- Xfinity, AT&T, RCN, and WOW! are the primary cable, DSL, and fiber providers in Chicago.
- Webpass, now a Google Fiber company, also offers gigabit fixed wireless to select buildings and areas within Chicago.
- 48.49 Mbps is the average speed in Chicago, supported by our latest speed test data.
Best Residential Internet Providers
There may only be a handful of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Chicago, but there are dozens of plans to choose from. We selected these brands as the best “one size fits all” providers offering the best value for money to the widest coverage areas citywide.
XFINITY from Comcast - Top Pick
- Pricing: $2000 - $8000
- Max Down: 987 Mbps
- Max Up: 35 Mbps
Comcast Xfinity is a reliable pick in this area, thanks to their hybrid fiber-coaxial cable network, which combines the backbone of a fiber network with the affordability of traditional cable to offer some of the best-value Internet speeds on the market. They also have a wide range of television offerings, including the X1 smart TV platform.
WOW! - Runner Up
- Pricing: $2999 - $12498
- Max Down: 50 Mbps
- Max Up: 5.0 Mbps
WOW!, or Wide Open West, is an underrated small cable provider that offers some of the best speed, features, and reliability to Internet and TV customers in the metro area. They don’t have data caps, which is a huge bonus for cord cutters. Their TV plans also have plenty to offer, from sports to kid’s entertainment.
Residential Internet Providers Available in Chicago
While the table below should give you a bird’s eye view of all providers serving Chicago, keep in mind that some of these only serve specific zip codes or buildings. For a more accurate idea of what the options are in your home, try searching with our zip code broadband search tool.
|$5999+|| 100% |
|$5000+|| 100% |
|$5000+|| 99% |
|$2000+|| 98% |
|$2900+|| 86% |
|$2999+|| 21% |
|$2999+|| 17% |
|$2600+|| 16% |
|N/A|| 1% |
Best Business Internet Providers
Chicago has a lot to offer businesses, particularly in central districts and buildings already wired for true fiber service. Here’s where we’d start our search for Chicago business broadband.
AT&T Internet - Business Pick
- Max Down: 100 Mbps
- Max Up: 20 Mbps
AT&T Business Internet is an excellent option for small and medium-sized businesses in the metro area. While they don’t offer the same scalability and features as some of the enterprise providers listed below, they’re a great fit for the reliability needed for everyday business purposes.
Business Internet Providers Available in Chicago
Business broadband options vary between districts. See the table below for a full listing of ISPs with business plans.
|N/A|| 100% |
|N/A|| 100% |
|$5000+|| 100% |
|$6995+|| 83% |
|N/A|| 97% |
|$6600+|| 26% |
|$4999+|| 3% |
|N/A|| 56% |
|N/A|| 32% |
|N/A|| 28% |
|N/A|| 24% |
|N/A|| 2% |
Map of Broadband Internet Competition in Chicago
Chicago has the same problem most densely populated cities have in the US — patchwork networks that serve some areas perfectly, while leaving others “in the dark.” Depending on your neighborhood (or your landlord’s friendliness to ISP technicians), you might only have one option for wired broadband while your neighbor has three. It certainly isn’t fair, but it’s reality for the time being. See below for a “heat map” of broadband option availability in Chicago and surrounding areas.
Provider Competition Map
Chicago Internet Speed Overview
Our speed test data shows the top speed for Chicago as 138.2 Mbps. The average overall, accounting for all neighborhoods and plan types, is 48.49 Mbps.
|Average Speed||90th Percentile Speed|
|48.49 Mbps||138.2 Mbps|
Average Residential download speeds within Chicago
Top Factors to Consider When Shopping for Internet Service in Chicago
Chicago isn’t a perfect environment for Internet service, and residents often complain about data caps, equipment fees, hidden costs, and other issues with service. Here are a couple pointers to keep in mind while comparing plans.
Should you pay the leasing fee to have a modem/router included with your Internet service? Honestly, probably not. Short-term residents get good bang for their buck from fully leased Internet setups, but the fees add up to hundreds of dollars over multi-year contracts for long-term residents.
Our recommendation is to consider buying your own modem and router from a third party. Amazon, Best Buy, and plenty of other online tech retailers offer plenty of options. Chicago providers have pages on their websites dedicated to explaining which models are compatible with their service.
Data caps are a common problem with Chicago Internet providers. But don’t freak out — they only matter for “power users” who stream hours on end of video on a daily basis, or spend all day on Twitch trying to get famous. The important thing with caps is to simply be aware of them, and understand how your home’s data usage fits in the monthly allowance. If you can’t fit, consider a competing provider with no cap if you have the option.
Will Chicago ever get Google Fiber?
Google Fiber has been putting the brakes on their expansion, even in cities where they already provide service. Chicago is one of the lucky few early rollout areas for their fixed wireless “Webpass” service. While only available in specific buildings, subscribers can access gigabit-quality broadband thanks to the miracle of millimeter wave technology. Availability map available at the Webpass Chicago webpage.
Municipal Broadband in Chicago
Chicago has investigated municipal options before, however it is not currently being pursued and is unlikely to happen as wireless technologies improve connectivity overall in coming years.
Low-Income Internet Options in Chicago
Chicago offers subsidized home broadband plans, digital literacy courses, and even laptops for residents who meet certain criteria. For a checklist of plans and eligibility conditions, use the zip code search tool at EveryoneOn.
References and Footnotes
Ana De Castro
Ana De Castro cut her teeth as a SAP consultant for Deloitte during the original tech boom, and now works in a communications role in the telecom industry. When she isn’t explaining technical concepts to confused consumers, she enjoys traveling with her husband and two rambunctious kids.
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.