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2024年 2月 23日 金曜日

Best Internet Providers in Los Angeles

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Los Angeles is a magical place. At least, that’s what it seems to me from the outside. It’s home to the rich and famous, the Lakers, the Dodgers, Hollywood and the Santa Monica Pier. It’s also home to more broadband options than most cities. 

Shop around and you’ll find broadband choices from fast fiber providers like AT&T and Frontier, reliable cable connections from Cox and Spectrum, the growing availability of 5G home internet from Verizon and T-Mobile and more.

That said, Los Angeles internet speeds are somewhat bogged down by many DSL networks that major providers like AT&T and Frontier still use. Per Ookla’s latest reporting, Los Angeles placed as only the 66th fastest city among the top 100 metro areas in the US. 

It scored a median download speed of just over 190 megabits per second and a median upload speed of nearly 17Mbps. Comparing that to just some of the cities CNET has covered thus far, San Antonio and Austin were in the top 10 on the list (both with median download speeds above 235Mbps), and the country’s most populous metro area, New York, made the top 35. That said, it’s also not in the bottom 10, like Chicago, Dallas, Denver and Seattle

In addition to fiber, cable and DSL options, Los Angeles is also home to several third-party providers — like EarthLink, EIN, Synergy Internet and Ultra Home Internet — that offer service using the networks of some providers listed below, like AT&T and Spectrum. We won’t get into those, nor the ever-available HughesNet and Viasat, since all Los Angeles addresses should have faster and more flexible alternatives than satellite internet

So which companies are the best internet providers in Los Angeles? Residents who want a better understanding of that question should keep reading. Whether you are looking for the best internet speed or the lowest monthly price, we’ve tracked down info on the internet service providers in the area so that you can pick the option that works for you.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

  • Price range: $55 to $180 per month
  • Speed range: 300 to 5,000Mbps
  • Highlights: Unlimited data, no contracts, equipment included
  • Special offers: Up to $150 gift card if you sign up online 

I almost put an asterisk by this because not all AT&T serviceability areas in Los Angeles can get AT&T Fiber. In some cases, you might have to settle for AT&T Internet, a copper DSL service that is not nearly as compelling and, in some areas, might have a top speed of 10Mbps. DSL is so old news that during an AT&T investor day event in March 2022, the company announced a commitment to reduce its copper footprint by 50% by 2025. 

But back to AT&T Fiber. It offers excellent value. Most AT&T Fiber households in Los Angeles are eligible for its three main plans — 300Mbps, 500Mbps or 1000Mbps — and a growing number are becoming serviceable for its fastest options, a 2 gigabits per second plan and a 5Gbps tier, which is the fastest residential plan you can find in Tinseltown. All AT&T Fiber plans feature symmetrical upload and download speeds, no data caps, no term agreements and no equipment rental fee. 

Read our AT&T home internet review.

AT&T Home Internet

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Sarah Tew/CNET

  • Price range: $50 to $90 per month
  • Speed range: 300 to 940Mbps
  • Highlights: No data caps, no contracts, free modem rental
  • Special offers: Free access to nationwide Wi-Fi hotspots

Charter Communications’ broadband service is available to nearly every neighborhood in Los Angeles (the Palos Verdes Peninsula and a few scattered pockets notwithstanding) and brings with it some of the most straightforward terms to be found from a cable internet provider. There are no term agreements, no early termination fees and no data limits. It also includes the modem in the monthly costs (though you’ll need to add $5 a month if you want a Wi-Fi router). 

As a cable internet provider, Spectrum won’t be able to match the symmetrical speeds of a fiber ISP, but its three speed tiers — featuring download speeds of 300, 500 and 940Mbps — should be more than adequate for most customers. So, it may not have the splashy multigigabit option like some AT&T areas, but Spectrum customers can lean on the consistency of the service throughout the city.

Read our Spectrum review.

Spectrum Internet

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Sarah Tew/CNET

  • Price range: $15 to $80 per month
  • Speed range: 30 to 1,000Mbps
  • Highlights: Unlimited data, free equipment and installation, no contracts
  • Special offers: 30-Day Happy Interneting Guarantee promises a full refund if you’re not satisfied with the service and cancel within the first month

Starry Internet was riding high after being named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Companies of 2022. But by December 2022, it hit a bit of a speed bump with the New York Stock Exchange. Nevertheless, Starry strives to put the customer first by making high-speed internet affordable and hassle-free. It uses similar millimeter-wave technology as 5G to deliver high-speed broadband to customers’ homes.

