Best big and small US cities for finding a fast and reliable internet connection

Texas cities take the top three spots on the more-than-a-million-people list, and St. Petersburg, Florida and Las Vegas lead the smaller-city list.

5g concept

Image: TierneyMJ/Shutterstock

Cities in the West and the South thumped metro areas in the rest of the country with better overall internet connectivity, according to a new analysis. People looking to work remotely from a big city have their pick of places in Texas. If you're looking for a smaller city, consider Florida and Nevada.

HigherVisibility considered three factors to measure the state of connectivity in the U.S.: availability of Wi-Fi hotspots; access to 3G, 4G and 5G in each city; and the average broadband speed. A scoring methodology weighted each factor and resulted in the top 10 lists. 

The analysis of big cities also took into consideration the average cost of living and the Happiness Index. The top 10 cities with more than a million residents with the best connectivity are:

  1. Houston
  2. San Antonio
  3. Dallas
  4. Chicago
  5. San Diego
  6. New York
  7. Los Angeles
  8. Phoenix
  9. Philadelphia
  10. San Jose, California

SEE: 5G smartphones: A cheat sheet

HigherVisibility also considered the number of green spaces in a city and the number of coffee shops to measure the livability of smaller cities. The top 10 cities under a million people with the best connectivity are:

  1. St. Petersburg, Florida
  2. Las Vegas
  3. Miami
  4. Indianapolis
  5. Columbus, Ohio
  6. Jacksonville, Florida
  7. Memphis, Tennessee
  8. Louisville, Kentucky
  9. Tulsa, Oklahoma
  10. Anchorage, Alaska

Texas has six cities in the larger top 20 list, and Florida has four.

If you need more options for selecting your new remote location, here are the states with the most towns and cities in the top 30 lists of most connected cities:

  1. Texas, six cities
  2. Florida, four cities
  3. Ohio, four cities
  4. Indiana, two cities
  5. Tennessee, two cities
  6. Kentucky,two cities
  7. Oklahoma,two cities
  8. North Carolina, two cities
  9. Nevada, one city
  10. Alaska, one city

Access to 4G and 5G connections is improving in some of the most rural parts of the country. Three Native American tribes are using Nokia technology to bring 4G and 5G to remote towns in four states. The CARES Act passed in March 2020 in response to the pandemic has allocated money for expanding broadband access in communities around the country.

Once these faster connections are in place, the next step in the 5G evolution is devices that can use the services. Those numbers are on the rise as well. IDC predicted that smartphone shipments around the world would rise by 7.4% for this year to hit 1.37 billion, a strong bounce from last year when shipments fell by almost 6%. Consumers in India, Japan, the Middle East and Africa will be doing most of the buying, according to the analysis. Demand is still down in the U.S., China and Europe.

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By Veronica Combs

Veronica Combs is a senior writer at TechRepublic. For more than 10 years, she has covered technology, healthcare, and business strategy. In addition to her writing and editing expertise, she has managed small and large teams at startups and establis...