Before you sign a contract and set up your wifi, you probably want to know what your options are. A map maintained by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) lets you examine which internet provider offers the fastest speed where you live.
You start by typing in your address on the FCC’s website. Then, a list of provider options pops up, plus the types of technology they have (like copper or fiber, for example), as well as their maximum advertised upload and download speeds for that address.
If you’re lucky enough to have multiple options, that last part is where you’ll want to pay extra attention, as internet speeds can vary greatly between providers at the same address.
You need a download speed of around 10 Mbps to download files, between 5 and 8 Mbps to stream HD video, and 25 Mbps to stream Ultra HD 4K video, the FCC says.
Each listed number is for one person doing one activity. So if you’ve got someone watching Netflix while someone else is on Zoom and a third person is scrolling Instagram, your household is going to have higher broadband needs.
Take a look at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, for example.
While the address has a few options, one is clearly the fastest: Charter Communications (better known by its brand name, Spectrum). That service provider advertises maximum download speeds of 1,000 Mbps, and top upload speeds of 35 Mbps.