Top 10 ISPs to watch: From C Spire to Redzone to Sonic

The internet service provider (ISP) marketplace is clearly dominated by behemoths like AT&T, Comcast and Charter Communications—these three companies combined count fully 63 million broadband internet customers in the United States.

Further, in looking at figures from Leichtman Research Group, fully 95% of the high-speed internet market in the United States is concentrated among the 14 largest cable and telephone providers in the United States, according to first-quarter figures.

But, as anyone with a computer, phone or tablet can tell you, there remains plenty of demand for fast, reliable internet service. For example, Leichtman Research Group also found that the nation’s top cable operators alone collectively added roughly 1 million new customers in the first quarter, a figure that indicates plenty of demand for high-speed service and, potentially, a willingness among Americans to seek out the best ISP deal possible.

Already, a range of players, both big and small, are stepping in to meet this demand, despite the fact that the decades-old ISP market is currently dominated by a handful of players. Some companies, like Google Fiber, are working to upend ISP incumbents with superfast fiber connections. Others, like Common Networks, are hoping to use fixed wireless technologies to undercut existing players. And still other players, like OneWeb, hope to blast cheap internet services from space.

Whether any one player will break through the dominant positions enjoyed by AT&T, Comcast and Charter remains to be seen, but it’s possible.

Thus, here’s a look at 10 of the ISPs that may well upset the status quo. These are the companies seeking to break into the ISP market with new technologies, techniques and services, with the goal of ensuring that all those computers, phones, tablets and other gizmos get onto the internet and stay there.

These are the ISPs to watch. This is by no means a definitive list, but merely an educated selection of some of the companies that might have an impact on the ISP market. We hope you enjoy it.

And feel free to let us know if we missed anyone, or if you disagree with our selections; we’re on Twitter @FierceTelecom, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Top 10 ISPs to watch: From C Spire to Redzone to Sonic