Best Internet Providers in Philadelphia: Verizon or Xfinity

Angelena Iglesia

When shopping for home internet in Philadelphia, don’t expect to be blown away by the variety of available providers in your area. In all likelihood, you’ll have two primary choices: Verizon, which may include Fios and 5G home internet, or Xfinity. While more options would be nice, Verizon Fios and […]

When shopping for home internet in Philadelphia, don’t expect to be blown away by the variety of available providers in your area. In all likelihood, you’ll have two primary choices: Verizon, which may include Fios and 5G home internet, or Xfinity.

While more options would be nice, Verizon Fios and Xfinity offer all you could want from a home internet service provider: fast speeds, favorable service terms and competitive pricing. Verizon’s 5G home internet service can also be a decent deal, if it’s available at your address. 

Granted, there are more internet providers in Philadelphia, such as T-Mobile and local fixed wireless provider PhillyWhisper. Astound, a cable internet provider, is also an option for people just over the county line in the Yeadon, Lansdowne and Upper Darby Township areas.

But when it comes to the best internet providers, the ones that I would recommend and consider if I lived in Philadelphia would be Verizon and Xfinity. You’ll find below service details for each provider and what makes them stand out, followed by a rundown of other potential ISP options in Philly and a look at the cheapest and fastest internet plans in the area.

Top internet providers in Philadelphia

Sarah Tew/CNET

  • Price range: $40 to $90 a month
  • Speed range: 300 to 940Mbps
  • Connection: Fiber
  • Perks: No contracts, unlimited data, free equipment with gig service
  • Why choose it: Competitive pricing, symmetrical download and upload speeds, unique promotional offers, high customer satisfaction

You’ll find Verizon Fios available just about everywhere throughout Philadelphia. There are a select few neighborhoods in Spring Garden, Grays Ferry, Fishtown and other districts where service may be unavailable. Still, for the most part, you can expect to find Verizon Fios wherever you are or are moving to in Philly. 

Verizon Fios checks all the right boxes: fast speeds for the price, a reliable fiber connection with symmetrical or near-symmetrical download and upload speeds, no contracts and no data caps. On top of that, Verizon Fios often throws in a bonus offer, like gift cards, streaming subscriptions or free electronics, just for signing up. 

All things considered, it’s no wonder why Verizon consistently claims the top spot for customer satisfaction, according to recent American Customer Satisfaction Index and J.D. Power reports.

Read our Verizon Fios review.


Verizon Fios

Sarah Tew/CNET

  • Price range: $40 to $300 a month
  • Speed range: 50 to 6,000Mbps
  • Connection: Cable, some fiber
  • Perks: No contracts and two-year price guarantee with most plans, free self-installation
  • Why choose it: Lots of plans, faster download speeds than Verizon Fios for the same price or lower

Like Verizon Fios, Xfinity serves the entire Philadelphia area, save for a few random blocks. For the most part, Xfinity is a cable internet provider, but fiber service — capable of delivering symmetrical multi-gig speeds up to 6,000Mbps — may also be available at your Philly address.

The speeds are impressive, but Xfinity’s multi-gig fiber plan is a bit pricey at $300 a month, not to mention potentially high upfront costs and a two-year contract requirement. For a more reasonable plan selection, look to the cable internet side of Xfinity. 

Philadelphia residents will have six or so Xfinity cable internet plans to choose from, with speeds ranging from 50Mbps to 1,200Mbps. The faster plans — 300, 600, 900 and 1,200Mbps — are the better Xfinity deals and may deliver faster download speeds for the same price or lower than comparable plans from Verizon. Gigabit service from Xfinity, for example, starts at $80 per month compared to $90 with Verizon Fios and comes with a faster max download speed, 1,200Mbps versus 940Mbps.

Cable internet is not without fault, however. Speeds are often less reliable, especially during peak usage times, and upload speeds are significantly lower on a cable network. Xfinity upload speeds max out at 35Mbps but could be even lower depending on your chosen plan. Of course, upload speeds aren’t as important as download speeds in the grand scheme of things. Still, it’s something to consider if your household internet activity includes lots of working from home, serious online gaming and uploading files or streams to social media.

Read our Xfinity internet review.


