Sparklight (formerly Cable One) Internet Review 2020

Sparklight’s high prices and low data caps outweigh its lack of contracts and fast download speeds.
Recommended Plans
PlanPriceDownload speedDetails
Starter 100 Plus$39100 MbpsView Plans
Streamer & Gamer 200 Plus$65300 MbpsView Plans
GigaONE Plus$1251000 MbpsView Plans
PriceDownload speedDetails
$39100 MbpsView Plans
$65300 MbpsView Plans
$1251000 MbpsView Plans

Sparklight (formerly Cable One) comes with no contracts and up to 1,000 Mbps download speeds. But its low data caps and high prices for internet speeds leave a lot to be desired.

Still, there are a few hidden gems when it comes to Sparklight internet. Read on to hear our take on which Sparklight internet plans pack the most value, how well Sparklight internet performs, and what to expect from its customer service. Let’s dig in.

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Is Sparklight the same as Cable One?
Yes, Cable One renamed itself Sparklight in 2019. So if you’re looking for a Cable One internet review, you’re in the right spot.
Sparklight internet overview
PlanPriceDownload speedData capDetails
Starter 100 Plus$39*100 Mbps300 GBView Plans
Streamer & Gamer 200 Plus$65300 Mbps600 GBView Plans
Turbo 300 Plus$80300 Mbps900 GBView Plans
GigaONE Plus$1251000 Mbps1.2 TBView Plans
Data effective 07/14/20. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* For the first 6 months $55/mo after trial offer. Offer ends 09/30/2020
$10 charge for each add'l 100GB; Up to $50/mo.

Pros

  • Competitive price for 100 Mbps speeds
  • No contracts

Cons

  • Low data caps
  • High price for gig speeds

Check Sparklight (Cable One) prices and plans near you.

Sparklight prices and plans

If you don’t need a lot of data, Sparklight internet plans may offer value. But if you do need data, look elsewhere.

We’ll get straight to the point: Sparklight’s prices for the download speeds you get are high. Especially when you consider that only the GigaONE Plus plan comes with a little over a terabyte (TB) of data. (And one TB of data is pretty much the norm for most internet service providers [ISPs]).

That said, we think the Starter 100 Plus plan’s price is decent, at least if you don’t need more than 300 GB of data each month.

Starter 100 Plus comes with 100 Mbps download speeds, which is fast enough to keep a small- to medium-sized family streaming a few videos, working from home, and playing Rocket League. (And our home security expert, Mindy Woodall, recommends at least 100 Mbps if you have a home security system.)

Sparklight (formerly Cable One) internet prices and plans
PlanPriceDownload speedData capDetails
Starter 100 Plus$39*100 Mbps300 GBView Plans
Streamer & Gamer 200 Plus$65300 Mbps600 GBView Plans
Turbo 300 Plus$80300 Mbps900 GBView Plans
GigaONE Plus$1251000 Mbps1.2 TBView Plans
Data effective 07/14/20. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* For the first 6 months $55/mo after trial offer. Offer ends 09/30/2020
$10 charge for each add'l 100GB; Up to $50/mo.

Is Sparklight (Cable One) internet cheap?

Sparklight’s internet prices are higher than most other ISPs’ prices, especially when you factor in the cost of extra data if your Sparklight plan doesn’t come with enough gigabytes (GB).

Sparklight’s 100 Mbps plan is far cheaper than both Xfinity‘s and Spectrum‘s 100 Mbps plans if you’re just comparing prices for the speed you get. The price for Xfinity’s 100 Mbps comes closest at just a dollar more per month, but you’ll need to fork over a little more than $10 extra per month for Spectrum’s 100 Mbps plan.

Sparklight (Cable One) price comparison
ProviderMonthly priceDownload speedsLearn more
Sparklight Internet$39$1251001000 MbpsView Plans
Spectrum Internet$49.99$109.99^100940 MbpsView Plans
Xfinity Internet$20$80°251000 MbpsView Plans
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Data as of 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
^ For the first 12 months.
° For the first 12 months. Some packages require a 1- or 2-year contract.

And if you need more internet speed for your large family, your smart home hub, or to tackle work-from-home projects, Sparklight’s costs quickly overtake the competition and skyrocket.

