Best Internet Providers in Honolulu, Hawaii     – CNET

Best Internet Providers in Honolulu, Hawaii – CNET

What is the best internet provider in Honolulu?

Hawaiian Telcom is the best internet provider in Honolulu, with the lowest prices, nearly symmetrical upload and download speeds and price-lock guarantees up to three years on some plans. That said, its two cheapest plans increase by $10 after the first year. 

If you’re looking for the highest speeds, Spectrum is the fastest internet service provider in Honolulu, with download speeds up to 1,000Mbps. Spectrum’s upload speeds are much lower, however, and its price increases are even more extreme than Hawaiian Telcom’s — two factors that contribute to the provider’s below-average customer satisfaction scores.

If you don’t want to deal with price increases or hidden fees, T-Mobile Home Internet is one of the most customer-friendly internet service providers in the country. Its speeds don’t reach the same heights as the other two ISPs on our list, but most customers haven’t had an issue: T-Mobile has the highest customer satisfaction score of any non-fiber ISP in the country, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

Our methodology

CNET considers speeds, pricing, customer service and overall value to recommend the best internet service in Honolulu across a number of categories. Our evaluation includes referencing a proprietary database built over years of reviewing internet services. We validate that against provider information by spot-checking local addresses for service availability. We also do a close read of providers’ terms and conditions and, when needed, will call ISPs to verify the details.

Despite our efforts to find the most recent and accurate information, our process has some limitations you should know about. Pricing and speed data are variable: certain addresses may qualify for different tiers of service, and monthly costs may vary, even within a city. The best way to identify your particular options is to plug your address into a provider’s website. 

Also, the prices, speed and other information listed above and in the provider cards below may differ from what we found in our research. The cards display the full range of a provider’s pricing and speed across the US, according to our database of plan information provided directly by ISPs, while the text is specific to what’s available in Honolulu. The prices referenced within this article’s text come from our research and include applicable discounts for setting up automatic payments each month — a standard industry offering. Other discounts and promotions might be available as well, for things like signing a term contract or bundling with multiple services. 

To learn more about how we review internet providers, visit our full methodology page.

Best internet in Honolulu, Hawaii

best internet providers in honolulu hi
Connection

Fiber

Speed range

300 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$40 – $70 per month

Our take – Hawaiian Telcom offers the cheapest internet plans in Honolulu, and it’s the only fiber provider in the area — the gold standard for fast and reliable internet. You’ll get nearly symmetrical upload and download speeds, which are crucial for activities like videoconferencing and online gaming. Prices increase on all plans after one to three years.

. . .

Check with Hawaiian

Connection

Fiber

Speed range

300 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$40 – $70 per month

Connection

Fiber

Speed range

300 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$40 – $70 per month

best internet providers in honolulu hi
Connection

Cable

Speed range

300 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$30 – $90 per month

Our take – If you can’t get Hawaiian Telcom at your address, Spectrum is a good backup option, and offers slightly faster download speeds. It uses cable internet instead of fiber, which means your upload speeds will be significantly lower than your download speeds. Spectrum also raises prices significantly after a year or two — one of the main reasons for its below-average scores from the ACSI and J.D. Power.

. . .

Check with Spectrum

Connection

Cable

Speed range

300 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$30 – $90 per month

Connection

Cable

Speed range

300 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$30 – $90 per month

best internet providers in honolulu hi
Connection

Fixed wireless

Speed range

72 – 245 Mbps

Price range

$50 per month

Our take – Unlike Hawaiian Telcom and Spectrum, T-Mobile delivers internet to your home wirelessly. Wireless connectivity is inherently a little more vulnerable to disruption than a wired connection, but T-Mobile makes up for it in other ways. You won’t ever have to worry about price increases (unlike the other two ISPs in the area) and there are no hidden fees. 

. . .

Check with T-Mobile

Connection

Fixed wireless

Speed range

72 – 245 Mbps

Price range

$50 per month

Connection

Fixed wireless

Speed range

72 – 245 Mbps

Price range

$50 per month

Honolulu internet providers compared

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Provider Internet technology Monthly price range Speed range Monthly equipment costs Data cap Contract CNET review score
Hawaiian Telcom Fiber $40-$70 400-940Mbps $11 (optional) None None N/A
Spectrum Cable $50-$90 300-1,000Mbps $5 (optional) None None 7.2
T-Mobile Home Internet Fixed wireless $50 ($30 with eligible mobile plans) 72-245Mbps None None None 7.4
Verizon 5G Home Internet Fixed wireless $50-$70 ($35-$45 for eligible Verizon Wireless customers) 50-1,000Mbps None None None 7.2

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

Other available internet providers in Honolulu

  • Satellite internet: Outside of our top three picks, the only other internet service providers in Honolulu with widespread availability are satellite providers Viasat and Starlink. Viasat requires a two-year contract on all plans, has high monthly fees and includes monthly data caps. Starlink has faster speeds and unlimited data, but you’ll have to pay $599 to purchase its satellite dish before you activate the service. 