For the Los Angeles market, Starry Internet coverage includes some of downtown Los Angeles, as well as Beverly Hills, Burbank, Long Beach and Santa Monica. Most customers will have access to Starry’s 200Mbps tier for $50. But some areas might be able to sign up for Starry Connect — its low-cost internet access program for $15 (which customers could get for free through the government’s Affordable Connectivity Program) — or Starry Gigabit, which boasts 1Gbps download and 500Mbps upload speeds for $80.

Read our Starry home internet overview.

Overview of the best internet providers in Los Angeles

AT&T

Cox

Frontier

Spectrum

Starry

Internet technology

DSL/fiber

Cable

DSL/fiber

Cable

Fixed wireless

Monthly price range

$55-$180

$50-$120

$55-$155

$50-$120

$15-$80

Speed range

10-5,000Mbps

100-1,000Mbps

9-2,000Mbps

300-940Mbps

50-1,000Mbps

Equipment costs

None

$13/month (skippable)

None

Free modem; $5 router

None

Data cap

None

1.25TB

None

None

None

Contract

None

Not required, but needed for the lowest promo rate

None

None

None

CNET review score

7.4

6.2

6

7.2

7

Additional Los Angeles internet providers

There are other ISPs in the City of Angels beyond our top three picks for the best internet providers in Los Angeles. In some cases, they may be available to only small portions of LA but might be a viable choice for one reason or another. 

  • Cox: Although it’s one of the country’s biggest cable internet providers, Cox has a relatively small footprint in the Los Angeles metro area. It’s solely available in the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Starting prices for plans begin at $50 per month for 100Mbps download and go up to $80 per month for its gigabit option. 
  • Frontier: Frontier has a notable presence in the Los Angeles market. In fact, according to Ookla’s most recent data, Frontier is the area’s fastest provider on average, at approximately 266Mbps download speed. Its DSL and fiber-optic service are scattered throughout the area, including some of Beverly Hills, Long Beach, the San Fernando Valley, Santa Monica and portions of western LA. Similar to our guidance on AT&T, if Frontier’s DSL service is the only option at your address, seek other alternatives. But if Frontier Fiber is on the table — which has options for 500Mbps, gigabit or 2Gbps symmetrical speeds starting at $55-$155 per month — you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option.
  • Race Communications: Like Cox, Race Communications has a fairly small piece of the pie in the Los Angeles market. It’s mainly situated in Marina del Rey, Playa Vista and Santa Monica. But unlike Cox, and all other providers listed here, it’s a 100% fiber-optic service. There are two plan options: $25 a month for 25Mbps, or Gig service for a very affordable $60 monthly.
  • Sonic Telecom: This ISP is mainly known for offering service in the Bay Area. But Angelenos can find Sonic service in a handful of neighborhoods, including Beverly Hills, Glendale, Inglewood, Pasadena and West Hollywood. Although Sonic is known for building 100% fiber networks, much of its offering in the LA market is older DSL, and most of its fiber service in the area currently utilizes AT&T’s fiber network. 
  • T-Mobile Home Internet: T-Mobile’s fixed wireless home internet solution uses its 5G and 4G LTE networks to get customers online at an average download speed between 33-182Mbps. It’s appealing for its simplicity: $50 a month covers all equipment, taxes, installation fees and services. There are no data caps and no contracts required. Although it’s technically available throughout the Los Angeles metro area, you’ll need to plug in your address on the T-Mobile site to see if you’re serviceable. 
  • Verizon 5G Home Internet: Like T-Mobile, this is a fixed wireless home internet option. But unlike T-Mobile, Verizon leans more heavily on its Ultra Wideband 5G technology, so its average download speeds are higher, around 300Mbps. It also features an all-in price that covers taxes, installation fees and equipment, but splits the cost into two buckets: $50 a month for a two-year price-lock guarantee, or $70 a month for a three-year price-lock and additional perks.  
 Los Angeles skyline at sunset

Citizen of the Planet/Education Images/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Further details on home internet in Los Angeles

It’s one thing to get an overview of the best internet providers in Los Angeles. But the questions we get most often revolve around finding the cheapest internet plans or the fastest possible options. So, let’s drill down more specifically on those two areas.

Los Angeles internet pricing

The average starting price for internet service in Los Angeles is approximately $38 per month. Of the other major markets CNET has covered thus far, only Brooklyn rings in at a lower starting price ($36 a month).

