Best Prepaid Home Internet Plans
The best internet providers tend to offer customers a variety of options when possible. Most will offer a cheap internet plan, a broadband plan, and one or two that fall somewhere between cheap and fast. Almost all also have a discounted internet package available to qualifying low-income households, but few providers offer an affordable prepaid internet package.
Prepaid Internet plans are separate from standard ISP plans and often come with easy sign-up terms – no credit checks, little or no upfront costs, and no contract requirements – and simple, pay-as-you-go pricing. They are also distinct from internet packages for low income people in that there are no requirements or qualifications to register. Speeds and overall value are often a downside to prepaid internet (aside from Verizon Fios; more on that below), but many may consider slower speeds fair trade to get simple, affordable internet service. .
Given the continued economic pressure and the remote working and education made necessary by the pandemic, more prepaid internet options would be ideal, but Cox, Verizon Fios, and Xfinity are currently the only major ISPs offering prepaid plans. . Hence, they make up our list of the best prepaid internet providers. Below is everything you need to know about their prepaid home internet services.
- Starting price: $ 50 per month plus taxes and fees
- Maximum speeds: 50 Mbps download, 3 Mbps download
- Equipment cost: Nothing
- Contract: Nothing
For the most part, Cox is your regular cable Internet provider. Aside from the gig service and a 500 Mbps plan, the speeds are low while the prices can be considered somewhat high. That said, the provider has a good prepaid internet package (not to mention decent service for gamers).
Cox’s prepaid internet plan, StraightUp Internet, is about as easy as it gets when it comes to signing up and paying for home internet service. No credit checks, equipment fees, or forward contracts are required, and the monthly price of $ 50 is good for three years.
Maximum download speeds of 50 Mbps are low for $ 50 per month – the same cost will get you four times the speed with a standard post-paid plan from Spectrum – but are sufficient to support browsing the web. Web on your computer or smartphone with streaming and online games. A wired connection will provide the best speed and reliability, but the Wi-Fi router included with Cox StraightUp Internet can create a wireless connection suitable for a few users and devices.
- Starting price: $ 40- $ 80 per month plus taxes and fees
- Maximum speeds: 100 to 940 Mbps download, 100 to 880 Mbps download
- Equipment cost: $ 200 (can be deactivated) plus an installation fee of $ 100, no monthly fees
- Contract: Nothing
Verizon is the only major provider to offer multiple prepaid options, including a gigabit plan. The price is about the same as the standard Verizon Fios plans, but the speeds on the two lower tier plans are a bit slower (100 Mbps and 300 Mbps compared to 200 Mbps and 400 Mbps). Still, $ 40 per month for a maximum of 100 Mbps or $ 60 for a maximum of 300 Mbps over a 100% fiber connection is a good deal for a prepaid service – if you can exceed the potentially high start-up costs.
Unlike Cox, Verizon Fios does not include the equipment in the cost. Instead, customers are required to purchase the equipment in advance for $ 200 or provide their own equipment. Even if you buy your own compatible router (check out our list of the best Wi-Fi routers), a setup fee of $ 100 may still apply. The good news is, if you choose to purchase equipment through Verizon, the company will waive the cost of your first month of service.
The month of free service is nice, but one of the main attractions of prepaid services is the ease and often affordable price of getting them started. With up to $ 300 in upfront costs (equipment purchase plus setup fees), Verizon Fios is one of the more expensive prepaid internet providers, at least initially. If you manage to get past that first month, the continued speed and value of Verizon Fios prepaid plans could be worth the upfront costs.
Ry Crist / CNET
- Starting price: $ 45 for the first 30 days, $ 15 for 7 days or $ 45 for 30 days thereafter
- Maximum speeds: 50 Mbps download, 5 Mbps download
- Equipment cost: $ 35 in advance, no monthly fees
- Contract: Nothing
Xfinity Prepaid Internet comes with top speed, 50 Mbps upload, and 5 Mbps upload, but it’s up to you when and how you pay. With Xfinity Prepaid, you’ll âtop upâ (read: prepaid) your internet service by the week or month.
Like Cox Prepaid Internet Services and Verizon Fios, no credit checks, deposits, or contracts are required to get started with Xfinity Prepaid. To register, all you need is your address, $ 35 for the purchase of equipment and $ 45 for the first 30 days of service. After that, you can top up seven days of service for $ 15 or, the more economical choice, 30 days for $ 45.
The Internet Week Prepayment option is ideal for anyone, such as students or out-of-state visitors who need service for a short time, or for those with an income limited and who prefer to divide their monthly internet costs into weekly payments. And if paying for internet service every seven days seems tedious, be sure to sign up for Xfinity’s auto-pay option (but don’t forget to cancel it if and when you move).
Prepaid Internet FAQ
What is prepaid home internet?
Prepaid Internet is a paid Internet service that allows you to prepay for the next week or month, to avoid the fees and other terms that come with most standard Internet packages. Prepaid Internet plans generally do not require a credit check, deposit, or term agreement.
Is it better to have prepaid internet?
Prepaid Internet is best for those who prefer to bypass common Internet service provider registration requirements, such as credit checks and term agreements. Speeds are often lower than what you’ll get with standard internet plans – the Cox and Xfinity prepaid plans come with a maximum of 50 Mbps – but the ease of signing up and lower fees can make prepaid service the most popular option. more judicious for certain households.
Do I have to qualify to get prepaid Internet access?
The prepaid internet providers listed above, Cox, Verizon Fios, and Xfinity, do not have any specific requirements or qualifications to sign up for a prepaid service. Your address and the initial cost of the service are often all you need to get started.