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Top 12 Internet Providers in Idaho

Idaho may be known for its scenic mountains, rivers and farmland, but how does the Gem State stack up when it comes to internet access? While Idaho has made strides in expanding high-speed broadband in recent years, there‘s still work to be done – especially in rural areas.

According to BroadbandNow, 86.7% of Idaho residents have access to wired broadband with speeds of 25 Mbps or faster. That‘s slightly lower than the national average of 88.5%. Faster speeds are even harder to come by – only 16.8% of Idahoans have access to fiber-optic internet.

But the situation is improving. In 2021, Idaho passed the Idaho Broadband Dig Once and Right of Way Act to streamline the installation of fiber conduits. Many ISPs are also actively expanding their networks to reach more of Idaho with gigabit speeds.

If you‘re shopping for high-speed home internet in Idaho, you have options. While availability varies by location, most residents can choose between cable, DSL, fiber, fixed wireless, and satellite. Here‘s a closer look at the top 12 residential ISPs in Idaho and what they offer.

  1. Xfinity

♦ Connection Type: Cable & Fiber
♦ Speed Range: 50-3000 Mbps
♦ Price Range: $19.99-$299.95/mo.
♦ Largest Coverage Area: Boise, Idaho Falls, Nampa

Xfinity is the largest cable provider in Idaho with a coverage area spanning 21% of the state. Using a mix of coaxial cable and fiber, Xfinity offers speeds up to 3 Gbps in select areas, including Boise. Most cable plans top out at 1.2 Gbps – still very fast.

Affordability is another plus. Xfinity cable plans start at just $19.99/month for 50 Mbps, although the cheapest gigabit plan is $70/month. Be aware that Xfinity plans have data caps, typically 1.2 TB/month.

  1. CenturyLink

♦ Connection Type: DSL & Fiber
♦ Speed Range: 10-940 Mbps
♦ Price Range: $50-$65/mo.
♦ Largest Coverage Area: Boise, Idaho Falls, Coeur d‘Alene

CenturyLink offers DSL and fiber service to over 68% of Idaho residents. Speeds vary widely by location. DSL speeds range from 10-140 Mbps, while CenturyLink‘s fiber network can deliver up to 940 Mbps.

One unique perk is that CenturyLink offers a Price for Life guarantee on many plans, meaning your rate won‘t increase as long as you keep your plan. Fiber gigabit plans start at a competitive $65/month, with no data caps or contracts.

  1. Sparklight

♦ Connection Type: Cable
♦ Speed Range: 100-1000 Mbps
♦ Price Range: $45-$125/mo.
♦ Largest Coverage Area: Boise, Nampa, Twin Falls

The second largest cable provider in Idaho, Sparklight (formerly Cable ONE) offers speeds up to 1 Gbps across a decent-sized coverage area. The 100 Mbps starter plan offers good value at $45/month, while gigabit speeds will cost you $125/month.

While Sparklight doesn‘t have data caps in the traditional sense, it does have a strange policy where your speeds can be temporarily reduced if you exceed a certain threshold, typically 5 TB/month. This likely won‘t affect most residential users.

  1. Ziply Fiber

♦ Connection Type: DSL & Fiber
♦ Speed Range: 30-5000 Mbps
♦ Price Range: $20-$300/mo.
♦ Largest Coverage Area: Hayden, Post Falls, Moscow

Ziply Fiber is a newer player in Idaho, having taken over many of Frontier‘s old DSL and fiber networks in 2020. They‘re investing heavily in fiber and currently offer gigabit speeds to over 50 cities and towns across the state.

Ziply has very affordable fiber plans starting at just $20/month for 50 Mbps. Their top-tier 5 Gbps plan costs $300/month – expensive but one of the fastest options in Idaho. Ziply also offers a unique 2 Gbps plan for $120/month.

  1. Rise Broadband

♦ Connection Type: Fixed Wireless
♦ Speed Range: 25-50 Mbps
♦ Price Range: $25-$65/mo.
♦ Largest Coverage Area: Idaho Falls, Rexburg, Blackfoot

Rise Broadband specializes in fixed wireless internet for rural areas that may not have access to cable or fiber. By beaming internet from a tower to an antenna on your home, Rise can deliver speeds up to 50 Mbps. That‘s enough for most online activities but may feel slow for heavier users.

Nonetheless, Rise is an excellent option for rural Idaho residents, with affordable plans starting at $25/month and many areas eligible for speeds up to 50 Mbps ($65/month). Just note that service requires a clear line of sight to the tower.

  1. HughesNet

♦ Connection Type: Satellite
♦ Speed Range: 25 Mbps
♦ Price Range: $54.99-$159.99/mo.
♦ Largest Coverage Area: Statewide

For Idahoans that live in remote areas with no other options, HughesNet provides an essential lifeline with its satellite internet service. Using a dish on your property, HughesNet delivers speeds up to 25 Mbps almost anywhere in the state.

The main downsides are high latency and strict data caps. Even "unlimited" plans will throttle your speeds after 15-75 GB/month. But for basic web browsing and email, HughesNet gets the job done. Plans range from $54.99/month for 15GB of data to $159.99/month for 75 GB.

  1. Viasat

♦ Connection Type: Satellite
♦ Speed Range: 12-100 Mbps
♦ Price Range: $69.99-$169.99/mo.
♦ Largest Coverage Area: Statewide

Viasat is another widespread satellite internet option in Idaho. Using newer satellites than HughesNet, Viasat offers faster speeds (up to 100 Mbps) but still imposes data caps. Plans start at $69.99/month for 40 GB of data and go up to $169.99/month for 300 GB.

