Best Internet Providers in Chicago

Like most major cities, Chicago offers internet users a fairly wide variety of options for getting online. Traditional cable providers like Xfinity and RCN have long ruled the roost, but the rise of fiber and the emergence of new alternatives like 5G have given internet users across the Chicagoland region more choices than they might realize. Meanwhile, other competitors have been working to expand their footprints, sometimes by way of acquiring the competition outright.

All of that means that now is a great time for Chicagoans to take another look at what’s available at their address. You can use the tool below to do exactly that, and you can keep reading for a rundown of the best, the fastest and the most affordable internet plans available in the city.

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Comcast Xfinity is the nation’s largest cable provider, and it offers services across a wide majority of Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. If you live in the area, or you’re moving there, then the odds are very good that Xfinity will be one of your main internet options.

Per the Federal Communications Commission, Comcast offers gigabit download speeds to 97% of serviceable addresses across the US, which amounts to about 35% of the whole population. In Chicago, you can expect to see 900Mbps and 1,200Mbps plans for $60 or $70 per month during the first year, which is fairly competitive. You’ll need to pay an extra $14 per month to rent the Comcast gateway, but you can skip that fee if you use your own compatible modem and router. For lighter users, the $25-per-month Connect plan (50Mbps), the $40-per-month Connect More plan (100Mbps) and the $50-per-month Fast plan (300Mbps) all stand out as decent values, too. On top of that, Comcast is rated above the industry average for customer satisfaction from both the American Customer Satisfaction Index and from JD Power.

Just be sure to watch out for the 1.2TB data cap and for moderate price hikes of about $15 to $40 after Year 1, and remember that as a cable provider, Comcast’s upload speeds will be much slower than the download speeds. None of those are deal-breakers, though, so unless your home is wired for fiber, Xfinity should be one of the first providers you consider.

Read our Comcast Xfinity home internet review.

 

Ry Crist/CNET

AT&T offers service throughout most of the Chicagoland area, including surrounding suburbs like Evanston, Elgin, Schaumburg, Naperville, Joliet, Tinley Park and others. The company’s fiber internet service is one of the best deals in home internet these days — but the bad news is that most Chicago-area addresses will only be serviceable for one of AT&T’s much slower DSL plans, which also come with data caps.

With speeds no faster than 18Mbps in some neighborhoods, those DSL plans aren’t worth your time if other alternatives are an option, but it’s worth taking a look to see if AT&T’s fiber offerings are available at your address. If so, put AT&T right

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