Best Internet Providers in Hawaii – CNET

What is the best internet provider in Hawaii?

Living in Hawaii involves sacrificing some things you’d find on the mainland — snakes, daylight saving time, billboards — but fortunately, high-speed internet isn’t one of them. Gig speeds from Spectrum, CNET’s pick for the best internet provider in Hawaii overall, are available throughout much of Hawaii from the Big Island to Kauai. Spectrum also offers a variety of speeds and simple service details, including unlimited data and a free modem with all plans.

There’s also Hawaiian Telcom, which uses a fiber-optic network to deliver speeds as fast as or faster than Spectrum. T-Mobile’s $60-per-month 5G home internet service is another decent broadband alternative, and its wireless delivery may help fill in the gaps that other internet service providers don’t reach.

Spectrum, Hawaiian Telecom and Verizon all offer blazing-fast plans up to 1,000Mbps with no data caps or required contracts. If you’re looking to save money on internet, Hawaiian Telecom’s 300Mbps plan costs only $40 per month, which is $10 cheaper than the average home broadband price in Hawaii.

Our methodology

CNET considers speeds, pricing, customer service and overall value to recommend the best internet service in Hawaii across several 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 service tiers, 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. At the same time, the text is specific to what’s available in Hawaii. 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. Discounts and promotions might also be available for signing a term contract or bundling multiple services. 

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

Best internet in Hawaii in 2024

4 Internet providers


SORT BY

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Connection

Cable

Speed range

100 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$30- $90 per month

Our take – Spectrum is among our top picks for best internet providers anywhere and one of our favorite cable ISPs thanks to its simple pricing, fast speeds and favorable service terms. As a cable TV provider, Spectrum is also a great choice for bundling internet and TV together.

...

Check with Spectrum

Connection

Cable

Speed range

100 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$30- $90 per month

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Connection

Fiber

Speed range

300 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$40 – $70 per month

Our take – Spectrum’s cable internet service is a great choice for broadband, but I’d prefer a fiber-optic connection if I can get it. Cincinnati Bell-owned Hawaiian Telcom is the primary fiber internet provider in Hawaii.

...

Check with Hawaiian

Connection

Fiber

Speed range

300 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$40 – $70 per month

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Connection

Fixed wireless

Speed range

72 – 245 Mbps

Price range

$60 per month

Our take – T-Mobile is leading the US’ 5G home internet coverage race, and Hawaii is no exception. Speeds are admittedly slower than what’s available from Spectrum or Hawaiian Telcom, but the low pricing and simple setup are worth giving T-Mobile Home Internet a look.

...

Check with T-Mobile

Connection

Fixed wireless

Speed range

72 – 245 Mbps

Price range

$60 per month

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Connection

Satellite

Speed range

12 – 150 Mbps

Price range

$70 – $300 per month

Our take – For the few places where cable, fiber-optic or 5G internet connections do not reach in Hawaii, there’s satellite internet. Viasat is Hawaii’s primary satellite provider as Hughesnet is unavailable in the Aloha State.

...

Check with Viasat

Connection

Satellite

Speed range

12 – 150 Mbps

Price range

$70 – $300 per month

Hawaii internet providers compared

Provider Internet technology Monthly price range Speed range Monthly equipment costs Data cap Contract CNET review score
Hawaiian Telcom Fiber $40-$70 300-1,000Mbps $10 gateway (optional) None None N/A
Spectrum Cable $50-$70 300-1,000Mbps Free modem; $5 router (optional) None None 7.2
T-Mobile Home Internet Fixed wireless $60 ($40 for eligible Go5G Plus and Magenta Max mobile customers) 72-245Mbps None None None 7.4
Verizon 5G Home Internet Fixed wireless $50-$70 ($35-$45 with qualifying Verizon 5G mobile plans) 50-1,000Mbps None None None 7.2
Viasat Satellite $65-$350 25-150Mbps $15 monthly or $300 one-time fee 60-500GB 2 years 6.1

Show more (1 item)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

Internet breakdown by city in Hawaii

It’s hard to cover the broadband options of a state like Hawaii and give individual cities the attention they deserve. That’s why we also compile lists of the best internet providers in cities across the US, including those in Hawaii. We tackle details such as internet connection types, max speeds, cheapest providers and more. Check back later if you don’t find the city you’re looking for below. We’re working to add more locations every week.

