My grandmother lived in Dallas, and I can still taste the fantastic barbecue we’d devour whenever my family would visit. Oh, that delicious Texas brisket. Wait, I’m here to talk about broadband, not mouthwatering smoked meat. Thankfully, Dallas has quite a few home internet options, too.
That said, Big D disappoints when you compare its home internet speeds to some of the other top cities in the US. The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan area boasts the country’s fourth-largest population, but according to Ookla’s most recent reporting, Dallas managed only a 96th-place finish among the 100 most populated cities in the US. That puts it right behind Chicago and just above Seattle and Denver. No shame there, right? However, it’s well behind Texas towns such as Austin, Corpus Christi, El Paso and San Antonio, all of which made the top 15.
Though it may be slow compared with its Lone Star State companions, Dallas still offers plenty of high-speed internet hookups. You can connect with fast fiber options from AT&T and Frontier. You can find consistently speedy cable connections from Optimum (formerly Suddenlink) and Spectrum. You could even lean into the growing 5G home internet movement and try Verizon 5G Home Internet or T-Mobile Home Internet.
Best internet providers in Big D
Our pick for the best overall ISP in Dallas is AT&T Fiber. CNET examines customer service, speed, pricing and overall value before recommending the best broadband in your area. But no matter where you live within the DFW, we can help you navigate your choices. 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. Now, let’s take a look at the best internet service providers in Dallas.
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.
300 – 1,000 Mbps
$30 – $90 per month
300 – 5,000 Mbps
$55 – $250 per month
72 – 245 Mbps
$50 per month
Internet providers in Dallas overview
|Provider||Internet technology||Monthly price range||Speed range||Monthly equipment costs||Data cap||Contract||CNET review score|
|Astound Broadband/Grande||Cable||$25-$60||300-1,200Mbps||$15 (optional)||None||None||7|
|AT&T||DSL/fiber||$55-$180||10-5,000Mbps||None||1.5TB for plans under 100Mbps; None for all others||None||7.4|
|Rise Broadband||Fixed wireless||$25-$100||25-1,000Mbps||$10 modem; $5-$15 router (optional)||250GB or unlimited||None, but required for some promotions||6.2|
|Spectrum||Cable||$50-$90||300-940Mbps||Free modem; $5 router||None||None||7.2|
|T-Mobile Home Internet||Fixed wireless||$50||72-245Mbps||None||None||None||7.4|
|Verizon 5G Home Internet||Fixed wireless||$50-$70||85-1,000Mbps||None||None||None||7.2|
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Source: CNET analysis of provider data
All available Dallas residential internet providers
There are many more broadband choices in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area beyond our top three picks. Some are outside the Dallas city limits but can be found well within the immediate suburbs. Others may only be in small pockets even further away from the city center. In most cases, each provider offers something enticing, even if there are some glaring issues as well.
- Astound Broadband: This cable internet provider, known locally as Grande Communications but now part of parent company Astound Broadband, features some of DFW’s most compelling and competitive promo rates. The starting price of $25 a month for a 300Mbps plan is a very affordable 8 cents per Mbps. In contrast, Spectrum’s 300Mbps plan starts at $50 per month and AT&T Fiber’s 300Mbps plan clocks in at $55 monthly. The same holds with Astound’s fastest plan, a 1,200Mbps tier with a promo price of $60 per month. That’s a stellar 5 cents per Mbps. However… Astound also features some of the steepest price increases in the industry. The Astound/Grande rate card reveals that your 300Mbps plan could rise to $84 per month after your promo period. That’s stark.
- Frontier: Frontier features some solid serviceability in the northern portion of the Dallas metro area. You won’t find it downtown, but you can get its DSL and fiber-optic service in the northeast outskirts of Baytown, Beach City, Cove and Crosby. You’ll also find it in League City and Sante Fe, down in the southern portion of the metro area. If Frontier Fiber is available — it features symmetrical plans of 500Mbps, gigabit, 2Gbps or 5Gbps speeds ranging from $50 to $155 per month — it’s a very appealing choice. But if Frontier DSL is your only option, you might want to keep looking.
- Optimum: Let me be clear — Suddenlink is the provider you’re probably familiar with in the Dallas area. However, its parent company, Altice USA, recently renamed it to Optimum. In any case, Optimum cable internet service can be found in some scattered areas within the city (including the Arts District and University Park), but you’ll mostly find it east of Dallas in Balch Springs, Forney, Rockwall and Terrell. Optimum also supplies broadband service to some areas north of DFW, including Cross Roads, Little Elm, McKinney and Prosper.
- Rise Broadband: This fixed wireless provider is one of the top options in the region for rural broadband. In almost all areas it services, you can access either a 25Mbps plan or 50Mbps tier for $25-$35 monthly. If you live within the city limits of Dallas or Fort Worth, you should have plenty of other, faster options, but Rise Broadband is widely available across numerous suburban and rural communities circling the DFW area. Of note, Rise Broadband does offer a fiber connection in the southern suburb of Ferris. Customers can access plans between 100-1,000Mbps for $60-$100 per month.
