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Best Internet Providers in Chicago

Find Your Internet - Camryn Rabideau

Camryn Rabideau on July 3, 2020

Find Your Internet - Best Internet Providers in Chicago

When you relocate to a new city, one of the major choices you have to make is what company to use for your internet and TV service. Big metropolitan areas like Chicago typically have several providers to choose from, so you’ll want to research each company and their plans to figure out which one is best for you.

Here’s what you should know about when selecting from the best internet providers in Chicago.

The Best Internet Providers in Chicago

After moving to the Windy City, you’ll be able to choose from several companies that offer DSL, cable, fiber optic, and even satellite internet plans. However, your options will vary depending on your new address, so use your ZIP code to look up which providers service your new neighborhood.

In order to determine what internet speed is best for your new home, you’ll want to consider two main things: the number of devices in your home and how you use the internet.

AT&T is one of the most common internet providers in Chicago. It’s available in the majority of neighborhoods—all 77 of them—and depending on where you live, you can either connect to its DSL or fiber optic networks. A Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) is a type of internet connection that’s run via phone lines, and it’s a lot faster than old-school dial-up connections. DSL offers speeds up to 100 Megabits per second (Mbps).

While not as widely available, AT&T also has fiber optic connections, which use glass or plastic fiber cables to transfer data as light signals. This type of internet plan is more expensive, but it delivers much faster internet speeds—up to 1 Gigabits per second, or 1,000 Mbps.

The other major Chicago internet provider is Xfinity, which primarily offers cable internet connections. This type of internet is provided via underground coaxial cables—the same ones used to transfer cable TV signals. Xfinity offers several different internet plans, starting at 25 Mbps and ranging all the way up to 2,000 Mbps, so you can choose the right speed to fit your needs.

While these are the two main internet providers in Chicago, you may also want to consider plans from providers like RCN or Spectrum. For those in remote areas outside the city, you may have to opt for a satellite internet connection, which you can get from Viasat or HughesNet.

What Internet Speed Do You Need?

As you can see, there are a lot of options when it comes to internet speeds, and while it might be tempting to just get the fastest plan available, you might not need to spend that much. In order to determine what internet speed is best for your new home, you’ll want to consider two main things: the number of devices in your home and how you use your internet.

For instance, Xfinity recommends its 25 Mbps plan for people using just one or two internet-connected devices—anything from smartphones and computers to gaming systems and smart gadgets—and using the connection for light streaming, web browsing, and downloading music. This type of plan would be ideal for someone living alone.

On the other end of the spectrum, households with 12+ devices that play multi-player games, stream ultra high-definition content, work from home, and use a network of internet-connected gadgets will typically need speeds of 600 Mbps or higher to ensure consistent performance.

Do you land somewhere in the middle? Start with a mid-level internet plan—you can increase your bandwidth if needed, as most providers are happy to upgrade your services.

Bundle TV and Phone for a Better Deal

As you shop for internet plans, consider whether you want to purchase cable or phone service for your new home. AT&T and Xfinity both offer bundles with these services included, and you often get a lower price-per-service when you opt for a bundle.

However, there are also separate TV services available in the Windy City, including DIRECTV and Dish Network. Packages from these brands will give you access to live TV programming like sporting events and award shows, but today, many people just opt to use streaming services in place of cable. Some streaming services, such as Hulu + Live TV, even allow you to watch live local programming.

Similarly, it’s common for Chicago residents to simply use their mobile phone in place of a landline. The best phone carriers in Chicago include AT&T and Sprint, which have nearly 100% coverage. Because Chicago is such a major city, other providers also have comprehensive infrastructure. No matter who you use for a mobile provider, you probably won’t need to change your plan when you move to Chicago. Just watch out for spotty cell service on the “L.”

Home Sweet Home

You’ll be in Chicago soon, kicking off a new chapter—don’t get caught without a connection. Check out the best options for internet providers in Chicago 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.

Camryn Rabideau

Find Your Internet - Camryn Rabideau

Camryn Rabideau is freelance writer specializing in fashion, beauty, home, smart technology and general lifestyle content. She holds a degree in fashion merchandising from the University of Rhode Island and jumps at any opportunity to combine her love for fashion and writing.

Camryn is a regular contributor to popular media sites such as Martha Stewart, Food52, InStyle, Taste of Home, USA Today, Reviewed.com, The Spruce, Elite Daily and The Everygirl. She has also worked with several Fortune 500 companies to create engaging articles for their content marketing initiatives.

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