Shot of a young couple going through their paperwork together at home

A Guide to the Best Internet Providers in Chicago

Are you moving to the Windy City for a new job? Maybe you’re in need of a faster Internet service to stream the Bears game? Not sure what type of Internet you need? Our Internet specialists can help you choose the best ISP (Internet Service Provider) in the Chicago area and the best plan for your home.

From satellite and DSL to cable and fiber, we explore the options available from the best Internet service providers in Chicago, including AT&T, WOW!, HughesNet, and more. Find a customized AT&T and DIRECTV plan that includes fast download and upload speeds, reliable phone service, and a wide variety of television channels — all with the help of our experts.

AT&T/DIRECTV was awarded the highest satisfaction ranking in 2017 by J.D. Power for U.S. residential television service providers. By choosing one of the plans, you’ll receive excellent performance and customer service. We outline a variety of packages below — including AT&T Fiber℠ options — to help you choose which one is best for you.

Call (866) 918-4705 to speak to one of our experts and sign up for the best Internet provider in Chicago.

Compare Chicago’s Top Internet Providers

Although Chicago has 17 ISPs, not all providers offer the same services. Depending on where you live in the city, you might not have access to all Internet service providers, so keep that in mind as you consider your plan.

Take a look at some of the best ISPs in the area and compare plans with AT&T, our recommended provider:

AT&T

  • AT&T FiberSM connection
  • Fastest Internet speeds: plans up to 1000 Mbps
  • WiFi Gateway Router included
  • Save money with DIRECTV bundled plans
  • Free Internet for life with our limited-time offer*

EarthLink

  • Fiber, DSL, and satellite
  • Fastest Internet speeds: Up to 75 Mbps
  • No data caps
  • Types of plans: Hyperlink Internet (fiber-optic technology)
  • Cost: As low as $39.95 per month (75 Mbps)
  • Customer service: Available 7 a.m.–1 a.m. EST + 24/7 for technical support
  • Contract length: 12 months required
  • Coverage: Earthlink covers Kendall County, Grundy County, Lake County, Peoria County, etc.
  • Additional fees: professional installation costs $69.95, modem for WiFi costs $74.95 or $6.95 per month

HughesNet

  • Satellite Internet
  • Fastest Internet speeds: Up to 25 Mbps
  • No data limits
  • Types of plans: 10 GB, 20 GB, 30 GB, 50 GB Internet plans + 50 GB per month for off-peak hours (2 a.m.–8 a.m.)
  • Cost: Basic Internet starting at $49.99 per month (with speeds starting at 10 GB)
  • Customer service: 24/7 access to live representative, email response within 24 hours
  • Contract length: 24 months required
  • Coverage includes: Chestnut Street, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Englewood, etc.

WOW!

  • Cable Internet
  • Fastest Internet speeds: Up to 1000 Mbps
  • No data caps
  • Types of plans: 10 Mbps, 100 Mbps, 500 Mbps Internet plans
  • Cost: Starting at $39.99 per month for 100 Mbps
  • Bundle Internet, cable, and phone
  • Customer service: Emails will be answered within two business days
  • Contract length: 24-month agreement

RCN

  • Fiber Internet connection
  • Fastest Internet speeds: Up to 1000 Mbps
  • Caps: Depends on plan
  • Customer service: 24/7 by phone
  • Bundle Internet and digital TV
  • Contract length: No contract required; 12-month agreements
  • Coverage: RCN services Old Town, Irving Park, The Loop, Avondale, River North, Lincoln Park, etc.

What to Look For When Choosing a Chicago ISP

Not all neighborhoods and buildings are equal when it comes to Internet connectivity and service providers. When choosing a high-speed Internet service provider, there are several factors to think about.

