- Picking Internet in Los Angeles comes down to deciding between cable (usually Charter Spectrum) or DSL (usually Frontier or AT&T).
- Fiber internet has limited availability in Los Angeles. It is most prevalent as a business Internet option in tech hubs like Venice Beach.
- The 90th percentile average available speed in Los Angeles is 109.36 Mbps, compared to the LA average overall speed of 44.22 Mbps. There are 15 Internet providers within city limits, including residential, business, and enterprise options.
Best Residential Internet Providers
Cable and DSL are the predominant options for residential Internet and TV service in Los Angeles. Here are our top picks from detailed data comparisons on all 15 providers.
Charter Spectrum - Top Pick
- Pricing: $4499 - $13997
- Max Down: 940 Mbps
- Max Up: 35 Mbps
Charter Spectrum is an excellent option for customers who need a reasonable balance of fast download speeds, reasonable pricing, and flexible TV options. Their own bundled TV platform is a good pick for sports fans, while their lack of data caps makes them equally friendly for customers who would rather “cut the cord” and get their video content through Hulu, Sling, Netflix, and other OTT providers.
AT&T Internet - Runner Up
- Pricing: $4000 - $9000
- Max Down: 100 Mbps
- Max Up: 20 Mbps
AT&T Internet is an excellent options for households that favor pricing and reliability over fancy features and best-case-scenario performance. We found them to be particularly well-suited to light Internet users and budget-conscious households.
Residential Internet Providers Available in Los Angeles
Cable vs DSL. Which do you choose? As a general rule, we recommend that cord cutters and power users pick cable, which tends to be faster and more reliable. The biggest local cable provider is Charter Spectrum — a good choice for streaming Netflix and Twitch since they don’t have data caps.
|$4499+|| 100% |
|$4999+|| 100% |
|$5000+|| 100% |
|$4000+|| 91% |
|$3000+|| 12% |
|$2000+|| 6% |
|N/A|| 2% |
|$5500+|| 1% |
Best Business Internet Providers
Business Internet is complex in Los Angeles, with different infrastructure challenges in each neighborhood. Here’s our top pick for across-the-board business service, offering business-class Internet connections at reasonable price points.
Charter Spectrum - Business Pick
- Max Down: 940 Mbps
- Max Up: 35 Mbps
Charter Business approaches the business connectivity challenge with the same simplicity and reasonable pricing they deliver to residential customers. We found them to be one of the more full-featured options in the area that served small businesses as well as enterprise clients.
Business Internet Providers Available in Los Angeles
Whether you’re a small business looking for basic cable or a large corporation hunting for dedicated fiber service, LA has plenty to offer. Don’t discount wireless providers — thanks to millimeter wave technology, some of the strongest “gigabit” connections on the market as of 2017 come from fixed wireless providers.
|$5999+|| 96% |
|N/A|| 100% |
|N/A|| 100% |
|N/A|| 100% |
|N/A|| 100% |
|$5000+|| 87% |
|$8000+|| 11% |
|$11000+|| 26% |
|$1999+|| 6% |
|N/A|| 1% |
|N/A|| 12% |
|N/A|| 14% |
Map of Broadband Internet Competition in Los Angeles
Los Angeles has a surprisingly limited broadband market. Most residents only have one or two wired provider choices. See the map below for an overview of ISP territories in Los Angeles by neighborhood.
Provider Competition Map
Los Angeles Internet Speed Overview
Because of limited fiber availability, Los Angeles has slightly lower than average overall speed availability for a city of its size. However, the real situation for residents depends heavily on the provider network in their specific block.
The average speed according to the latest speed test data hovers around 44.22 Mbps.
|Average Speed||90th Percentile Speed|
|44.22 Mbps||109.36 Mbps|
Average Residential download speeds within Los Angeles
Top Factors to Consider When Shopping for Internet Service in Los Angeles
Internet shopping isn’t the funnest part of a move. Since LA is the land of transients and transplants, we recommend that subscribers be wary of multi-year contracts — even if they look cheaper up-front.
That said, you’ll likely save money on cable and DSL service if you go ahead and purchase your own router rather than renting equipment from the Internet provider directly.
The danger with 1–2 year Internet service contracts is that the price sometimes jumps up dramatically in the second part of the contract. They’re also problematic if you need to move or switch providers, since the early termination fees usually clock in between 150–350 dollars.
What can you do about it? First off, make sure you understand the difference between promotional pricing and “final price.” The average between these two figures is what you’ll actually pay over the life of the agreement. Only sign if that average monthly price is still a significant savings over month-to-month service options.
For housing renters (AKA most of us), it’s important that you don’t sign an Internet contract that’s longer than your house/apartment lease. That way you’re safe from paying those termination fees if your landlord increases the rent between leases and prices you out.
Purchasing Your Own Router
Most cable and DSL providers in Los Angeles charge between $5–10 monthly for your equipment leasing. (Modem, router, gateway box, etc.)
If you’re a short-term resident, it’s probably fine to just pay it for the convenience. However, it adds up to hundreds of dollars if you’ll be using the same provider for multiple years. If at all possible, go ahead and purchase your hardware from a third party.
LA Internet companies won’t usually advertise this option, but there should be a page on their site detailing compatible modems and routers if you simply Google their name and “compatible modem.”
Los Angeles has a drastically different feel from neighborhood to neighborhood. The situation for Internet access is equally stark, with some neighborhoods offering affordable gigabit from multiple providers while other only have one real wired option.
In spite of these barriers, Los Angeles governmental and nonprofit organizations are working hard to make sure that the city gets the best and brightest that the connected pro-tech future has to offer.
When Will Los Angeles Go From “Potential Google Fiber City” to “Current Google Fiber City?”
Short version: not in the near future. Google Fiber has, unfortunately, paused their nationwide expansion due to high costs of doing business.
They will continue to serve existing fiber cities — even expanding service in some cases — but it’s unlikely that “potential fiber cities” like Los Angeles will actually get Google Fiber service anytime soon. In all likelihood, fiber from another provider or next-generation wireless gigabit service will be the first cable and DSL alternative to truly create competition for existing local Internet providers.
Google Fiber is already servicing buildings in nearby cities with their fixed wireless Webpass service. If Google truly comes to town, it’s likely that it’ll be through a similar combination fiber/wireless product.
Low-Income Internet Access in Los Angeles
Internet access — is it a “need”, a “want,” or a “must have?” The answer depends on who you ask, and rapidly changing FCC laws regarding Internet’s status as a utility make it hard to understand even where the government stands.
Regardless of politics, there’s one fact we can’t argue with: those who have Internet access have more chances to communicate, find jobs, and access basic education. So what do you do if for some reason you can’t get Internet access?
Thanks to certain government and Internet provider programs, low-income Los Angeles residents have access to Internet for a fraction of the retail cost. Discounted computer equipment is also available, alongside programs for training Los Angeles residents in basic computer skills.
See EveryoneOn.org for more information about programs available in Los Angeles neighborhoods specifically.
We’ve reached out to the local government and broadband advocacy groups for more perspective on what the future looks like for Internet access in LA. We’ll update this page when we have helpful information to share from those conversations.
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.