If you‘re deciding between HughesNet and Viasat, consider your data needs and budget. Viasat offers more data and faster speeds but is pricier. HughesNet‘s data caps are very restrictive but suitable for lighter use.

  1. Sumo Fiber

♦ Connection Type: Fiber
♦ Speed Range: 250-10000 Mbps
♦ Price Range: $65-$400/mo.
♦ Largest Coverage Area: Boise, Eagle, Meridian

Sumo Fiber is a regional provider offering extremely fast speeds up to 10 Gbps across the Boise metro area. That‘s the fastest residential internet plan in Idaho by far – but with availability limited to a few cities, most residents won‘t be able to access it.

Still, Sumo‘s entry-level 250 Mbps plan for $65/month provides ample speed for an average household at a competitive price. The gigabit plan at $79.95/month is also a great deal.

  1. DirectLink

♦ Connection Type: DSL & Fiber
♦ Speed Range: 25-1000 Mbps
♦ Price Range: $40-$100/mo.
♦ Largest Coverage Area: Rockland, Arbon

DirectLink is a local cooperative delivering fiber and DSL internet to communities across southern Idaho. While coverage is fairly limited, speeds reach up to 1 Gbps in fiber areas. 100 Mbps DSL is also widely available.

Plan prices are average, with gigabit speeds costing $100/month. But as a member-owned co-op, DirectLink provides personalized local service you won‘t get from bigger ISPs. Certain plans also come with unlimited data.

  1. Silver Star

♦ Connection Type: DSL & Fiber
♦ Speed Range: 5-1000 Mbps
♦ Price Range: $35-$125/mo.
♦ Largest Coverage Area: Idaho Falls, Swan Valley

Silver Star is another local provider serving eastern Idaho with DSL and fiber service. Most of the coverage area has access to speeds up to 100 Mbps for $65/month. But certain lucky neighborhoods, especially around Idaho Falls, can get gigabit fiber speeds.

Silver Star‘s top-tier gigabit plan is competitively priced at $125/month. The only downside is a 1 TB data cap on all plans – but that should be plenty for most households. Silver Star also boasts consistently high customer satisfaction rankings.

Tips for Choosing an ISP

With all these options, how can you choose the right provider and plan for your needs? Here are a few tips:

  1. Check availability. Start by entering your address on ISP websites or using our broadband search tool to see which providers are available at your home.

  2. Consider your needs. How many people and devices use the internet in your household? What activities do you use the internet for? Bandwidth-intensive activities like video streaming, gaming, and video conferencing require faster speeds.

  3. Look for red flags. Watch out for data caps, speed throttling, price hikes after introductory periods, and restrictive contracts. Always read the fine print before signing up.

  4. Test speeds. Run a speed test at peak usage times to see if you‘re getting the speeds you pay for. If you‘re consistently getting less, it may be time to upgrade your plan or switch providers.

  5. Bundle and save. Sometimes you can get a better deal by bundling your internet with TV, phone, or other services from the same provider. Compare prices for internet-only vs. bundled plans.

  6. Negotiate your rate. If you‘re happy with your service but not your bill, try negotiating a lower rate with your provider. You may be able to get a discount or upgrade, especially if you‘re a long-time customer.

The Bottom Line

While Idaho still has a ways to go in delivering high-speed internet access to all corners of the state, residents have more options than ever for fast and reliable home broadband. Whether you‘re in the heart of Boise or off the beaten path, there‘s likely an ISP that can meet your needs.

For the absolute fastest speeds, look to fiber providers like Xfinity, CenturyLink, Ziply Fiber, Sumo Fiber, and Silver Star. Gigabit plans from these ISPs provide more than enough bandwidth for even the most connected households.

Cable is another solid option for fast speeds at reasonable prices, with Xfinity and Sparklight offering affordable gigabit plans across large parts of the state.

And while options may be limited for rural Idahoans, the continued expansion of fixed wireless and satellite networks is helping close the digital divide. HughesNet, Viasat, and Rise Broadband provide a basic broadband lifeline to residents with no other choices.

No matter where you live in Idaho, a little research goes a long way in finding the best internet provider for your needs and budget. We hope this guide has helped you understand your options and make an informed decision.


What is the fastest internet in Idaho?

Sumo Fiber offers the absolute fastest residential internet plan in Idaho, with speeds up to 10 Gbps in parts of the Boise metro area. But gigabit (1000 Mbps) plans from Xfinity, CenturyLink, Ziply Fiber, and Silver Star are much more widely available.

How much is high-speed internet in Idaho?

Prices vary by provider and location, but most gigabit fiber or cable plans in Idaho cost between $65 and $125/month. You can find slower plans (100-300 Mbps) starting around $45-$65/month.

Who has the cheapest high-speed internet?

Ziply Fiber offers a remarkably cheap gigabit fiber plan starting at just $20/month, with speeds up to 5 Gbps available for $300/month. Other affordable options for fast internet include Xfinity ($70/month for gigabit cable) and Sumo Fiber ($65/month for 250 Mbps).

What is a good internet speed for working from home?

For most remote work, a download speed of at least 25 Mbps and an upload speed of at least 3 Mbps should be sufficient. But for data-heavy tasks like video conferencing or large file transfers, speeds of 100 Mbps or higher are ideal to keep things running smoothly.

Do I need unlimited data?

That depends on your internet habits. Most households use around 300-500 GB/month, so a 1 TB data cap will likely provide plenty of breathing room. But if you have a large family, stream a lot of HD video, or work with large files, an unlimited plan may be a smart choice.