  • Do they offer options for fiber Internet? If you’re looking for a plan that uses the fastest speeds available, consider if fiber is available in your area. AT&T FiberSM, for instance, is available in certain Chicago neighborhoods, as well as the neighboring cities Oak Park, Berwyn, and Wilmette. It will also be available soon in Lincolnwood, Elmwood Park, and River Forest.
  • How far are you from the provider’s central office? Unlike other types of Internet connections, when using a DSL connection, your speed will decrease the farther you are from the central office. When using a cable connection, your speed will depend on how many users are on the same connection. So if you share a cable connection with everybody in your apartment building or neighborhood, and everyone’s online at the same time, your speed will slow down significantly.
  • How many people will need connections? Decide the speed you need and the number of devices you use at home that require high-speed Internet. The more devices you have, the higher the speeds you will want. This will likely be based on the number of people in your home, or if you own multiple devices, play video games, etc., you may find that you need a higher speed.
  • Pairing Internet service with DIRECTV or other services? Make sure that your building is tall enough to avoid obstacles that can block the satellite dishes and subsequent signals.
  • How long is the contract? Before buying a plan, make sure you check the Internet service provider’s contract. Usually, you will pay a monthly fee with a one-year contract, but some providers have two-year contracts. Know what you’re signing up for before you commit.
  • Can you bundle your plan? One of the best ways to save on an Internet service plan is to buy a bundled plan. By choosing AT&T, for instance, you can bundle DIRECTV services into your plan and save, which is easier than getting your Internet through one provider and a TV plan through another.

Major Differences in Internet Connection Types

The best Internet providers in Chicago aren’t available in every Chicago neighborhood or building, unfortunately, which is why it’s important to check the services available using your residential address.

The fiber network, for instance, is only available in select parts of the city. If you have access to fiber, consider choosing a plan with this connection. Not sure why it’s the best? We explain the differences in these popular high-speed Internet connection types:

  • Satellite: Using a modem, this doesn’t require cables or wires to connect you. Most often, this type is used in rural areas where access to other types of connections is not available. Satellite is typically used with satellite TV, and often offers slower speeds than other connection types. HughesNet offers satellite Internet in Chicago, IL.
  • DSL: Using a telephone network to connect users, this type offers faster speeds than dial-up or satellite, and is also less expensive. However, if telephone wires go down, so does the Internet. Also, the further you are from the central office, the slower the speeds.
  • Cable: Using cable wires, this connection offers high speeds and is more affordable than satellite or fiber. However, speeds depend on how many people are connected. Often, cable Internet is available where cable TV is available.
  • Fiber: Using optical fibers, through cables, this is the type of Internet that offers the highest connection speeds. Although it is being set up in many cities across the U.S., it is still not available in most cities. However, if you’re a lucky Chicagoan, you have access to fiber and should take full advantage of it.

AT&T is one of the few Internet providers that now offers fiber. You can determine whether AT&T FiberSM is offered in your area by calling Bandwidth Place at (866) 918-4705.

What Types of Internet Connections are Available Through AT&T?

There are several types of Internet connections: fiber, DSL, cable, and wireless. AT&T Chicago currently offers fiber and DSL connections with speeds up to 75 Mbps. Their AT&T Fiber℠ service goes up to 1000 Mbps to stream, upload, and download in the blink of an eye.

To choose the best option for you, take into account these two factors: budget and speed.

Fiber-optic Internet connections will cost a bit more each month, but it is the fastest Internet connection currently available. AT&T Fiber℠ uses light to transfer information through fiber-optic cables.

At the more affordable end is DSL Internet, which uses your telephone line. A DSL connection is slower than fiber, though this is the most commonly used connection. DSL is a good option if fiber is not available in your area and if you’re closely watching your budget for Internet services. Despite its use of your phone line, you can make calls and surf the Internet simultaneously.

Is Your Area Covered?

Chicagoans can now get an AT&T 100 percent fiber connection and other AT&T services. Coverage is included in the following counties near in Chicago.

