Best Internet Providers in Arkansas – CNET

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What is the best internet provider in Arkansas?

AT&T has the best wired broadband coverage in Arkansas and is the leading fiber internet provider in Little Rock, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Hot Springs and Jonesboro. The fast, symmetrical speeds of a 100% fiber connection, varied plan selection, customer-friendly service terms and high customer satisfaction make AT&T our top pick for home internet service in Arkansas.

T-Mobile Home Internet is another solid choice for broadband, especially for those in rural parts of Arkansas, with speeds up to 72-245 megabits per second starting at just $30 per month for qualifying T-Mobile Magenta Max customers. For other low-cost options, look to Xfinity for the cheapest internet in Arkansas with speeds up to 75Mbps for only $20 per month for the first year. 

Xfinity also has one of the fastest internet plans in Arkansas, with download speeds up to 1,200Mbps starting at $85 per month. Kinetic and regional provider OzarksGo offer speeds of 2,000Mbps (2Gbps) or higher, while AT&T Fiber and RightFiber are the fastest providers in Arkansas, with 5Gbps plans available in select areas.

Our methodology

Best internet providers in Arkansas for 2023

AT&T Fiber

Best internet provider in Arkansas

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Product details


Price range

$55 – $250 per month

Speed range

300 – 5,000Mbps

Connection

Fiber

Key Info

Unlimited data, no contracts, equipment included

Among all major internet providers in Arkansas, AT&T Fiber has the highest customer satisfaction (per the most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index report) and ties with RightFiber for the fastest speeds. In areas where fiber service is unavailable, AT&T offers a copper-based internet connection that may be a practical broadband option in suburban or rural areas.

Availability: Fiber internet is available to around 37% of Arkansas households, according to the Federal Communications Commission, and the majority of that coverage comes from AT&T. Much of the greater Little Rock area, including down to Hot Springs and Pine Bluff, is serviceable for AT&T Fiber, as are parts of Fayetteville, Fort Smith and Jonesboro.

Plans and pricing: AT&T Fiber starts at $55 per month for symmetrical speeds of up to 300Mbps, meaning your uploads and downloads are equally fast, which can be important for video calls and online gaming. Speeds of 500Mbps and 1Gbps are also available starting at $65 and $80 per month, respectively, and select areas may have the option of 2Gbps and 5Gbps plans as well.

Fees and service details: AT&T Fiber service terms are as customer-friendly as any, with no equipment fees, unlimited data and no contract requirements.

Read our AT&T internet review.

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Cox Communications

Best cable internet in Arkansas

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Product details


Price range

$40 – $100 per month

Speed range

25 – 2,000Mbps

Connection

Cable, some fiber

Key Info

1.25TB monthly data allowance, lots of plan options, unique gaming add-on

Fiber internet is preferred, but cable is a close second when it comes to speed and overall value. Cox is the largest cable internet provider in Arkansas.

Availability: Xfinity is the go-to cable provider in Little Rock, but Cox serves other metro areas in Arkansas, including Fayetteville and Fort Smith.

Plans and pricing: Cox runs from $50 to $110 monthly for max download speeds of 100 to 1,000Mbps. Pricing is good for two years.

Fees and service details: Equipment rental will add $13 to your bill, though you can use your router and skip the fee. A 1.25TB monthly data cap applies to all plans, and going over may result in an added fee of up to $100.

Read our Cox Communications internet review.

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Xfinity

Best for cheap internet in Arkansas

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Product details


Price range

$20 – $300 per month

Speed range

75 – 6,000Mbps

Connection

Cable

Key Info

Data caps on some plans, lots of plan options, solid customer satisfaction numbers

Xfinity’s Connect plan is the cheapest in Arkansas, starting at $20 for download speeds up to 75Mbps. Other Xfinity plans are also competitively priced, at least for the first 12 to 24 months until the introductory rates expire.

Availability: Xfinity is the primary cable internet provider in Little Rock, but service is also available in Marion, Parkin and West Memphis.

Plans and pricing: Download speeds range from 75Mbps to 1.2Gbps for $20 to $85 monthly. Few providers, if any, have lower introductory pricing on comparable speed tiers, but be aware that the price increase after one or two years could raise your bill by $37 or more. Pricing on Xfinity Connect, for example, jumps from $20 to $52 per month after the first year.

Fees and service details: A one- or two-year contract may be required to get the lowest pricing on Xfinity plans. Wi-Fi equipment rental is included with select plans, a $13 monthly value. Service comes with a 1.2TB data cap, and going over will add $10 per 50GB block of data needed to compensate for the overage, up to a max of $100.

