Los Angeles Internet Service Recommendations
For most of Los Angeles, choosing an internet provider means choosing between two companies: Spectrum and AT&T.
We recommend that new residents check their address with both Spectrum and AT&T and order the one offering faster service at their location.
Spectrum has 200 Mbps speeds available throughout the city, making it the most common choice. AT&T has a faster fiber-optic offering in the 300–1,000 Mbps range, but only for about 20–30% of LA; the rest of their coverage locally is DSL, which is limited to 25–100 Mbps or lower.View Spectrum Plans View AT&T Plans
The quality of internet available for homes and apartments depends greatly on the neighborhood. Fiber internet expansion has been patchy, mostly led by AT&T, and focused on wealthier neighborhoods like Echo Park and Silverlake.1
Residents in large multi-family buildings are generally limited to one provider, thanks to longstanding kickback programs by larger companies.2 However some startups like Starry Internet have been winning over landlords and installing 200 Mbps services for apartment buildings around Central Los Angeles.
Here’s a full breakdown of internet options in Los Angeles, starting with the fastest types of service and working down:
Fiber internet service in Los Angeles
Fiber internet is the fastest consumer internet option on the market, and enables download and upload speeds up to 1,000 Mbps. For context, that’s five times faster than the average cable plan in Los Angeles and more than 25 times the fastest cable company upload speed.
Unfortunately, fiber is not available citywide, and is particularly hard to get if you live in an apartment complex or low-income neighborhood.
AT&T Fiber Internet Plans
AT&T Fiber offers fiber internet plans with speeds in the 300–1,000 Mbps to about one-third of the Los Angeles area.
The entry-level Fiber 300 plan is the best fit for apartments and family homes up to five people. It provides enough bandwidth the easily handle multiple Zoom calls and HD or 4K video streams at the same time throughout the day. Home offices should consider upgrading to the gigabit 1,000 Mbps plan, especially if working with video and large media files.
AT&T also offers a TV service called AT&T TV with regional sports access (Lakers, etc), which can be bundled or purchased standalone as a streaming service.View AT&T Fiber Plans (833) 772-1423
Fiber Internet 300: 300 Mbps for $35/mo.
Fiber Internet 500: 500 Mbps for $45/mo.
Fiber Internet 1000: 940 Mbps for $60/mo.
While AT&T is the only major fiber option in Central, East, and West LA, there are several fiber providers in the greater LA area and Los Angeles County.
Most notably, Frontier Fios services some parts of south LA and Santa Monica. Beverly Hills is launching a municipal fiber network in Summer 20213, and Ting Internet just started lighting a new fiber network in Culver City as of Spring 2021.
Cable internet service in Los Angeles
Cable internet is the second-fastest home internet option. In LA, cable download speeds range from 200–940 Mbps. However, the upload speed of cable is lower than fiber; it caps out at 35 Mbps and is sufficient for Zoom calls but struggles when moving large files or uploading video.
Cable internet from Spectrum (formerly called Time Warner Cable) is available citywide in Los Angeles.
Spectrum Cable Internet Plans
Spectrum internet is available throughout the LA area. Their download speeds range from 200 Mbps up to 940 Mbps, with upload speeds in the 10–35 Mbps range. Los Angeles was one of the first markets to receive their 200 Mbps network upgrade.
Spectrum's entry-level 200 Mbps internet plan is the most common internet choice in Los Angeles, since it's available at practically every address and an affordable $49.99 per month promotional price.
200 Mbps internet provides enough bandwidth for streaming TV in 4K, Zoom calls, and other basic home use. Home offices often upgrade to their 400 Mbps Ultra plan, which doubles the upload speed — which can make a big difference if multiple people are using the connection for work or school. They also have a Gigabit plan, but the monthly price is only worth it for large households with 5+ people or home offices.
Spectrum will likely push you to consider a TV bundle when you sign up. In our opinion, the Spectrum sports package is a good deal if you're a local sports fan for in-market Dodgers and Lakers games on SportsNet LA. For non-sports fans, the price is hard to justify relative to streaming options.View Spectrum Internet Plans (833) 993-3722
Spectrum Internet: 200 Mbps for $49.99/mo.
Spectrum Internet Ultra: 400 Mbps for $69.99/mo.
Spectrum Internet GIG: 940 Mbps for $109.99/mo.
DSL internet service in Los Angeles
DSL internet is a widely-available fallback option for internet service in Los Angeles, but for most locations it’s a poor product relative to cable and fiber.
DSL speeds go up to 100 Mbps in theory, but in practice most locations locally are limited to 25 Mbps or lower. The upload speed is even lower, capping out at 5–10 Mbps and running as low as 1 Mbps in some parts of Central LA.