- Satellite internet: Typically, if you live in a big metro area like Dallas, I wouldn’t even broach the topic of satellite internet. You’re bound to find more reliable connections, faster speeds and cheaper prices than are awaiting you with a satellite internet connection. However, the DFW is a large area, and some on the rural periphery may not have the same options. While HughesNet and Viasat are steady choices, both require two-year contract commitments and feature data restrictions. Starlink, Elon Musk’s newer satellite provider on the block, is more intriguing as it features faster speeds and no contracts. But the Starlink availability map shows the Dallas-Fort Worth area as on the waiting list until sometime in late 2023.
- Sparklight: While this cable broadband provider doesn’t have a significant presence in Big D, it can be found in Fort Worth and McKinney. Plans range from 200 to 940Mbps for $45-$110 per month. While no term contracts are required for service, Sparklight prices fall short of the area’s other cable providers (Astound, Optimum and Spectrum), and customers also have to deal with a data cap.
- Verizon 5G Home Internet: Verizon has been just as ambitious with its 5G home internet product as T-Mobile, though perhaps not quite as aggressive in pursuing rural communities. As such, Verizon fell short of our top list because it might not serve communities on the outskirts of the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area as well as T-Mobile can. That said, if you are serviceable for Verizon 5G Home Internet, you’ll find faster speeds than T-Mobile (average of 300Mbps to T-Mobile’s 72-245Mbps) and a similar, straightforward approach for $50 per month, including no data caps, no contracts and no equipment fees. Also, customers can shave 50% off their monthly bill if they have a qualifying Verizon mobile plan.
Dallas broadband at a glance
When looking at the various ISPs available in any given city, it’s great to get an overview like the one above. However, when it comes right down to it, most people want to know about two specific questions. What are the cheapest internet plans available? What are the fastest internet options? Let’s talk more about the answers as they relate to the internet providers in Dallas.
Here’s the kind of pricing to expect for Dallas home internet service
The average starting price for internet service in Dallas is approximately $43 per month, which is right about in the middle of other markets CNET has covered thus far, including Brooklyn ($36 a month), Los Angeles ($38 monthly), Denver ($39 per month), Seattle ($42 a month), Houston ($45 monthly) and, all approximately $50 a month — Charlotte, Chicago, San Diego and St. Louis.
Cheap internet options in the Dallas-Fort Worth area
As for the absolute lowest starting price you can find, that currently belongs to Rise Broadband. It features a 25Mbps plan with a promo price of $25 for the first year. That doesn’t include an additional $10 monthly for your equipment. That said, perhaps the best value can be found in Astound Broadband’s cheapest plan, which is also $25 monthly but is exponentially faster at 300Mbps. Residents in downtown Dallas won’t be able to get Astound’s cheap internet, but serviceability reaches out to Allen, Denton, Flower Mound, Frisco, Little Elm, McKinney and The Colony.
When exploring cheap internet options, consider that all of the providers I’ve listed participate in the Federal Communication Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program. It’s a $30 monthly discount to provide affordable, high-speed internet to low-income households. Some providers even offer a low-cost internet plan targeted at the same disadvantaged communities. Combined with the ACP benefit, you could get your broadband service for free.
Source: CNET analysis of provider data
Fastest internet providers in Dallas
Some Dallas residents will have access to AT&T’s super-fast Fiber 5000 plan (5 gigabits). Not only is it super-fast, but it has a superb value of 4 cents per Mbps. At $180 per month, that’s not cheap, but you’ll get a lot for your money. Frontier also offers a 5Gbps plan, but it’s not as widely available in DFW. However, it’s cheaper than AT&T’s similar speed offering, at $155 monthly. All that said, you don’t need to go all out to get a fast internet plan. Here are some of your other speedy options.
What are the fastest internet plans in Dallas?
|Provider||Max download speed||Max upload speed||Starting price||Data cap||Contract|
|Frontier Fiber 5 Gig||5,000Mbps||5,000Mbps||$155||None||None|
|AT&T Fiber 5000||5,000Mbps||5,000Mbps||$180||None||None|
|AT&T Fiber 2000||2,000Mbps||2,000Mbps||$110||None||None|
|Frontier Fiber 2 Gig||2,000Mbps||2,000Mbps||$100||None||None|
|AT&T Fiber 1000||1,000Mbps||1,000Mbps||$80||None||None|
|Frontier Fiber 1 Gig||1,000Mbps||1,000Mbps||$70||None||None|
|Spectrum Internet Gig||940Mbps||35Mbps||$90||None||None|
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Source: CNET analysis of provider data
What’s the final word on internet providers in Dallas?
As we like to say in our CNET home internet reviews, fiber internet trumps cable broadband, almost every time. So if you have access to any of the AT&T Fiber plans — or, if you’re in the suburbs, Frontier Fiber — that’s going to be your best bet. However, cable providers like Spectrum, Astound, Optimum and Sparklight offer reliable connections and plenty of fast plans to suit just about any household. Be sure to avoid data caps, if you can, and if you’re serviceable for providers like AT&T or Frontier, make sure you can get their fiber plans and don’t have to settle for a slower, spottier DSL connection.
How CNET chose the best internet providers in Dallas
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.