Best Internet Providers in Hickory, North Carolina

What is the best internet provider in Hickory?

The area’s largest broadband provider, Spectrum, is the best internet service provider in Hickory, North Carolina. Along with wide availability in the Hickory area, Spectrum is known for its fast download speeds, straightforward pricing and TV and internet bundles.

Spectrum isn’t the fastest or the cheapest internet provider in Hickory, however. Fiber ISP Metronet offers the fastest speeds in Hickory, up to 5,000 megabits per second, and the cheapest plan with service starting at $30 a month for speeds up to 100Mbps. Considering the speeds and pricing, Metronet is a contender for the best ISP in Hickory, but it lacks the same breadth of coverage as Spectrum, available to only around 15% of local households.

Brightspeed (formerly CenturyLink in the Hickory area), competes with Spectrum in terms of availability, but the DSL service fails to deliver speeds that can be considered broadband.

Similarly, fixed wireless internet is available throughout much of Hickory, but speeds are often below the broadband threshold of 100Mbps down and 20Mbps up. T-Mobile Home Internet and possibly Open Broadband, when it becomes available, are your best bets for fixed wireless broadband in Hickory. Verizon 5G Home Internet may also offer fixed wireless internet in Hickory, but availability is currently quite limited.

Best internet in Hickory, North Carolina

Hickory, North Carolina, internet providers compared

ProviderInternet technologyMonthly price rangeSpeed rangeMonthly equipment costsData capContractCNET review score
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Fiber$30-$110100-5,000MbpsNone, $13 monthly tech feeNoneNone6.9
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Cable$50-$80300-1,000Mbps$7 (optional)NoneNone7.2
T-Mobile Home Internet
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Fixed wireless$50-$70 ($40-$50 with eligible mobile plans)72-245MbpsNoneNoneNone7.4
Verizon 5G Home Internet
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Fixed wireless$50-$70 ($35-$45 with eligible mobile plans)50-1,000MbpsNoneNoneNone7.2

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

What is the cheapest internet plan in Hickory?

PlanStarting priceMax download speedMonthly equipment fee
Metronet 100
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$30100MbpsNone, $13 monthly tech fee
Metronet 500
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$40500MbpsNone, $13 monthly tech fee
Brightspeed Internet$5010MbpsNone
Spectrum Internet
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$50300Mbps$7 (optional)
Verizon 5G Home Internet
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$50 ($35 with eligible mobile plans)100MbpsNone
T-Mobile Home Internet
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$50 ($40 with eligible mobile plans)245MbpsNone

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Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

Aerial view of downtown Hickory, North Carolina

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How to find internet deals and promotions in Hickory

The best internet deals and the top promotions in Hickory depend on what discounts are available during a given time. Most deals are short-lived, but we look frequently for the latest offers. 

How many members of your household use the internet?

Hickory internet providers, such as Spectrum and T-Mobile Home Internet, may offer lower introductory pricing or other incentives for a limited time. Others, including Metronet, run the same standard pricing year-round. 

For a more extensive list of promos, check out our guide on the best internet deals.

Fastest internet plans in Hickory, NC

PlanStarting priceMax download speedMax upload speedData capConnection type
Metronet 5Gbps
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Metronet 2Gbps
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Metronet 1Gbps
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Spectrum Internet Gig
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Verizon 5G Home Plus Internet
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$70 ($45 with eligible mobile plans)300Mbps75MbpsNoneFixed wireless

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

What’s a good internet speed?

Most internet connection plans can now handle basic productivity and communication tasks. If you’re looking for an internet plan that can accommodate videoconferencing, streaming video or gaming, you’ll have a better experience with a more robust connection. Here’s an overview of the recommended minimum download speeds for various applications, according to the FCC. Note that these are only guidelines — and that internet speed, service and performance vary by connection type, provider and address.

For more information, refer to our guide on how much internet speed you really need.

  • 0 to 5Mbps allows you to tackle the basics — browsing the internet, sending and receiving email, streaming low-quality video.
  • 5 to 40Mbps gives you higher-quality video streaming and videoconferencing.
  • 40 to 100Mbps should give one user sufficient bandwidth to satisfy the demands of modern telecommuting, video streaming and online gaming. 
  • 100 to 500Mbps allows one to two users to simultaneously engage in high-bandwidth activities like videoconferencing, streaming and online gaming. 
  • 500 to 1,000Mbps allows three or more users to engage in high-bandwidth activities at the same time.

How CNET chose the best internet providers in Hickory, North Carolina

Internet service providers are numerous and regional. Unlike the latest smartphone, laptop, router or kitchen tool, it’s impractical to personally test every ISP in a given city. So what’s our approach? We start by researching the pricing, availability and speed information, drawing on our own historical ISP data, the provider sites and mapping information from the Federal Communications Commission at

But it doesn’t end there. We go to the FCC’s website to check our data and ensure we consider every ISP that provides service in an area. We also input local addresses on provider websites to find specific options for residents. We look at sources, including the American Customer Satisfaction Index and J.D. Power, to evaluate how happy customers are with an ISP’s service. ISP plans and prices are subject to frequent changes; all information provided is accurate as of publication.

Once we have this localized information, we ask three main questions:

  1. Does the provider offer access to reasonably fast internet speeds?
  2. Do customers get decent value for what they’re paying?
  3. Are customers happy with their service?

While the answers to those questions are often layered and complex, the providers that come closest to “yes” on all three are the ones we recommend. When selecting the cheapest internet service, we look for the plans with the lowest monthly fee, though we also factor in things like price increases, equipment fees and contracts. Choosing the fastest internet service is relatively straightforward. We look at advertised upload and download speeds and consider real-world speed data from sources like Ookla and FCC reports.

To explore our process in more depth, visit our how we test ISPs page.

Internet providers in Hickory, North Carolina, FAQs

What is the best internet service provider in Hickory?

Spectrum is the best internet service provider in Hickory due to its wide availability and straightforward pricing on a selection of speeds ranging from 300 to 1,000Mbps. Select plans come with a two-year price increase, whereas Metronet’s introductory rates on all plans expire after one year.

Is fiber internet available in Hickory?

Fiber internet is available to around 24% of Hickory residential addresses, according to recent FCC data. Serviceability is greatest in the southern part of the city as well as to the northwest. Metronet is the largest fiber internet provider in Hickory, though Brightspeed may offer fiber internet in a select few areas.

What is the cheapest internet provider in Hickory?

Metronet has the lowest introductory rate on home internet in Hickory at $30 per month for speeds up to 100Mbps. Other Metronet plans are competitively priced as well, with speeds up to 500Mbps starting at $40 per month and gig service starting at $50 monthly. Both plans are priced $30 lower than the same download speed potential from Spectrum.

Metronet includes equipment rental at no extra cost with all plans, but there is an unavoidable tech fee that will add $13 to your monthly bill.

Which internet provider in Hickory offers the fastest plan?

Metronet is the only Hickory internet provider to offer multigigabit speeds with 5,000Mbps and 2,000Mbps plans available starting at $110 and $90 a month, respectively. As a fiber-optic provider, Metronet has the ability to deliver symmetrical upload and download speeds. For comparison, Spectrum’s fastest download speeds in Hickory top out at 1,000Mbps while max upload speeds are much slower at 35Mbps.

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