Xfinity vs. At&t internet

streamingservicestv.com/at&t

Best overall

Price: $35.00–$60.00/mo.

Max download speeds: 100–940 Mbps

Data caps: 1,024 GB–unlimited

streamingservicestv.com/xfinity setup

Fastest

Price: $19.99–$299.95/mo.

Max download speeds: 25–2,000 Mbps

Data caps: 1,229 GB–unlimited

Rated first and tied for second, respectively, in our Best Internet Service Providers of 2021 rating, both Xfinity and AT&T offer good to excellent download speeds across much of the U.S. that start at 50 megabits per second (Mbps) at Xfinity and 100 Mbps for AT&T fiber, with the possibility of bundling TV and phone service.

AT&T’s biggest advantage – on its fiber optic network, which does not connect as many people as its slower, hybrid-fiber service – is symmetric upload and download speeds. Being able to send a file as fast as you can receive it is a major benefit for work-at-home types. Xfinity’s chief strength is its vast coverage, which in many markets makes it the only viable provider. It also offers fiber-to-the-home service with matched upload and download speeds, but this only exists in a tiny part of its footprint and comes at a steep price of $299 a month.

Professional reviewers regularly point to the data caps each company has applied: 1 terabyte at AT&T, 1.25 terabytes at Xfinity. Xfinity is holding off enforcement of that limit in the Northeast after coming under severe public pressure, while AT&T has lifted that on its fiber plans and its fastest hybrid-fiber plan). Those figures may seem like a lot, but a houseful of data-hungry devices can cross those lines surprisingly quickly – and keeping track of which gadgets, apps, and services pushed you over is difficult in that scenario.

AT&T offers more ways out of that data cap for users still subject to it: You can sign up for its DirecTV Stream or DirecTV video service, or you can pay $30 a month extra. At Xfinity, you have to pay $50 to lift the cap or sign up for that rare 2 gigabits per second (Gbps) fiber service at $299 a month.

Pricing at both companies could be a great deal simpler. Both advertise low promotional rates that are followed by substantial rate hikes in the second or third year. Xfinity further complicates things by not only tying internet rates to getting TV service (so cord-cutters have to pay more) but by not even listing some plans to internet-only shoppers at its site.

Xfinity Internet

PLAN MONTHLY COST CONNECTION TYPE DOWNLOAD SPEED UPLOAD SPEED DATA CAP CONTRACT
Prepaid Starting at $45 Cable 50 Mbps 5 Mbps 1.2 TB 30 Days
Performance Starter Starting at $29.99 Cable Up to 50 Mbps 5 Mbps 1.2 TB 12 Month
Performance $34.99 – $39.99 Cable Up to 100 Mbps 5 Mbps 1.2 TB 12 Month
Performance Plus $49.99 – $54.99 Cable Up to 200 Mbps 5 Mbps – 10 Mbps 1.2 TB 12 Month
Performance Pro $59.99 – $64.99 Cable Up to 400 Mbps 10 Mbps 1.2 TB 12 Month
Blast/Blast Pro/Extreme $60.00 – $69.99 Cable Up to 800 Mbps 15 Mbps – 20 Mbps 1.2 TB 12 Month
Gigabit $70.00 – $79.99 Cable Up to 1200 Mbps 35 Mbps 1.2 TB 12 Month
PLAN MONTHLY COST CONNECTION TYPE DOWNLOAD SPEED UPLOAD SPEED DATA CAP CONTRACT
Internet 100 $35.00 Fiber 100 Mbps 100 Mbps Unlimited Data 12 Months
Internet 300 $45.00 Fiber 300 Mbps 300 Mbps Unlimited Data 12 Months
Internet 1000 $60.00 Fiber 940 Mbps 940 Mbps Unlimited Data 12 Months
Internet 10 $45.00 Part fiber 10 Mbps 1 Mbps 1 TB 12 Months
Internet 18 $45.00 Part fiber 18 Mbps 1 Mbps 1 TB 12 Months
Internet 25 $45.00 Part fiber 25 Mbps 5 Mbps 1 TB 12 Months
Internet 50 $45.00 Part fiber 50 Mbps 10 Mbps 1 TB 12 Months
Internet 100 $45.00 Part fiber 100 Mbps 20 Mbps Unlimited Data 12 Months

The rates at Xfinity line up fairly well with those for AT&T’s fiber internet in terms of downloads – 100 Mbps service at each company starts at $35 a month. But AT&T’s fiber optic network delivers uploads that are as fast as its downloads, while Xfinity’s cable connection supports much slower uploads – as little as 5 Mbps on its two most affordable plans. (AT&T’s hybrid-fiber “AT&T Internet,” formerly sold as “U-verse,” doesn’t allow very fast uploads either but reaches more people than its fiber service.)

Both AT&T and Xfinity sell plans with contracts that usually have 12-month terms. Both also impose data caps in some cases. AT&T’s 1 TB limit on its slower plans is stricter than Xfinity’s 1.2 TB, but it’s also easier to escape. You can pay $30 a month to remove it or get the company’s DirecTV Stream or DirecTV service. With Xfinity, the fee to lift the cap is $50. Only the $299 Gigabit Pro plan, which has limited availability, doesn’t feature the cap at all.

AT&T and Xfinity also impose hardware fees. AT&T’s $10 surcharge for a router isn’t avoidable. Xfinity’s $14 charge to rent an xFi modem-plus-Wi-Fi gateway is steeper, but you can opt out of that by buying your own cable modem.

Finally, both firms will raise your internet rates after the first year of service, but Xfinity’s rate hikes may be more severe; we found fine print noting that the rate for its slowest subscription can jump from $29.99 to $80.95 after a year.