Take the Sparklight Turbo 300 Plus plan with 300 Mbps download speeds and a data cap of 900 GB each month. It costs about $20 more than the Xfinity Extreme plan with 300 Mbps download speeds and 1 TB of data each month.

If you’re searching for a gig speed plan, beware the cost of Sparklight’s GigaONE Plus plan: at $125 a month, it’s the most expensive we’ve seen yet. It even tops the cost of Spectrum’s Internet GIG plan that comes with 940 Mbps download speeds. And Xfinity’s Gigabit plan is by far the cheapest with a cost that falls well below $100 a month.

How much does Sparklight internet with unlimited data cost?

Like we mentioned before, all of Sparklight’s plans–except the 1,000 Mbps plan–come with low data caps. But there is an option to add unlimited data to your plan. Of course, that’ll cost you extra. Forty dollars a month extra.1

That pushes Sparklight internet prices way beyond what you’d pay for the same internet speeds from another ISP.

Sparklight (Cable One) internet with unlimited data price
PlanMonthly priceDownload speedData cap
Starter 100 Plus$79/mo.*100 MbpsUnlimited
Streamer & Gamer 200 Plus$105/mo.**200 MbpsUnlimited
Turbo 300 Plus$120/mo.**300 MbpsUnlimited
GigaONE Plus$165/mo.**1,000 MbpsUnlimited

Data effective 7/15/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*For the first 6 months $55/mo. after trial offer. Offer ends 09/30/2020. After 5 TB of data usage, speed may be slowed for network management.
**After 5 TB of data usage, speed may be slowed for network management.

We’ll dig more into Sparklight’s data options in just a bit, but we’ll say it here: if you need a lot of data each month, look for a different ISP with 1 TB data caps, like Xfinity, or unlimited data, like Spectrum.

Sparklight internet speed

Customers complain about Sparklight’s internet speed, and its low data caps are restrictive.

Sparklight offers a variety of internet speeds ranging from 100 Mbps to 1,000 Mbps. Those download speeds should cover a wide range of needs, from the family of four who can’t get enough of Hulu and Netflix to the apartment with two roommates who work from home and moonlight as YouTubers.

Sparklight download speeds and upload speeds
ProviderDownload speedsUpload speeds
Sparklight Internet1001000 Mbps1050 Mbps

By the way, Sparklight is cable internet, so you won’t find any fantastically fast upload speeds here. But most of us won’t need to worry about upload speeds–unless you’re posting large files, like photos or videos, online. (If you are, we recommend one of these fiber internet providers.)

What Sparklight internet speed is right for you?

If you’re a family of streamers, a condo full of gamers, or even a one-person, work-crushing machine, there’s a Sparklight download speed for you.

But for anyone who doesn’t spend most of their time online or doesn’t live in a home jam-packed with security devices and laptops, you should check for internet plans with slower download speeds that’ll likely cost you much less than Sparklight’s cheapest plan.

We think most home offices can get away with Sparklight’s 200 and 300 Mbps plans. But if you find yourself downloading and uploading PowerPoints, PDFs, and other large files often, the 1,000 Mbps plan may be more your speed.

Pin icon
Not sure how much speed you need?
We feel you. Take a look at our Mbps guide to learn more about how fast your download speeds need to be to keep up with your online activities.

Is Sparklight internet fast?

Neither Sparklight nor Cable One were tested in the most recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) broadband report.

But recent customer reviews of Sparklight internet service show that the ISP doesn’t always deliver the internet speed it promises.

Robert of Gulfport, Mississippi, reported download speeds of up to 9 Mbps when they pay for 100 Mbps.2 And several customers reported that their internet service dropped out multiple times a day or week on the Better Business Bureau’s website.3

If you do grab Sparklight internet service and find your download speeds just aren’t cutting it, there are a few things you can try to speed up your internet before you call customer service. We also recommend grabbing a modem and router that are compatible with the Sparklight plan you’re paying for.

Data caps

Sparklight’s internet data caps are what really make it a subpar internet provider. The amount of data that each Sparklight plan starts with is far too little–except the GigaONE Plus plan.

