Best Internet Providers in Winston-Salem, North Carolina – CNET

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What is the best internet provider in Winston-Salem?

AT&T Fiber is the best internet provider in Winston-Salem. The fiber internet provider has the best selection of high-speed plans, including the two fastest plans with speeds up to 2,000 megabits per second and 5,000Mbps, and the highest customer satisfaction rating of any major internet provider in Winston-Salem. All fiber plans have free equipment rental, unlimited data and no contract requirements.

AT&T Fiber is a top choice for speed and value, but it’s not the cheapest internet provider in Winston-Salem. Kinetic by Windstream has the cheapest plan in the area, with service starting at $40 per month for speeds up to 100Mbps. That’s not a bad deal, but for $10 more per month, Spectrum offers up to five times the download speed potential plus a lower equipment cost should you opt to rent your router.

Verizon 5G Home Internet and T-Mobile Home Internet are also decent options for cheap internet, particularly if you qualify for their mobile bundle discounts. Both services start at $50 per month (before any discounts) and include your equipment and unlimited data at no extra cost.

Our methodology

CNET considers speeds, pricing, customer service and overall value to recommend the best internet service in Winston-Salem across several 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 Winston-Salem. 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 Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Connection

Fiber

Speed range

300 – 5,000 Mbps

Price range

$55 – $250 per month

Our take – It’s not the cheapest ISP in Winston-Salem, but AT&T Fiber arguably presents the best value. With symmetrical upload and download speeds, free equipment rental and no set price increase after 12 months, AT&T Fiber has a clear advantage over local broadband competitor Spectrum.

. . .

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

100 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$30- $90 per month

Our take – Cable internet, like that of Spectrum, doesn’t come with all the benefits of fiber internet, but it often boasts greater availability. That’s the case in Winston-Salem, where Spectrum covers more than 93% of households, according to the most recent FCC data. Download speeds of up to 500 and 1,000Mbps are available throughout all service areas but be prepared for significantly lower upload speeds.

. . .

Check with Spectrum

Connection

Cable

Speed range

100 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$30- $90 per month

Connection

Cable

Speed range

100 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$30- $90 per month

Connection

Fixed wireless

Speed range

85 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$50 – $70 per month

Our take – If you’re looking for an alternative to AT&T and Spectrum in Winston-Salem, consider Verizon 5G Home Internet. The wireless internet provider has the speed potential to rival cable and fiber connections, plus customer-friendly perks like free equipment, unlimited data and an additional discount of $15 to $25 off the monthly rate for qualifying Verizon mobile customers.

. . .

Check with Verizon

Connection

Fixed wireless

Speed range

85 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$50 – $70 per month

Connection

Fixed wireless

Speed range

85 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$50 – $70 per month

Connection

Fiber

Speed range

100 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$40 – $70 per month

Our take – Availability is limited to communities such as Reynolda Park, Old Town and Bethania in northwest Winston-Salem. Still, if your address is eligible for Kinetic internet, it’s likely to be the cheapest option. Service starts at $40 per month, but speeds may vary depending on your location and the connection type (DSL or fiber) available at your address. Fiber is a decent deal, but if you’re eligible only for DSL, you may want to consider Spectrum or another ISP.

Connection

Fiber

Speed range

100 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$40 – $70 per month

Connection

Fiber

Speed range

100 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$40 – $70 per month

Winston-Salem internet providers compared

Provider Internet technology Monthly price range Speed range Monthly equipment costs Data cap Contract CNET review score
AT&T DSL, fiber $55 DSL, $55-$250 fiber 10-100Mbps DSL, 300-5,000Mbps fiber None None None 7.4
Kinetic DSL, fiber $40-$180 15-100Mbps DSL, 100-2,000Mbps fiber $10 (optional) None None 6.7
Spectrum Cable $50-$70 500-1,000Mbps Free modem, $5 router rental (optional) None None 7.2
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

Show more (1 item)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

What’s the cheapest internet plan in Winston-Salem?

Show more (1 item)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

View of downtown Winston-Salem at dusk.

Getty Images

How to find internet deals and promotions in Winston-Salem

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

Winston-Salem internet providers, such as AT&T Fiber, may throw in bonus offers such as gift cards or streaming services for a limited time. Most, however, including Spectrum and Kinetic, run the same standard offers year-round. 

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

Fastest internet plans in Winston-Salem

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 — 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 at the same time.

How CNET chose the best internet providers in Winston-Salem

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.

To explore our process in more depth, visit our how we test ISPs page.

Internet providers in Winston-Salem FAQs

What is the best internet service provider in Winston-Salem?

AT&T Fiber is the best internet provider in Winston-Salem. A 100% fiber-optic network capable of delivering the fastest upload and download speeds in Winston-Salem, plus simple service terms and a record of high customer satisfaction, make AT&T Fiber the top choice for home internet in the area.

Is fiber internet available in Winston-Salem?

Yes. Approximately 40% of residences in Winston-Salem are eligible for fiber internet service, according to the FCC. Fiber internet is primarily available in the Buena Vista, Waughtown, Ardmore and Reynolda Park areas, though fiber service can be found in select neighborhoods throughout Winston-Salem. AT&T Fiber is the largest fiber internet provider in Winston-Salem, while Kinetic has a small fiber presence, mostly to the northwest.

Who is the cheapest internet provider in Winston-Salem?

Kinetic has the cheapest internet plan in Winston-Salem, with service starting at $40 per month for speeds up to 100Mbps. However, availability is limited in the area, and a $10 equipment rental fee will bring the cost in line with other local providers should you opt to rent a Wi-Fi router.

For those who qualify for a mobile bundle discount, T-Mobile Home Internet or Verizon 5G Home Internet may be the cheapest internet option in Winston-Salem. T-Mobile Home Internet offers eligible Magenta Max customers a $20 discount on home internet, bringing the monthly cost down to $30. Verizon will take $15 to $25 off the home internet rate for qualifying mobile customers, lowering the monthly price to $35 to $45.

Which internet provider in Winston-Salem offers the fastest plan?

AT&T Fiber offers the fastest internet plan in Winston-Salem. AT&T Fiber 5000 advertises symmetrical upload and download speeds up to 5,000Mbps starting at $250 monthly. Other Winston-Salem internet providers, including Spectrum, Kinetic and Verizon 5G Home Internet, top out at 1,000Mbps.

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