Best Internet Providers in Idaho

What is the best internet provider in Idaho?

Sparklight is the best internet service provider in Idaho overall due to its extensive high-speed coverage throughout the state and low introductory rates on contract-free plans with no hard data caps.

While not as widely available as Sparklight, Ziply Fiber has the cheapest and fastest internet plans in Idaho. Speeds up to 100 megabits per second start at just $20 a month, and the provider offers a blazing fast 10,000Mbps plan starting at $300 (plus a few more reasonably priced plans in between). 

Quantum Fiber and T-Mobile Home Internet, among other ISPs, are also worth considering, depending on what you’re looking for and what’s available in your area. Here are our picks for the best internet providers in Idaho, followed by details on other ISPs you may encounter in the Gem State.

CNET considers speeds, pricing, customer service and overall value to recommend the best internet service in Idaho across a number of categories. Our evaluation includes referencing a proprietary database built over years of reviewing internet services. We validate that against provider information by spot-checking local addresses for service availability. We also do a close read of providers’ terms and conditions and, when needed, will call ISPs to verify the details.

Despite our efforts to find the most recent and accurate information, our process has some limitations you should know about. Pricing and speed data are variable: certain addresses may qualify for different tiers of service, and monthly costs may vary, even within a city. The best way to identify your particular options is to plug your address into a provider’s website. 

Also, the prices, speed and other information listed above and in the provider cards below may differ from what we found in our research. The cards display the full range of a provider’s pricing and speed across the US, according to our database of plan information provided directly by ISPs, while the text is specific to what’s available in Idaho. The prices referenced within this article’s text come from our research and include applicable discounts for setting up automatic payments each month — a standard industry offering. Other discounts and promotions might be available as well, for things like signing a term contract or bundling with multiple services. 

To learn more about how we review internet providers, visit our full methodology page.

Best internet providers in Idaho

Sparklight has the best high-speed internet availability of any provider in the state, covering nearly 60% of Idaho residences. Pricing and service terms aren’t bad, either.

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Check with Sparklight

Ziply Fiber has less availability than Quantum Fiber in Idaho, but it does have a greater plan selection. Among the options is a 10,000Mbps plan, the fastest speed tier of any major ISP in Idaho.

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Check with Ziply

Affordable, reliable broadband can be hard to find in rural areas, but fixed wireless connections like that of T-Mobile Home Internet help bring internet service to homes that otherwise would have to rely on satellite internet.

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Check with T-Mobile

Idaho internet providers compared

Provider Internet technology Monthly price range Speed range Monthly equipment costs Data cap Contract CNET review score
CenturyLink DSL $50 20-100Mbps $15 (optional) None None 6.7
Fybercom Fiber, fixed wireless $80-$120 fiber, $52-$75 fixed wireless 300-1,000Mbps fiber, 20-40Mbps fixed wireless Varies Unlimited fiber, 300GB or unlimited fixed wireless 2 years N/A
HughesNet Satellite $50-$150 15-50Mbps $15 monthly or $450 purchase fee Varies, 15-100GB 2 years 5.7
Quantum Fiber Fiber $50-$75 500-940Mbps None None None 6.7
Rise Broadband Fixed wireless $45-$55 25-50Mbps $10 250GB or unlimited None 6.2
Sparklight Cable $25-$110 100-940Mbps $13 (optional) 5TB soft cap None 6.9
Spectrum Cable $50-$90 300-1,000Mbps $5 (optional) None None 7.2
Starlink Low orbit satellite $90-$120 20-220Mbps $599 purchase fee None None N/A
T-Mobile Home Internet Fixed wireless $50 ($30 with eligible mobile plans) 72-245Mbps None None None 7.4
Verizon 5G Home Internet Fixed wireless $50-$70 ($35-$45 for eligible Verizon Wireless customers) 50-1,000Mbps None None None 7.2
Viasat Satellite $70-$300 12-100Mbps $13 monthly or $299 purchase fee Varies, 40-300GB 2 years 6.1
Ziply Fiber Fiber $20-$300 100-10,000Mbps $10 None None 7.2

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Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

Other available internet providers in Idaho

  • CenturyLink: Where Quantum Fiber is the fiber side of Lumen Technologies, CenturyLink is the DSL service. CenturyLink isn’t a bad option, starting at $50 a month for max speeds somewhere between 20 and 100Mbps, but I’d recommend skipping on DSL service for cable, fiber or fixed wireless, if possible.
  • Fybercom: The name would suggest fiber internet, but the service is mostly fiber “carried” and then sent to the home via a fixed wireless connection. There are some locations with actual fiber service, but most will only have access to the provider’s relatively high-priced, low-speed plans.
  • Rise Broadband: Fixed wireless provider Rise Broadband is a decent choice for internet in rural areas where wired connections are unavailable. Speeds are on par with or faster than satellite internet without the high latency, high costs or restricting data caps.
  • Spectrum: A top pick for cable internet, Spectrum has about all you could ask for from an internet provider. The only problem for Idaho residents? Availability is limited to Moscow and the Coeur d’Alene area.
  • Verizon 5G Home Internet: Verizon’s Ultra Wideband network serves many of Idaho’s metro areas. That doesn’t necessarily mean you can get home internet, even if you can get 5G on your phone, but if you can, either of Verizon 5G Home Internet plans ($50 a month for speeds ranging from 50 to 300Mbps or $70 a month for speeds ranging from 85 to 1,000Mbps) are worth checking out. There are no equipment fees, data caps or contracts, and Verizon mobile customers may be eligible for an extra discount.
  • Satellite internet: More than 95% of Idaho households are serviceable for a “terrestrial” connection — that is, wired or fixed wireless. For the remaining 5%, satellite internet from HughesNet or Viasat may be the only option, though newcomer Starlink is worth considering for the potentially faster speeds, lower latency and unlimited data. 
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Idaho internet options by city

