Choosing the Best Internet Provider in New Orleans

Fast, reliable internet is more vital than ever for households and businesses in New Orleans. With more employees working from home and everyday activities like schooling and shopping moving online since COVID, having quality broadband access is no longer optional.

Consumer internet use has also evolved rapidly in recent years. Cord-cutting continues accelerating as households cancel cable TV contracts. Video streaming across services like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube now accounts for over 80% of evening internet traffic. Gaming and video chat applications also consume lots of bandwidth.

With this pivot towards streaming and digital connectivity, choosing the right internet provider in New Orleans for your needs and budget is key. Let‘s compare the options across four key decision factors:

Internet Technology Overview

First, it helps to understand available underlying technologies that deliver your internet across the New Orleans region along with their capabilities:

TypeSpeed (Mbps)Avg. Price/moAvailabilityLimitations
DSLup to 75$45-$6563% coverageslower speeds
Cable50-1,000$30-$10095%+ coveragecongestion during peak
Fiber300-5,000$50-$15070% coverageinstall costs, data caps
Satellite12-100$50-$150100% coveragelatency, data caps
Fixed Wireless33-182$5050% coverageweather impacts

While technically complex behind the scenes, as the internet customer you simply need to know that fiber and cable based services can offer the fastest speeds for serious data needs while DSL and satellite provide more budget options for basic web browsing and standard video streaming. Fixed wireless delivers moderate speeds wirelessly usually without data caps.

Now, let‘s analyze the top player for each technology more closely…

1. AT&T Internet

|Technology | DSL, Fiber, Fixed Wireless |
|Speeds | up to 5Gbps (fiber) |
|Avg. Monthly Price | $55-$180 |
|Availability | 70% |
|Data Caps | 1TB unless unlimited opted |
|Contracts | 12 months |

Boasting over 70% availability across metro New Orleans, AT&T leverages both aging DSL infrastructure and new fiber rollouts to serve customers. Your experience as a customer varies drastically depending on whether your neighborhood has legacy copper phone lines or the faster fiber optic cabling.

According to June 2022 FCC user speed data, AT&T fiber customers in New Orleans see average download speeds meeting or exceeding advertised levels consistently. However, AT&T DSL trails cable competitor Cox noticeably in average speeds, especially during prime evening hours.

Switching to AT&T‘s emerging fixed 5G wireless service could help some households plagued by lower DSL speeds. This service leverages new high-bandwidth cellular towers rather than fiber or copper landlines to transmit data. It offers speeds competitive with cable providers for many customers.

In addition to faster base internet products, AT&T entices subscribers with extras like nationwide WiFi hotspot network access, HBO Max free trials with select plans and bundling discounts when adding TV or phone services.

The major downsides of AT&T remain slower legacy infrastructure in areas untouched by fiber upgrades and the #1 ranking among all ISPs for worst customer service according to ACSI surveys.

AT&T works best for households that…

  • Prioritize fastest speeds via their fiber optic service
  • Value perks like mobile hotspot access and streaming bundles
  • Own newer homes with modern telecom infrastructure

2. Cox Cable Internet

|Technology | Cable |
|Speeds | 25 – 1,000 Mbps |
|Avg. Monthly Price | $30 – $100 |
|Availability | 95% |
|Data Caps | 1.2TB |
|Contracts | 1 year |

The second largest ISP across New Orleans and best positioned cable provider, Cox offers residential download speeds rivaling fiber providers in areas with latest infrastructure.

According to FCC data, Cox Cable actual customer speeds during congested periods exceed minimum advertised levels 78% of the time – significantly higher than legacy DSL providers who throttle most during peak evening loads on shared network lines.

In addition to faster base plans, Cox offers add-ons to appeal to power users like professional gamers and streamers. For $15 per month you can access advanced networking features through the Cox Elite Gamer service. It optimizes traffic prioritization for competitive multiplayer games, reduces lag, and more.

On the downside, locking in to a 1 year service contract is required to access some promotional rates from Cox. Satellite and fixed wireless competitors offer more flexibility to pause or cancel service if you move or encounter financial difficulties. For frequent movers like students or young professionals, shorter commitments may be preferential.

