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Top 12 Internet Providers in Idaho

starlink vs spectrum

Top 12 Internet Providers in Idaho

Key Points

  • Many rural areas of Idaho only have a few options when it comes to ISPs.
  • Ziply Fiber is one of the least expensive ISPs in Idaho, at only $20 per month.
  • Xfinity claims to have the fastest Wi-Fi speeds in Idaho, up to 6 Gbps, with a fiber connection.

Idaho is a growth state with a population growth of 1.1% annually. People are moving to take part in Idaho’s traditional and emerging industries, which include agriculture, energy, aerospace, and advanced manufacturing. The great quality of life and rural access also creates a big draw. 

However, despite this good news for their local economy, Idaho is struggling to catch up with the internet infrastructure needed to sustain its growth, especially in rural areas.

If finding a decent ISP in Idaho is a struggle for you, this article profiles 12 top internet providers in Idaho for you to try. Let’s dive in!

1. Sparklight 

Sparklight is the new name for Cable One. It is one of the largest internet providers in Idaho. This ISP specializes in providing internet coverage in remote and rural areas, so it’s a great choice if you want cable in the country. 

Sparklight’s hybrid fiber-coax cable internet achieves great speeds of up to 940 Mbps. This is exceptional when compared to other options for the country, like satellite, fixed wireless, or mobile internet, and your property will benefit from having a reliable, fixed broadband connection. 

Pricing is reassuringly straightforward and contract-free, but Sparklight uses data caps so you’ll have to spend more to get an unlimited package. Sparklight also provides a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try the service. The cheapest package is $65 per month with a $90 installation fee. The pricing of internet-only plans rises after the first three months. 

Base Price (Monthly)$65
Type of ConnectionHybrid fiber-coax cable internet
Maximum Download Speed940 Mbps 
Locations AvailableBoise
Odessa
Fargo
Nampa
Idaho Falls
Rio Rancho
Sioux City
Sparklight cable one
Sparklight provides great internet coverage in rural areas and for an affordable price.

2. Rise Broadband

Rise Broadband is another great choice for rural internet in Idaho with a fixed wireless internet service that provides speeds of up to 100 Mbps. This cable-free ISP also offers fiber in some suburban areas.

Rise is a great choice because it has data limits that are much more generous than its satellite competitors. However, your property will require a line of sight to the nearest wireless tower and poor weather could disrupt the service. If Rise can provide a fixed wireless package, it’s well worth it as your internet connection will be more reliable. 

Plans start at $25 dollars and only rise by $10 after the first year. The installation fee is $150.

Base Price (Monthly)$25
Type of ConnectionFixed wireless
Maximum Download Speed100 Mbps 
Locations AvailableAmerican Falls
Arco
Blackfoot
Boise
Caldwell
Idaho Falls
Meridian
Eagle
Nampa
Pocatello
Preston
Rexburg
Roberts
Soda Springs
St. Anthony
Twin Falls

3. Cox 

Cox Communications provides fiber and cable internet in Idaho. Residents can enjoy speeds of up to 1 Gbps for $49.99, with a $100 installation fee. 

Cox Communications uses data caps (1.25TB) but not throttling. Supplied routers also double as public hotspots by default which may not be something you want. 

An alternative package provided by Cox is its pay-as-you-go internet called StraightUp. This prepaid internet has a flat fee of $50 per month for 100 Mbps speed internet, equipment, installation, and taxes with no credit check required. Packages are provided with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Base Price (Monthly)$49.99 
Type of ConnectionCable/fiber
Maximum Download Speed100 Mbps to 1 Gbps (cable) 
Locations AvailableEagle
Garden City
Hayden
Idaho Falls
Jerome
KunaI
Lewiston 
Meridian
Mountain Home
Nampa
Pocatello
Post Falls
Rexburg
starlink vs cox
Cox Communications offers a pay-as-you-go plan so you can save even more money on your internet.

4. Frontier

Frontier specializes in providing DSL coverage in remote and rural areas. It is the fifth-largest DSL ISP in the U.S. It is available in a few suburban and rural localities in Idaho. They have also expanded into fiber, but this is not yet available in this state.

They offer some competitively priced packages which compare favorably against mobile, satellite, and fixed wireless internet. There are no contracts, no equipment fees, and unlimited data is available on all plans. 

Frontier’s range of packages is limited, but the pricing is simple and stable, starting at $27.99 for DSL internet. DSL speeds vary by location up to a maximum of 90 Mbps. 

Base Price (Monthly)$49.99
Type of ConnectionDSL
Maximum Download SpeedUp to 90 Mbps (DSL)
Locations AvailableSandpoint
Ponderay
Wilder
Homedale
Marsing
Nampa
Mc Call
New Meadows
Cascade
Crouch
Fairfield 
Carey
Frontier Internet homepage
Frontier offers fast speeds for a great price and is widely available in Idado.

5. Ultra Home Internet

Ultra Home Internet provides statewide 4G/LTE and 5G internet connectivity in your home using a cellular router. This is a cost-effective and simple solution for rural locations that you can get up and started quickly. 