Most cable ISPs offer at least one TB of data each month, and some go above and beyond with unlimited data. Don’t get us wrong, Sparklight offers both a terabyte data plan (GigaONE Plus) and an unlimited data option. But both are exceptionally pricey.

At $125 a month, the GigaONE Plus is the most expensive gig speed plan we’ve seen, and it comes with 1.2 TB of data. At that price, we’d expect unlimited data.

As for Sparklight’s other data options, here’s how much they’ll cost you:

Sparklight data costs1
Data optionAmount of dataPrice
Automatic data overage charge100 GB$10 for every 100 GB added, up to $50 per month
Unlimited dataUnlimited*$40/mo. extra

Data effective 7/15/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*When there is network congestion impacting fellow subscribers, or when your own data usage exceeds 5 TB, your data speeds may be slowed to 10 Mbps x 1 Mbps until the end of your data period.

One major caveat to note here is that, even with the unlimited data plan, your internet speed could get slowed down. Sparklight’s fine print says that even if you pay extra for unlimited data each month, you might see your download speed drop–maybe even as low as 10 Mbps, which isn’t fast enough to reliably stream in HD.

This drop in download speed happens only if you use more than 5 TB of data in a month, which is almost impossible for most of us, or if there are a lot of other people online at the same time. So the bottom line here is that Sparklight unlimited data isn’t actually unlimited (it caps at 5 TB), and your download speeds might hobble along even though you’re paying $40 extra per month.

We also don’t like that Sparklight automatically charges you $10 for an extra 100 GB of data if you go over your limit. Billing surprises are no fun.

OpenVault recently reported that median data usage for a typical family will likely exceed 250 GB per billing period in 2020.4 So you can be sure most of us will dip at least a toe over the edge of Sparklight’s lowest data cap of 300 GB, especially if you stream a lot of HD or 4K videos or download a lot of games.

Sparklight contracts, equipment, and fees

Sparklight won’t chain you to a contract, and it lets you use your own router and modem.

One perk of Sparklight internet service is that it doesn’t require a contract. That means you can cancel your service any time and not pay early termination fees.

We’d love to see more ISPs follow suit and do away with internet service contracts altogether.

Equipment

Sparklight lets you rent one of its modems, or you can bring your own modem and router and drop the rental fee like it’s hot. We recommend bringing your own, because even though Sparklight’s equipment rental fee is one of the lower fees we’ve seen, it can quickly cost you more than what you’d pay for a modem at Best Buy.

We’re also a bit wary of Sparklight’s note that equipment deposits may apply. It doesn’t go into specific details about when you might need to pay an equipment deposit, but Sparklight does mention that you’ll have a credit report pulled to determine whether extra fees or deposits are required.

  • Equipment rental fee: $10.50/month (deposits may apply)
  • WiFi ONE fee: $10.50/month (deposits may apply)

Another option for your Sparklight equipment is WiFi ONE, Sparklight’s version of a mesh Wi-Fi system. It includes a cable modem and up to two extenders, and it costs the same monthly rental fee as a regular modem.

Heads Up icon
You can't bring your own modem with WiFi ONE
Thinking of grabbing the WiFi ONE system? Then don’t fork out any money on your own router. WiFi ONE automatically comes with a router–plus Sparklight won’t let you use your own equipment with it.

If you do plan to use your own modem with Sparklight internet, make sure it’s a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem or higher. Otherwise, it likely won’t work with your Sparklight internet plan. You can see a full list of compatible modems on Sparklight’s site, and it never hurts to double-check that yours is supported before you buy it.

We like this Arris SURFboard SB8200 modem from Amazon.* It’s a DOCSIS 3.1 and works with all of Sparklight’s internet plans–even its 1,000 Mbps plan.

*Amazon.com Price; $149.00 (as of 7/27/2020 at 9:00 MST). See full disclaimer.

Service fees

Sparklight doesn’t charge early termination fees thanks to its no-contract policy. But it still charges installation and activation fees that you’ll want to watch out for.

  • Installation fees: Up to $90, free if you sign up for Easy Pay5
  • Activation fee: Up to $1005
  • Service technician visit fee: Free or $456

Real quick: let’s chat about that service technician fee. This is a normal practice when it comes to internet service. And we’ve seen other ISPs charge double what Sparklight charges. But we all like to know what we’re paying for, so here’s why that service technician visit might cost you.

