How Much Should I Be Paying for High-Speed Internet?

Rebecca Armstrong
Researcher & Writer
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Published on August 23, 2021
4 min read

At a glance

The average cost for internet service in the US is around $60 per month. Now, you may not be overpaying if your bill is higher than that—and it might not be a bargain if your bill is lower—that’s just the average.

Things like your location, the number of internet providers in your area, your internet type, and the internet speed you choose affect how much you’ll pay. To avoid paying more than you should for high-speed internet, be mindful of these factors when searching for an internet service provider:

The best way to save money is to shop around before signing a contract. Find all the internet providers that offer service to your new address and compare speeds and prices to find a deal that matches your bandwidth needs and is easy on the wallet.

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How much does internet service cost?

Internet prices in the US can range between $20 per month to more than $100 per month. That’s across all regions, types, and speeds. To break it down a little further, here are some more averages to give you a clearer picture of prices you can expect for a few internet speeds and internet connection types.

Average monthly cost of common internet speeds

Internet Speeds
Average price

25 Mbps

$35/mo.*

100 Mbps

$47/mo.

1,000 Mbps

$77/mo.

Data as of 8/23/2021.
*$35 when you exclude plans from satellite internet providers.

Heads Up
How fast is your current internet plan?

If you want to learn exactly how many Mbps you’re getting from your internet service provider, use this handy internet speed checker to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

Average monthly cost of common internet connection types

Internet type
Average Price

DSL

$47/mo.

Cable

$51/mo.

Fiber

$63/mo.*

Satellite

$86/mo.

Data as of 8/23/2021.
*$63 when you exclude Xfinity Gigabit Pro.

We calculated these averages by gathering price information from 22 of the biggest internet providers in the US and, well, averaging the prices.

From this info, you can see that prices usually increase with faster internet speeds—and different types of internet plans can affect your bill, regardless of speeds. For example, satellite internet is the most expensive type of internet on average, but it’s slower than DSL, cable, and fiber.


What else can affect your internet bill?

The advertised price of your internet plan isn’t the whole story. Your bill can also include any local taxes, equipment rental fees, installation fees (on your first bill), and penalty charges for stuff like paying late or going over your data cap.

Introductory rates and discounts

On top of that, you should know that most internet providers give new customers introductory rates—or discounted service for a set period of time (usually 12 months). That’s great, but after that time is up, your bill could go up without notice. Internet companies also tend to roll discounts for paperless billing or automatic payments into their advertised prices too—so if you don’t set those discounts up, you could end up paying $5–$10 more every month.

Taxes and fees

The amount of taxes and fees on your internet bill depends on where you live, and there’s really no way to wriggle out of paying these. You see taxes and fees on your bill because the government uses the money to fund things like the Federal Communication Commission’s Universal Service Fund, which helps promote phone and broadband access across the country.1

Renting equipment

Hot tip: buy your own modem and router. If you rent a gateway from your provider, it can cost you up to $180 every year. Most providers let you use your own equipment and will even set it up for you during a professional install.

The benefits of having your own equipment include (beyond saving money) having more control over your home network, better security features, and taking your equipment with you if you change providers. In fact, owning your own equipment is a great way to save on internet when you move

The downsides are few but noteworthy. Firstly, not all modems work with all internet connections. So if you’ve just signed a six-month lease and plan to move on after that, renting equipment might be the smarter option.

Secondly, your provider’s tech support probably won’t be as helpful if you run into issues with your own tech. If you rent a gateway and it dies, the company has to replace it. If your own equipment dies, it’s on you.


Recap

On average, you should expect to pay around $60 a month for high-speed internet. However, prices can range between $20 and $100 per month or more depending on where you live, which provider you choose, and which plan you go with.

Check out our list of internet service providers we recommend to find affordable internet that matches your speed requirements.


Frequently asked questions about internet

How fast should my internet be?

“High-speed internet” is usually classified as any internet plan with download speeds that exceed 25 Mbps, but your internet can be much, much faster than this. Some plans deliver speeds as high as 2,000 Mbps.

Few people actually need download speeds that fast, though. For most households, you’ll want about 10 Mbps per person who might be using your broadband at the same time. So, for a family with four internet-users, internet that delivers 40 Mbps download speeds will usually suffice.

However, this can vary depending on exactly what everyone is doing online. Streaming video in HD requires a lot more broadband than checking your email. And if anyone in your house is a streamer on Twitch or YouTube, you’ll also want to look into your provider’s upload speeds since they probably differ from its download speeds.

Check out our guide to internet speeds for a more complete breakdown.

What type of internet is fastest?

Fiber is currently the fastest internet option on the market. Some fiber internet plans offer download speeds up to 2,000 Mbps. Cable is the second fastest, and it can handle speeds up to 1,000 Mbps. DSL usually caps out around 100 Mbps, so it comes in third place. Satellite brings up the rear with high latency and speeds that rarely exceed 30 Mbps.

What is the Emergency Broadband Benefit?

Due to COVID-19, access to reliable internet became more important in 2020 than ever before. Because of this, the FCC instated The Emergency Broadband Benefit to help people who can’t afford internet services.

Eligible households can apply to the program to get discounts on monthly internet bills and assistance purchasing laptops, desktop computers, and tablets.


Rebecca Armstrong
Written by
Rebecca Armstrong
Rebecca is a natural techie and the friend you turn to when your Wi-Fi randomly stops working. Since graduating from the University of Evansville with a degree in creative writing, Rebecca has leveraged her tech savvy to write hundreds of data-driven tech product and service reviews. In addition to HighSpeedInternet.com, her work has been featured on Top Ten Reviews, MacSources, Windows Central, Android Central, Best Company, TechnoFAQ and iMore.