Cox works best for households that…

  • Own newer devices and stream/game heavily
  • Don‘t require fully unlimited data to avoid overage charges
  • Prefer reliability over lowest cost

3. HughesNet Satellite Internet

|Technology | Satellite |
|Speeds | 25Mbps |
|Avg. Monthly Price | $60-$150 |
|Availability | 100% |
|Data Caps | 15GB-50GB |
|Contracts | 2 years |

While slower than leading cable and fiber based services, HughesNet delivers essential 25Mbps broadband internet to any home across greater New Orleans thanks to satellite delivery. All that‘s needed is clear sight line access to the southern sky for their equipment.

This makes HughesNet and other satellite options the only viable providers for many rural households beyond reach of physical cables. Even urban apartments or condos unable to negotiate exclusive service deals with major ISPs can benefit from satellite connectivity as a backup.

HughesNet has worked diligently to reduce the "lag" challenges inherent in satellite beam transmission over 22,000 miles roundtrip to geostationary orbits. While managing Netflix 4K video streams or competitive Twitch gaming sessions works best still on faster wired networks, standard HD video and web use is quite possible. The 25mbps maximum speed offered meets needs of over half US households per 2022 survey data.

The major downsides to satellite remain limited data plans with overage charges and longer lock-in contracts. HughesNet‘s entry level plan allows just 15GB of usage before speeds throttle, making uncontrolled video streaming financially problematic. Their contracts also span 2 years – longer than any cable competitor. However, 24/7 customer support rated "Excellent" by Consumer Affairs helps ease common service disruptions like storm interference faster than calling some cable providers.

Satellite works best for households that…

  • Don‘t have access to cable/fiber providers
  • Consume standard amounts of web/video content
  • Own primarily stationary homes (like RVs)

4. T-Mobile 5G Home Wireless

|Technology | 5G Fixed Wireless |
|Speeds | 33 – 182 Mbps |
|Avg. Monthly Price | $50 |
|Availability | 80% and growing |
|Data Caps | None |
|Contracts | None |

The mobile network operator disruptor enters both our internet provider rankings and New Orleans in full force. Home to T-Mobile‘s engineering headquarters, the greater metro area sees early access to their rapidly emerging fixed 5G wireless home service. It launches first here before spreading nationwide.

Early speed testing shows downloads in New Orleans surpassing 100Mbps even during peak usage times for many customers, rivaling Cox Cable offerings. By employing dedicated mid-band spectrum for home internet separate from their mobile phone network, T-Mobile mitigates congestion issues dogging some rural 5G early adopters.

Nearly 85% of households find their 100Mbps+ speeds via 5G more than adequate as their primary internet based on 2022 consumer polling. And early switchers report smooth 4K Netflix streaming plus lag-free online gaming thanks to optimized WiFi router equipment from T-Mobile priority balancing bandwidth.

While the $50 unlimited data offering sees speeds drop during peak times across small pockets of initial coverage areas like eastern New Orleans parishes, minimum FCC guidelines of 25mbps remain attainable for basic web use even at lowest speeds promises T-Mobile execs.

Customer satisfaction scores across 60+ markets nationally where home internet pilot programs launched over the past two years place T-Mobile solidly above most cable competitors. Subscribers praise delivery of promised speeds with no hidden throttling or caveats. Some even position the provider‘s customer service salaries and retention metrics as tops in the country. However, hardware device problems crop up slightly more often than expected thanks to reliance on new in-home equipment not yet battle tested.

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet works best for households that…

  • Desire unlimited data without speed throttling or deprioritization
  • Want latest 5G experience without contracts
  • Have newer smartphones able to utilize 5G mobile network when traveling

The Best Option Depends on Your Unique Needs

In the end, identifying your perfect internet provider comes down to aligning features and pricing to match your household‘s usage requirements, data appetite and home connectivity constraints.

  • Families focused on streaming and gaming lean towards faster yet capped cable/fiber plans from leading providers Cox and AT&T
  • Home workers handling lots of video calls could consider "pro" level services or upgrades guaranteeing higher minimum speeds from any provider
  • Budget conscious web browsers find best deals prioritizing DSL and new fixed wireless plans
  • Rural users simply needing connectivity flock to satellite options from HughesNet and Viasat

Hopefully breaking down these top four internet delivery technologies along with profile summaries of their lead local providers helps you determine the optimal broadband internet partner for your household. We know access to the digital world is no longer optional in today‘s increasingly online era. Securing a steady, fast internet connection remains mission critical.

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