Cheap internet options in Honolulu

Hawaiian Telcom offers the cheapest internet plans in Honolulu, with plans starting at $40 per month. But after a year, that price increases to $50, then to $60 in the third year. It’s a similar story with Spectrum: after a year on its $50 plan, the price jumps to $85. If you don’t want to worry about price hikes, T-Mobile Home Internet is the only provider in Honolulu that comes with a price-lock guarantee, and you can get it for as low as $30 monthly when you bundle with an eligible cellphone plan. Low-income households can also take advantage of the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides a $30 monthly subsidy for home internet.

What’s the cheapest internet plan in Honolulu?

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Provider Starting price Max download speed Monthly equipment fee
Hawaiian Telcom Fioptics 400 $40 400Mbps $11 (optional)
Hawaiian Telcom Fioptics 600 $50 600Mbps $11 (optional)
Spectrum Internet $50 300Mbps $5 (optional)
T-Mobile Home Internet $50 ($30 with eligible mobile plans) 245Mbps None

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

How to find internet deals and promotions in Honolulu

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

Honolulu internet providers, such as Hawaiian Telcom and Spectrum, may offer lower introductory pricing or streaming add-ons for a limited time. Others, including T-Mobile Home Internet, run the same standard pricing year-round. 

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

How fast is Honolulu broadband?

Honolulu residents receive median download speeds of 229Mbps and upload speeds of 23Mbps, according to Ookla speed test data — good for 44th out of the top 100 most populous cities in the US and slightly higher than Hawaii as a state. In Honolulu, there are two gig-speed plans available from Spectrum and Hawaiian Telcom.

Fastest internet plans in Honolulu

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Provider Starting price Max download speed Max upload speed Data cap Connection type
Spectrum Internet Gig $90 1,000Mbps 35Mbps None Cable
Hawaiian Telcom Fioptics 1 Gig $70 940Mbps 500Mbps None Fiber

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 and 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 Honolulu

Internet service providers are numerous and regional. Unlike the latest smartphone, laptop, router or kitchen tool, it’s impractical to personally test every internet service provider in a given city. So what’s our approach? For starters, we tap into a proprietary database of pricing, availability and speed information that draws from our own historical ISP data, partner data and mapping information from the Federal Communications Commission at FCC.gov. 

This guide leverages an in-house artificial intelligence tool called RAMP, which is trained on our own writing and uses our database to generate content about specific internet service providers that our writers can use in determining and presenting our picks for a given guide. Check CNET’s AI policy for more information about how our teams use (and don’t use) AI tools. 

Because our database is not exhaustive, we go to the FCC’s website to check the primary data for ourselves and make sure we’re considering every ISP that provides service in an area. Plans and prices also vary by location, so we input local addresses on provider websites to find the specific options available to 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 the time of our pre-publication fact-check.

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 answer to those questions is often layered and complex, the providers who come closest to “yes” on all three are the ones we recommend. When it comes to 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 also take into account real-world speed data from sources like Ookla and FCC reports.

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

What’s the final word on internet providers in Honolulu?

There aren’t a lot of internet providers operating in Honolulu, but the ones it does have are widely available and offer good value. The best ISP in the area is Hawaiian Telcom, a fiber internet provider with the cheapest plans in the area. Spectrum offers slightly faster download speeds than Hawaiian Telcom, but its upload speeds are dramatically lower, and the price jumps significantly after a year. T-Mobile Home Internet is a wireless alternative in the area that comes with a price-lock guarantee, but it doesn’t reach the same speeds as Hawaiian Telcom or Spectrum. 

Internet providers in Honolulu FAQs

What is the best internet service provider in Honolulu?

Hawaiian Telcom is the best internet service provider in Honolulu, offering fiber internet plans starting at $40 per month. Spectrum offers slightly faster download speeds, but its upload speeds are significantly lower than Hawaiian Telcom’s, which could be an issue if you work from home or game online. 

Is fiber internet available in Honolulu?

Yes, fiber internet is available to 51% of households in Honolulu, according to FCC data. Hawaiian Telcom is the only fiber provider in the city. 

Who is the cheapest internet provider in Honolulu?

Hawaiian Telcom is the cheapest internet provider in Honolulu, with plans starting at $40 per month. That noted, the price jumps to $50 in the second year of service and $60 in the third year.

Which internet provider in Honolulu offers the fastest plan?

Spectrum offers the fastest internet plan in Honolulu, with download speeds of 1,000Mbps and upload speeds of 35Mbps. Hawaiian Telcom offers slightly lower download speeds at 940Mbps, but upload speeds are much higher at 500Mbps. 

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Joe Supan

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