AT&T DSL (IPBB) Internet Plans
AT&T provides all DSL internet service in Los Angeles, with 80% coverage; basically, everywhere AT&T doesn't have fiber, they offer DSL.
The vast majority of residents are better off with cable from Spectrum, since it offers double the download speed and better upload capacity for almost exactly the same price. However, AT&T can be a good fallback if you're in a location with bad Spectrum lines, or want to avoid Spectrum due to a bad customer service experience.
Note that AT&T makes it tricky to tell if you're looking at fiber or DSL when you sign up, and they call the DSL service "IPBB" in their advertising. If the fastest speed shown for your address is lower than 300 Mbps, you're looking at a DSL or "IPBB" plan, not fiber.View AT&T DSL Plans (833) 772-1423
Internet 25: 25 Mbps for $45/mo.
Internet alternatives in Los Angeles
Los Angeles has had a number of alternative services come and go over the past few years, including discussions of municipal providers and local nonprofit efforts like the Los Angeles Community Broadband Project.
As of 2021, the only real alternatives internet providers in Los Angeles are Earthlink and Sonic.
The big caveat with Earthlink and Sonic is that they don’t actually own any infrastructure in Los Angeles; they are simply reselling service over AT&T lines. This is similar to how Ting or US Cellular provide mobile service by leasing towers rather than building them. Earthlink and Sonic do the same thing, but with home internet lines.
The main benefit of using either of them is that it lets you skip AT&T’s customer service, which means better customer service and (often) cheaper pricing. In the case of Sonic in particular, that really improves the customer experience.
However, it also means that you’re limited to whatever speeds AT&T already offers at your address — and you might even be de-prioritized for technician visits. After all, AT&T has an incentive to service their own customers before reseller subscribers in the case of an outage.
Earthlink Internet Plans
Similar to Sonic, Earthlink offers internet services that are resold on AT&T's network in the LA area. The speeds range from 25–1,000 Mbps based on location.
Unlike Sonic, Earthlink is a national provider and does not specialize in the California region. With that in mind, the customer service is not notably different from AT&T, and in our opinion is not a compelling alternative for most homes.
The pricing for Earthlink starts at $49.99 per month in Los Angeles, which is actually $4.99 more expensive than AT&T when you account for fees.View Earthlink Internet Plans (833) 311-2124
Sonic IPBB Internet Plans
Sonic offers IPBB "Fusion" plans as an AT&T reseller in the Los Angeles area. The service is very similar to buying from AT&T directly, with similar 25–1,000 Mbps speeds based on location. The pricing and plan terms are slightly different from AT&T, with the cheapest plans starting at $49.99 per month.
As of 2021, Sonic still requires a 12-month contract for new customers, while AT&T has dropped the contract requirement for internet-only plans.
Additionally, Sonic comes with a landline phone; which is either a bonus or a nuisance, depending on your desire for a landline phone. The price of the phone is bundled into the monthly cost and you cannot reduce the monthly bill if you don't use the phone. Sonic also requires that you use the AT&T-provided modem.
With that in mind, we don't recommend Sonic for most customers locally unless you're in a building where AT&T is the only option, and your customer service experience with AT&T is poor enough to merit signing a 12-month contract to avoid it.View Sonic Internet Plans (855) 757-6111
Fixed Wireless internet service in Los Angeles
Fixed Wireless is a method of delivering internet service to homes using wireless technology like 5G. Prior to 2018, fixed wireless was a niche rural internet option with limited speeds and high prices.
In 2021, that’s no longer the case. Hardware advances have allowed companies like Starry Internet and Verizon to offer fixed wireless service that matches or exceeds the speeds from cable.
In Los Angeles, fixed wireless is still mostly available limited to apartment buildings in Central, Downtown, and Hollywood. We expect it to expand throughout 2021, but it’s unlikely to rival cable in terms of widespread availability.
Starry Internet Plans
Starry Internet offers a refreshingly simple internet service option: one plan at a flat $50 per month that provides 200 Mbps download and upload speeds.
200 Mbps might sound low when you're shopping and comparing with Spectrum's 940 Mbps or AT&T's 1,000 Mbps. However, the key is that the upload speed matches the download — which solves most of the issues people complain about with cable like dropped video calls or trouble streaming.
The pricing is around $20 per month cheaper than comparable cable and fiber plans once you account for all the extra fees and rate changes with other providers in LA. The only issue with Starry is that you can't use your own router (although the one they provide is perfectly good and well-designed), and that service is limited. As of 2021, they are only serving large apartment buildings in certain parts of Central LA.View Starry Internet Plans (888) 231-9403
Starry Internet: 200 Mbps for $50/mo.
