The speed of your broadband internet connection (always-on, high-capacity, wide-bandwidth) has never been more important. It’s the conduit that connects your laptops, tablets, handhelds, entertainment systems, and home automation devices to the outside world—and to one another.
Your connection must be able to handle vital content for work, play, and stay in touch. It must be able to support all forms of modern communication, from simple text to phone calls and video conferencing. Don’t forget about gaming: Your gaming would be lonely, single-player activity if you didn’t have access to the internet.
In the last several years, Internet service providers (ISPs), the corporations that deliver high-speed broadband connections to your home, have increased speeds. In 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) redefined broadband as an always-on connection with a minimum download speed of 25Mbps and upload speed of 3Mbps (up from 4Mbps down and 1Mbps up).
Some others want the FCC to raise the speed limit to 100Mbps. The data, according to the US Government Accountability Office, need to be updated. Senators have previously resisted this, preferring to see lower speeds qualify as broadband—mostly because having so many households without internet up to the minimum requirement makes the country look terrible.
Competition would be even more beneficial. Local ISPs (as well as one-of-a-kind firms like Google and Starlink) have pushed big-name companies like Comcast to increase speeds while keeping costs low. There are currently entire cities that claim gigabit internet status; ISPs in those areas, which are typically municipally owned or run by a utility company, provide connections of 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) or more. That’s 1,000 times faster than 1Mbps and 40 times faster than what the FCC considers broadband. It wouldn’t be difficult to get to 100Mbps.
ISPs are increasing speeds mostly through fiber-optic lines, but they are also increasing speeds via cable connections. In reality, with the DOCSIS standard that most cable companies utilize on their equipment, rates as high as 10Gbps can be achieved. And while such speed is appearing in some places, expect to pay a premium for it.
Still, average speeds in the United States are nowhere near those in many other countries. Normally, we lag far behind.
Plus, can you believe that you’re getting what you pay for just because a big-name ISP or even a small local provider says you’ll get a specific level of throughput?
Every year, reviews the Fastest Internet Service Providers in the United States and Canada, based on information submitted by our readers. We utilize our own Okalas Speed Test to determine it. Click GO to put your connection to the test right now. You are welcome to come as frequently as you wish. Please share it with your friends. It’s better if there are a lot of them. (For the most accurate results, turn off your VPN and any streaming activities.)
We’ll use that information to compare and contrast download and upload speeds using a technique we call the Okalas Internet Speed Index: a numerical value that directly compares ISPs. We’ll look at it on a national level, state by state, and even at the municipal level in some circumstances. In any case, if your ISP passes a sufficient number of tests, we’ll examine where it stands.
We use the information we collect about the quality of your connection to help us find the Best Gaming ISPs.