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Best Internet Providers in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose

Find Your Internet - Compare offers from the top Internet and TV providers in your area all in one place.

Dave Johnson on July 3, 2020

Find Your Internet - Best Internet Providers in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose

Making the move to the Bay Area is a big change no matter where you’re coming from. With a distinct combination of history, culture, geography, and technology, the Bay Area is an exciting destination. But before you can get out and start exploring your new town, you’ll need to set up your utilities, including your internet. Thankfully, finding fast and reliable internet providers in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose is generally pretty easy.

Service Provider Basics

Residents in the Bay Area’s largest cities have plenty of options when it comes to high-speed internet service. Virtually all residential areas in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose are serviced by some combination of cable internet, DSL, and fiber internet.

      • Cable: With cable internet, service is transmitted through the same coax cable that brings cable TV into your home. It can be very fast—up to 150 Mbps—but bandwidth is shared among everyone in a particular area, so it might slow down in the evening when everyone is home.
      • DSL: Also known as Digital Subscriber Line, this service uses phone lines. It’s slower than cable, usually closer to 50 Mbps, but bandwidth is not shared among neighbors. That means your service never slows down based on how much bandwidth your neighbors are using.
      • Fiber Internet: This service uses fiber optic cables and is generally the fastest residential internet you can buy, clocking in around 1,000 Mbps. Like cable, fiber is shared, but it carries so much bandwidth that you’ll probably never notice a slowdown.

AT&T is the leading service provider in the Bay Area, offering DSL service that reaches about 98% of the homes in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose. Xfinity is a close competitor, providing cable internet service to almost all homes in the Bay Area. Fiber is on the menu in all three cities through Xfinity and EarthLink.

Which of the Internet Providers in San Francisco Should You Choose?

In many neighborhoods, you’ll be able to choose your provider and their services based on price, bandwidth, and features. Here are some things to consider:

      • Evaluate each provider’s bandwidth and features. You might want to consider “triple play” deals that includes internet, TV, and landline phone service. AT&T and Xfinity specialize in those double or triple packages that bundle internet, phone, and television service. But if you are only interested in internet service, fiber is a good option for high-speed internet without pricey add-ons.
      • Choosing a package isn’t the end of the story—each one offers different speeds at different prices. For example, Xfinity’s internet-only 25 Mbps package starts around $30 per month; you can step up to 200 Mbps for $50, or add TV and pay $40 for 100 Mbps.
      • You can often get a better deal by comparison shopping between providers serving your address. Keep in mind the offered deal may be an introductory deal that expires after a few months.

What Speed is Best for You?

It can be attractive to sign up for the fastest internet you can find, but you probably don’t need 100 Mbps. In some cases, even the cheapest packages are probably enough for your daily use.

For example, if you don’t use streaming sites like Netflix, a slower connection like 5 Mbps would suffice. On the other hand, if you stream shows and movies on a regular basis, you should have at least 20 Mbps. Multiply that number by the number of people in the house using their own screens. If you’re into gaming or work remotely from your home, go straight to 100 Mbps. Even so, think carefully before you pay extra for more than 150 Mbps.

A good rule of thumb is to start with the cheapest service you think you need. You can always call the internet providers in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose and step up to a faster tier of service later on if needed.

Home Sweet Home

You’ll be in the Bay Area soon, kicking off a new chapter—don’t get caught without a connection. Check out the best options for internet providers in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose that are available in your new neighborhood.

Want to avoid the hassle and wasted time spent individually going online or calling each internet provider available in your area? Use the free FindYourInternet shop-and-compare tool to easily search available offers at your home address.

Dave Johnson

Find Your Internet - Compare offers from the top Internet and TV providers in your area all in one place.

Dave Johnson has been writing about tech since the days of the Palm Pilot. He’s the author of three dozen books about digital photography, tech, and robots, and he even authored an interactive children’s storybook. Dave started out in the Air Force, where he spent a few years flying satellites and teaching space operations. Dave has co-hosted a number of podcasts and in what little spare time he has left, he scuba dives and plays drums.

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