It’s hard to cover the internet options of an entire state like Idaho while giving individual cities the in-depth attention they deserve. That’s why we’ve also compiled lists of the best internet providers in cities across the US, including those in Idaho. If you don’t find your hometown below, check back later. We’re working to add more every day.

Cheap internet options in Idaho

Ziply Fiber offers the cheapest internet plan in Idaho at $20 a month for speeds up to 100Mbps, but again, availability is highly limited. Much more accessible and almost as cheap for the same speeds is Sparklight’s 100Mbps plan, starting at $25 a month. 

What’s the cheapest internet plan in Idaho?

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Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

How to find internet deals and promotions in Idaho

The best internet deals and the top promotions in Idaho depend on what discounts are available during that time. Most deals are short-lived, but we look frequently for the latest offers. 

Idaho internet providers such as Sparklight may offer lower introductory pricing or special offers for a limited time. Many, however, including Quantum Fiber, Spectrum and Ziply Fiber, run the same standard pricing year-round. 

For a more extensive list of promotions, check out our guide on the best internet deals. 

How fast is Idaho broadband?

Ookla speed test data from the third quarter of 2023 indicates that average internet speeds in Idaho are slower than most states and below the national average. With median download speeds of 122Mbps, Idaho landed as 46th fastest among all US states and Washington DC. 

Boise had the fastest median download speeds in Idaho at 174Mbps, fast enough to come in 89th among the 100 fastest US cities. Sparklight was the fastest provider in Boise, averaging 249Mbps.

Fastest internet plans in Idaho

Plan Starting price Max download speed Max upload speed Data cap Connection type
Ziply Fiber 10 Gig $300 10,000Mbps 10,000Mbps None Fiber
Fybercom Fiber 2000Mbps $120 1,000Mbps 1,000Mbps None Fiber
Spectrum Internet Gig $90 1,000Mbps 35Mbps None Cable
Verizon 5G Home Plus Internet $70 ($45 with qualifying Verizon 5G mobile plans) 85-1,000Mbps 50-75Mbps None Fixed wireless
Quantum Fiber 1 Gig $75 940Mbps 940Mbps None Fiber
Sparklight Freedom Connect Gig $80 940Mbps 50Mbps 5TB soft cap Cable

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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.

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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 at the same time.

How CNET chose the best internet providers in Idaho

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 the time of publication.

Once we have this localized information, we ask three main questions:

  1. Does the provider offer access to reasonably fast internet speeds?
  2. Do customers get decent value for what they’re paying?
  3. 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 it comes to 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 also take into account real-world speed data from sources like Ookla and FCC reports.

What’s the final word on internet providers in Idaho?

Sparklight isn’t the fastest or cheapest internet provider in Idaho, but it is the most widely available ISP to offer multiple plans, including a gigabit speed tier. The cable connection type means slower upload speeds than you’d get with fiber service. Still, the fast download speeds, competitive pricing and mostly favorable service terms make the provider worthy of the title of best overall in Idaho. 

Ziply Fiber has both the cheapest and the fastest plans in Idaho, but availability is highly limited. Quantum Fiber, while not as cheap or fast, is another great choice for fiber internet and has greater availability throughout the state. 

In areas where cable or fiber connections are unavailable, fixed wireless internet from providers such as T-Mobile Home Internet, Rise Broadband and possibly Verizon 5G Home Internet may be your best broadband options outside satellite internet.

Internet providers in Idaho FAQs

What is the best internet service provider in Idaho?

Sparklight has the best wired internet availability of any internet provider in Idaho. With plans starting at $25 a month and speeds up to 1,000Mbps, it’s also one of the cheapest and fastest providers in Idaho.

Is fiber internet available in Idaho?

Yes, but fiber availability in Idaho is lower than the national average. Less than a third of Idaho households are serviceable for fiber internet, according to the FCC, compared to 38% nationwide. 

Quantum Fiber is the largest fiber internet provider in Idaho, though Ziply Fiber has a large presence in Coeur d’Alene and Moscow. Local provider Fybercom also offers fiber internet in parts of eastern Idaho.

Who is the cheapest internet provider in Idaho?

Ziply Fiber has the cheapest plan of any major internet provider in Idaho, with speeds up to 100Mbps starting at $20 a month. Sparklight is also a top provider of cheap internet in Idaho, offering speeds up to 100Mbps starting at $25 a month.

Which internet provider in Idaho offers the fastest plan?

Ziply Fiber has the fastest plan in Idaho, with symmetrical upload and download speeds up to 10,000Mbps, starting at $300 a month. Max speeds from other Idaho internet providers, including Starlight, Quantum Fiber, Spectrum and Fybercom, top out at around 1,000Mbps.

منبع: https://www.cnet.com/home/internet/best-internet-providers-in-idaho/#ftag=CAD590a51e