October 6, 2022

CloudsBigData

Epicurean Science & Tech

Best Internet Providers in Brooklyn

10 min read

Life in the Big Apple presents seemingly endless options, from places to eat, things to check out or, in the case of Brooklyn, which park to go to. But when it comes to home internet, Brooklyn residents have about as many options you’ll find in any city: a cable internet provider or two, a major fiber provider and possibly 5G or fixed wireless service, depending on your address. So, which service type and specific internet provider is best for your Brooklyn home? I’ll help with that.

But first a disclaimer: I’m not a Brooklynite. I don’t know the best place to get a slice, nor do I know which bus lines will take you to Coney Island. But I do know about the internet providers that service Brooklyn, so if I can offer any advice to new or life-long residents of the borough, it’s on which local internet provider may be best for your needs. You’ll find my picks of the best Brooklyn internet providers and what makes them stand out below, followed by other potentially available, though probably less worthwhile, internet options in Brooklyn.

Best Brooklyn internet providers

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  • Price range: $40-$90 per month
  • Speed range: 100-940Mbps
  • Connection: Fiber
  • Perks: Unlimited data, no contracts, signup bonuses
  • Why choose it: 100% fiber connection, excellent value, high customer satisfaction

A fiber-optic connection, like the one you get with Verizon Fios, is often going to be your best option for home internet in terms of speed and value. Verizon Fios is the largest fiber-optic internet provider in Brooklyn, but its service area doesn’t quite reach every corner of Kings County.  

Roughly 86% of households will have access to fiber internet, according to the latest data from the Federal Communications Commission. The remaining fiberless 14% includes random blocks throughout Kensington, Parkville, New Utrecht and other Brooklyn neighborhoods as well as the obvious nonresidential areas, like Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Naval Yard. The FCC’s data is admittedly outdated, so there may be, and likely is, better Verizon Fios coverage in Brooklyn today.

Either way, chances are fairly good that Verizon Fios is going to be an option if you live in Brooklyn. That means you’ll have the choice of three speed tiers: 300Mbps starting at $40 per month, 500Mbps starting at $65 and gigabit service (940Mbps) starting at $90. Select areas may also have access to Verizon’s new multigigabit service with speeds up to 2.3Gbps starting at $120 per month. Since Verizon Fios uses a 100% fiber connection, max download and upload speeds will be the same, or at least very close.

Read our Verizon internet review.

 

Verizon Fios

Optimum

  • Price range: $30-$50 per month
  • Speed range: 100-940Mbps
  • Connection: Cable, fiber
  • Perks: Unlimited data, no contracts
  • Why choose it: Low pricing, high speeds

If you’re looking for cheap internet — and I mean that in terms of actual pricing, not necessarily quality — Optimum is a good place to start, and you’ll find it just about everywhere south of Flushing Avenue save for most westside neighborhoods such as Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Dyker Heights and Fort Hamilton.

Optimum offers a high speed connection starting at $30 per month for speeds up to 300Mbps. That’s $10 less than Verizon Fios’ entry-level plan for the same download speed potential. (Though Optimum does have a growing fiber footprint in NYC, the provider largely uses a cable network, which means dramatically slower upload speeds.) You’ll also find Optimum’s middle speed tier to be cheaper than Verizon Fios at $40 for the same download speed potential, 500Mbps. And for gig service, you guessed it, Optimum is cheaper, starting at just $50 per month.

The low pricing is tempting, but enjoy it while you can. When Optimum’s introductory pricing will expire, and by how much exactly your bill will go up is a mystery. On the unclear price increase policy, an Optimum spokesperson informed me that “before the introductory offer expires, customers will receive a notification with the anticipated change to their rate, which does vary based on the plan and promotion they select at the time of purchase.”

Read our Optimum internet review.

 

Optimum Internet

Charter Communications

  • Price range: $50-$80 per month
  • Speed range: 200-940Mbps
  • Connection: Cable
  • Perks: Unlimited data, no contracts, modem included
  • Why choose it: Fast speeds, stable pricing

For the most part, Spectrum cable internet covers Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island, but there are parts of Brooklyn, specifically Downtown Brooklyn and neighborhoods to the north and west, like Red Hook, Williamsburg and Sunset Park, where Spectrum is available. 

Spectrum service areas start essentially where Optimum’s end, but there may be some overlap, particularly in the Bushwick, Prospect Heights or Borough Park neighborhoods where you may have the choice of both providers. Given the option of the two, I’d favor Spectrum, largely because of the simple, transparent pricing — an attribute that contributed to CNET naming Spectrum as the best cable internet provider in the country. 