The cellular coverage used by Ultra Home Internet is provided by T-Mobile with additional costs that are passed on to customers including installation fees and a monthly charge for a cellular router. However, it is much cheaper than satellite internet and performs just as well as DSL. 

For $59.99, Ultra Home Internet provides 25GB of data. This is no way near enough for the average household so you may have to upgrade to a more expensive unlimited package. Ultra Home Internet also uses speed throttling.

Base Price (Monthly)$59.99
Type of ConnectionCellular
Maximum Download SpeedUp to 115 Mbps
Locations AvailableCellular coverage throughout Idaho

6. Spectrum

Spectrum, from Charter Communications, provides cable internet in Idaho with approximately 9% coverage, limited to metropolitan areas. You can choose your internet-only package from three tiers of internet access (Standard, Ultra, and GIG) with speeds of up to 1Gbps.

Prices start at $49.99 for a 300 Mbps cable connection that includes a home Wi-Fi router. There is also a $19.99 one-off installation fee. Expect a price increase after the first 12 months.

Base Price (Monthly)$49.99
Type of ConnectionCable
Maximum Download Speed1 Gbps
Locations AvailableCoeur D’Alene
Idaho Falls
Moscow
Pocatello
starlink vs spectrum
Spectrum is known for its affordable plans and your internet will come with a free Wi-Fi router.

7. T-Mobile Home Internet

T-Mobile Home Internet is the cellular company’s home internet service. It uses a cellular router to provide 4G/LTE and 5G mobile internet in your home. It provides competitively priced high-speed internet that is not only cheaper than many satellites and fixed wireless competitors but is very reliable because of its use of the cellular network. 

T-Mobile internet costs a flat rate of $50 per month for a contract and data cap-free internet with speeds of over 180 Mbps. This is great value for rural Idaho residents who have limited options for high-speed internet. There are no installation costs and T-Mobile supplies the required cellular router.

Base Price (Monthly)$50
Type of ConnectionCellular 
Maximum Download Speed182 Mbps 
Locations AvailableCellular coverage throughout Idaho
T mobile logo illuminated with magenta lights
T-Mobile has great coverage for the relatively low price of $50/month.

8. Optimum Internet 

Optimum provides DSL, cable, and fiber coverage in the Idahoan cities of Kellogg, Saint Maries, and Orofino. It’s a reliable and cost-effective choice for broadband internet with speeds of up to 5 Gbps, depending on your location. 

The prices of Optimum’s internet-only plans depend on whether you use cable, DSL, or fiber. Prices start at $40 per month with a minimum speed of 100 Mbps. Optimum guarantee prices for two years. Plans are also contract, data-cap-free, and include equipment costs.

Base Price (Monthly)$40
Type of ConnectionDSL/Cable/Fiber
Maximum Download Speed300 Mbps (Cable) to 5 Gbps (Fiber)
Locations AvailableKellogg
Saint Maries
Orofino
Optimum Internet homepage
Optimum’s 1GB Fiber plan is ultra-fast and lets you connect multiple devices.

CenturyLink is one of Idaho’s leading internet providers with coverage available in over half of the state. Its coverage spans metro and rural areas including Lemhi County, Owyhee County, and Caribou. CenturyLink’s DSL and fiber packages provide high-speed internet with speeds of up to 940 Mbps. 

CenturyLink is popular in Idaho because of the quality and consistency of its service. Prices for internet-only service are competitive, starting at $50 for DSL and $65 for fiber. There are no promotional rates, no annual contracts, and no throttling or data caps. Customer service is available 24/7 if you need help with your account. 

Base Price (Monthly)$50
Type of ConnectionDSL/Fiber
Maximum Download Speed940 Mbps 
Locations AvailableBoise 
Idaho City
Idaho Falls
Lincoln
Jerome
Gooding
Power
Cassia 
Twin Falls
Bingham
Madison
Jefferson
Bannock 
Caribou
Blaine
CenturyLink internet
CenturyLink offers super high speeds, up to 940 Mbps.

10. Ziply Fiber

Ziply Fiber is owned by Northwest Fiber, LLC, which is based in Kirkland, Washington. It is a predominantly fiber-focused company that is keen to invest in expansion into rural Idaho and serves over 70 cities and towns already. In 2020, Ziply Fiber took over a large proportion of Frontier’s DSL and fiber infrastructure in Idaho and intends to attract customers by keeping its pricing simple and competitive.

Ziply’s low and mid-tiered price plans have speeds of between 50 and 200 Mbps (DSL) and up to 5 Gbps for fiber customers. The 5 Gbps internet-only package costs $300 per month. There are no data caps or throttling and Ziply operates on a contract-free basis. 

The promotional prices from Ziply start at $20 per month, but rise by $20 across all packages after 12 months. There is also a generous whole-home Wi-Fi lease and a 30-day money-back guarantee for all new accounts.

