Two Different Internet Providers in the Same House?

This is whether you can have two different internet providers in the same house.

You’ll learn:

  • Whether you can have two internet providers in your house
  • Why that is so

So if you want to know whether it’s possible and what the technical details are on it, then you’re in the right place.

Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

Can You Have Two Different Internet Providers in the Same House?

Although the quality and usage of Internet connections are rising worldwide, many households find themselves overloading their Wi-Fi routers with too many devices and connections at the same time.

For example, suppose you have a 4K TV, a gaming console, several smartphones, and a PC using the same Wi-Fi connection. In that case, you might run into connectivity issues. At the very least, you might notice your download speeds dropping.

While you can try having a dedicated Ethernet cable for one of those devices to make sure it always has a stable connection, that might not be a perfect long-term solution. 

Suppose you want to keep the whole family happy and give everyone fast internet. In that case, you may want to equip your house with another connection.

But, can you get that connection from a different provider than the one whose services you’re already using?

How Do Internet Service Providers Work?

The internet is a network of networks—we all learned that at school. Your PC and all PCs, Wi-Fi routers, and hotspots are a part of a large global system of interconnected networks that have no owners.

So, why do you have to pay for your internet and why are there Internet service providers in the first place?

Here is the thing—in theory (thought-experiment level theory), you could connect to the internet on your own, without a provider.

To do this, you would have to have the infrastructure in place (both hardware and software) to connect to the internet backbone or the principal data routes that traverse countries, continents, and oceans.

Yes—oceans! There are hundreds of wires deep at the bottom of the ocean that makes sure that the entire world can be a part of this beautiful network we call the internet.

Your Internet Service provider has this infrastructure. They’re connected to a wider network (sort of an ISP to your ISP) which may also be connected to one of the tier 1 networks—massive ISPs with thousands of miles of fiber cables that connect to each other.

So, your ISP has an agreement in place with one of these Tier 1 networks and infrastructure in place (cables, routers, junction boxes, etc.) to give you easy internet access for a small fee. “Small” relative to the efforts and resources you would have to invest in getting to the internet on your own.  

Different Types of Internet Connections

ISPs can provide you Internet access in different ways:

  • Digital subscriber line (DSL): This system gives you access to the internet through your existing telephone line. It’s usually delivered simultaneously with wired telephone service. The users pay both their phone and internet bills to the same provider.
  • Cable: This type of connection is usually offered by your cable TV provider, which uses coaxial cables to connect you to the internet. Cable internet is widely considered a faster option than DSL. Still, it’s also a less secure option because residential cable internet uses a line shared by everyone in your neighborhood.
  • Fiber: This connection uses fiber-optic cables that can send data extremely fast (about 70% of the speed of light!) and are resilient to severe weather conditions. The only downside of this option is that it’s not yet widely available everywhere, so you’ll have to contact your provider to see if you can get it.

There is also a satellite internet connection, but it’s rarely used and suitable for rural areas where there are no cables. It delivers slower speeds, but it still beats having no connection.

Can You Have Two Different Internet Providers in the Same House?

The answer to this question depends on the internet connection you want/currently have.

If you have DSL internet in your household and want to get internet service from another DSL provider, that could be challenging. You would have to make sure that they don’t use the exact same cabling, and you might even have to get a new phone line. 

It could be easier to do this with two cable providers. Still, you have the question of whether two cable providers actually serve your neighborhood or apartment building/complex. These can often have agreements with only one cable company.

Selective focus of black plugged router on white table and businessman sitting on sofa

More importantly, cable providers usually sell their internet service as a package deal with their cable TV service.

So you might have to invest a lot of money to get what you want. 

The easiest way to have two connections would be to have a DSL internet provider and a cable internet provider in the same household without them interfering with each other.

Just make sure you don’t keep the routers close!

To summarize, it might be challenging to have the same type of internet connection in a single household.

Suppose you want to have one cable internet provider and one DSL or fiber provider. In that case, that could be much easier to do as these types of services don’t use the same cabling. 

Then, the only potential issue you might have is that competitors can sometimes have mutual agreements that forbid them from providing their service in households that are already a part of the competitor’s network.