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These were the fastest internet providers in the US last year

FTTC vs FTTP
(Image credit: Adrienne Bresnahan)
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With more people working from home (opens in new tab), a speedy internet connection is quickly becoming a necessity and new data from HighSpeedInternet.com has revealed that internet speeds (opens in new tab) in the US have gotten a lot faster in recent years.

To compile its new report (opens in new tab), the site used data from its internal internet speed testing tool to find the fastest as well as the fastest-growing internet providers.

Based on HighSpeedInternet.com’s analysis of millions of internet speed test results, Google Fiber (opens in new tab) was the fastest internet provider in the US last year with higher average upload and download speeds than any other internet service provider (ISP). The service has a maximum advertised speed of up to 2,000 Mbps and 12-month average download speeds of 161.6 Mbps.

Verizon Fios (opens in new tab) was the second-fastest internet provider with max advertised speeds of up to 940 Mbps followed by Metronet, Xfinity (opens in new tab) and Astound Broadband. Still though, between 2018 and 2021, major internet providers in the US saw their speeds trend upwards year over year with big improvements in average speed performance.

Rural internet speeds still lag behind

While internet speeds in US cities and other more congested areas increased, the shift from DSL to fiber internet (opens in new tab) has made it more difficult for internet speeds in rural areas to improve. 

Although fiber internet speeds often top out at 1,000 Mbps, fiber availability is far more limited nationwide while DSL is widely available. However, ISPs have stopped expanding DSL in favor of fiber internet to provide their customers with faster internet.

For this reason, rural internet users have turned to satellite internet (opens in new tab) since they don’t have to rely on ISPs to run cable for their homes to be connected. Satellite internet comes with its own limitations though as each satellite provider has a limited number of satellites and expanding satellite infrastructure for increased bandwidth requires a great deal of investment.

According to HighSpeedInternet.com’s data, rising customer needs during the pandemic may have put extra strain on satellite providers as both HughesNet and Viasat saw their download speeds experience stark decreases between July of 2019 and July of 2020.

Rural internet customers still have options though as the rollout of Starlink (opens in new tab) and 4G LTE internet (opens in new tab) from mobile carriers like Verizon and T-Mobile have made it easier for them to get significantly faster internet compared to other satellite providers. Starlink had an average download speed of 55 Mbps last year while 4G internet speeds ranged from 25 to 100 Mbps.

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.