Internet Service Data Report

DecisionData Team
September 14, 2020

If you’re planning to move and need to shop for an internet service provider, you’ve come to the right place. DecisionData.org staff gathers data from the Federal Communications Commission to provide an accurate depiction of the services each internet provider can offer you.

Along with using FCC data, our team of researchers and writers surveyed thousands of people to break down this data and use it to give you side-by-side comparisons of how internet providers measure against each other and which are available in your area, ultimately streamlining your decision-making process. 

Moreover, if the data isn’t accurate, we won’t publish it. Our goal is to provide you with the most up-to-date information so you can make the best choices for your household.

On that note, if you’re moving soon or want to switch internet providers for a better deal, here are factors you’ll want to be mindful of when choosing your next service.

Internet Usage

How you use the internet will influence the plan you want since different online activities require different amounts of data. To assist you, here are some of the most common internet activities, how much data each one consumes and the speed required for each:

Online ActivityData RequiredDownload Speed Needed
Browsing online0.0015 GB per hour1 Mbps
Streaming music0.004 GB per hourLess than 0.5 Mbps
Emails.02 GB for every 100 emails1 Mbps
Streaming video2.50 GB per hourUp to 8 Mbps
Gaming online0.0125 GB per hour4 Mbps
Sources: AT&T (data), FCC (speed)

By understanding how your online behaviors influence data consumption, it can help you choose the right plan. Along with your online activities, you’ll also want to consider how many people will access your home internet. If you have a larger household with many connected devices, you’ll want faster speed to accommodate them. For the gamers in your life, take a look at what speeds we recommend here. If you have a smaller household with a few connected devices, you could do well with a lower speed plan. 

How Many People Are Moving Vs. Switching?

Normally, people change their internet providers because they’re moving to a new area or they are hoping to lower their bill. Here's how it shakes out:

Reasons for SearchPercentage
Moving30%
Switching34%
No Provider36%

Why are you looking to switch?

There could be many reasons why you want to switch providers. One of the biggest influencers is cost, with companies offering introductory promotions to entice new buyers. Other reasons for switching could include unreliable service, the desire to bundle with other services such as cable TV or the need for a plan with no data caps.

Are You Moving?

Meanwhile, if you plan to move, you’ll want to get a jump start on finding your new ISP. This allows you ample time to shop between providers, find the right fit for you and schedule an appointment that coincides with your moving date. 

This chart shows how long before a moving date that people are looking at different internet options.

TimeframePercentage
One Month28%
One Week42%
Over a Month30%

Average Install and Activation Time From Initial Call

When you sign up for internet service, chances are the ISP will have to schedule a time to come visit your residence. They do this to ensure your house or apartment has the right wiring for their service. At this time, they’ll also install and set up your router or modem and your network ID. This is your WiFi name and password. Depending on how extensive the installation is, plan to take anywhere from two to four hours for them to complete the installation and activate your internet service. 

What is Most Important to You About Your Internet?

There are many considerations you might take into account when choosing a provider. This includes cost, service reliability, plan selections, bundling options, latency and more. This chart illustrates the most important factors people consider when choosing internet providers: 

FactorPercentage
Speed57%
Reliability20%
Price20%
Other3%

Costs will play a key role in comparing different providers. Along with this, people want service they can rely on, so having a provider that is able to deliver speeds close to what they promise is vital, along with lower latency, which is a pause between when you send a request to an online server and when they fulfill it.

How Much are You Willing to Spend on the Internet?

This is one of the most important considerations when you go to choose an internet provider. You’ll want to receive good value. At the same time, you’ll also want to make sure the speed you choose works for your household’s needs. This is why it’s important to consider your online activities and household size along with your budget. 

Monthly CostPercentage
$0 – 2512%
$25 – 5037%
$50 – 7530%
Over $7521%

How Does Your Internet Stack Up to Others?

Depending on where you live, you’ll have access to different internet providers. Some of the most popular ISPs include Xfinity, Verizon Fios, Spectrum, Frontier, CenturyLink and AT&T

To see how your ISP measures up to the best, here is a look at some of the top providers:

ProviderPercentage*
15%
15%
7%
4%
4%
3%
3%
2%
2%
* Percentage of those surveyed who identified their preferred provider

We supplied the data; now, the decision is yours.

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