The Best Broadband Isps In America




Both cable and DSL connections are getting faster and cheaper, but you may not have the best one. To find out how your ISP rates, see what our readers say about their providers.
Jeff Bertolucci

Soaring bandwidths, lower prices, innovative applications: Good broadband Internet service has become cheap and ubiquitous, and it's only going to get better. Within a few years, today's "high-speed" service will seem as slow as yesterday's 9600-bps modems. Some cable providers already offer 30-megabits-per-second connections, and with the advent of high-speed fiber-optic connections to the home, 100 mbps may not be far off.

Which raises the question: What will you do with all that bandwidth? Certainly, e-mail and Web browsing work just fine via today's broadband,

But burgeoning consumer services--including high-definition television Programming, on-demand video, VoIP telephone service, online gaming, videoconferencing, and online file backup--benefit from a wider pipe. According to industry experts, in the next five years cable and DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) will continue to dominate Internet access to the home, with lower-cost DSL ultimately taking the lead, though they'll both be challenged by fiber optics and wireless. Antiquated dial-up service will fade away. Other broadband technologies, including satellite, power-line, and cellular, will remain minor players, though a few will find a niche market.

In addition to exploring the future of connection technologies, we examined today's broadband and dial-up offerings. We surveyed more than 9300 PC World readers and PC site visitors to find out which providers offer the best performance, features, customer service, and overall satisfaction

Survey's Key Findings

* Fiber-optic Internet service is a runaway hit. Respondents who have it--a relatively small group--reported they are very satisfied with the service.
* Cablevision Systems, which serves more than 3 million customers in the New York metropolitan area, was the overall reader favorite, earning top marks on nearly every measure. EarthLink and BellSouth rated best for DSL service, but still just average.
* When asked about specific features of their ISP, respondents said they were least pleased with providers' ability to block spam; they also scored customer service and tech support poorly.
* Verizon and Charter rated worst among broadband providers--ironic, as Verizon scored well for its fiber-optic service. Dial-up providers fared worst, though.

Cable, Fiber-Optic Providers Give the Best Internet Service (chart)

Our survey of more than 9000 PC World subscribers and site visitors shows that cable Internet giants Cablevision, Time Warner, and Cox are impressing customers. Fiber-optic is a winner, too. But dial-up users are an unhappy lot as a whole.

For Chart:


Verizon is spending a LOT of money laying ou tthe next generation service to get back in the game. In fact it they would become the leading and most advanced player once its rolled out and should be very very far ahead of the others. The sums involved are HUGE. But they think it is their future. No one else even comes close. So their stock should either really take off here once it gets near finish time. Or they go under..... I think versizon was also one of the first ones to offer cheap high speed access using DSL. While qwest and others were offering 640K lines, Verizon started off in the 3 Meg range with yahoo... So surprising they fell so far behind. Maybe they are concentrating on their new setup.


Airtel 256k ultd
Oh yes, Verizon are spending big bucks. Aim being to bankrupt any other competitors in the vicinity. Once they get almost everyone to switch to them, they will have a virtual monopoly in the north east. Mind you only in the small towns where you will have to adhere to their TOS or get stuffed. Think you can continue to download as you like, heh think again or run any servers...hehe. You can't do that now, just imagine in the future. Oh im sure they will let you do that if you spring for a business account, remind me again how many times more that costs over a residential one.Speakeasy is the best ISP in the US. Verizon is a shitty one. Small prob is the former is available only in the bigger cities.


I toyed with idea of buying their 750kbps data card with unlimited downloads.And their fine print said that unlimited downloads do not include P2P, VOIP and thinks like that.