Best Internet Providers in Illinois – CNET

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What is the best internet provider in Illinois?

AT&T Fiber has the greatest fiber internet coverage in Illinois, one of the best selections of high-speed plans to include unlimited data and free equipment and the highest customer satisfaction of any major provider in the state.

AT&T Fiber is the best internet provider in Illinois overall for several reasons, but it isn’t the cheapest or the fastest ISP in the state. Xfinity has both the cheapest internet plan — with service starting at $20 per month — and the fastest multigigabit plan, up to 10,000Mbps. Xfinity also has the best availability of any non-satellite provider in Illinois. 

Xfinity and AT&T are top choices for internet in Illinois. Still, the best internet service provider for your home will ultimately depend on the available internet providers in your area and what you’re looking for, whether that’s the cheapest service, the fastest speeds or the best overall value.

Our methodology

CNET considers speeds, pricing, customer service and overall value to recommend the best internet service in Illinois across a number of categories. Our evaluation includes referencing a proprietary database built over years of reviewing internet services. We validate that against provider information by spot-checking local addresses for service availability. We also do a close read of providers’ terms and conditions and, when needed, will call ISPs to verify the details.

Despite our efforts to find the most recent and accurate information, our process has some limitations you should know about. Pricing and speed data are variable: certain addresses may qualify for different service tiers, and monthly costs may vary, even within a city. The best way to identify your particular options is to plug your address into a provider’s website. 

Also, the prices, speed and other information listed above and in the provider cards below may differ from what we found in our research. The cards display the full range of a provider’s pricing and speed across the US, according to our database of plan information provided directly by ISPs. At the same time, the text is specific to what’s available in Illinois. The prices referenced within this article’s text come from our research and include applicable discounts for setting up automatic payments each month — a standard industry offering. Other discounts and promotions might also be available for things like signing a term contract or bundling with multiple services. 

To learn more about how we review internet providers, visit our full methodology page.

Best internet in Illinois

Connection

Fiber

Speed range

300 – 5,000 Mbps

Price range

$55 – $250 per month

Our take – Fiber internet has the fastest speed potential and best reliability of any internet connection type. AT&T Fiber is the largest fiber internet provider in Illinois.

. . .

Check with AT&T

Connection

Fiber

Speed range

300 – 5,000 Mbps

Price range

$55 – $250 per month

Connection

Fiber

Speed range

300 – 5,000 Mbps

Price range

$55 – $250 per month

Connection

Cable

Speed range

75 – 2,000 Mbps

Price range

$20 – $120 per month

Our take – Xfinity is the main cable internet provider in Illinois, covering nearly three-quarters of households in the state, according to the Federal Communication Commission. Fiber internet is also available in select areas and offers the fastest speeds from any major ISP in Illinois.

. . .

Check with Xfinity

Connection

Cable

Speed range

75 – 2,000 Mbps

Price range

$20 – $120 per month

Connection

Cable

Speed range

75 – 2,000 Mbps

Price range

$20 – $120 per month

Connection

Cable

Speed range

100 – 1,500 Mbps

Price range

$20 – $80 per month

Our take – Xfinity has the outright cheapest internet plan, but Astound’s cheapest plan is only $5 more per month and comes with faster speeds for a lower cost per Mbps. The equipment rental fee is also $10 cheaper, giving Astound the lower all-in cost, although a $13 network fee may offset those savings.

. . .

Check with Astound

Connection

Cable

Speed range

100 – 1,500 Mbps

Price range

$20 – $80 per month

Connection

Cable

Speed range

100 – 1,500 Mbps

Price range

$20 – $80 per month

Connection

Fixed wireless

Speed range

72 – 245 Mbps

Price range

$50 per month

Our take – Cable and fiber internet connections reach about 90% of Illinois households, per the FCC. For the remaining tenth of Illinois residences, wireless internet from T-Mobile Home Internet may be the best broadband option. 

. . .