Let’s say your internet keeps disconnecting every hour, and you’ve done everything you can to fix the problem short of trying to hack it with aluminum foil.

So, you call Sparklight and they send a technician over to fix the problem. If the technician finds that Sparklight’s equipment or wiring caused the issue, you won’t get charged for the technician’s visit.

But if your equipment or the wiring inside your house caused the problem, you might need to shell out $45. Basically, Sparklight is covering the cost of any problems on its end, but it needs your help to cover the repair of any problems on your end.

Sparklight (Cable One) customer service

Sparklight has mediocre customer service, just like all the other ISPs.

Neither Sparklight nor Cable One received a customer service rating from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Instead, Sparklight got lumped into the “All Others” category, which scored a 64 out of 100 in the latest ACSI report,7 and that’s not surprising considering the large number of negative Sparklight reviews online.

Sparklight (Cable One) internet ACSI 2019-2020 customer service rating7
RatingScore
ACSI 202064 out of 100 (“All Others”)

The “All Others” score sits slightly below the internet industry average score of 65 out of 100.

Yup, the internet industry as a whole gets a D grade when it comes to customer service. We’re sure this isn’t much of a surprise, but it puts things into perspective before you give Sparklight’s customer service a call.

Of course, sometimes a bright light of hope shines through. Finnian, a NewWave (purchased by Cable One in 2017) customer, posted on the Better Business Bureau’s website to say that a customer support rep contacted them to apologize.3

“She offered to upgrade our service plan at a discounted price for three months,” Finnian said. “This was fortunate for us, since it turns out there aren’t any other ISPs serving our area.”

If you do need to call Sparklight customer service, there are a few things you can do to prepare ahead of time so you don’t end up banging your head against the wall in frustration. (We’ve been there.)

  • Get everything in writing. If you have to call, ask for a follow-up email detailing the promises the customer service rep has made, and take your own notes too. If you use social media or chat, save a log of your conversation in case you need to refer to it later.
  • Advocate for yourself. If your current representative isn’t helpful, take a deep breath and calmly ask to speak to their manager. Keep doing this until you get someone who’s willing to listen and work with you.
  • Know your options. Check out other ISPs in your area to see if they offer a better deal and use it to negotiate. If Sparklight is your only choice, don’t let that keep you from asking for waived fees or discounts.

Need to get a hold of Sparklight? Here’s how to do it:

Is there a Sparklight (Cable One) outage in your area?

Is your Sparklight internet not working? You can check to see if other customers have reported issues on DownDetector.com, or give Sparklight a call at +1-877-692-2253.

If you do call Sparklight, you’ll need to enter your phone or account number. Once you do that, an automated message should provide details about any known service outages.

If there are no known service outages in your area but you’d like to report one, just stay on the line and a live representative should answer.

Our pick: The best Sparklight internet plan

Best for smaller families: Starter 100 Plus

Who it’s best for: With 100 Mbps download speeds but only 300 GB of monthly data (unless you pay extra), the Starter 100 Plus internet plan is best for small families of two to three people who don’t do a lot of downloading or HD streaming. (Don’t even ask about 4K streaming.)

Why we picked it: Of all of Sparklight’s plans, Starter 100 Plus comes at the most reasonable price in our books. And that price is one of the better ones we’ve seen in the industry if you’re looking for 100 Mbps download speeds.

Of course, that price jumps up if you need more than 300 GB of data each month. So be careful out there.

Starter 100 Plus
Sparklight Internet
Download speed:
100 Mbps
Data cap:
300 GB
$39 a month

Data effective 7/15/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*For the first 6 months $55/mo after trial offer. Offer ends 09/30/2020. $10 charge for each add’l 100GB; Up to $50/mo.

Recap: Is Sparklight (Cable One) internet good?

Sparklight (formerly Cable One) isn’t the best ISP out there. With its low data caps and excessive prices for all but one of its plans, we think Sparklight is only a slightly better deal than satellite internet. (Ouch.)

We’re not trying to get a sick burn in here. But we can’t convince ourselves to recommend Sparklight over any other cable internet provider if you have more than one choice.

