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How to Get High-Speed Internet without Cable or a Phone Line

Find out how you can get internet service—and only internet service.

How do you get high-speed internet without cable or a phone line?

An internet connection has never been more essential. But the cable TV plans and landline phones that come bundled with internet plans? Not so much. 

But in this bundle-lovin’ world, can we get high-speed internet service à la carte? Heck, yeah. Let us count the ways. 

Cable, fiber, fixed wireless, and satellite all work without a phone line. And although DSL needs a phone jack in order to work, you don’t have to pay for phone service. (So that’s five ways, right? Did anyone else count five?)

Curious what internet-only plans are available in your area? Enter your zip code below to find out or read on to learn more about the best internet-only plans out there.

Please enter a valid zip code.

Internet-only options 

All types of internet service are available without bundling. That’s true for all the main types of internet—fiber, DSL, satellite, fixed wireless, and even cable (keep reading; we’ll explain). 

There are other options, though, like smartphone tethering, wireless hotspots, and good ole free public Wi-Fi.

Cable internet (minus the cable TV)

Gasp. Aren’t we trying to avoid the c-word? Yeah, but there’s cable TV and there’s cable internet service. 

Cable internet is good stuff—faster and more reliable than DSL or satellite, and it’s available without bundling TV and phone service.

Top cable internet-only packages

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ProviderInternet planPriceSpeeds (up to)Data cap
Buckeye BroadbandEssential Internet$39.99/mo.Download: 100 Mbps
Upload: 5 Mbps
250 GB
Cable ONEStarter Plan$45.00/mo.Download: 100 Mbps
Upload: 10 Mbps
300 GB
CoxInternet Preferred 150$59.99/mo.Download: 150 Mbps
Upload: 10 Mbps
1,000 GB
Grande CommunicationsPower 300$35.99/mo.Download: 300 Mbps
Upload: 20 Mbps
none
MediacomInternet 100$49.99/mo.Download: 100 Mbps
Upload: 10 Mbps
400 GB
OptimumOptimum 300$39.99/mo.Download: 300 Mbps
Upload: 35 Mbps
none
RCNGig Internet$49.99/mo.*Download: 940 Mbps
Upload: 20 Mbps
none
SpectrumSpectrum Internet$49.99/mo.Download: 100 Mbps
Upload: 10 Mbps
none
SuddenlinkInternet 100$34.99/mo.Download: 100 Mbps
Upload: 10 Mbps
none
WOW!Internet 100†$34.99/mo.Download: 100 Mbps
Upload: 5 Mbps
none
XfinityPerformance**$40.00/mo.Download: 100 Mbps
Upload: 5 Mbps
1,000 GB
Data as of 04/30/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Prices higher in some areas
** Prices and speeds differ in some areas
† 2 yr. contract required. No-contract option available for $59.99/mo.

DSL internet

A DSL connection is slower and less reliable than both cable and fiber internet, but it’s widely available. Below, we’ve listed DSL providers and recommended plans for each—with relevant stats.

Top DSL internet-only packages

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ProviderInternet planPriceSpeeds Data cap
AT&T InternetAT&T Internet up to 100 Mbps$39.99/mo.Download: 100 Mbps
Upload: 20 Mbps
1,000 GB
CenturyLinkPrice for Life 100 Mbps$49.99/mo.Download: 100 Mbps
Upload: 30 Mbps
1,000 GB
WindstreamTier 1 High-Speed Internet 50–100 Mbps$49.00/mo.Download: 500 Mbps
Upload: unavailable
none
Data as of 04/30/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Fiber-optic internet

Fiber internet is the fastest and most reliable connection—and it’s the only one that supports equal download and upload speeds. Its one drawback, though, is that it has spotty availability—your neighbor could qualify for fiber, but you might not.  

We recommend the following plans from providers that serve up fiber internet without side dishes.

Top fiber internet-only packages

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ProviderInternet planPriceSpeedsData cap
Internet 1000$49.99/mo.Download: 940 Mbps
Upload: 880 Mbps
none
CenturyLinkCenturyLink Fiber Internet$65.00/mo.Download: 940 Mbps
Upload: 940 Mbps
1,000 GB
FrontierSimply FiOS Gig Service$74.99/mo.Download: 1,000 Mbps
Upload: 1,000 Mbps
none
Grande CommunicationsPower 1000$69.99/mo.Download: 940 Mbps
Upload: 50 Mbps
none
VerizonFios Gigabit Connection$79.99/mo.Download: 940 Mbps
Upload: 880 Mbps
unavailable
WindstreamTier 1 Kinetic Gig$59.99/mo.Download: 1,000 Mbps
Upload: unavailable
none
XfinityGigabit Pro$299.95/mo.Download: 2,000 Mbps
Upload: 2,000 Mbps
none
Data as of 04/30/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Satellite internet

Satellite internet is the slowest and least reliable internet service, but it may be the only choice for people living in rural areas. 