Verizon 5G Home Internet Plans
Verizon's 5G home internet service is the most recent addition to Los Angeles' competitive broadband options. It's currently being piloted around Downtown and Central Los Angeles, with a bit of coverage in Echo Park as well.
The service offers 300–940 Mbps download speeds and 200–300 Mbps upload speeds for $50–70 per month, which is a flat rate including all the fees and WiFi equipment.
The issue with Verizon is similar to the issue with Starry: limited availability. While Verizon initially hyped the launch of 5G home internet as a replacement for cable, issues with coverage have slowed the rollout — even in Downtown LA. It's not yet clear if they'll continue the program, or pivot to focus exclusively on 5G mobile services.View Verizon 5G Plans (800) 837-4966
Low Income Internet Programs For Los Angeles Residents
Low-income residents in the greater Los Angeles area can access low-cost internet service from all the major providers including Spectrum, AT&T, Frontier, and Cox Cable.
However, qualifying for these plans can be complicated if you don’t already participate in a program like SNAP or live in public housing.
One of the big potential benefits of some of these plans is the chance to get a free computer or a computer for a very low price. This can be an enormous benefit in a household where a computer would normally just be too expensive to consider.
More details on Los Angeles low-income access plans can be found at our subsidized services fact sheet.
Spectrum Low Income Internet Program For Los Angeles Residents
|Plan Name||Speed Down/Up||Monthly Price||WiFi Fee||Details|
|Spectrum Internet Assist||30/4 Mbps||$17.99/mo||$5/mo||View Plan|
Spectrum does not provide low income Internet services under the Federal or California Lifeline provisions. However, it does offer Spectrum Internet Assist.
Who Qualifies For Spectrum Internet Assist?
There are two qualifying groups for this service:
- Any family that has a student that uses the National School Lunch Program
- Any family that has a senior over the age of 65 that gets Supplemental Security Income
However, if you have any outstanding debts to Spectrum, Charter Spectrum or Time Warner Communications – they will not allow you to take Spectrum Internet Assist until these debts are cleared.
If you have previously had services from Charter, Spectrum, Time Warner or Bright House – you are in their coverage area. If you haven’t you may need to check on their website to see if your home is covered by the service – Spectrum is widely available throughout Los Angeles.
AT&T Low Income Internet Program For Los Angeles Residents
|Plan Name||Speed Down/Up||Monthly Price||WiFi Fee||Details|
|AT&T Access 10||10/Variable Mbps||$10/mo||$0/mo||View Plan|
AT&T offers one of the lowest-cost low-income programs for Internet access in Los Angeles (and much of the US for that matter).
AT&T also offers services for people who qualify for Lifeline support — but the AT&T Access program which we are examining here is different and has more favorable terms, if you can qualify:
Who Qualifies For AT&T Access?
The qualification criteria for AT&T Access are:
- You must live in the AT&T coverage area
- One person in your household must be in receipt of food stamps on the SNAP program
However, as with Spectrum you must not have any outstanding debts incurred in the last six months to AT&T. We actually think that’s pretty reasonable – it’s much fairer than Spectrum’s lifetime exclusions, that’s for sure.
Frontier Low Income Internet Program For Los Angeles Residents
|Plan Name||Speed Down/Up||Monthly Price||WiFi Fee||Details|
|Frontier Fundamental Internet||12/1 Mbps||$14.99/mo||$5/mo||View Plan|
Frontier’s Low Income Internet program is possibly the best deal out there at the moment for low income individuals.
This should not be confused with Frontier’s Lifeline Internet plan which is also available. This is Frontier’s direct to consumer low-income plan, Fundamental Internet.
Who Qualifies For Frontier Fundamental Internet?
There are four ways to qualify for Frontier FI:
- If anyone in your family is a recipient of the US Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (CalFresh)
- If anyone in your home is a recipient of the Supplement Security Income (SSI) benefit
- If anyone in your home is on the Medi-Cal program
- If anyone in your family is on the Bureau of Indian Affairs Program
This is a broader range of qualifications than most other ISPs, making this plan overall more accessible.
Cox Communications Low Income Internet Program For Los Angeles Residents
|Plan Name||Speed Down/Up||Monthly Price||WiFi Fee||Details|
|Cox Connect2Compete||25/1 Mbps||$9.95/mo||$0/mo||View Plan|
Cox offers two different low income internet programs each with a different set of qualifying criteria to join.
Cox is not a Lifeline provider, so you can avail yourself of these plans and still claim a cellular phone on the Lifeline plan if you qualify.