Read our Xfinity Internet review.

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T-Mobile Home Internet

Best rural ISP in Arkansas

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Product details


Price range

$50 per month ($30 for eligible mobile customers)

Speed range

72 – 245Mbps

Connection

Fixed wireless

Key Info

Unlimited data, equipment included, no contracts, no additional fees

Nearly 20% of Arkansas households don’t have access to a wired broadband internet connection with speeds of at least 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up. Wireless internet, like that of T-Mobile, helps bring broadband to areas where options are otherwise limited. 

Availability: T-Mobile has Arkansas’ best coverage of any nonsatellite internet provider. Around two-thirds of Arkansas households may be serviceable, but availability is harder to come by in rural areas just west of Little Rock.

Plans and pricing: T-Mobile Home Internet has one plan starting at $50 per month ($30 for qualifying Magenta Max customers) for download speeds ranging from 72 to 245Mbps.

Fees and service details: There are no equipment fees, data caps or contracts with T-Mobile Home Internet.

Read our T-Mobile Home Internet review.

. . .

HughesNet

Best satellite internet in Arkansas

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Product details


Price range

$50 – $150 per month

Speed range

15 – 50Mbps

Connection

Satellite

Key Info

No hard data cap, nationwide availability

The Natural State is home to some beautiful but remote areas — parts of the state where wired or fixed wireless connections aren’t available. HughesNet is arguably the cheapest and best option for broadband in such areas.

Availability: HughesNet is available throughout Arkansas. You should be eligible for service if you’ve got a decent view of the southern sky somewhere on your property.

Plans and pricing: HughesNet has long offered one download speed tier of 25Mbps, but has recently introduced speeds up to 50Mbps with up to 200GB of data in select areas. Pricing starts at $50 to $150 per month and is guaranteed for two years.

Fees and service details: Service comes with a two-year contract and an equipment fee of $15 per month or an initial single fee of $450. 

There are no added fees for going over your data allowance, but HughesNet will slow your speeds for the remainder of your billing cycle once you’ve reached your limit. Customers can purchase more data throughout the month or take advantage of the “Bonus Zone” data — an extra, free 50GB available between 2 and 8 a.m.

Read our HughesNet internet review.

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Arkansas internet providers compared

Provider Internet technology Monthly price range Speed range (Mbps) Monthly equipment costs Data cap Contract CNET review score
AT&T DSL, fiber $55-$250 10-100 DSL, 300-5,000 fiber None None None 7.4
Brightspeed DSL, fiber $50-$79 20-100 DSL, up to 940 fiber $15 None None N/A
Cablelynx Cable $30-$80 100-940 None 500-2,000GB, unlimited available 1 year N/A
Cox Cable $50-$110 100-1,000 $13 (optional) 1.25TB None 6.2
Fidelity Cable $25-$93 100-1,000 None None None N/A
HughesNet Satellite $50-$150 15-50 $15 monthly or $450 upfront  Varies, 15-100GB 2 years 5.7
Kinetic DSL, fiber $40-$180 15-100 DSL, 100-2,000 fiber $10 (optional) None None 6.7
Optimum Cable $40-$80 300-1,000 None None None 6.2
OzarksGo Fiber $50-$110 100-2,500 $5 None 1 year N/A
Rise Broadband Fixed wireless $45-$55 25-50 $10 250GB, unlimited optional None 6.2
RightFiber Fiber $70-$160 500-5,000 None None None N/A
T-Mobile Home Internet Fixed wireless $50 ($30 with eligible mobile plans) 72-245 None None None 7.4
South Central Connect Fiber $55-$100 200-1,000 None None None N/A
Starlink Low-orbit satellite $90-$120 20-220 $599 purchase fee None None N/A
Verizon 5G Home Internet Fixed wireless $50-$70 ($35-$45 for eligible Verizon Wireless customers) 85-1,000 None None None 7.2
Viasat Satellite $70-$300 12-100 $13 monthly or $299 upfront Varies, 40-300GB 2 years 6.1
Xfinity Cable $20-$85 75-1,200 $13 (optional) 1.25TB or unlimited 1-2 years 7

Show more (13 items)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

A look at other Arkansas ISPs

AT&T Internet: AT&T’s copper-based service, AT&T Internet, is available to more Arkansas homes than AT&T Fiber, but speeds are much slower (10-100Mbps) for around the same starting price of $55 per month. There’s also a monthly data cap of 1.5TB.