Cheap internet options in Hawaii

Unless you qualify for the T-Mobile or Verizon 5G discounts, Hawaiian Telcom has the cheapest starting price for internet in Hawaii at around $40 per month for speeds up to 300Mbps. Spectrum is $10 more monthly for the same download speed potential but has a lower equipment rental fee than Hawaiian Telcom.

Most of the providers we’ve mentioned also participate in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program, which gives eligible low-income households a $30 monthly discount (or up to $75 for households on tribal lands) for high-speed internet. You can use the ACP toward any internet plan — not just the cheapest ones — from participating providers. 

What’s the cheapest internet plan in Hawaii?

Show more (1 item)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

How to find internet deals and promotions in Hawaii

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

Hawaii internet providers, such as Spectrum and Viasat, may offer lower introductory pricing or streaming add-ons for a limited time. Many, however, including Verizon, run the same standard pricing year-round. 

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

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Photo by SkyHighStudios/Getty Images

How fast is Hawaii broadband?

The FCC reports that 100% of households in Hawaii are eligible for broadband speeds of at least 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up. The most recent Ookla speed test data ranks Hawaii’s average download speeds 13th among all states (and Washington, DC) at about 226Mbps. Spectrum, Hawaiian Telcom and Verizon 5G Home will be your best bets for those speeds and higher.

Regarding speed potential and reliability, I’d prefer a fiber-optic connection like the one you get with Hawaiian Telcom over a cable one from Spectrum. Fiber internet is equipped to support much faster upload speeds and is less susceptible to speed fluctuations during peak usage times.

Fastest internet plans in Hawaii

Provider Starting monthly price Max download speed Max upload speed Data cap Connection type
Hawaiian Telcom Fioptic 1Gig $70 1,000Mbps 1,000Mbps None Fiber
Spectrum Internet Gig $70 1,000Mbps 35Mbps None Cable
Verizon 5G Home Plus $70 ($45 with eligible mobile plan) 1,000Mbps 75Mbps None Fixed 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 Hawaii

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. 

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: 

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

While the answers to those questions are often layered and complex, the providers who 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.

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

Though some amenities are less accessible or affordable in Hawaii than other parts of the US, broadband connectivity and pricing are as good in Hawaii as anywhere. Spectrum is the best high-speed internet source throughout much of Hawaii, but Hawaiian Telcom’s fiber service could be the better value if available at your address. 

If neither offers service where you live, T-Mobile Home Internet is a decent option for low-hassle broadband. And as a last resort, satellite provider Viasat is available throughout the Aloha State.

Internet providers in Hawaii FAQs

Does Hawaii have fiber internet?

Yes. Hawaiian Telcom is the largest fiber-optic provider in Hawaii, with service available to approximately 46% of residences. 

Is Spectrum or Hawaiian Telcom better?

Like many fiber versus cable versus DSL provider comparisons, the answer will come down to which connection type is available at your address. If your address is only wired for cable internet from Spectrum or DSL from Hawaiian Telcom, Spectrum will be the better choice for speeds and overall value. 

However, if your address is serviceable for fiber internet from Hawaiian Telcom, you’ll likely find the local provider to have better pricing and speed consistency than Spectrum.

Is Xfinity available in Hawaii?

Xfinity does not offer home internet service in Hawaii, but the provider does have hotspots in many places throughout the state. So, if you are visiting Hawaii and have Xfinity at home, you may be able to connect to Xfinity’s Wi-Fi hotspot network during your stay.

This post was originally published on Cnet

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