But whereas the small and mighty Queen City punches above its weight regarding notable people and products, it can’t say the same about its options for connecting residents to the internet. Most of the city has access to just two wired internet providers, Spectrum and Altafiber (previously known as Cincinnati Bell), 5G home internet from T-Mobile and Verizon, and satellite internet providers.
With limited options, it’s no surprise that Cincinnati’s median download speeds are low compared with other American cities and even those in Ohio. The Queen City places 79th on Ookla’s list of internet speeds in the nation’s 100 most populous cities, with median download speeds of about 175 megabits per second and upload speeds of about 34Mbps. Both Columbus and Cleveland can boast median download speeds of more than 200Mbps.
Best internet providers in the Queen City
Residents of Cincinnati have limited options when it comes to their selection of ISPs. Out of those choices, our pick for the best internet provider in Cincinnati goes to Altafiber, based on its speed and pricing.
Best overall among internet providers in Cincinnati
$45 – $85 per month
400 – 2,000Mbps
No data caps, no contracts, first month free
This ISP, formerly known as Cincinnati Bell, has earned praise from Cincinnati residents for its reliability and speed. As a bonus, Altafiber is local to the city, headquartered in Cincinnati.
Availability: Altafiber is available throughout the whole of Cincinnati as well as its surrounding areas, with coverage stretching south to Dry Ridge and north to parts of Oxford.
Plans and pricing: Multiple speed options are available through Altafiber: 400Mbps for $45 a month, 600Mbps for $55, 800Mbps for $55 (a free speed upgrade for Ohio residents), 1,000Mbps for $65 and 2,000Mbps for $85. All these plans come with the first month free for those who use e-billing, and prices last for 24 months, after which the company may raise the rates. Altafiber also offers 100Mbps service for free to those who qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).
Fees and service details: Altafiber does not cap your data or require a contract. It also allows customers to use their own internet equipment, or you can rent an eero Wireless Gateway for $10 per month and a Wi-Fi extender for another $5.
Best cable broadband among internet providers in Cincinnati
$50 – $90 per month
300 – 940Mbps
Unlimited data, simple pricing, no contracts, modem included, free access to nationwide Wi-Fi hotspots
One of the country’s most widely available internet providers, Charter Communications’ Spectrum Internet is the other primary broadband option for residents of Cincinnati.
Availability: Spectrum’s internet offerings are available throughout Cincinnati, plus its surrounding areas. In fact, Spectrum is available in most of the state of Ohio, except for the region bordering Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Plans and pricing: Spectrum Internet has three tiers: 300Mbps for $50 per month, 500Mbps for $70 and 1000Mbps for $90. These prices last 12 months before increasing to $80, $100 and $120 monthly, respectively.
Fees and service details: Spectrum Internet has no data caps or contracts. The company offers a free modem and a $5 monthly fee for a router, or you can bring your own.
Best fixed wireless among internet providers in Cincinnati
$50 – $70 per month (50% off for eligible 5G mobile customers)
85 – 1,000Mbps
Unlimited data, no contracts, free equipment, 50% discount for qualifying Verizon mobile customers
Many Cincinnati residents have access to 5G options from Verizon and T-Mobile, but we’re giving a nod to the former for offering higher speeds.
Availability: Verizon’s 5G internet service is available across many of Cincinnati’s neighborhoods, including West End, Prospect Hill, Clifton Heights, University Heights, Corryville, most of Walnut Hills, parts of Avondale and North Avondale, part of Paddock Hills and enclave Norwood.
Plans and pricing: Pricing for Verizon’s 5G internet will be much cheaper for those who are already wireless customers of any unlimited plan with auto pay: $25 for 5G Home (85 to 300Mbps) and $35 for 5G Home Plus (300 to 1,000Mbps). If you don’t have a plan with Verizon, the prices go up to $50 and $70, respectively, with autopay enabled.
Fees and service details: There are no data caps, contracts or equipment fees with Verizon’s 5G offering.
