Best No-Contract Internet Providers of 2022
We found which providers will give you the fastest download speeds without long-term agreements.
Download speed: 100–940 Mbps
Data cap: None
Download speed: 50–940 Mbps
Data cap: None
Download speed: 10–5,000 Mbps
Data cap: 1 TB–unlimited
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 Astound Broadband Powered by RCN and AT&T have affordable fiber internet plans. And though CenturyLink isn’t our first pick for no-contract internet, it may have some affordably-priced, gigabit-speed internet in your area.
Read on for an in-depth look at the no-contract internet plans these providers offer, and find the most flexible internet plan for you.
Best no-contract internet plans
Specs and features comparison
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 Astound Broadband 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:
Best value for cable internet: Optimum
- Contract buyout up to $500
- Affordable price
- Reputation for reliable online gaming
- Limited availability
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.
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 $29.99 per month. It’s a great deal compared to other ISPs like Xfinity that charge up to $50.00 monthly for comparable download speeds.
Cheapest: Astound Broadband Powered by RCN
- Incredibly affordable prices for gig speeds
- No data caps
- Prices that vary by area
- Limited availability
Astound Broadband 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 $57 monthly, it’s one of the cheapest gig internet plans on the market, and we’d recommend it if your neighborhood has Astound Broadband coverage.
With Astound Broadband, you also don’t have to worry about going over a data cap while you’re cruising with such high internet speeds. With Astound Broadband’s unlimited data, you can stream videos to your heart’s content.
Astound Broadband’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 Astound Broadband area, but you want those fast speeds, you’ll be out of luck.
Best for fiber internet: AT&T Fiber
- Excellent internet plan prices
- Fiber internet support
- 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 5 Gig Internet is the fastest fiber internet plan from a nationwide ISP, and you’ll get equal upload and download speeds of up to 5,000 Mbps on a wired connection.
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 and 500 Mbps 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. 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 it’s somehow the best internet speed in your area.
- Simple flat-rate pricing
- Excellent fiber internet plans
- 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).
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 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 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.
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
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, Astound Broadband, 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:
Our experts spent hours researching these no-contract internet services and rating them on bang for your buck, reliability, features, and customer satisfaction. Then we compared the internet service providers head to head to contrast their strengths and weaknesses. For more information on our methodology, check out our How We Rank page.