Base Price (Monthly)$20
Type of ConnectionDSL/Fiber
Maximum Download Speed5 Gbps
Locations AvailableBlanchard
Bonners
Ferry 
Coeur D Alene
Hayden
Kellogg
McCall
Moscow 
Mullan 
Orofino
Osburn
Pinehurst
Rathdrum
Wallace
Weippe
Sandpoint
Moscow
Potlatch

11. Xfinity

Comcast’s Xfinity offers cable and fiber connectivity in Idaho, alongside the television, cellular, and landline deals it is known for. 

You can choose from 8 internet-only plans which start at only $29.99 per month with an $89.99 installation fee. Xfinity offers this promotional pricing which rises long-term unless you can renegotiate a better deal. Plans include the leasing of home Wi-Fi equipment.

Xfinity caps all its packages at 1.2 terabytes but isn’t known to use throttling. Cable speeds peak at 300 Mbps and its top-tier Gigabit Pro fiber speeds exceed 6 Gbps. 

Base Price (Monthly)$29.99 (cable) / $299.99 (fiber)
Type of ConnectionCable/fiber 
Maximum Download Speed300 Mbps to 1.2 Gbps (cable) / up to 6 Gbps (fiber)
Locations AvailableBoise
Nampa
Aberdeen
Idaho Falls
Preston
Xfinity logo at a retail store exterior.
Xfinity claims to have the fastest Wi-Fi speeds, up to 6 Gbps with a fiber connection.

12. HughesNet

HughesNet was one of the first satellite internet companies to offer multi-megabyte internet speeds and has since established itself as a market leader for rural internet solutions, meaning that the coverage is extensive and the service is dependable. 

In some ways, HughesNet is an ISP of last resort as its speeds are slow (25 Mbps) and bandwidth can be variable. But, it is ideal for Idahoans who need connectivity in underserved parts of the state. Where speed is lacking, HughesNet makes up the difference with consistent service which is really important to remote communities. 

Prices start at $54.99 for 15GB of data. HughesNet uses data caps and throttling, meaning you may have to upgrade your package to meet the requirement of an average household. HughesNet provides a bonus of 50GB of data that you can use off-peak. 

If you sign up with HughesNet, expect a two-year contract with termination fees if you cancel early. There are also additional equipment costs. 

Base Price (Monthly)$54.99
Type of ConnectionSatellite
Maximum Download Speed25 Mbps
Locations AvailableIdaho-wide (especially in remote and rural areas)
HughesNet homepage
HughesNet may not be the fastest, but it is a fairly reliable ISP for Idahoans.

Summary of the Top 12 Internet Providers in Idaho

RankISP
#1Sparklight
#2Rise Broadband
#3Cox Cable 
#4Frontier 
#5Ultra Home Internet 
#6Spectrum 
#7T-Mobile Home Internet 
#8Optimum Internet 
#9CenturyLink
#10Ziply Fiber
#11Xfinity 
#12HughesNet 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What percentage of Idaho residents have access to fiber internet?

Idaho has a big challenge in upgrading its existing copper infrastructure to fiber. Only 16.8% have access to fiber broadband. However, fiber-focused companies like Ziply are actively investing in the installation of fiber infrastructure in parts of Idaho.

What percentage of Idaho households don’t have internet access?

Like many other states, Idaho has not only a recognized digital divide but an entrenched digital rural divide. Just over 83% of residents have internet access, but 17% have no internet connectivity in their residences. People without internet access are more likely to live in a rural area, have a lower income, and have a lower level of educational attainment.

What internet speeds are available in Idaho cities?

Idaho cities have the highest levels of broadband internet access and the widest range of ISP. Here are the average download speeds in major Idaho cities in 2022: 

  • Boise: 131.6 Mbps
  • Nampa: 174.4 Mbps
  • Idaho Falls: 85.8 Mbps
  • Meridian: 100.5 Mbps
  • Pocatello: 88.7 Mbps

What is fixed wireless internet?

Fixed wireless internet delivers internet connectivity via a mesh network of antennas that send data from one point to another. This is a fast and effective method of internet provision if ISPs can mount the antennas at a suitable height and have a line of sight between each pair of points. The data transferred on the network required a wired backhaul (access point to exchange data with the internet) that is usually copper or fiber. 

What is satellite internet?

Satellite internet provides wireless connectivity via low earth orbit satellites that use specific frequency bands. This is the primary method of providing internet connectivity to remote and rural areas. The satellite signal has to pass through the layers of the earth’s atmosphere which can weaken the signal and affect internet speed and connection quality.

What is hybrid fiber-coax internet?

Hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) is broadband internet networking that combines optical fiber and coaxial cable. Cable companies have used HFC since the 1990s as it is an effective way of using limited fiber resources to support high-speed mid and last-mile internet connectivity.

In a HFC system, the ISP sends data from the headend into communities via a fiber optic cable. At the junction with the community’s distribution network, a device called an optical node translates the fiber optic light signal into a radio signal that can be distributed to properties via cable.

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