Counties with AT&T Services

  • Cook: Chicago, Des Plaines, Elgin, Michigan City, Norridge, Skokie, and Oak Park
  • DuPage: Aurora
  • Grundy: Channahon
  • Kane: Aurora, Elgin, Hampshire, Pingree Grove, and South Elgin
  • Kendall: Oswego, Plano, and Yorkville
  • Lake: Mundelein, Volo
  • McHenry: Crystal Lake, Huntley, and McHenry
  • Will: Aurora, Bolingbrook, Channahon, Joliet, and Manhattan

In 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 82 percent of households in Illinois had a broadband Internet subscription. AT&T is the DSL Internet leader among Chicago ISPs, covering about 97 percent of the city. Whether you live in a zip code north of Lakeview or south of Hyde Park, you can purchase a monthly DSL Internet package with ease.

To find out if your zip code is covered, call (866) 918-4705 to speak to a network specialist.

We’ll connect you to the best Chicago Internet provider and the right plan for you. Ask us how you can get free Internet for life with our limited-time offer.*

AT&T Internet Service Packages for the Bandwidth You Need

There is a wide range of residential Internet options for different types of users. Three common types of users are serious gamers, at-home freelancers, and casual browsers. The amount of bandwidth you need depends on what activities you perform. When customers visit websites, they download information (i.e. video streaming, music) more often than they upload their own information (i.e. photos or Skype calls). Therefore, requirements for download and upload speeds vary.

These are the AT&T Internet service packages you can get in Chicago based on speed.

AT&T Internet 100

Speed: 100 Mbps download/ 100 Mbps upload
Price: $50/month as a standalone service; $40/month bundled with TV, home phone, or wireless
Number of devices: Up to 12 devices
Included:
  • WiFi Gateway Router for your devices
  • Waived professional installation fee ($99)
Best for:
  • HD video streaming, especially local sports games
  • Online gaming
  • Heavy social media posting
  • Sharing large files for class or work

Do you constantly upload photos of pizza or trendy donuts? Do you need to share Internet bandwidth among several people without compromising your speed? This fiber Internet plan lets you upload files just as fast as they are downloaded, so you have fewer limitations and more time to connect.

AT&T Internet 300

Speed: Up to 300 Mbps
Price: $70/month as a standalone service; $60 per month bundled with TV, home phone, or wireless
Number of devices: Up to 13 connected at one time
Included:
  • WiFi Gateway Router for your devices
  • Waived professional installation fee
Best for:
  • Multiple devices in one home
  • Streaming in HD
  • Gaming
  • Sharing large files

Do you work at home and download large files? Are multiple family members or housemates online at the same time and using several devices? AT&T Internet 300 offers fiber-optic speeds, so you carry on with all your activities without being slowed down.

AT&T Internet 1000

Speed: 1000 Mbps (1 Gbps) download (speeds may vary)
Price: $90/month as a standalone service; $80/month as a bundle with TV, home phone or wireless
Number of devices: Up to 14 devices
Included:
  • WiFi Gateway Router for your devices
  • Waived professional installation fee
  • No data usage caps
Best for:
  • Freelance or telecommute work
  • Small businesses networks
  • Sharing large files
  • Competitive, online multiplayer video games
  • Download an HD movie in seconds

Powered entirely by fiber optics, this is the fastest Internet service available in Chi-town. Your business associates can comfortably collaborate on business projects, or send finished files to clients from home. Serious gamers who need a fast and reliable setup can also connect quickly with fellow gamers around the world.

a female same sex couple sit on the sofa on their digital tablet doing some online shopping

What Do Chicagoans Think About AT&T High-Speed Internet Service?

As one of the best Internet providers in Chicago, AT&T has a long history with the city. Some regional competitors may lack connection services or run at slower speeds than AT&T. The American Customer Satisfaction Index found that AT&T ranked second overall in customer satisfaction among national ISPs. Many choose AT&T for its prices and reliability in the city.

Chicago is one of few cities where fiber service is available, boosting its customer reputation among high-speed Internet providers. As Google and Verizon’s fiber services face major setbacks, AT&T Fiber℠ continues to expand in Chicago and other cities.

