If you’re relocating to the Queen City, you’ll want to have your internet options sorted out before you get there. The city of Charlotte has numerous internet providers for those looking to stream, game, work from home, or socialize online with friends. Check out the research we put together of the best internet providers in Charlotte, before deciding the winner in the battle.
Types of Internet Service
It’s helpful to know the type of service appropriate for your needs before choosing from among the internet providers in Charlotte.
There’s a big difference between the speeds needed to read emails and those required for live online gaming. These are the basic types of internet service offered in the Charlotte area:
- Fiber: The newest, fastest option for a large portion of Charlotte, this technology can give you speeds of up to 1000 Mbps or one full GB! It’s delivered to your home through a fiber optic cable line and isn’t available in many of the rural areas near Charlotte. Expect to get the best price for the speed with this technology.
- DSL: Digital subscriber line service is delivered through a two-wire copper telephone line. It’s common to see speeds of up to 100 Mbps or more, and it’s typically bundled with a traditional landline phone service for extra savings. You can usually set it up yourself with the kit you get from your provider; just plug it into your phone jack!
- Cable: If you’ve ever purchased standard cable TV (not satellite or dish) then you already know how this works. A technician will come to your home to install the modem, connect it to a cable access point, and make sure you get your average speeds of up to 30 Mbps. That speed can be reduced if there are many people using it at the same time, but it’s a good way to bundle your cable programming and data for a lower cost.
- Fixed Wireless: Those who live just outside Charlotte or somewhere remote may find their only option is fixed wireless. This service uses a receiver placed on your roof to get a wireless transmission sent from towers similar to those used by cell sites. This service can grant speeds of up to 50 Mbps or more, but may be affected by heavy network use, inclement weather, or radio interference.
Top Internet Providers in Charlotte
Here are some of the most reputable companies servicing the Charlotte area:
- AT&T: This long-standing provider is the fiber company for Charlotte, with speeds of up to 1000 Mbps for subscribers. AT&T requires no contracts, and you can bundle with home phone or television for additional benefits. DSL is available for those you don’t yet have access to the new fiber option.
- Spectrum: If fiber isn’t an option for you, Spectrum’s cable alternative works just fine. With speeds of up to 940 Mbps and no contracts, Spectrum may even buy out your existing contract so it won’t cost you to switch. The price of their wireless modem is included in the monthly subscription price, and bundling with phone or cable television channels saves you even more. There are also no data caps!
- Open Broadband: With a mission to provide internet to “undeserved communities,” Open BroadBand is the major fixed wireless provider for several counties in North Carolina, including the Charlotte area. Speeds are comparable to other services, since they combine their fixed wireless coverage with existing fiber infrastructure. There are no usage caps or overage charges, and it only provides internet; you don’t need to bundle to get a better deal.
How Much Internet Speed Do I Need?
When evaluating internet service, you should balance availability, speeds, and price to find a plan that meets your home networking needs. Consider:
- For browsing the internet or streaming music, you may not need to pay for a very high-speed connection (e.g., 5 Mbps is enough). If you’re streaming HD video and/or gaming frequently, you may need a faster connection (e.g., 20+ Mbps). Meanwhile, for simultaneous gaming and HD video streaming on multiple devices, look for a high-speed connection that’s 40 Mbps or higher.
- You’ll need a higher internet speed if you have multiple household members using a number of devices to access online media simultaneously. For example, 20+ Mbps is sufficient for HD streaming and gaming by 2-4 people and 40+ Mbps is recommended for simultaneous HD streaming and gaming by 4 or more household members.
- If you work from home and need to download and/or upload large media files (e.g., videos) you should get a plan with the highest speed available in your area to minimize interruptions and frustrations. In addition, check both the upload and download speeds to make sure they meet your needs.
Home Sweet Home
You’ll be in Charlotte soon, kicking off a new chapter—don’t get caught without a connection. Check out the best options for internet providers in Charlotte 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.