RCN Internet Review 2020
|50 Mbps Internet||$29.99||50 Mbps||View Plans|
|500 Mbps Internet||$49.99||500 Mbps||View Plans|
|1 Gbps Internet||$59.99||1000 Mbps||View Plans|
When I first moved to New York City, I had no idea what I was doing with my life yet, and I liked it that way. I worked hard, stayed out late, and moved every six months to a new apartment. And needless to say, I was not interested in long-term internet contracts.
This early-20s version of me seems to be RCN’s target customer. Its service area is laser-focused on big metropolitan areas and its no-contract internet plans have the flexibility and speed that young city-slickers desire.
But if you’ve grown out of your wanderlust, you may not like RCN’s limited geographic range and confusing pricing.
- Flexible plans
- High speeds
- Limited availability
RCN prices and plans
You get a plan! And you get a plan! And you get a plan!
RCN has a host of fairly priced, contract-free plans. (You could even imagine that RCN stands for “Reasonable Costs, Nice!” or “Required Contract? No!” if you want.)
|Plan||Price||Download speed||Data cap||Details|
|50 Mbps Internet||$29.99*||50 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|250 Mbps Internet||$39.99*||250 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|500 Mbps Internet||$49.99*||500 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|1 Gbps Internet||$59.99*||1000 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
Depending on where you live, RCN internet begins at either 25 or 50 Mbps. These slower plans are great for people like my grandparents, who just send me pie recipes and emails with subject lines like “RE: RE: The truth about UFOs”.
RCN’s next-highest speed is 250 Mbps, which is perfect for when the kids want to play Xbox in the basement and the parents want to stream HBO upstairs.
At the top of the speed charts is RCN’s gigabit plan, with enough power to fuel a small business and to compete with some of the best ISPs for gaming.
You can save on RCN internet when you bundle it with other services. For example, the company’s Signature TV (275+ channels) and 1 Gbps internet bundle will, at $99.99 a month in Boston, shave off about $20 from the price of buying the two separately.
While RCN’s prices are exciting, they might seem less so when compared to the competition. (RCN actually stands for Residential Communications Network, after all. Yawn.)
For example, Verizon Fios offers a 100 Mbps plan for $39.99 a month. That’s twice the speed of RCN’s 50 Mbps plan for just an extra $10.
|Provider||Monthly price||Download speeds||Learn more|
|RCN Internet||$29.99–$59.99*||50–1000 Mbps||View Plans|
|Verizon Fios||$39.99–$79.99†||100–940 Mbps||View Plans|
|Xfinity Internet||$29.99–$299.95‡||15–2000 Mbps||View Plans|
|Spectrum Internet||$49.99–$105*||100–940 Mbps||View Plans|
Our RCN internet plan recommendations
50 Mbps Internet
Who it’s best for: College students, bachelors, and low-use households
Why we picked it: 50 Mbps is on the lower end of internet speeds these days, but it’s more than enough to cover the basics: streaming music, watching movies, and getting into late-night Facebook feuds.
1 Gbps Internet
Who it’s best for: Gamers, small business owners, and Brady Bunch–sized families..
Why we picked it: Plans can start getting absurdly expensive at these higher speeds. But at $59.99, RCN’s Gig Internet plan is just per 6¢ per Mbps. Not bad, not bad at all.
RCN internet speed and data
“No no no, light speed is too slow! We’ll have to go right to. . . ludicrous speed!”
RCN has earned a few accolades for its speed.
Exhibit one: RCN was rated the 2nd fastest ISP of 2018 by PC Magazine.1
Exhibit two: RCN has a gigabit plan. Hypothetically, that’s enough speed to stream all 180 episodes of Seinfeld at the same time! No one needs that much Kramer in their life, but that same speed may be useful if you stream on Twitch or share your Wi-Fi password with your neighbors.
Pro tip: Don’t share your Wi-Fi password with your neighbors.
|Plan||Download speed||Upload speed||Data cap|
|50 Mbps Internet||50 Mbps||10 Mbps||Unlimited|
|250 Mbps Internet||250 Mbps||15 Mbps||Unlimited|
|500 Mbps Internet||500 Mbps||20 Mbps||Unlimited|
|1 Gbps Internet||1000 Mbps||20 Mbps||Unlimited|
Unfortunately, these high speeds are hampered by the fact that, in most of its service areas, RCN runs a cable network. This means that its upload speeds will always be a fraction of its download speeds—and RCN is hushed about the exact stats for their upload speeds.
RCN data caps
For many of us, the internet is sort of like toilet paper. It’s essential, and we’d be very uncomfortable if it was suddenly taken away from us.
Thankfully, RCN is among the many ISPs that have done away with data caps. This is true for all of their plans, from 25 Mbps to 1 Gbps. So feel free to binge, game, and browse!
RCN fees, contracts, and equipment
Like condiments for your internet burger—except they aren’t free and don’t taste good.
RCN service contracts
All of RCN’s regular internet plans are no-contract. Your price is locked down for 12 months, but you’re able to cancel at any time—get this—without any early termination fees. That’s pretty flexible!
RCN service fees
Just because you avoid those infamous early termination fees with RCN doesn’t mean you’re out of the haunted fee forest quite yet.
- Installation fees: RCN’s standard installation fee is $50, but it’s easy to find a coupon for a free installation.
- One-time fees: RCN will add an activation fee of $9.99 to your first bill—but it can’t be that hard to activate an account, right?
RCN equipment and fees
Your internet can only go as fast as the equipment that’s hosting it.
Thankfully, RCN offers a few rental options for routers and modems, all of which fall within the $5–$15 a month range.
If you do want to buy your own gear, then make sure that you get a DOCSIS 3.0 or 3.1 compatible modem. We recommend checking out the NETGEAR Nighthawk modem/router combo, available on Amazon, for the full RCN Wi-Fi experience.
RCN customer service
Press one for repetitive hold music, press two to talk to a human?
It’s one of the great mysteries of our age: internet companies can bring the entire world to our fingertips almost instantly, but somehow they cannot manage to answer our basic technical questions.
But RCN may be a rare exception to the rule. They were ranked #1 in Highspeedinternet.com’s customer satisfaction survey in the technical support and customer service category.2
Try ‘em out at 1-800-RING-RCN.
You can also contact RCN online here:
Recap: Is RCN good?
RCN’s flexibility will be perfect for some, but not for all.
RCN’s service is hard to pin down. This flexibility is actually its greatest strength: month-to-month contracts, plentiful speed options, and unique coverage areas.
But another word for flexible might be “inconsistent.” RCN isn’t available nationwide, its prices and policies vary by location, and its network is a patchwork of existing cable lines.
Q: Does RCN throttle its traffic?
RCN states that it “doesn’t block or throttle consumer access to lawful internet content.”3 So maybe no torrenting, but if you’re doing legitimate internet things, you’ll be ok.
Q: Does RCN have a mobile app?
Yes, it does! You can find it in the App Store and on Google Play.
- PC Magazine, “The Fastest ISPs of 2018”
- Highspeedinternet.com, “2018’s Best Internet Providers in Customer Satisfaction”
- RCN, “Restoring Internet Freedom”