Who Qualifies For The Cox Communications Low Income Internet Program?
- Anyone with a family member participating in the SNAP, TANF and National School Lunch Programs
- Anyone living in HUD-assisted housing with school-age children
You can’t sign up for Cox if:
- You’ve previously been a Cox customer in the last 3 months – if you qualify, you will need to cancel and then wait 90 days before you can sign up
- You have a previous Cox bill that is over 12 months old and unpaid
- You have any Cox cable equipment that you have not previously returned (you can, however, return it and then immediately qualify)
Los Angeles Internet Access Statistics
The Digital Divide in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is dynamic, diverse, and well-known for gaps between the "haves" and the "have-nots." Internet access in Los Angeles is no exception, with fiber predominently built out to wealthy neighborhoods like Silverlake, West Hollywood, and Laurel Canyon. Neighborhoods with lower median incomes like Koreatown and Boyle Heights are more commonly left with cable from Spectrum as the only residential internet option above 100 Mbps.
The city of Beverly Hills is finishing construction of a municipal broadband network that will offer low-cost fiber service to homeowners in the neighborhood in summer of 2021.
Major speed test sources like Measurement Labs and Speedtest.net record Los Angeles at an average internet speed range of 50–90 Mbps. Our own analysis of M-Labs speed test data shows similar results, with an even 50 Mbps average across Los Angeles. Introductory plans are generally in the 100–200 Mbps download speed range.
Since most fiber service in Los Angeles is from telecom companies like AT&T and Frontier rather than overbuilders, the majority of buildings only have two wired internet options. However, some startup internet providers like Starry have begun to offer attractive wireless alternatives as of 2020. AT&T also upgraded their fiber entry-tier speed to 300 Mbps in 2021.
Internet Infrastructure in Los Angeles
|Network technology||Population covered||Coverage percent|
The table above shows percent coverage of each major network type in Los Angeles according to the latest FCC Form 477 data release (2020).4
Note that due to over-reporting by providers, coverage at the building level is not as robust as this data presents. Fixed wireless service from providers like Starry Internet, in particular, has much lower coverage than it appears based on FCC data sources — which are currently the only public source of national broadband data.
Los Angeles Internet Speeds
100–200 Mbps is a normal speed range for entry-level internet plans in Los Angeles. Spectrum’s 200 Mbps plan is one of the cheapest and most common choices, usually competing with 50–100 Mbps plans from AT&T. That said, A few LA neighborhoods including Silverlake and the Arts District have 1,000 Mbps speeds from AT&T Fiber.
If you’re trying to decide on a decent internet speed, 200 Mbps is sufficient for the majority of homes and apartments. However 1,000 Mbps “gigabit” fiber is often equivalent in price, if you’re lucky enough to have fiber available at your location. In general, fiber is available in denser areas like DTLA or wealthier neighborhoods like the West Hollywood/Beverly Hills area.
In most cases, I’ll recommend you go ahead and get fiber if it’s available — AT&T recently dropped data caps and year-long contract requirements for fiber plans, making them extra competitive against Spectrum.
Average Speed test result in Los Angeles
Regardless of the service speed advertised, what is the average internet speed in Los Angeles? In terms of actual speed once service is installed, the major speed test data sources like Measurement Labs, Fair Internet Report, and Speedtest.net suggest an average speed of around 50 Mbps in Los Angeles overall. In fact, the last 12 months of Measurement Labs tests at the time of this article was exactly 50.01 Mbps.
This is about twice as fast as the global average, though the average internet speed in the USA as a whole is surprisingly quite high at 60–90 Mbps depending on the test source and criteria.
In general, I recommend taking these test results with a grain of salt as they measure people’s WiFi performance as well as the internet connection. WiFi speeds can be dramatically lower than the actual wired internet connection at an address, since the connection is shared over the air rather than wired in directly to the source.
Additionally, people running speed tests are commonly troubleshooting local network — resulting in a large amount of tests that have more to do with bad routers than bad internet connections.
Overall, the 50 Mbps average speed test in Los Angeles is decent and most cable or fiber customers are more likely to have issues with their router and cabling than with the service bandwidth itself.
Known issues with LA speed test data
When we talk about a “normal internet speed” for Los Angeles, we’re really talking about an average speed. This number isn’t always helpful because:
- There are a lot of choices in Los Angeles for internet service and some have much higher potential speed than others.
- The speed you experience as a customer depends on the connection of your device to the router, and the capability of the modem and router to handle the speed delivered.
