If you live, or plan on living in California, you’ll have plenty of options for internet connections and service providers all over the state. The one key exception to this will be areas near the national forests and parks where coverage is non-existent. I’ve explained all of this, and more, in detail below.
Find the Best Internet Service Provider in Your Area of California
Local Residential Internet Service Providers
Here are a few local ISPs that provide residential internet service:
- Sonic.net – Sonic.net is based out of Santa Rosa. They offer a “Fusion Broadband” bundle package for $40 per month. The package also includes phone service. The internet has speeds of up to 20 Mbps, and the package also comes with other features such as email addresses, unlimited nationwide calling, callerID, etc. Activation for this service is $35 and requires no contract. A modem is included.
- Fire2Wire – Fire2Wire is located in Salida, California. They offer a fixed wireless service with packages/speeds ranging from 1.5 to 6Mbps, and 1.5 to 100 Mbps for businesses. DSL is also available, and has speeds of up to 6Mbps.
- Spiral Internet – Spiral Internet is based in Nevada City, and services both Nevada and Northern California. Their services and prices are as follows: DSL 1.5Mbps ($28), 3Mbps ($35), 6Mbps ($45). They also have fixed wireless service where you can get 3Mbps for $45/month and 6 Mbps for $55 per month – there is a $250 installation fee. There are no contracts at Spiral Internet.
Local Business Internet Service Providers
Here are a couple local business ISPs that offer internet service to small to large businesses.
- SkyRiver – Sky River provides businesses with fixed line or fixed wireless connections, which have speeds of up to 200 Mbps. Install time frames are between 3 and 10 days and Sky River provides 24/7 support.
- TelePacific – TelePacific provides T1, DS3 or fiber internet access, 24/7 support and speeds of up to 100 Mbps.
California Internet Connections and Coverage
When it comes to speed California is on par with the country’s average, with an average speed of 12.22 (country 12.32). California placed 28th overall in the country.
Please keep in mind that these averages change regularly. To see the most current speeds for California internet, as well as the fastest cities and ISPs, please visit the California Net Index page.
The 5 California cities with the fastest internet are:
- Crescent City – 24.20 Mbps
- Calabasas – 24.05 Mbps
- Malibu – 24.05 Mbps
- Pismo Beach – 23.48 Mbps
- South Lake Tahoe – 21.79 Mbps
The 5 fastest internet service providers (ISPs) in California are:
- Charter Communications – 22.17 Mbps
- Astound Broadband – 19.15 Mbps
- Changeip com – 18.35 Mbps
- Cox – 17.26 Mbps
- Comcast Telecommunications – 16.89 Mbps
Mobile 3G Internet Coverage for Californians
Mobile internet coverage is pretty good in California. Clear Wireless will only be found in the larger cities (along with neighboring cities), so if you live in Sacramento, San Francisco and LA you should be able to get service.
Verizon and AT&T both have similar coverage, with the one exception being AT&T in northern California. They seem to have less coverage compared to Verizon.
All ISPs will lack coverage in various parts of the state due to wooded areas, wildernesses and national parks. There are several in California (all over the state) and if you’re near these parks you will have little to no 3G coverage.
Recommended Internet Connections
Californians will be happy with cable internet, and in areas where there are few DSL or cable internet (connection) options, many ISPs also provide fixed wireless connections. This is similar to satellite internet in that you’ll have a dish installed on your home, but instead of having the data go back and forth to dishes in space, they go back and forth to the nearest ISP tower(s).
3G should be ok if you’re on the move a lot. However, as I mentioned above you’ll have virtually no coverage near or in the state park (wildernesses/wooded) areas.