What is the best internet provider in Kentucky?
I often recommend fiber internet as the best connection type when it’s available, but many more Kentuckians will have access to cable internet from Spectrum, our pick for the best internet provider in Kentucky overall. Spectrum is available to more Kentucky households than all fiber providers combined — more than half of the state — and offers a simple plan selection with no data caps or contracts.
As for fiber service in Kentucky, coverage is largely split between Kinetic by Windstream and AT&T Fiber. The two providers are among the fastest in the state, as fiber providers often are. AT&T Fiber offers speeds up to 5,000 megabits per second, while Kinetic offers a 2,000Mbps plan, though the provider may soon offer up to 8,000Mbps in select areas.
The fastest plans are often the most expensive, however. If you’re looking for something in the other direction, cheap over fast, Xfinity has the cheapest internet plan in Kentucky, starting at $20 a month for speeds up to 75Mbps. Mediacom, Metronet and wireless home internet providers T-Mobile and Verizon are also decent options for cheap internet in Kentucky, particularly if you qualify for mobile discounts from the latter two.
Best internet providers in Kentucky
Source: CNET analysis of provider data.
A look at other Kentucky ISPs
Altafiber: Previously known as Cincinnati Bell, Altafiber is the new brand name for the same fiber service. Availability is limited to the Cincinnati area, but those in Kentucky south of Falmouth and Williamstown may be serviceable. Plans start at $40 to $90 per month for speeds of 400 to 2,000Mbps.Mediacom: Cable internet provider Mediacom can be found in many western Kentucky areas such as Benton, Madisonville and Murray. Plans are cheap, starting at $25 to $60 per month for 100 to 1,000Mbps, but all plans come with a data cap.Metronet: A regional fiber provider based just to the north in Evansville, Metronet primarily serves the Lexington area along with the Berea, Nicholasville and Richmond suburbs to the south. Speeds and pricing are average for fiber service: 100 to 1,000Mbps, starting at $30 to $70 a month. Equipment is free, but a $12 tech service fee may apply.Verizon 5G Home Internet: Verizon’s Ultra Wideband service is primarily available in Louisville, but other parts of Kentucky, including the Lexington area, Cincinnati suburbs and other random pockets across the state may be serviceable as well. Choose from two plans: Home ($50 a month for speeds of 50 to 300Mbps) or Home Plus ($70 a month for speeds of 85 to 1,000Mbps), and enjoy unlimited data, free equipment and no contracts. Qualifying Verizon mobile customers can get $15 to $25 off the cost of home internet.
Rural internet options in Kentucky
Cable and fiber internet connections are only available to around 82% of Kentucky households, meaning many residents across the state will have to rely on other connection types. Here’s what to look for, in order from most to least recommended.
Fixed wireless: T-Mobile Home Internet would be my top choice for internet in rural areas with max speeds of 72 to 245Mbps (higher than you’ll probably get with DSL or satellite) for $50 a month. DSL: AT&T and Kinetic are the largest DSL providers in Kentucky, with shared coverage spanning more than half the state. Pricing isn’t bad at $40 (Kinetic) to $55 (AT&T) per month, but you’re at the mercy of whatever speeds are available, possibly below what’s considered broadband (25Mbps down/3Mbps up). Satellite internet: It’s more of a last resort than a first choice for broadband, but satellite internet may be the only way to get online in some rural parts of Kentucky. Take your pick of HughesNet or Viasat — you’ll get lower pricing with HughesNet but potentially faster speeds and more data with Viasat — or check out the pricey-yet-promising speeds and low latency that Starlink may have to offer.
Kentucky internet options by city
It’s hard to cover the internet options of an entire state like Kentucky while giving individual cities the in-depth attention they deserve. That’s why we’ve also put together lists of the best internet providers in cities across the US, including those in Kentucky. If you don’t find your hometown below, check back later. We’re working to add more every day.
Cheap internet options in Kentucky
The cost of internet in Kentucky will depend on the available providers in your area and the plan you choose. Still, it’s possible to get home internet starting at $20 to $30 per month from ISPs like Xfinity, Mediacom and Metronet. Other providers such as Kinetic, Spectrum, AT&T Fiber and T-Mobile start at $40 to $55 monthly.