Xfinity Internet

Sarah Tew/CNET

  • Price range: $50 to $70 a month
  • Speed range: 85 to 1,000Mbps
  • Connection: 5G
  • Perks: No contracts, no equipment costs, 50% discount for qualifying Verizon mobile customers
  • Why choose it: Simple pricing, simple setup and potentially high speeds for the price

Verizon didn’t land on my list of top Philadelphia ISPs twice because I’m partial to the provider — it’s because it currently has the best 5G home internet service in the area. 

Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband service spans much of Philadelphia, but you’ll find the best coverage in Girard Estate and Grays Ferry neighborhoods. If service is available at your address (it may not be even if your phone can get 5G service), you’ll have two plan options: Verizon 5G Home with speeds in the 85 to 300Mbps range starting at $50 a month and Verizon 5G Home Plus with speeds ranging from 300 to 1,000Mbps starting at $70 a month. Both plans include your equipment and unlimited data at no extra cost and do not require a contract. 

Depending on the available speeds at your address, Verizon 5G home internet is a good deal on its own, but it could get even better if you have Verizon mobile. Qualifying Verizon mobile customers can get 50% off Verizon 5G Home Internet plans, meaning you could get a high-speed broadband connection in Philadelphia for $25 or $35 a month, depending on the plan you choose. 

The price is right, and 5G’s potential to shake up the broadband industry is exciting, but for Philadelphia residents, I’d still recommend a cable or fiber connection versus 5G. That said, if you’re ready to cut the broadband cord with a simple wireless connection and qualify for the 50% discount, Verizon 5G Home Internet is certainly worth a look.

Read our Verizon 5G home internet review.


Compare Philadelphia internet provider details

Top Philadelphia internet providers by availability

Provider Starting price Download speed range (Mbps) Equipment cost Approximate availability CNET review score
Xfinity $40 to $300 50 to 6,000 $14 (skippable) 99% 7
Verizon Fios $50 to $90 300 to 940 None 96% 7.6
Verizon 5G $50 to $70 300 to 940 None 40% N/A
T-Mobile 5G $50 35 to 115 None 30% N/A
Astound $15 to $45 300 to 1,200 $7 (skippable) 4% 7
PhillyWhisper $50 25 or higher None No FCC data available N/A

Top Philadelphia ISP honorable mentions

These internet service providers may also be available in the Philadelphia area, but lack the availability or value to be considered among the “best.” Still, if you’re looking for alternatives to Verizon or Xfinity, these ISPs may be worth checking out.

Astound: Formerly known as RCN, Astound is available primarily to the west of Philadelphia and east/south of Springfield in areas such as Yeadon, Darby and Ridley Park. If Astound is available at your address, it’ll be your best bet for cheap internet. The provider’s overall cheapest pricing can be found in the Philadelphia area, with plans ranging from 300Mbps starting at $15 a month to 1,200Mbps starting at $45 a month. The intro pricing is tempting, but be prepared for hefty price increases after the first year of service.

HughesNet: Satellite internet like that from HughesNet is available pretty much anywhere, including throughout Philadelphia, but is best suited for rural internet connections. Philadelphia residents will have faster, cheaper internet options than HughesNet, which advertises speeds of just 25Mbps starting at $50 a month.

PhillyWhisper: Local fixed wireless provider PhillyWhisper advertises a single residential internet plan starting at $50 a month for minimum speeds of 25Mbps. Speeds faster than 25Mbps are common, according to the provider’s website, but I seriously doubt they will be able to match what $50 will get you with Verizon or Xfinity. 

T-Mobile: Another major 5G home internet provider, T-Mobile offers speeds ranging from 33 to 182Mbps starting at $50 per month ($30 for qualifying T-Mobile customers). Like Verizon 5G, equipment and unlimited data are included, and no contracts are required, but T-Mobile doesn’t quite deliver the same speed potential for the price as Verizon. T-Mobile home internet coverage is also somewhat spotty throughout Philadelphia, covering only about a third of homes in the area.

Viasat: Like HughesNet, Viasat is available pretty much anywhere in the US, including Philadelphia. Also, like HughesNet, Viasat is much more of a rural internet solution than a viable option for home internet in a city like Philly. If you’re interested in exploring all your internet options, Viasat will likely be one, but expect relatively slow speeds along with high prices and data caps from the provider.