Brightspeed: Many Arkansas residents are familiar with CenturyLink, but new ISP Brightspeed recently acquired CenturyLink’s DSL and fiber networks throughout the state. Plans start at $50 for DSL or $59 for fiber, depending on the available connection type at your address. If you’re eligible for fiber, Brightspeed offers speeds up to 1Gbps starting at $79 monthly. 

Cablelynx: Regional cable provider Cablelynx offers service in Hot Springs, Pine Bluff, Searcy and other smaller Arkansas communities. With plans starting at $30 per month, Cablelynx is one of the cheaper internet options in Arkansas.

Fidelity: Another regional cable provider, Fidelity serves the southwestern suburbs of Little Rock and communities in the state’s northeast and southwest corners. Plans range from $25 to $93 per month for speeds of 100 to 1,000Mbps.

Kinetic: A top choice for internet in suburban and rural areas, Kinetic offers speeds up to 100Mbps or higher with its DSL service and up to 2,000Mbps via its fiber network. Pricing starts at around $40 per month for either service type.

Optimum: Previously known in Arkansas as Suddenlink, Altice brand Optimum is the third largest cable ISP in the state. Pricing, speeds and service terms are competitive, but the history of low customer satisfaction is a potential red flag.

OzarksGo: Fiber internet is hard to come by in Arkansas compared to other states, but those to the northwest, above Fort Smith, may be eligible for OzarksGo, a regional fiber internet provider. Service starts at $50 per month for max speeds of 100Mbps and faster speeds, up to 2,500Mbps, are available.

A view of Little Rock, Arkansas

Getty Images

Rise Broadband: Fixed wireless internet isn’t always ideal, but it’s often a step above satellite service. Rise Broadband offers speeds as fast or faster than satellite (25 to 50Mbps) and much higher data allowances (250GB to unlimited). Pricing isn’t bad, either, at $45 to $55 per month, but a possible and unavoidable equipment fee may add $10 to your bill.

RightFiber: With service starting at $70 per month, RightFiber isn’t the cheapest ISP in Arkansas, but it is one of the fastest, with speed tiers ranging from 500Mbps to 5Gbps. Availability is limited to south of Jonesboro and parts of Searcy and Stuttgart, but anytime there’s an internet provider with “fiber” in the name, it’s worth checking out.

South Central Connect: Another regional fiber provider in Arkansas, South Central Connect has a large presence in the Arkadelphia area. Plans range from $55 to $110 monthly for speeds of 200 to 1,000Mbps.

Starlink: Satellite internet is notorious for relatively slow speeds, high latency and restrictive data caps. Starlink and its armada of low-orbiting satellites looks to change that, but pricing is still sky-high: $90 to $120 per month, not to mention the nearly $600 for equipment.

Verizon 5G Home Internet: Verizon proves that wireless internet speeds can compete with cable or fiber connections with a max range of 50 to 1,000Mbps. Availability on the provider’s two plans — Home starting at $50 per month for 50 to 300Mbps and Home Plus starting at $70 for 85 to 1,000Mbps — is largely limited to the Little Rock area. There are no equipment fees, data caps or contracts, and Verizon mobile customers may be eligible for a $15 to $25 discount off home internet service.

Viasat: When satellite internet is all that’s available, Viasat may be faster than HughesNet (up to 100Mbps in select areas) and come with more data per month (up to 300GB), albeit for a higher price. Viasat starts at $70 to $300 per month and the rate may increase significantly after the first three months.

Cheap internet options in Arkansas

The cost of internet in Arkansas will depend on the available providers in your area, the plan you choose and any added fees, such as for equipment rental. It’s possible to get internet in Arkansas for $20 to $30 per month from providers such as Xfinity and Cablelynx, though equipment fees will add to the cost, and the rate may increase by $30 or more once the introductory rate expires.

Cheapest internet plans in Arkansas

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Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

How to find internet deals and promotions in Arkansas

The best internet deals and the top promotions in Arkansas depend on what discounts are available during that time period. Most deals are short-lived, but we look frequently for the latest offers. 

Arkansas internet providers such as Xfinity may offer lower introductory pricing or other perks for a limited time. Many, however, including AT&T, Cox and Kinetic run the same standard pricing year-round. 

For a more extensive list of deals, check out our guide on the best internet deals

How fast is Arkansas broadband?

Median download speeds in Arkansas are lower than the national average (153Mbps compared to 210Mbps), according to recent Ookla speed test data. Median upload speeds were higher, however, at 32Mbps compared to the national average of around 23Mbps.

