Products You May Like
Denver is one of my favorite cities. I was born there and I’m a lifelong Broncos fan. Putting that aside, it’s simply a beautiful part of the country. However, while it ranks near the top of the best cities in my heart, its internet speed is… not so good. Yes, the 19th most populous US metro area places among the bottom five of the country’s fastest cities for broadband. Even I have to admit, that’s a bummer.
Ookla, known for its Speedtest, keeps tabs on the top 100 cities in the US and ranks them for median download speeds based on data gleaned from the countless speed tests run by the site’s users. Based on Ookla’s second-quarter 2023 report, Denver limped into 98th place with a median download speed of approximately 111 megabits per second. That’s one of the slowest median speeds among all the cities CNET has covered thus far, including the smaller cities of Austin (236Mbps), Charlotte (223Mbps), Orlando (217Mbps) and St. Louis (178Mbps).
One major reason for Denver’s lower median speeds is the lack of faster fiber connections throughout the metro area. Yes, you can get fiber service in Colorado’s capital city. But, one of the main providers, CenturyLink, is just as likely to have only DSL service at many addresses as its Quantum Fiber offering. That said, decent speeds are also available from Comcast’s cable internet service, Xfinity, which also has a wide footprint in the area.
Best internet providers in the Mile High City
Denver also has a variety of fixed wireless solutions, including 5G home internet options, to help connect Coloradans. CNET examines customer service, speed, pricing and overall value before recommending the best broadband in your area. All prices listed on this page reflect available discounts for setting up paperless billing. If you decide not to go with automatic monthly payments, your price will be higher. To help you sort out your choices in the Mile High City, here’s what you need to know about the best internet providers in Denver.
Note: The prices, speeds and features detailed in the article text may differ from those listed in the product detail cards, which represent providers’ national offerings. Your particular internet service options — including prices and speeds — depend on your address and may differ from those detailed here.
Internet providers in Denver overview
|Provider||Internet technology||Monthly price range||Speed range||Monthly equipment costs||Data cap||Contract||CNET review score|
|CenturyLink/Quantum Fiber||DSL/fiber||$30-$70||20-940Mbps||$15 (optional)||None||None||6.7|
|Google Fiber Webpass||Fixed wireless||$63-$70||1,000Mbps||None||None||None||7.4|
|Rise Broadband||Fixed wireless||$25-$75||25-50Mbps||$10 modem; $5-$15 router (optional)||250GB or unlimited||None, but required for some promotions||6.2|
|T-Mobile Home Internet||Fixed wireless||$50 ($30 with eligible phone plans)||72-245Mbps||None||None||None||7.4|
|Verizon 5G Home Internet||Fixed wireless||$50-$70 (50% off with eligible phone plans||85-1,000Mbps||None||None||None||7.2|
|Xfinity||Cable||$20-$300||75-6,000Mbps||$15 (optional)||1.2TB||1-2 years for some plans||7|
Show more (2 items)
Source: CNET analysis of provider data
All available Denver residential internet providers
The Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metro area has other internet service providers beyond our top three picks. Here are your other ISP options.
- Google Fiber Webpass: This fixed wireless solution from Google Fiber is similar to Starry Internet. It’s focused on apartment buildings and offers a high-speed service that’s one plan only: symmetrical gigabit speeds for $70 a month (or $63 a month with a yearly plan). Like its Google Fiber offering, Webpass features free installation and requires no contracts and equipment fees. Not as widely available in the Mile High City as Starry Internet, Webpass can be found at select addresses in the Highland, River North Art District and West Colfax areas.
- Rise Broadband: Though you can find some availability within city limits for this fixed wireless provider, it’s a likelier solution for the more suburban and rural areas of the Denver metro area, including Evergreen to the west and Parker to the south. You can expect to see speeds as high as 50Mbps and some unlimited data options too, so Rise Broadband is a viable option in rural areas where satellite may be the main competition.
- Satellite internet: No matter where you live in the US, satellite internet is an option. Is it your best option? Probably not, especially if you live within Denver city limits. There are going to be cheaper and faster plans available. But if you’re in the more rural outskirts of the Mile High City (I’m thinking Highlands Ranch, Roxborough Park, Sedalia and the like), you might seriously consider this mode as a way of being connected. HughesNet and Viasat, which both require two-year contract commitments, are your two most likely choices. Starlink, which currently has portions of the Denver area on a waitlist (per the Starlink availability map), might be an attractive alternative later in 2023.
- T-Mobile Home Internet: T-Mobile’s fixed wireless solution uses the carrier’s 4G LTE and 5G networks to provide cellular internet coverage for your home. The mobile carrier has been aggressively pushing its $50-per-month service, including such perks as a price-lock guarantee and a $20 discount for eligible Magenta Max customers. It’s appealingly straightforward — no contracts, equipment or setup fees and no data caps. While T-Mobile Home Internet is available throughout the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metro area, you’ll need to check your address on the T-Mobile site to determine if you’re eligible for home internet service.
- Ting Internet: This fiber internet provider is local to the south Denver suburb of Centennial. It caters to those looking for superfast and reliable internet service, featuring a symmetrical 1,000Mbps plan for $89 a month. There’s also an affordable option at $19 per month for symmetrical 5Mbps speeds. Equipment rental is $9 monthly or a one-time fee of $199. Suppose you’re interested in preordering service because Ting is not yet available in your neighborhood. In that case, the company requires a $9 deposit, which will be credited back to your first month’s bill (or refunded if Ting does not ultimately come to your area).