Bundle Your Internet Service with DIRECTV

Don’t stop at fast and convenient Internet service. Watch or stream your favorite shows and sports with DIRECTV television or DIRECTV NOW online streaming. You can save money each month by adding DIRECTV satellite television to your AT&T Internet plan.

In 2018, Customers rank AT&T DIRECTV above Chicago subscription competitor Comcast Xfinity by seven points. Customers also rank DIRECTV above Comcast video streaming services by three points.

What is DIRECTV NOW?

DIRECTV NOW offers live television streaming straight to your computer, Apple TV, or tablet through an app. Your service begins immediately (no installation required), and there is no satellite dish or cables.

Since DIRECTV NOW uses data to stream television shows, this service is bundled with any AT&T Unlimited plan. You should pair this service with a high-speed Internet plan to ensure high-quality streaming.

Is DIRECTV Available in Your Area?

DIRECTV and DIRECTV NOW are available throughout Chicago and the Chicagoland area. As long as you live in a building with access to the southern sky, you can install a DIRECTV satellite dish. If necessary, you should check with your landlord or homeowners association to see if installation is allowed for your building.

DIRECTV Service Packages

DIRECTV and DIRECTV NOW do not offer the exact same features. Let’s break down what you get with each option.

DIRECTV

  • 150+ introductory channels starting at $40
  • Several service plans can bring you over 315 total channels
  • Premium channels available at an additional cost
  • HD DVR box required for recording programs

DIRECTV NOW

  • 60+ introductory channels starting at $40
  • 5 streaming plan options at 120+ total channels, including a Spanish language plan
  • Premium channels available at an extra cost
  • No hardware requirements
  • Cloud DVR beta for limited recording

DIRECTV NOW and the New Generation of Customers: Which DIRECTV Plan Should You Purchase?

In order to cut costs and eliminate cable bills, many customers choose to watch television online rather than on cable. Only 79 percent of homes with Internet connection had cable or satellite television subscriptions in 2017, according to a survey by the Leichtman Research Group.

AT&T/DIRECTV offers plans for customers on both sides of the aisle — or couch. Millennials and techies will get more use from the online streaming service, whereas traditional TV customers will benefit from the original DIRECTV satellite subscription. If you watch a large amount of local television and sports, then the latter is especially true.

Moving to Chicago? Consider These Tips

Just because you’re having trouble navigating the 156 LaSalle bus doesn’t mean that navigating your Internet and utilities should be as difficult. Learn exactly how AT&T Internet service in Chicago fits into your monthly budget:

Internet Costs in Chicago
Average monthly cost of Internet: $40.14
Cost of AT&T DSL Internet: $40–50
Average cost of basic utilities in Chicago (without Internet): $121.16/month
Internet Cost Comparison by City
Average monthly cost of Internet in… Los Angeles: $43.12
San Antonio: $53.22
New York: $59.31
Philadelphia: $61.85

Choose Your AT&T Internet and DIRECTV Service Plan Today

Ditch your slow service and poor reliability by switching to AT&T/DIRECTV as your Chicago Internet and TV service provider. Identify your current Internet speed using the Bandwidth Place speed test and compare your options with an experienced specialist over the phone by calling (866) 918-4705. Find a plan and learn about the best bandwidth options in Chicago. Our experts will set you up with the best Internet provider in Chicago — and on your way to browsing the web, streaming video, or conducting business online with a plan tailored to your specific needs.

Ask our experts how you can get free AT&T Internet for life.*

Plans offered by AT&T Internet vary by geographic region. Be be sure to verify pricing and plan terms with AT&T representatives before ordering service, as all plans or promotions may not be available in all areas or to all customers and can expire at any time. Updated on 12/6/2018.

*Up to Internet 100 when you switch to AT&T Unlimited &More Premium.

© 2018 Bandwidth Place. All rights reserved.

PRIVACY POLICY