- Charleston has an impressive amount of options for residential Internet considering its size. Xfinity, AT&T, and WOW! all offer service throughout most of the city’s districts.
- Business broadband services are equally impressive in Charleston, including a variety of specialized niche providers knowledgeable about local industry needs.
- The average broadband speed recorded in Charleston is 49.51 Mbps as of our latest speed test data check.
Best Residential Internet Providers
Picking the right Internet Service Provider (ISP) is all about finding the right balance between speed and price. Unfortunately, the speeds advertised are usually higher than the speeds you actually get. With that in mind, here are our top picks in Charleston considering actual speed test data (as opposed to advertising fluff), pricing, and overall availability.
WOW! - Top Pick
- Pricing: $3999 - $13498
- Max Down: 50 Mbps
- Max Up: 5.0 Mbps
WOW! is one of the better-liked cable options in the US, with customer rankings that blow some of the bigger names in cable out of the water. They don’t cap data, which is a nice feature for cord cutters and Netflix fans who want to stream without worrying about overage fees. They also offer a decent lineup of standard cable channels, including sports and premium channels.
XFINITY from Comcast - Runner Up
- Pricing: $2000 - $8000
- Max Down: 987 Mbps
- Max Up: 35 Mbps
Xfinity has three core strengths that win our recommendation: speed, value, and plan flexibility. While many providers have been moving to “one size fits all” pricing models, Xfinity offers dozens of constantly changing plan options to ensure everyone can find their ideal combination of Internet speed, TV channels, and digital phone service.
Residential Internet Providers Available in Charleston
See below for a full list of options in the Charleston metro area for home Internet.
|$4999+|| 100% |
|$5000+|| 100% |
|$2000+|| 94% |
|$5000+|| 92% |
|$1495+|| 82% |
|$3999+|| 61% |
|$2600+|| 6% |
|$4495+|| 5% |
Best Business Internet Providers
Business Internet options in Charleston range from small mom-and-pop cable hookups to complex high-security industrial services. Here’s our favorite for the average business existing somewhere in the middle ground.
WOW! - Business Pick
- Max Down: 50 Mbps
- Max Up: 5.0 Mbps
WOW! Business offers extremely flexible business features that are a particularly good value for small and medium-sized businesses. Packages on offer include setups geared towards government offices, bars, healthcare centers, and education centers.
Business Internet Providers Available in Charleston
|N/A|| 94% |
|N/A|| 100% |
|$9995+|| 93% |
|$5000+|| 95% |
|$4499+|| 57% |
|N/A|| 18% |
|$5995+|| 9% |
|N/A|| 5% |
Map of Broadband Internet Competition in Charleston
See the map below for a quick impression of what Internet options look like from neighborhood to neighborhood. Every year, the FCC releases reports showing that US residents don’t have sufficient access to alternatives. Charleston is far from a monopoly, but there’s still room for improvement in some areas as you can see.
Provider Competition Map
Top Factors to Consider When Shopping for Internet Service in Charleston
Charleston residents have been irritated by the introduction of so-called “data caps” on wired broadband plans in the area. Essentially, this issue matters most for cord cutters, home offices, and serious gamers.
Anyone who does a lot of downloading or streaming all day long needs to have a clear idea of their data usage, and consider upgrading to an unlimited plan if they can’t fit the mold.
Unfortunately, many Charleston neighborhoods don’t offer affordable unlimited data options due to low competition.
Cable vs DSL
One of the top considerations you’ll run into while comparing Internet plans is the “cable vs DSL” question. Fiber is increasingly available around Charleston, but many residents are still stuck choosing between more traditional network options.
Coaxial cable TV networks deliver data on “cable” networks, while traditional telephone wires do the same job in a DSL Internet connection. We generally recommend cable over DSL, since the cables can handle higher speeds and generally come with good bundle options for TV. DSL is great in some areas, but overall it tends to be less reliable and less ideal for streaming and gaming.
Will Google Fiber Come to Charleston?
Google Fiber is not currently being considered for Charleston. In fact, Google Fiber seems to be slowing their nationwide expansion, focusing instead on advanced millimeter-wave wireless technologies they acquired from Webpass. Since these technologies can service an entire building with gigabit service for a relatively low upfront cost, it’s expected that the company will likely continue pursuing this service before spending more money on the high cost of fiber installation.
Broadband Roadblocks in Charleston
Municipal broadband isn’t a realistic option for Charleston under current state laws, which work to prohibit publicly-owned networks with phantom costs, legal loopholes, and other lobbyist-backed requirements.
We’ve reached out to the local government in Charleston to ask for local perspective on broadband in the area. We will update this page with their responses in the near future. If you are involved with Internet and tech in Charleston, please reach out and we will see about including your insights and/or information about your projects on this page.
References and Footnotes
James Webb is a tech and gadgets expert with a focus on educational content development. He draws on his background in the startup world to make complicated technologies and topics easy to understand for normal folks.