Check with T-Mobile

Connection

Fixed wireless

Speed range

72 – 245 Mbps

Price range

$50 per month

Connection

Fixed wireless

Speed range

72 – 245 Mbps

Price range

$50 per month

Illinois internet providers compared

Provider Internet technology Monthly price range Speed range Monthly equipment costs Data cap Contract CNET review score
Astound Broadband Cable $25-$70 300-1,500Mbps Free modem, $5 whole-home Wi-Fi (optional) None None 7
AT&T DSL, fiber $55 DSL, $55-$250 fiber 10-100Mbps DSL, 300-5,000Mbps fiber None None None 7.4
Brightspeed DSL, fiber $50-$79 20-100Mbps DSL, up to 940Mbps fiber $15 None None N/A
Frontier DSL, fiber $50-$155 Varies DSL, 500-5,000Mbps fiber None None None 6.3
HughesNet Satellite $50-$150 15-50Mbps $15 monthly or $450 purchase fee Varies, 15-100GB 2 years 5.7
Mediacom Cable $35-$70 100-1,000Mbps $14 350-3,000GB None 6.4
Rise Broadband Fixed wireless $45-$55 25-50Mbps $10 250GB or unlimited None 6.2
Sparklight Cable $35-$65 300-940Mbps $13 (optional) 5TB soft cap None 6.9
Spectrum Cable $50-$90 300-1,000Mbps $5 (optional) None None 7.2
Starlink Low orbit satellite $90-$120 20-220Mbps $599 purchase fee None None N/A
T-Mobile Home Internet Fixed wireless $50 ($30 with eligible mobile plans) 72-245Mbps None None None 7.4
Verizon 5G Home Internet Fixed wireless $50-$70 ($35-$45 for eligible Verizon Wireless customers) 50-1,000Mbps None None None 7.2
Xfinity Cable, fiber $20-$300 75-10,00Mbps $15 (optional) 1.25TB, unlimited available None required 7

Show more (9 items)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

Other available internet providers in Illinois

  • Brightspeed: After acquiring DSL and fiber-optic networks from Lumen Technologies (CenturyLink, Quantum Fiber), Brightspeed offers internet in the western Illinois areas of Galesburg, Dixon and Manito. DSL service starts at $50 per month for the fastest speeds available, up to 100Mbps, while fiber service offers up to 940Mbps for $79 monthly.
  • Frontier: DSL internet is available throughout much of Illinois, but the low speeds are probably worth passing on if other cable, fiber or 5G options are available in your area. On the other hand, Frontier Fiber has the speeds, service terms and value to rival AT&T Fiber, but the service is only available in select areas.
  • Mediacom: Cable internet service from Mediacom offers download speeds from 100 to 1,000Mbps, starting at $35 to $70 per month, depending on your speed and options. All plans come with a data cap ranging from 300GB to 3,000GB and a modem rental fee of $14.
  • Rise Broadband: Fixed wireless internet is a great option for broadband in rural areas, but with max speeds of 25 to 50Mbps starting at $45 per month in most locations, Rise Broadband doesn’t have the same value as T-Mobile Home Internet. 
  • Sparklight: Previously known as Cable One, Sparklight offers cable internet service in select parts of Illinois, including Taylorville, Hillsboro, Benton and Fairfield. Service is relatively cheap, from $25 to $65 per month for speeds ranging from 100 to 940Mbps.
  • Spectrum: The nation’s second-largest cable internet provider doesn’t have near the coverage of Xfinity in Illinois, but those in the Mt. Vernon and greater St. Louis areas may be eligible for service. Plans start at $50 to $90 monthly for max download speeds of 300 to 1,000MBps and include unlimited data and a free modem.
  • Verizon 5G Home Internet: Verizon’s wireless home internet service boasts faster max speeds than T-Mobile Home Internet, but availability is mostly limited to Chicago and the greater St. Louis area. Two plans — Home, starting at $50 per month for speeds of 50 to 300Mbps and Home Plus, $70 for 85 to 1,000Mbps — are available and come with equipment rental, unlimited data and no contact requirements. Qualifying Verizon mobile customers can get Home and Home Plus for $35 and $45 per month, respectively.
  • Satellite internet: Wired and fixed wireless connections cover more than 99% of Illinois households, according to the FCC, so you shouldn’t have to rely on satellite internet. If, however, no other practical options are available, HughesNet and Viasat are top choices for satellite internet, though Starlink may deliver faster speeds. 