When shopping for cheap internet, remember that equipment fees and other charges, such as a data overage fee, can inflate your monthly cost of internet.
Source: CNET analysis of provider data.
How to find internet deals and promotions in Kentucky
The best internet deals and promos in Kentucky depend on what discounts are available at the time. Most deals are short-lived, but we look frequently for the latest offers.
Kentucky internet providers such as Xfinity and Mediacom may offer lower introductory pricing or other incentives for a limited time. Many, however, including AT&T Fiber, Kinetic and Spectrum, run the same standard pricing year-round.
For a more extensive list of promos, check out our guide on the best internet deals.
How fast is Kentucky broadband?
Recent Ookla speed test data placed Kentucky 20th fastest among all US states with average median download speeds of 191Mbps. Louisville had the fastest median speeds in the state at around 240Mbps, followed by Lexington at 207Mbps.
Speeds around 200Mbps are fast enough to accommodate many homes and uses. If you’re looking for a little more speed, Kentucky fiber and cable internet providers, along with fixed wireless home internet service from Verizon, can offer speeds up to a gig or higher.
Source: CNET analysis of provider data.
What’s a good internet speed?
Most internet connection plans can now handle basic productivity and communication tasks. If you’re looking for an internet plan that can accommodate videoconferencing, streaming video or gaming, you’ll have a better experience with a more robust connection. Here’s an overview of the recommended minimum download speeds for various applications, according to the FCC. Note that these are only guidelines — and that internet speed, service and performance vary by connection type, provider and address.
For more information, refer to our guide on how much internet speed you really need.
0 to 5Mbps allows you to tackle the basics — browsing the internet, sending and receiving email, streaming low-quality video.5 to 40Mbps gives you higher-quality video streaming and videoconferencing.40 to 100Mbps should give one person sufficient bandwidth to satisfy the demands of modern telecommuting, video streaming and online gaming. 100 to 500Mbps allows one to two people to simultaneously engage in high-bandwidth activities like videoconferencing, streaming and online gaming. 500 to 1,000Mbps allows three or more people to engage in high-bandwidth activities like videoconferencing, streaming and online gaming all at the same time.
How CNET chose the best internet providers in Kentucky
Internet service providers are numerous and regional. Unlike the latest smartphone, laptop, router or kitchen tool, it’s impractical to personally test every ISP in a given city. So what’s our approach? We start by researching the pricing, availability and speed information, drawing on our own historical ISP data, the provider sites and mapping information from the Federal Communications Commission at FCC.gov.
But it doesn’t end there. We go to the FCC’s website to check our data and ensure we consider every ISP that provides service in an area. We also input local addresses on provider websites to find specific options for residents. We look at sources, including the American Customer Satisfaction Index and J.D. Power, to evaluate how happy customers are with an ISP’s service. ISP plans and prices are subject to frequent changes; all information provided is accurate as of publication.
Once we have this localized information, we ask three main questions:
Does the provider offer access to reasonably fast internet speeds?Do customers get decent value for what they’re paying?Are customers happy with their service?
While the answer to those questions is often layered and complex, the providers who come closest to “yes” on all three are the ones we recommend. When selecting the cheapest internet service, we look for the plans with the lowest monthly fee, though we also factor in things like price increases, equipment fees and contracts. Choosing the fastest internet service is relatively straightforward. We look at advertised upload and download speeds and consider real-world speed data from sources like Ookla and FCC reports.
What’s the final word on internet providers in Kentucky?
Spectrum is our top pick for internet in Kentucky thanks to its broad coverage (more than half the state) and simple plan and pricing structure. AT&T Fiber and Kinetic are leading choices for high-value fiber connections, but you’ll find the absolute cheapest internet in Kentucky from Xfinity.
T-Mobile Home Internet is a relatively new and promising broadband option for many residents of Kentucky’s rural areas. However, DSL or satellite internet may be the only options available in some parts.
Whether you’re in a rural area or bigger city like Louisville or Lexington, it’s always important to explore all your internet options to find the provider and plan that best fits your needs.
Internet providers in Kentucky FAQs