Harris County Internet Coverage Information
Harris County Internet Coverage Information
The information on this page is intended as a guide to help Harris County residents determine Internet service availability for their homes. Harris County School District does not guarantee the availability or the price of any Internet service for an area or a street address. Please contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for current accurate information. All material on this page or in any linked pages is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as an endorsement of any ISP.
The linked interactive map shows the availability of broadband Internet access (defined by the FCC as 25 Mbps downstream/3 Mbps upstream) in Harris County. The map can be zoomed in to view more detail. The navigation menu above the map includes Location Summary, where you can get detailed information on any street address, including broadband ISPs for that address, types of broadband service available, and downstream/upstream speeds. The map settings can be changed (click the gear icon by the map's search bar) to view coverage with higher or lower speeds than 25 Mbps.
Types of Internet Service
Broadly speaking, there are five types of Internet service available in Harris County:
- DSL: Subscribers access the Internet through telephone lines, but may make and receive telephone calls while connected. Telephone service does not guarantee DSL availability at an address. Depending on the subscriber's plan, download speeds range from 1 to 100 Mbps*.
- Cable: Subscribers access the Internet through the same cable that brings cable TV into their homes. Download speeds range from 50 Mbps to 1 Gbps. (1 Gbps is roughly equal to 1,000 Mbps.)
- Fiber: Subscribers access the Internet through glass fiber cables coming into their homes. Fiber download speeds range from 25 Mbps to 1 Gbps.
- Dial-up: Subscribers access the Internet through regular telephone lines, and cannot make and receive telephone calls while connected. Dial-up service is inexpensive but very slow. The maximum dial-up speed is 56 Kbps (1,000 Kbps is roughly equal to 1 Mbps.) The ISP may or may not offer toll-free access numbers. Please note that, depending on the access numbers you choose, your location, and your calling plan, you may incur long distance or toll charges in excess of your local service charges on your telephone bill. Dial-up service may be the only inexpensive option in sparsely populated areas of the county.
- Satellite: Subscribers access the Internet with a satellite dish. Download speeds up to 25 Mbps. Satellite ISPs often cap the amount of data you can use at maximum speeds; if you go over the limit, your download speeds will slow down drastically. Satellite Internet services tends to be expensive when compared with other types of service, but it may be the only high-speed option in sparsely populated areas of the county.
*Speeds of 25 Mbps or better meet the FCC's broadband definition.
What do these speeds mean in real life? Let's say you want to watch a movie over the Internet. Depending on the quality of the picture and sound, the data size of an entire movie likely would be 1-2 GB. The estimated amount of time it would take to download an entire 1.5 GB movie at different speeds is shown below:
|Estimated Download Time (hh:mm:ss)
For every speed below 2 Mbps in this example, it would take longer to download the movie than it would take to watch it, which means that the movie frequently would buffer (pause during your viewing while the download tries to catch up). Even at 2 Mbps I would expect some buffering. With a 56K connection, it would take around 20 minutes just to download a 4-minute song you purchase online.
ISPs Serving Harris County (service may not available in all areas)
Free and Reduced Rate Internet Service
NetZero and Juno offer up to 10 hours of free dial-up Internet access every month. Please note that depending on the numbers you choose, your location, and your calling plan, you may incur long distance or toll charges in excess of your local service charges on your telephone bill. You can find a list of access numbers and their locations here: NetZero Access Numbers and Juno Access Numbers. It should be noted that to use these free services, you must allow these companies to load software (usually displaying ads) owned by them or third parties to your computer. Your use of the services constitutes your consent to such downloads. The services also may contain links to other sites on the Internet that are owned and operated by third parties.
Access program from AT&T: AT&T offers low-cost wireline home Internet service to qualifying households
- with at least one resident who participates in the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and
- with an address in AT&T’s service area, at which AT&T offers wireline home Internet service, and
- without outstanding debt for AT&T fixed Internet service within the last six months or outstanding debt incurred under this program.
If you qualify, AT&T will assign you the fastest of these speed tiers available where you live: 5 Mbps or 10 Mbps for $10/month, 768 Kbps, 1.5 Mbps, or 3 Mbps for$5/month. If none of the above speeds are technically available at your address, unfortunately you won't be able to participate in the Access program from AT&T at this time.
Earthlink: Prices start at $9.95/month for unlimited Internet access.
HughesNet: Prices range from $49.95 to $139.99/month.
Viasat: Prices range from $50 to $100/month with a $10 per month equipment lease fee.
AT&T: Plans start at $50/month.
Earthlink: Prices start at $14.95/month for speeds up to 15 Mbps.
WavCom: Serves the Waverly Hall area. Prices range from $59.95/month for 5 Mbps service to $89.95/month for 25 Mbps service.
Charter Spectrum: Prices start at $44.95/month.
Mediacom: Prices range from $29.99/month for 60 Mbps service to $69.99/month for 1 Gbps service.
AT&T: Prices range from $50/month for 100 Mbps service to $90/month for 1 Gbps service.
Earthlink: Prices start at $39.95/month for speeds up to 75 Mbps.