- Verizon 5G Home Internet: Verizon’s 5G fixed wireless home internet product has a higher average download speed (300Mbps) than T-Mobile Home Internet and subscribes to a similar “everything’s included in one price” approach — installation, equipment and fees for $50 a month. On top of that, eligible Verizon Wireless customers can get a 50% discount to boot.
Internet pricing in Denver
If you look at the promo prices for all providers (and not the regular rates that kick in after the introductory period), the average starting price for internet service in Denver is approximately $39 per month. That’s pretty good. It puts Coloradans’ beloved “Cow Town” near the front of the line of other cities CNET has covered thus far, including Brooklyn ($36 a month), Los Angeles ($38 a month), San Francisco ($40 a month), New York City ($41 per month), Seattle ($42 a month), Austin, Dallas and Philadelphia (all around $43 per month), Houston ($45 a month), Phoenix ($46 per month), Atlanta ($47 a month), Orlando and San Antonio ($48 per month) and, all at $50 monthly – Charlotte, Chicago, Las Vegas, San Diego and St. Louis.
Cheap internet options in the Mile High City
Regarding specific plans, the lowest starting price belongs to Starry Connect, which offers a low-income internet plan of 30Mbps for only $15 a month. However, that’s only available to eligible public and affordable housing complexes. For everyone else, the cheapest internet plan you can find in Denver is Xfinity’s Connect plan, which features 75Mbps download speeds for $20 per month. Granted, that price jumps to $50 after your promo period, but at that point, you can consider other options (or negotiate with your provider) before committing to that plan at the higher price.
Speaking of cheap internet, particularly low-income internet options, you should be aware that all the providers we’ve listed also participate in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program. It provides eligible low-income households a $30 monthly discount for affordable, high-speed internet. The ACP can go towards any internet plan (not just lower-tiered offerings) from participating providers. In May 2022, 20 providers partnered with the White House on its digital divide initiatives and vowed to offer plans of at least 100Mbps that customers could ultimately get for free when paired with the ACP.
What are the cheapest internet plans in Denver?
|Provider||Starting monthly price||Max download speed||Monthly equipment fee||Contract|
|Ting Internet||$20||5Mbps||$9 or $199 one-time purchase||None|
|Xfinity||$20||75Mbps||$15 (optional)||1 year|
|Rise Broadband||$25||25Mbps||$10 modem; $5-$15 router (optional)||None, but required for some promotions|
|HughesNet||$50||25Mbps||$15 or $450 one-time purchase||2 years|
|T-Mobile Home Internet||$50 ($30 with eligible phone plans)||245Mbps||None||None|
|Verizon 5G Home Internet||$50 ($25 with eligible phone plans)||300Mbps||None||None|
|Viasat||$70||25Mbps||$15 or $300 one-time purchase||2 years|
|Google Fiber Webpass||$70 ($63 with year commitment)||1,000Mbps||None||None|
Show more (5 items)
Source: CNET analysis of provider data.
Fastest internet providers in Denver
Regarding internet speeds, “Cow Town” is almost too appropriate. As mentioned earlier, Denver didn’t fare well on its median download internet speeds compared to other top US cities. Ookla’s speed test data shows Xfinity as Denver’s fastest provider, with a median download speed of approximately 232Mbps in the area.
There’s only one major multi-gigabit provider within the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metro area — Xfinity’s Gigabit Pro plan, which is not widely available. That should soon change as Quantum Fiber (CenturyLink) plans to bring multi-gig plans to the Denver area. But until then, let’s say that Denver’s not exactly Chattanooga fast regarding internet speed.
What are the fastest internet plans in Denver?
|Provider||Max download speed||Max upload speed||Starting monthly price||Data cap||Contract|
|Xfinity Gigabit Pro||6,000Mbps||6,000Mbps||$300||None||2 years|
|Xfinity Gigabit X2||2,000Mbps||35Mbps||$120||1.2TB||None|
|Xfinity Gigabit Extra||1,200Mbps||35Mbps||$80||None||None|
|Ting Internet||1,000Mbps||1,000Mbps||$90||$9 or $199 one-time purchase||None|
|Google Fiber Webpass||1,000Mbps||1,000Mbps||70 ($63 with year commitment)||None||None|
Show more (3 items)
Source: CNET analysis of provider data.
The final word on Denver internet providers
While you can certainly find ways to connect in Denver, there aren’t the same number of options available here as you might find in some other big cities across the country. Xfinity’s cable internet — and the seven different plans it offers — will probably be your top option, but if your address is serviceable for CenturyLink’s fiber offering (and make sure it’s fiber, not the DSL service), make that your first choice.
How CNET chose the best internet providers in Denver
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’re considering every ISP that provides service in an area. We also input local addresses on provider websites to find specific options for residents. To evaluate how happy customers are with an ISP’s service, we look at sources including the American Customer Satisfaction Index and J.D. Power. 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:
- Does the provider offer access to reasonably fast internet speeds?
- Do customers get decent value for what they’re paying?
- 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.
To explore our process in more depth, visit our How We Test ISPs page.