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Xfinity vs. AT&T 2021 | Internet Providers

Xfinity and AT&T are vying for internet supremacy across the U.S., the newer Xfinity with internet service in 40 states compared to AT&T in 21. Xfinity edged out AT&T in our Best Internet Providers of 2021 rating with faster available speeds and lower latency rates. Plus, there are very few places that AT&T covers that Xfinity doesn’t. AT&T is still a strong choice, and it has an excellent community of support and years of experience behind it.

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Rated No. 1 and tied for No. 3 respectively in our rating of the Best Internet Providers of 2021, both Xfinity and AT&T offer a wide variety of plans, bundled service, and high-speed access. Service from each company has very little packet loss (less than 0.4 milliseconds), which contributes to a smooth, low-glitch experience.

The company’s plan prices are comparable, although Xfinity offers more plan choices. The main difference is in the level of commitment needed; AT&T requires a 12-month contract, while Xfinity doesn’t. If you want to avoid a contract, AT&T’s internet plans may not be a good fit for you.

Xfinity’s plans include a basic option with 15-25 Mbps download speeds and 2 Mbps upload speeds. For streaming services like Hulu or Netflix, you’ll need downloads of at least 3 Mbps for viewing in high definition and 16 Mbps for 4K. The next plan up the ladder is the Performance package, which costs $5-$10 more per month and increases download speeds considerably to 75-10 Mbps. There are several other choices available with higher speeds, which makes it easy to upgrade if you find you need more.

AT&T’s plans include Internet 100, Internet 300, and Internet 1000, which provides download and upload speeds of 100 Mbps, 300 Mbps, and 940 Mbps, respectively. The faster upload speeds compared to Xfinity enable faster file sharing, as well as smoother video chats online games. The top-level plan, Internet 1000, is recommended if you have a household full of connected devices, and it’s the only plan without a data cap.

Xfinity Internet  »

Best ISP Overall

Monthly Cost
$29.99 and Up
Connection Type
Cable
Download Speed
15 Mbps – 2,000 Mbps
Bundles
Internet, TV, Phone or Home Security

Xfinity Pros:

Xfinity Cons:

  • Must use Xfinity equipment

  • Upload and download speeds not symmetrical

Introduced in 2010, Xfinity is in the Comcast family of services and is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The company requires a contract for everything but its low-end prepaid service, and it has 1.2 TB data caps on all of its plans. Realistically, though, a terabyte is plenty for most users. For example, it’s enough for two people in your household to play online games 24 hours per day for 30 days in a row and still have data left over. Even Comcast says that more than 99 percent of its customers don’t use all their data in any given month.

Plans are plentiful from Xfinity, offering download speeds of 15 Mbps all the way up to the Gigabit Pro fiber plan, which includes a whopping 2,000 Mbps for both downloads and uploads. Starting at $299.99 per month, this option is best for power users who do a lot of 4K streaming, online gaming, file sharing, and videoconferencing.

AT&T Pros:

  • Reliability rate of more than 99%

AT&T Cons:

  • Service requires a contract

  • Available in fewer states

In October 2020, AT&T stopped selling digital subscriber line (DSL) internet service. The company stated that it planned to phase out outdated services like DSL, which will affect customers out of the range of fiber service. Those already on the DSL network will be allowed to continue on that network for the time being.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reports that 80% of AT&T’s customers receive 95% or more of the internet speeds that were advertised; AT&T claims a reliability rate of more than 99% for its fiber service. On top of noteworthy reliability, AT&T offers access to its nationwide network of hotspots. When you’re traveling, these hotspots can come in handy.

Xfinity offers reliable, nationwide service, but you have to use its equipment and you don’t get symmetrical download and upload speeds. AT&T offers fast fiber speeds that are the same for downloads and uploads, plus you can use your own router if you want. It all comes down to your priorities.

Internet Service Providers

Other Products to Consider

In addition to the companies in our rating of the Best Internet Service Providers, here are some others to consider:

How U.S. News Evaluated Internet Service Providers

We explain what matters when it comes to internet service by sourcing experts and professional reviewers. Then we provide an unbiased evaluation of internet service providers. Our goal is to empower consumers with the information and tools they need to make informed decisions. More information about our 360 Reviews methodology for evaluating internet service providers is here.

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