Image of Springfield, Illinois skyline at dusk

Getty Images

Illinois internet options by city

It’s hard to cover the internet options of an entire state like Illinois while giving individual cities the in-depth attention they deserve. That’s why we’ve also put together lists of the best internet providers in cities across the US, including those in Illinois. If you don’t find your hometown below, check back later. We’re working to add more every day.

Cheap internet options in Illinois

Cable internet providers Xfinity, Astound, Sparklight and Mediacom have the cheapest internet plans in Illinois. Xfinity has the outright cheapest plan at $20 per month for speeds up to 75Mbps, but Astound and Sparklight’s cheapest plans are better deals, offering speeds up to 300Mbps starting at $25 and $35 per month, respectively.

What’s the cheapest internet in Illinois?

Show more (7 items)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

How to find internet deals and promotions in Illinois

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

Illinois internet providers, such as Astound Broadband, may offer lower introductory pricing or special offers for a limited time. Others, including AT&T Fiber, Xfinity and Spectrum, run the same standard pricing year-round. 

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

How fast is Illinois broadband?

Ookla speed test data from Q3 2023 shows Illinois had a median download speed of 173Mbps, good for 37th fastest among all 50 states and Washington, DC. The speeds are lower than the national average of 213Mbps and neighboring states of Indiana (188Mbps), Kentucky (201Mbps), Missouri (194Mbps) and Wisconsin (175Mbps) but faster than Iowa (150Mbps).

Fiber internet is often the best source for fast speeds and has the advantage of symmetrical (or close) upload and download speeds. Cable internet can also pack plenty of download speed (Astound Broadband offers up to 1,500Mbps, for example) but upload speeds are typically much slower.

Fastest internet plans in Illinois

Show more (6 items)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

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; 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 and 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 at the same time.

How CNET chose the best internet providers in Illinois

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 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 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 consider real-world speed data from sources like Ookla and FCC reports.

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

Xfinity has the best coverage of any non-satellite provider, the cheapest internet plan and the fastest internet speed tier in Illinois. However, the cheapest plan only offers speeds up to 75Mbps, and availability for Xfinity’s fastest plan (up to 10,000Mbps) requires access to the provider’s fiber network, which is limited in Illinois.

So, while there’s a good chance your Illinois address is serviceable for Xfinity, it’s worth considering other providers that may be available as well to ensure you’re getting the best speeds and value. 

If fiber internet is available from providers such as Frontier Fiber or AT&T Fiber (CNET’s pick for best ISP in Illinois overall), it’s likely to be a better value, even if it is slightly more expensive in the first year or two. Otherwise, look to cable providers such as Astound, Mediacom, Sparklight and Spectrum, or fixed wireless service from T-Mobile Home Internet and Verizon 5G Home Internet for fast, reliable home internet in Illinois.

Internet providers in Illinois FAQs

What is the best internet service provider in Illinois?

AT&T Fiber is the best internet service provider in Illinois due to its broad fiber coverage, reasonable pricing on a variety of high-speed plans, simple service terms and high customer satisfaction.

Is fiber internet available in Illinois?

Fiber internet is available in Illinois, but only to around 29% of households, according to the FCC. AT&T Fiber is the largest fiber provider in Illinois, with coverage in Chicago, Springfield, Belleville, Urbana and other areas. Fiber service may also be available from Brightspeed, Frontier Fiber, Xfinity or others, depending on where you live in Illinois.

Who is the cheapest internet provider in Illinois?

Xfinity has the cheapest internet plan, Xfinity Connect, which starts at $20 per month for download speeds up to 75Mbps. However, if you rent equipment, Astound has the lowest all-in pricing and comes with considerably more speed.

The Astound 300 plan starts at $25 monthly for speeds up to 300Mbps. Your modem is included at no extra cost, and renting a Wi-Fi router will only add $5 to your bill compared to Xfinity’s rental fee of $15.

Which internet provider in Illinois offers the fastest plan?

Xfinity’s Gigabit Pro plan, with speeds up to 10,000Mbps, is the fastest internet plan from any major provider in Illinois. The speed tier is only available where Xfinity, largely a cable internet provider, offers fiber internet service.

While not as fast, AT&T Fiber and Frontier Fiber offer speeds up to 5,000Mbps and have greater availability in Illinois than Xfinity’s fiber service.

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