We’ve found that Measurement Labs, which provides Google’s speed test tool, shows an average speed of around 50 Mbps in Los Angeles. As mentioned, different speed tests use different criteria for measurement — I’ve seen credible speed test sources quote anywhere from 33 Mbps up to around 55 Mbps for the LA area average.
Speed measurement is a known issue in the internet industry, with industry reports commonly offering caveats around misleading figures. For example, research from nonprofit group IEEEXplore in 2015 showed that the numbers provided by a speed test could vary dramatically within the same household, on the same Internet connection or at different points during the day.5
This means that while there is an “average internet speed in Los Angeles” according to a lot of sources, those sources are only a loose indicator of what you’ll experience at home. In fact, the only meaningful number for a user is likely to be the results of a speed test on their own line at a specific time and day.
Business internet services in Los Angeles
The greater Los Angeles area has several business centers including business districts in Pasadena, Culver City, and Playa Vista. However, most large tech headquarters are in "Silicon Beach," an area on the West Side of LA in Santa Monica and Venice Beach that features major headquarters like Google and Snapchat.
Tech companies are drawn to Silicon Beach, in part, by the infrastructure and broadband access. Aside from being a major data center location and cable landing site, Silicon Beach also is one of 7 locations in California with municipal broadband services for enterprises, including dark fiber availability and low-cost high-quality fiber connectivity from Santa Monica CityNet.
Low-coverage internet service providers in Los Angeles
The following providers have registered minor internet coverage areas within Los Angeles city limits, all below 1% local coverage.
CenturyLink enterprise, One Ring Networks, and several other major enterprise telecom providers are active in Silicon Beach and Los Angeles generally, making it the second-most popular location for startups and tech companies in California.
|Provider brand name||Primary, secondary network type||Primary network coverage||Secondary network coverage||Maximum download||Maximum upload|
|Consolidated Smart Broadband Systems, LLC||Cable, Fiber||0.3982||0.2012||500||50|
|Mediacom California LLC||Cable||0.0015||100||10|
|Google Fiber California, LLC||Fiber||0.0048||1000||1000|
|Antelecom Inc.||Fixed Wireless||0.2646||12||3|
|Ind-Co Cable TV Inc.||Fixed Wireless||0.0018||3||1|
|Ranch Wifi, LLC||Fixed Wireless||0.0026||10||5|
|Sky Fiber Internet||Fixed Wireless||0.0041||100||100|
|Webpass, Inc.||Fixed Wireless||0.0222||500||500|
|One Ring Networks||Fixed Wireless, Fiber||0.3019||0.0126||200||200|
This page is based on a database of California internet serviceability data maintained by ConnectCalifornia. Sources include FCC filings, crowdsourced reporting, and open speed test data. This page updates automatically as we update the database on a monthly basis. The last modification was made September 2021.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many internet providers are there in Los Angeles?
There are two primary internet providers in Los Angeles: Spectrum cable and AT&T Fiber service. Frontier, Cox cable, Starry Internet and Verizon Home 5G all have minor footprints for less than 10% of the city. Sonic and Earthlink both offer resold AT&T service locally. There are 13 smaller network footprints within LA city limits, primarily from enterprise service providers like One Ring Networks. The total number of ISPs of all sizes operating in Los Angeles is 21.
What is the average internet speed in Los Angeles?
According to ConnectCalifornia analysis of public speed test records, the average internet speed test in Los Angeles in 2020 was 50 Mbps. The most common entry-level internet speed in Los Angeles is 200 Mbps, although the advertised speed is rarely realized on consumer devices when WiFi and network load are taken into account.
Does Spectrum have plans for low-income LA residents?
Spectrum has a plan for low-income Los Angeles residents called Spectrum Internet Assist. The plan offers 30 Mbps download internet speeds for less than $20 per month. It costs about twice as much as the competing low-income plan from AT&T in LA, but offers 3X the speed.
What is the cheapest internet option in Los Angeles?
AT&T has the absolute lowest internet price for Los Angeles low income residents, thanks to their subsidized AT&T Access plan. They offer 10 Mbps internet for only $10 per month with no contract and a free WiFi router lease included. You must already participate in a qualifying public assistance program like SNAP to access the plan. Otherwise, they offer general consumer plans starting in the $30–50 range with speeds up to 940 Mbps.
Does Los Angeles have a municipal broadband provider?
The greater Los Angeles area has several municipal broadband providers: Culver Connect, Santa Monica CityNet, Burbank Water & Power, and the city of Pasadena. However, these all are only used for anchor institutions like schools, or limited to enterprise and business use — primarily through leasing of dark fiber. The only residential municipal broadband network in the LA area is Beverly Hills Fiber, which is scheduled to be lit in 2021.