighborhood has RCN coverage.

With RCN, you also 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.

RCN’s biggest issue is its extremely limited availability, with coverage in only six cities (Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, DC, New York City, and the Lehigh Valley region). If you don’t live in an RCN area, but you want those fast speeds, you’ll be out of luck.

View RCN plans

Best for fiber internet: AT&T Fiber

Price:
$35.00–$60.00/mo.
Download speed:
10–940 Mbps
Data cap:
1 TB

Pros

  • Excellent internet plan prices
  • Fiber internet support

Cons

  • Inconsistent DSL network speeds
  • Limited fiber availability

AT&T is one of the biggest ISPs to adopt no-contract pricing, and we’re always fans of simpler monthly bills. AT&T also finished third out of 10 ISPs on our annual customer satisfaction survey, so you won’t have to worry about serious customer service problems.

If you’re in an area with AT&T Fiber coverage, we’d recommend AT&T’s fiber internet plan. AT&T Fiber is the cheapest fiber internet plan from a nationwide ISP, and you’ll get equal upload and download speeds of up to 940 Mbps.

We always recommend fiber internet when it’s available because you’ll get best-in-class performance compared to cable or DSL internet. AT&T’s 300 Mbps ($35/mo.) and 500 Mbps ($45/mo.) fiber internet plans offer excellent performance for their prices and they’re great fits for most households.

But if you don’t get AT&T Fiber coverage (which gets spotty the farther out you are from a big city), you’ll have to settle for AT&T’s DSL network. It’s affordable at $45 monthly, but your maximum download speed will depend on what AT&T’s DSL network supports at your address.

You might get a decent 100 Mbps internet plan or you might be stuck with a 10 Mbps plan that’s only good for checking emails. We’d recommend AT&T’s DSL plan only if you’re looking for budget internet and can get a download speed of at least 50 Mbps.

View AT&T plans

Best for lifetime pricing: CenturyLink

Price:
$50.00-$65.00/mo.
Download speed:
15–940 Mbps
Data cap:
None

Pros

  • Simple flat-rate pricing
  • Excellent fiber internet plans

Cons

  • Unpredictable DSL availability
  • Lackluster customer service

CenturyLink has a lot in common with AT&T: simple pricing and a great fiber internet plan along with a dated DSL network and spotty fiber availability.

The ISP’s plans are straightforward: $50 per month for its Simply Unlimited Internet DSL plan or $65 monthly for fiber internet coverage.

We’d recommend CenturyLink’s fiber internet plan if it’s available at your address. The plan offers excellent maximum upload and download speeds of 940 Mbps, along with a free combo modem/wireless router.

But if CenturyLink hasn’t installed fiber in your neighborhood yet, you’ll be limited to the ISP’s DSL plan. As with most DSL networks, CenturyLink’s Simply Unlimited Internet plan has hit-or-miss options because your download speed depends on CenturyLink’s support in your neighborhood.

Based on your address, you could be paying $50 for a 100 Mbps plan or a 15 Mbps DSL plan. We’d only recommend CenturyLink DSL if you don’t need super-fast internet and qualify for at least CenturyLink’s 40 Mbps DSL plan.

Also, CenturyLink landed well behind AT&T in our annual customer satisfaction survey. If you run into technical problems, be prepared for longer customer wait times (or learn how to troubleshoot your CenturyLink connection).

View CenturyLink plans

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.

Prepaid internet plans

Providers including Xfinity and Cox have launched prepaid internet plans along with their standard contract internet plans.

Prepaid internet plans offer no-contract flexibility, so you’ll pay month by month and won’t be locked into a lengthy service agreement. But we’d recommend prepaid internet plans only if your household has basic internet needs like web browsing or checking emails.

Prepaid plans typically come with low download speeds meant for households that need internet on a budget. For instance, Xfinity Prepaid Internet has weekly and monthly pricing, but the plan comes with one 50 Mbps option. At this speed, your internet will slow down if more than a few people are streaming videos or downloading files.

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. Optimum, RCN, AT&T, and CenturyLink all offer excellent internet packages without locking you into long-term service agreements.

When you’re shopping for no-contract internet providers, look for ISPs that offer competitive download speeds of at least 100 Mbps and price guarantees that last longer than 12 months. To see the ISPs in your area, enter your zip code below:

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. You’ll get internet access that supports your home Wi-Fi with a no-contract plan. 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.