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Montana is known for its wide-open spaces, big-sky country and Wild-West mentality. Fast internet? Not so much. It might be a good thing that so many of Montana’s amenities are found outdoors — because it’s harder to stay inside and stream here than in most places.
Despite Montana’s speed challenges, its capital city, Helena, gives you some internet options with a little pep. You can choose between satellite, 5G, cable and fiber internet. Recently, telecommunications company TDS announced that it’s expanding its fiber coverage to Helena, projected to cover about 27,000 customers.
Shopping for the right internet in Helena should focus on how to get the speed you need, since Ookla data reveals that Montana ranks in 49th place in internet speed across all US states and Washington, DC (with only Wyoming and Alaska trailing). That said, price and coverage are also important factors. Some internet service providers in Helena cover 60% or more of the area. Your choices include Spectrum, T-Mobile and Viasat.
Best internet providers in the Queen City of the Rockies
We’ve compared speed, availability and other important factors to identify some of Helena’s best internet service providers.
Internet providers in Helena overview
|Provider||Internet technology||Monthly price range||Speed range||Monthly equipment costs||Data cap||Contract||CNET review score|
|CenturyLink||DSL/fiber||$50-$65||60-940Mbps||$15; Included in 1GB plan||None||None||6.7|
|Montana Internet||Fiber/fixed Wireless||$65-$89||8-25Mbps||$8 router||None||None||N/A|
|Spectrum||Cable||$50-$90||300Mbps-1Gbps||Free modem; $5 router||None||None||7.2|
|Starlink||Satellite||$120||20-100Mbps||One-time payment of $599||None||None||N/A|
|T-Mobile Home Internet||Fixed wireless||$50||33-182Mbps||None||None||None||7.4|
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All available Helena residential internet providers
Helena offers other ISPs besides our top picks. If you’re looking to compare and contrast even more options, you may want to consider some of the following alternatives in Helena.
- CenturyLink: This company offers DSL/fiber connections across 67% of Helena. Monthly plans start at $50, and you can get pretty fast speeds by Helena standards — at least 100Mbps in most locations and up to 940Mbps in areas with fiber service.
- HughesNet: HughesNet is a satellite provider that might be a good option for people in rural areas who can’t get fiber or cable. The company has plans starting at $65 per month. It does charge an equipment fee of $15 per month and requires a two-year contract.
- Montana Internet: You can find fixed and fiber internet from Montana Internet, which specifically caters to rural customers who want Wi-Fi. Plans begin at $65 per month, and the monthly router fee is just $8.
- Starlink: Starlink is SpaceX’s satellite internet offering. It promises high-speed broadband, but you must pay a hefty one-time equipment fee to access coverage. Download speeds are up to 100Mbps. Though you get unlimited data, Starlink says it prioritizes business and mobile customer data over residential plans, so you may not get maximum speeds with standard residential service.
Helena’s internet details at a glance
Helena internet providers offer limited coverage outside the city center, given the rural nature of Montana. But the city is growing its fiber availability, and cable options are available in the more urban parts of the city.
Pricing details on Helena home internet service
Most internet plans in Helena start at $50-$65 per month. You may need to pay close to $100 monthly if you require fast download speeds, however.
Cheap internet options in the general Helena area
To get the most bang for your buck, it’s worth checking out fiber coverage at your address. If it isn’t available now, the TDS expansion may soon bring fiber to your neighborhood in Helena. Additionally, the Affordable Connectivity Program could enable an internet subsidy that brings down your monthly costs.
Here are the internet speeds you can find in Helena
Montana doesn’t have particularly fast internet speeds as a whole, but there are still speeds in Helena that make it possible to browse and work at home. Even a few internet service providers in Helena reach gig speeds.
Fastest internet providers in Helena
Spectrum offers an Internet Gig plan with up to 940Mbps, while other providers in the area top off at much slower speeds. Still, you can find enough speed in Helena to complete most online tasks. Spectrum’s top plan — and CenturyLink’s fastest fiber option — may be the only ones that work for you if you’re a gamer.
What’s the final word on internet providers in Helena?
The best internet providers in Helena when it comes to speed are Spectrum and CenturyLink, while the satellite providers may offer more consistent coverage for rural customers. Keep your eye on the fiber expansion coming to Helena, as this will surely provide residents with speedier downloads than most current plans offer.