Max speeds of 5Gbps are available in Arkansas thanks to high-speed providers like AT&T Fiber and RightFiber, but availability is limited. Single-gig service, typically between 940Mbps and 1,200Mbps, is more widely available in Arkansas from cable internet providers like Cox and Xfinity.

Fastest internet plans in Arkansas

Plan Starting price Max download speed (Mbps) Max upload speed (Mbps) Data cap Connection type
RightFiber 5 Gig $160 5,000 5,000 None Fiber
AT&T Fiber 5000 $250 5,000 5,000 None Fiber
OzarksGo Gigabit Plus $110 2,500 2,500 None Fiber
Kinetic 2 Gig $180 2,000 2,000 None Fiber
Xfinity Gigabit Pro $85 1,200 50 1.25TB Cable
Optimum 1 Gig $80 1,000 35 None Cable
Cox Gigablast $110 940 35 1.25TB Cable
Verizon 5G Home Plus Internet $70 ($45 with qualifying Verizon 5G mobile plans) 85-1,000 10-75 None Fixed wireless

Show more (4 items)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

A number of other providers, including Cablelynx, Brightspeed and Fidelity offer gig download speeds as well. While the fast speeds are tempting, they may be more than you need. It’s important to understand what speeds are best for your home and choose a plan that can best accommodate your needs. 

What’s a good internet speed?

Most internet connection plans can now handle basic productivity and communication tasks. If you’re looking for an internet plan that can accommodate videoconferencing, streaming video or gaming, you’ll have a better experience with a more robust connection. Here’s an overview of the recommended minimum download speeds for various applications, according to the FCC. Note that these are only guidelines — and that internet speed, service and performance vary by connection type, provider and address.

For more information, refer to our guide on how much internet speed you really need.

  • 0 to 5Mbps allows you to tackle the basics — browsing the internet, sending and receiving email, streaming low-quality video.
  • 5 to 40Mbps gives you higher-quality video streaming and videoconferencing.
  • 40 to 100Mbps should give one user sufficient bandwidth to satisfy the demands of modern telecommuting, video streaming and online gaming. 
  • 100 to 500Mbps allows one to two users to simultaneously engage in high-bandwidth activities like videoconferencing, streaming and online gaming.  
  • 500 to 1,000Mbps allows three or more users to engage in high-bandwidth activities all at the same time.

How CNET chose the best internet providers in Arkansas

Internet service providers are numerous and regional. Unlike the latest smartphone, laptop, router or kitchen tool, it’s impractical to personally test every ISP in a given city. So what’s our approach? We start by researching the pricing, availability and speed information drawing on our own historical ISP data, the provider sites and mapping information from the Federal Communications Commission at FCC.gov.

But it doesn’t end there. We go to the FCC’s website to check our data and ensure we consider every ISP that provides service in an area. We also input local addresses on provider websites to find specific options for residents. We look at sources, including the American Customer Satisfaction Index and J.D. Power, to evaluate how happy customers are with an ISP’s service. ISP plans and prices are subject to frequent changes; all information provided is accurate as of the time of publication.

Once we have this localized information, we ask three main questions:

  1. Does the provider offer access to reasonably fast internet speeds?
  2. Do customers get decent value for what they’re paying?
  3. Are customers happy with their service?

While the answer to those questions is often layered and complex, the providers who come closest to “yes” on all three are the ones we recommend. When it comes to selecting the cheapest internet service, we look for the plans with the lowest monthly fee, though we also factor in things like price increases, equipment fees and contracts. Choosing the fastest internet service is relatively straightforward. We look at advertised upload and download speeds, and also take into account real-world speed data from sources like Ookla and FCC reports.

What’s the final word on internet providers in Arkansas?

AT&T Fiber would be my first choice for home internet in Arkansas due to its fast speeds, fair pricing and high customer satisfaction, but availability is limited. Other providers, including Cox, Xfinity and various regional ISPs, bring cable and fiber connections to homes across Arkansas. In contrast, T-Mobile and satellite internet providers help to fill the broadband gap where wired connections are unavailable.

Available speeds and pricing will vary depending on the internet providers in your area, but it’s possible to get speeds up to 5Gbps or a plan as low as $20 per month in Arkansas. Before signing up for an internet service, explore all available options to find the best ISP and plan for your needs and budget.

Internet providers in Arkansas FAQs

What is the best internet provider in Arkansas?

Is fiber internet available in Arkansas?

What is the cheapest internet provider in Arkansas?

What ISP has the fastest internet in Arkansas?

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