Granted, Spectrum’s starting prices are higher than Optimum’s — Spectrum’s entry level plan, for example, comes with max speeds of 200Mbps starting at $50 per month, the same as gig service from Optimum — but those prices are good for a year. What’s more, when the price increase does go into effect, you’ll know exactly what to expect, because Spectrum doesn’t hide its standard pricing or adjust it based on promotions or when you signed up for service.

Read our Spectrum internet review.

 

Spectrum Internet

Starry

  • Price range: $15-$80 per month
  • Speed range: 30-1,000Mbps
  • Connection: Fixed wireless
  • Perks: Unlimited data, no contracts, equipment included
  • Why choose it: Convenience, fair pricing, favorable service terms

As a fixed wireless provider, Starry internet works by sending high-powered internet signals over the air to dedicated receivers affixed to the top of buildings, which then send service through the building’s existing infrastructure to the individual units within. If you’re moving into a building within Starry’s range (which includes roughly half of Brooklyn, mostly to the borough’s north, east and center) and it’s equipped for service, then Starry is definitely worth checking out.  

Starry’s standard internet plan comes with max speeds of 200Mbps down and 100Mbps up for $50 per month. That’s plenty of speed for most apartments and, with unlimited data and your equipment included at no extra cost, the pricing is on point. Other plan options may be available, all the way up to gig service, and all are priced competitively compared to other Brooklyn internet providers. 

Select buildings will be eligible for Starry’s discount internet plan, Starry Connect, which offers symmetrical speeds up to 30Mbps for just $15 per month. That’s cheaper than most discount internet plans and, other than living in a building where it’s offered, there are no special requirements to sign up, such as showing proof of income or enrollment in WIC or school lunch programs.

Read our Starry internet overview.

 

Brooklyn internet providers compared

Verizon Optimum Starry T-Mobile Spectrum Astound
Starting monthly price $40-$90 $30-$50 $30-$80 $50 $50-$80 $15-$40
Speed range (Mbps) 300-2,300 100-940 50-1,000 35-115 200-940 100-940
Equipment cost $15 (skippable) $10 (skippable) None None $5 (skippable) $5 (skippable)
Data cap None None None None None None
Contract None None None None None None
Approximate availability 99% 75% 55% 35% 28% 2%
CNET review score 7.6 6.2 N/A N/A 7.2 7
gettyimages-1371416845

Getty Images

What other internet options are there in Brooklyn?

These internet providers may also be available in Brooklyn, but lack the availability or service qualities to be included among the best Brooklyn internet providers. 

Astound: Formerly known as RCN, Astound gives Optimum a run for its money for the title of cheapest internet provider in the area with plans starting at $35 per month, but service is highly limited to select blocks in Downtown Brooklyn and Coney Island. There’s also a steep, steep price increase to look forward to.

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet: The arrival of 5G and its use for home internet is exciting, but the availability of cable, fiber and fixed wireless throughout Brooklyn makes T-Mobile’s $50 plan with speeds of 35-115Mbps a little less enticing. But if you’re interested, T-Mobile home internet is available in random spots throughout Brooklyn.

Verizon Internet: As mentioned above, Verizon Fios covers most, but not all, of Brooklyn. The lacking locations may have access to Verizon Internet, a DSL-based service, but the slow speeds aren’t worth your money when other options like cable internet, Starry or T-Mobile may be available.

Xchange Telecom: Mainly a fixed wireless provider with some DSL and fiber mixed in, Xchange Telecom is specific to the NY metropolitan area with service covering much of Brooklyn north of Kings Highway. Speeds up to 1,000Mbps are available, according to the FCC, but actual speeds and pricing will vary based on your location and the available connection type.

Satellite internet: No local list of internet providers would be complete without mentioning HughesNet and Viasat. Yes, they are probably available at your address, but slow speeds, high prices and restrictive data caps would make satellite internet an absolute last resort for internet in Brooklyn. You’d be better off rolling the dice with Xchange Telecom.

Brooklyn internet pricing

Excluding some of the impractical, and often expensive, internet options like satellite service and Verizon’s DSL, the average starting price for internet in Brooklyn is around $36 per month. That’s lower than many areas, but Astound’s cheap $15 per month plan is the main factor bringing the average down. Otherwise, expect the cheapest internet plans to run you between $40 and $50 per month, plus taxes and fees.