Though Starry is only available within the city, it rings in with the lowest starting price at $15 a month for its Starry Connect plan. 

The prize of the highest starting price goes to AT&T and its new Internet 5000 plan, unveiled in 2022, at $180 a month. We’ll talk more about it in a few moments when we discuss the fastest plans available in Los Angeles. But it should be noted that despite the high monthly cost, it’s actually a high-value plan: it has a very low cost of just under 4 cents per Mbps, which is the best we’ve seen for any plan we’ve covered thus far at CNET.

As for your low-cost internet options, Angelenos have several choices from internet providers in the area, nearly all of whom participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program from the Federal Communications Commission. It provides a $30 per month benefit to qualifying households to help them afford high-speed internet service. As you can see from the chart below, some providers’ cheap internet plans — like those from Cox, Race Communications and Starry — will ultimately be free when combined with the ACP credit.

What’s the cheapest internet in Los Angeles?

Provider Starting price Standard price Max download speed Monthly equipment fee Contract

Starry Connect

$15

$15

30Mbps

None

None

Race Communications

$25

$25

25Mbps

$10 (skippable)

None

Starry Basic

$30

$30

50Mbps

None

None

Sonic Telecom

$40

$40

25Mbps

Varies

None

Cox

$50

$50

100Mbps

$13 (skippable)

T-Mobile Home Internet

$50

$50

182Mbps

None

None

Verizon 5G Home Internet

$50

$50

300Mbps

None

None

Spectrum

$50

$80

300Mbps

Free modem; $5 router

None

Frontier Fiber 500

$55

$55

500Mbps

None

None

AT&T Fiber 300

$55

$55

300Mbps

None

None

Internet speeds in Los Angeles

As I mentioned earlier in this article, Los Angeles isn’t among the top 50 fastest cities in the US. A big reason is that 100% fiber connections are not yet as prevalent as cable and DSL connections in the city. But major efforts by AT&T (making its new Internet 2000 and Internet 5000 plans more widely available) and Frontier (whose 2-gigabit plan is now available for all locations serviceable for its Fiber offerings) should help boost those stats.

What are the fastest internet plans in Los Angeles?

Provider Starting price Max download speed Max upload speed Data cap Contract

AT&T Fiber 5000

$180

5,000Mbps

5,000Mbps

None

None

AT&T Fiber 2000

$110

2,000Mbps

2,000Mbps

None

None

Frontier Fiber 2 Gig

$155

2,000Mbps

2,000Mbps

None

None

Race Internet Gigafy Me

$60

1,000Mbps

1,000Mbps

None

None

Frontier Fiber 1 Gig

$80

1,000Mbps

1,000Mbps

None

None

Starry Gigabit

$80

1,000Mbps

500Mbps

None

None

Spectrum Internet Gig

$90

940Mbps

35Mbps

None

None

Cox Gigablast

$100

940Mbps

35Mbps

1.25TB

1 year

What’s the bottom line on the best internet providers in Los Angeles?

Spectrum is tough to beat among Los Angeles internet providers if you’re looking for consistent service and wide availability. Yet AT&T’s fiber plans take the top prize for the fastest — including symmetrical download and upload speeds — plans to be found in LA. Overall, change is coming over the next few years in the City of Angels, as providers like AT&T and Frontier start to move away from their older DSL lines (which are still prominent in the area) toward their growing fiber networks. Cable internet still rules in LA, but fiber is the future. 

Best internet providers in Los Angeles FAQs

How much does internet service cost in Los Angeles?

Most internet providers in Los Angeles offer at least three different tiers, ranging in price from a low of $15 per month to a high of $180 monthly. Overall, the average starting cost for a provider’s cheapest plan is $38 per month. Keep in mind that some providers also charge an additional cost to rent their modem and router.

Which internet provider in Los Angeles is the cheapest?

Looking only at the starting price, the cheapest internet provider in Los Angeles would be Starry, with its Starry Connect plan for $15 monthly. However, that plan’s not available to all Starry customers. Next in line for the cheapest internet provider in Los Angeles would be Race Communications and its Basic Broadband Plus plan, which is 25Mbps download and 25Mbps upload for $25 per month.

Can I get fiber internet in Los Angeles?

Yes. Although fiber internet connections are currently not as prevalent in Los Angeles as cable internet or DSL, you can find fiber internet throughout Los Angeles County. Top fiber internet providers in Los Angeles include AT&T, Frontier and Race Communications.

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