Philadelphia skyline.

Getty Images

Cheapest internet in Philadelphia

Astound, and 5G home internet from Verizon 5G or T-Mobile (if you qualify for a discount with either), will be your cheapest internet options in the Philadelphia area. Aside from those providers and circumstances, expect to pay at least $40 to $50 a month for home internet. Here’s a look at the cheapest internet plans available in Philadelphia.

Cheap internet plans in Philadelphia

Plan Starting monthly price Equipment fee Max download speeds (Mbps)
Astound 300Mbps $15 (Philadelphia only) $7 (skippable) 300
Verizon 5G Home Internet $25 (with 50% discount) None 85-300
T-Mobile Home Internet  $30 (with $20 discount) None 33-182
Xfinity Performance Pro $40 $14 (skippable) 300
Verizon Fios 300 $50 None 300
PhillyWhisper $50 None 25 or higher

Affordable internet options for low-income households in Philadelphia

The Affordable Connectivity Program grants qualifying households a monthly credit of $30 towards home internet service. Once approved, you can apply the credit to internet service from Philadelphia internet providers, including Verizon, T-Mobile and Xfinity.

Xfinity also offers an affordable internet program, Internet Essentials, with speeds up to 100Mbps starting at $10 a month. No credit checks or contracts are required, and service is free when combined with the ACP credit. 

Verizon, unfortunately, does not have a similar low-income plan, but the provider does offer prepaid internet options that, when combined with ACP, could get you speeds of up to 300Mbps for around $20 a month with no contracts, credit checks or monthly equipment fees.

Fastest internet in Philadelphia

Xfinity will be the faster Philadelphia internet provider whether your address is eligible for fiber service or not. Xfinity’s fastest plan, Gigabit Pro, advertises max download and upload speeds up to 6,000Mbps over a 100% fiber connection in the Philly area. Serviceability is limited (and the plan is expensive), but even over a cable connection, Xfinity is the fastest provider in the area, with download speeds up to 1,200Mbps. 

Astound also offers a 1,200Mbps plan and a lower starting price than Xfinity, but the provider is primarily available just outside of Philadelphia.

Fastest internet plans in Philadelphia

Plan Starting monthly price Max download speeds (Mbps) Data cap
Xfinity Gigabit Pro $300 6,000 None 
Xfinity Gigabit $80 1,200 1.25TB
Astound 1,200Mbps $45 1,200 None
Verizon Fios Gig $90 940 None
Verizon 5G Home Internet Plus $70 940 None

Philly ISP data caps and contracts

If you sign up for Xfinity’s fastest plan, Gigabit Pro, you won’t have to worry about a data cap, though you may have to sign a two-year service agreement. Other Xfinity plans, including Xfinity Gigabit, will come with a monthly data cap of 1.25TB but may require no contract. That’s a considerable amount of data and more than the average home is likely to come close to using in a month, but keep in mind that going over could result in added fees. 

No other major Philadelphia ISPs have a data cap or contract requirements.

Philadelphia home internet FAQs

Does Philadelphia have fiber internet?

Yes. According to the most recent FCC data, more than 96% of Philadelphia residents are eligible for fiber service. Verizon Fios is the largest fiber internet provider in Philadelphia, though Xfinity also has a small fiber presence in the area.

How do I get free internet in Philadelphia?

Select Philadelphia internet plans are available for a net cost of $0 when combined with the Affordable Connectivity Program credit. Xfinity Essentials, for example, is a low-income internet plan available to qualifying customers starting at $10 per month, a cost that would be completely covered by the $30 monthly credit available from the ACP. Similarly, Verizon 5G or T-Mobile home internet may be available for free when combined with provider discounts and the ACP credit.

Is Verizon or Xfinity better?

I’m partial to the reliability and fast upload speeds of a 100% fiber connection, so given the choice between Verizon Fios or Xfinity, I’d likely go with Verizon. Additionally, Verizon Fios plans come with equipment and unlimited data included at no extra cost whereas you may be paying for both with Xfinity. Don’t just take my word for it, though, check out our breakdown of Verizon versus Xfinity.

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