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Astound Broadband, Powered by RCN, Internet Review 2022
Astound Broadband, powered by RCN, offers no contracts and fast download speeds—if you live in the right zip code.
Looking for an RCN internet review? You're in the right place.
RCN is now Astound Broadband, powered by RCN. You'll also see other brands, like Grande Communications and Wave Broadband, are becoming Astound Broadband too.
This might make things a little confusing, so we'll try to keep it as clear as possible and update this review if any more changes roll down the line.
Astound Broadband, powered by RCN's service area is laser-focused on big metropolitan cities like Chicago, Boston, and Washington DC, and its no-contract internet plans have the flexibility and speed that most of us need.
But Astound's prices change depending on where you live, making it difficult to nail down expectations. And those promotional prices stick around only for one year. So is Astound Broadband (formerly RCN) internet worth it?
We did the research, so let's dig in and find out.
- No contracts
- Fast download speeds
- Limited availability
- Price hikes after one year
Astound Broadband (formerly RCN) prices and plans
Astound Broadband's prices range from $19.99 to $54.99 a month, making it one of the cheapest internet providers out there. But, depending on which city you live in, you might see different pricing compared to other cities Astound serves.
For example, a 500 Mbps plan in New York City costs $34.99 a month, while the same 500 Mbps plan costs $49.99 a month in Chicago.
Despite muddying the waters with regional price changes, Astound Broadband (formerly RCN) internet remains cheap. Here's a quick look at its prices for Chicago, IL:
|110 Mbps Internet||$19.99/mo.*||Up to 110 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|400 Mbps Internet||$34.99/mo.*||Up to 400 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|940 Mbps Internet||$44.99/mo.*||Up to 940 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
Astound’s slower plan at 50 Mbps is great for people like my grandparents, who just send me pie recipes and emails with subject lines like “RE: RE: The truth about UFOs”. But, to be honest, we wouldn't recommend those slow download speeds for most folks.
On the other hand, Astound Broadband's higher-speed plans are perfect for the majority of families with kids want to play Xbox in the basement and parents want to stream HBO upstairs. (Or finish up that work project at home.)
At the top of the speed charts is Astound Broadband’s gigabit plan, with enough power to fuel a small business and to compete with some of the best ISPs for gaming.
Is Astound Broadband (formerly RCN) internet cheap?
Astound Broadband’s prices make our wallets smile, and they still look pretty low when compared to the competition.
For example, Verizon Fios Home Internet offers a 400 Mbps plan for about $65 a month. Astound's price for the same speed is almost half the cost.
Another ISP you'll find in the same areas as Astound Broadband (formerly RCN) is Xfinity and Optimum, which both offer pretty good deal for the speeds you get. Xfinity also offers a 400 Mbps plan, but Astound's 400 Mbps plan is about $20 cheaper.
|$19.99–$54.99†||110–1200 Mbps||View Plans|
|$49.99–$119.99‡||300–2048 Mbps||View Plans|
|$39.99–$79.99^||400–1200 Mbps||View Plans|
Astound Broadband (formerly RCN) internet speed and data
Astound Broadband (formerly RCN) offers download speeds anywhere from 50 to 940 Mbps, though the exact speeds offered depend on where you live.
Its slower-speed plans, like 50 Mbps Internet, plans are a great place to start for a small family—and the speeds just get better from there.
Astound Broadband (formerly RCN) data caps
Thankfully, Astound Broadband is among the many ISPs that have done away with data caps. This is true for all of its plans. So feel free to binge, game, and browse!
Astound Broadband (formerly RCN) fees, contracts, and equipment
All of Astound Broadband’s regular internet plans come with no contract. Your price is locked down for only 12 months, but you’re able to cancel at any time—get this—without any early termination fees.
Astound Broadband (formerly RCN) equipment
Your internet can only go as fast as the equipment that’s hosting it.
Thankfully, Astound Broadband offers a modem rental option for $16.00 a month. And you can add an eero whole-home mesh Wi-Fi system for an extra $10.95 a month.
- eero Pro 6: $11.95 a month
- eero Whole-Home Wi-Fi system: $10.95 a month for one base and one beacon
- Additional Whole-Home Wi-Fi beacons: $5.00 a month
- NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro gaming router: $12.95 a month
- Standard modem/gig modem: $16.00 a month
If prefer to buy your own gear, then make sure that you get a DOCSIS 3.0 or 3.1 compatible modem. Also, keep in mind that a whole year of renting Astound's gaming router will cost you about $155, so buying your own modem-router combo might be a better deal.
Astound Broadband (formerly RCN) service fees 1
Just because you avoid those infamous early termination fees with Astound Broadband doesn’t mean you’re out of the haunted fee forest quite yet.
- Installation fee: $49.99, but Astound regularly offers free installation deals.
- Activation fee: $9.99
- Early termination fee: None
- Service call fee: $54.95
Astound Broadband (formerly RCN) customer service
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.
Astound Broadband is sadly no exception to this unwritten rule. It scored 7th out of 12 ISPs overall that HighSpeedInternet.com rated in its latest customer satisfaction report (listed as RCN).3 And that means Astound customers aren't happy: it earned just 3.7 out of 5 for customer service.
Customer service score
HighSpeedInternet.com 2021 Customer Satisfaction
3.7 out of 5
3.8 out of 5
If you do need to call Astound Broadband customer service, we've got some tips to help you keep your cool, plus a few different ways for you to get a hold of a service rep:
Recap: Is Astound Broadband (formerly RCN) internet good?
Astound Broadband internet offers some great perks: no contracts, fast download speeds, and extremely low promotional prices.
But you could also call it inconsistent. Astound is available only in a handful of large cities, its prices and policies vary by location, and its customer service seems to be getting worse, not better.
This means that Astound Broadband might not be the best overall, but it’s still a great option for those in specific areas of the US who want fast, no-contract internet at a fair price.
When reviewing internet services, such as those provided by Astound Broadband, we go above and beyond simple metrics.
We place a heavy emphasis on the technical details such as overall download speeds, upload speed, and any included data caps. However, we also consider overall availability, affordability, and contracts involved.
Here are the factors we considered when reviewing services:
- Overall download/upload speeds
- Price of each provider’s plans
- Whether contracts are required
- Geographic service availability
- Included equipment and fees
Astound Broadband (formerly 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.
We found that Astound Broadband (formerly RCN) provides some of the lowest price access in the area. Based on our generally positive opinion of Astound, we would recommend the service to NYC residents looking for a no contract plan with fast download speeds.
- Astound Broadband, powered by RCN, “Boston 2020 Residential Rates,” February 2020. Accessed December 17, 2020.
- Bison Messink, HighSpeedInternet.com, “2021 Internet Customer Satisfaction Report,” July 2021. Accessed January 18, 2022.
- RCN, “Restoring Internet Freedom Order and RCN,” 2020. Accessed December 17, 2020.