  • Prices and plans: Sparklight internet comes with decent download speeds, but, in general, the price for the speed you get is more than what you’d pay another internet provider. And if you need more data, well, you’ll need to fork over more money.
  • Speed: There’s no definitive answer on whether Sparklight delivers the speeds it promises. But what is definitive is how restrictive its low data caps on all but its 1,000 Mbps plans are. And at $10 per 100 GB of extra data or $40 a month for unlimited data, you’ll pay a pretty penny if you go over your cap.
  • Contracts, equipment, and fees: One silver lining to Sparklight internet is that it has no contracts. The rest of its equipment and service fees are what you’d expect from any ISP.
  • Customer service: Sparklight customers aren’t a happy bunch, but this is true for pretty much every internet provider.

Sparklight (Cable One) internet plans recap

Data effective 7/15/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*For the first 6 months $55/mo after trial offer. Offer ends 09/30/2020. $10 charge for each add’l 100GB; Up to $50/mo.
**$10 charge for each add’l 100GB; Up to $50/mo.

What can you do with Sparklight internet?

Because of Sparklight’s low data caps, we recommend bundling your Sparklight internet with its TV service to avoid data overages. Yeah, you’ll miss out on those Netflix Originals. But you’ll also save some money if you tend to use more data than your internet plan allows.

We also don’t recommend running a home security system with always-recording cameras for the same reason.

Recommended TV bundle

The Sparklight Preferred Package with Starter 100 Plus bundle brings you up to 100 TV channels to surf through plus 100 Mbps download speeds–all at a price that stays under $100 a month.

Granted, your data is still stuck at that low 300 GB cap. But if you’re not streaming Hulu in 4K, you’re less likely to gobble up your 300 GB of data each month. Don’t get us wrong, 300 GB still gives you some leeway to stream a few shows in HD or 4K. Streaming isn’t a long-forgotten dream with this bundle!

Preferred Package with Starter 100 Plus- $95
Sparklight Bundles
Internet download speed:
100 Mbps
Data cap:
300 GB
TV channel count:
Up to 100
$95 a month

Data as of 7/27/2020. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Recommended home security system

Our home security expert, Mindy Woodall, recommends SimpliSafe if you want a reliable, DIY system that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Its SimpliCam camera also has an optional recording plan, and with that plan you can choose when to record so your camera isn’t eating up your Sparklight data cap.

SimpliSafe security system overview
ProviderMonitoring priceCamerasDetails
SimpliSafe$14.99-$24.99/mo.Indoor, doorbellView Plans

Data as of 7/15/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Recommended Sparklight internet plan for a home security system

Starter 100 Plus
Sparklight Internet
Download speed:
100 Mbps
Data cap:
300 GB
$39 a month

Data effective 7/15/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*For the first 6 months $55/mo after trial offer. Offer ends 09/30/2020. $10 charge for each add’l 100 GB; Up to $50/mo.

FAQ

What kind of internet is Sparklight?

Sparklight is cable internet. Other cable internet providers in the US include Xfinity, Spectrum, and Cox.

Is NewWave the same as Cable One?

Yes. In 2017, Cable One (now Sparklight) bought NewWave.8 NewWave was a cable company that served customers in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas.

Sources

  1. Sparklight, “Data Plans: ‘Plus’ Internet Plans,” Accessed July 15, 2020.
  2. Consumer Affairs, “Cable ONE,” July 2020. Accessed July 15, 2020.
  3. Better Business Bureau, “Cable One Inc,” July 2020. Accessed July 15, 2020.
  4. OpenVault, “OVBI: Median Broadband Usage On Pace to Surpass 250 GB Per Month in 2020,” February 2020. Accessed July 16, 2020.
  5. Sparklight, “Digital Services,” Accessed July 16, 2020.
  6. Sparklight, “Service Call Fees,” Accessed July 16, 2020.
  7. American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), “ACSI Telecommunications Report 2019-2020,” June 2020. Accessed July 16, 2020.
  8. Business Wire, “Cable One to Acquire NewWave Communications,” January 2017. Accessed July 16, 2020.

Amazon.com Price; $149.00 (as of 7/27/2020 at 9:00 MST). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Reviews.org utilizes paid Amazon links.