Most affordable internet plans in Brooklyn

Provider plan Starting price Standard price Max speeds Equipment fee
Optimum 300Mbps $30 N/A 300Mbps down, 20Mbps up (300 if fiber) $10 (skippable)
Astound 250Mbps $35 $141 250Mbps down, 15Mbps up $5 (skippable)
Starry Basic $30 $30 50Mbps down, 50Mbps up None
Verizon Fios 300Mbps $40 $40 300Mbps down, 300Mbps up $15 (skippable)
Spectrum $50 $75 (after year 1) 200Mbps down, 10Mbps up $5 (skippable)
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet $50 $50 35-115Mbps down, 6-23Mbps up None

Brooklyn low income internet options

Starry has arguably the best internet option for low income households with its Starry Connect plan, which offers speeds up to 30Mbps starting at $15 per month. The only condition for signing up is living in a building where the plan is available. But let’s say you don’t live in a building with Starry Connect, what are your other options for affordable internet?

Select Brooklyn internet providers also offer a discount internet plan available to qualifying low income households. Additionally, you can apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program credit, which will grant up to $30 per month for home internet.

Here’s where you can learn more about each provider’s discount internet plans or programs:

Brooklyn internet speeds

Excluding the addition of Verizon’s new multigig plan, gigabit service with speeds at or around 1,000Mbps are the fastest you’ll find from most Brooklyn ISPs. That’s plenty fast for most homes, but if you have the need for more speed, it may be worth checking to see if Verizon’s 2Gbps service is available and paying the high, though fair, price for it.

What’s the fastest internet in Brooklyn?

High-speed internet plans in Brooklyn

Provider plan Max speeds Starting price Data cap
Verizon 2Gig 2.3Gbps down, 2.3Gbps up $120 None
Optimum Gig 940Mbps down, 940Mbps up (35Mbps if cable) $50 None
Starry Gigabit 1,000Mbps down, 500Mbps up $80 None
Spectrum Gig 940Mbps down, 35Mbps up $80 None
Astound 940Mbps Internet 940Mbps down, 20Mbps up $50 None
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet 115Mbps down, 23 Mbps up $50 None

Contracts, data caps and fine print

With all that speed, it’s easy to burn through data, which could pose a problem if any of the major Brooklyn internet providers enforced data caps. You won’t have to worry about that with Astound, Verizon Fios, Optimum, Spectrum, Starry or T-Mobile, as all include unlimited data at no extra cost.

Contracts aren’t an issue either, as none of the providers mentioned above come with a term agreement or early termination fee for canceling service. With no penalty for canceling service, it may be worth your while to give every decent ISP available at your address a shot to see which suits you best for your home. Just keep in mind that if you cancel service while receiving promotional pricing or special offers from a particular provider, it likely won’t be there for you if you decide to go back to that provider in the future.

Most Brooklyn ISPs are reasonable when it comes to added fees as well. Verizon’s equipment fee of $15 is a bit steep, but you may be able to skip the fee by using your own compatible equipment or ordering gig service, which includes the equipment at no extra cost. Optimum has the second highest equipment fee at $10 per month, but you also have the option to use your own equipment. Other Brooklyn internet providers charge $5 or nothing at all for equipment.

Brooklyn internet FAQs

Does Brooklyn have fiber internet?

Yes. More than 86% of households in Kings County are eligible for fiber-optic internet service, according to the FCC. Verizon Fios is the largest fiber internet provider in Brooklyn, but fiber service may also be available from Optimum or Xchange Telecom. 

Brooklyn neighborhoods with the greatest fiber coverage include Red Hook, East Flatbush and Gravesend, while Downtown Brooklyn, New Utrecht, Brownsville and Kensington are among the neighborhoods with the least fiber coverage.

Can I get free Wi-Fi in Brooklyn?

If you’re out and about, you can find free Wi-Fi in a few Brooklyn areas, including Fort Greene Park and Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Check out this NYC parks map to find more locations with free Wi-Fi. You can also find free Wi-Fi at many coffee shops, restaurants, hotels and other businesses throughout Brooklyn.

As for free Wi-Fi at home, you’ll need an internet connection for that, which won’t be free unless you qualify for low-income programs that offset the cost of internet service. Most providers, including Verizon, Spectrum and Optimum charge an additional fee for Wi-Fi equipment but allow you to use your own compatible equipment and skip the fee, which would make the Wi-Fi aspect of your internet connection essentially “free.”

Can you get Xfinity in Brooklyn?

No. Xfinity does not offer internet service in Brooklyn. The major cable internet providers in Brooklyn are Astound, Optimum and Spectrum. Xfinity availability largely stops at the Jersey border, but there are select areas of Manhattan that are serviceable for Xfinity.

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