All available Cincinnati residential internet providers
The primary choice of ISP in Cincinnati will mainly be Altafiber or Spectrum. However, some city residents can access 5G home internet offerings from Verizon or T-Mobile. Satellite internet is also available from HughesNet and Viasat.
HughesNet: If you’re in Cincinnati or its immediate suburbs, you probably don’t need satellite internet. It’s only available at speeds of 25Mbps, with prices starting at $50 with a two-year contract and equipment fees.
T-Mobile Home Internet: Cincinnati residents can access 5G internet from Verizon and T-Mobile. T-Mobile’s home internet service is available for $50 (with autopay) and offers speeds up to 245Mbps.
Viasat: The other major satellite internet company (until SpaceX’s Starlink launches more widely), Viasat’s monthly prices start at $50 and go up to $300, with speeds ranging from 25 to 100Mbps based on the plan.
Cincinnati internet details at a glance
Well, at least Cincinnati residents can choose their internet service provider. Most of the city can connect through Altafiber or Spectrum or opt for 5G internet from T-Mobile or Verizon if it’s available. Satellite internet is available through HughesNet or Viasat.
N/Apeople have access to broadband internet of any type
Pricing details on Cincinnati home internet service
Not including the pricey satellite internet options, Cincinnati residents can expect to pay just under $50 for internet service. The Queen City’s internet pricing is in the middle of the pack compared with other metropolises, such as Los Angeles’ average of $38 monthly.
Cheap internet options in the Cincinnati metro area
Connecting to the internet in Cincinnati doesn’t necessarily come cheap. The most affordable plan in the city comes from Altafiber, which offers 400Mbps for $45 per month. This price will last for the first 24 months of service, after which the company may raise the rate. Those eligible for the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program may get Altafiber’s 100Mbps service for free.
Here are the internet speeds you can find in Cincinnati
Median download speeds in Cincinnati according to Ookla are about 175Mbps. Not bad, but not great. Thankfully, high-speed internet options are available in the city.
Fastest internet providers in Cincinnati
Need fast download speeds? Look at Altafiber’s 2,000Mbps plan for $85 per month, available at certain addresses. If you don’t have access to that plan, Altafiber also offers 1,000Mbps for $65 monthly. Verizon’s higher tier 5G internet at $80 per month tops out at 1,000Mbps, while Spectrum’s 1,000Mbps plan costs $90. That Altafiber 2 gig plan sure is appealing if it’s available.
What are the fastest internet plans in Cincinnati?
What’s the final word on internet providers in Cincinnati?
For most Cincinnati residents, the choice of ISP will come down to either Altafiber or Spectrum, although some city residents also have access to 5G internet from T-Mobile and Verizon. Prices start around $50, and higher speeds are available for those willing to pay up to $85 per month.
Internet providers in Cincinnati FAQs
Which is the best internet service provider in Cincinnati?
Due to its variety of speeds and affordability, our pick for the best ISP in Cincinnati goes to Altafiber. Residents have reported they are happy with its service, and as a bonus, the company is headquartered in the Queen City. Its 2,000Mbps plan for $85 is a lot of speed for the price.
Is fiber internet available in Cincinnati?
Yes. It comes from Altafiber, our pick for the best internet service provider in the city. Altafiber’s service comes in various speeds, starting at 400Mbps and going up to a blazing 2,000Mbps, with prices ranging from $45 to $85. Altafiber’s plans are competitive on both speed and price compared to the other options in Cincinnati.
If I want 5G internet, should I choose Verizon or T-Mobile?
If you’re in a rare situation with access to Verizon and T-Mobile’s 5G internet, you have a decision to make. If you want higher speeds, we recommend Verizon. But for a price-for-life guarantee (and other additional perks), T-Mobile might sway you. Check out CNET’s article comparing Verizon 5G Home and T-Mobile Home Internet for more detailed information.
Can I get free home internet in Cincinnati?
You sure can, but only if you qualify for the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program. Follow that link to find out more about the program and the requirements to qualify. For those eligible, Altafiber offers a 100Mbps service plan free of charge.