There are two main satellite internet providers: HughesNet and Viasat. The following table shows what they offer.

Top satellite internet-only packages

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ProviderInternet planPriceSpeedsData cap
HughesNet20 GB$69.99/mo.Download: 25 Mbps
Upload: 3 Mbps
20 GB
ViasatUnlimited Silver 25$70.00/mo.Download: 25 Mbps
Upload: unavailable
60 GB
Data as of 04/30/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Fixed-wireless internet

Throughout most cities are fixed-wireless transmitters. Think of them like little cell towers beaming Wi-Fi signals in all directions.

They belong to internet service providers you may not have heard of, but the signals are even better than 4G—as long as you’re in direct line of sight, with no mountains or skyscrapers between you and the transmitter.

Cell phone hotspots

Did you know you can turn your smartphone into a wireless hotspot? It’s called tethering, and it’s a great way to have a private Wi-Fi signal.

You can do this only if tethering is built into your cell plan, so you might want to check with your provider about that first.

Here’s how to toggle tethering on or off: 

  • iOS: Settings>Personal Hotspot or Cellular>Personal Hotspot. Then click Allow Others to Join and follow the directions to connect.
  • Android: Different phones run different versions of Android. Look for a search bar under Settings, then search for keywords like “hotspot” or “tethering” and you should be ready to rock in just a few clicks. 

Fair warning: tethering will gobble up your data (and drain your battery) if you don’t already have unlimited data. Fortunately, during the COVID-19 pandemic, some mobile carriers are giving customers exactly that.

Wireless hotspots

Some internet providers like Cox and Spectrum have wireless hotspots around town. If your provider has hotspots, you can access them with your at-home internet credentials.

Free public internet

While the free Wi-Fi from establishments like coffee shops, hotels, and public libraries can be unreliable and unsecure, it’s better than nothing. Just park close to the buildings and don’t leave your car during the pandemic—isolation works.

Free streaming TV

Planning to dump your cable TV package to save a few bucks each month? You can still get plenty of delicious, mind-rotting, eye candy from these free livestreaming TV providers: 

  • Pluto: More than 100 channels of live TV, totally free
  • Xfinity Flex: Free streaming device and service with tons of live and on-demand content—but it’s only for Xfinity internet customers
  • Xumo: 100+ live channels. 

If you want local channels, try an over-the-air (OTA) antenna. They’re inexpensive (you can get the Mohu Leaf 50 for around $58 on Amazon), and they pick up all of your local network affiliates plus many other free channels—with no monthly bills to pay, ever.

Final take

Whatever reasons you have for buying internet service—and only internet service—you have options. And now, more than ever, it’s nice to have those. 

If it’s available in your area, we recommend going with Xfinity. It has cable speeds from 25 to 1,000 Mbps and a 1 TB data cap. It also has a superfast fiber plan (Gigabit Pro gets up to 2,000 Mbps) that hardcore gamers and streamers will love—if they can afford $299.95 a month.  

We also really like Xfinity’s XFi Gateway modem/router combo. And having only internet service through Xfinity qualifies you for Xfinity Flex, the provider’s free combination streaming device and service. With tons of live and on-demand content, Flex is a great replacement for cable TV.

See what internet providers are available in your area

Enter your zip code to find out what internet-only plans you can get.

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How to get high-speed internet without cable or a phone line FAQ

Do you need a phone line for internet service?

You don’t need a phone line for all the main types of internet service (cable, fiber, fixed wireless, and satellite). DSL does need a phone jack to work, but you don’t have to pay for a phone line. And dial-up connections are now mostly bogeyman stories you can tell to scare your children. 

Can I get Wi-Fi without an internet provider?

You can get Wi-Fi without an internet provider by using public Wi-Fi hotspots or through your mobile provider’s hotspots. 

Can you install internet without a phone jack?

You can install most types of internet (cable, fiber, fixed wireless, and satellite) without a phone jack, Jack. DSL typically does require a phone jack—but not phone service. Some call this type of DSL service, where a phone jack is used but the customer doesn’t have to pay for phone service, “Naked DSL.”

Does a wireless router give you free internet?

No, a wireless router won’t work without an internet connection purchased from an internet provider (but it’d be pretty cool if it did).

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