An Honest Spectrum Internet Review, According to Customers

Charter-owned cable internet provider is “fast” and “affordable,” users say, but customer service isn’t always great.

Spectrum Internet at a glance
Spectrum
Overall Quality ⁃ 3.7/5
bullet 3.8/5 - Dollar value
bullet 3.2/5 - Customer experience
bullet 4.0/5 - Speed and reliability
man popping out of a laptop with a speech bubbles with Wi-Fi, thumbs up, piggy bank
Peter Holslin
Brianne Sandorf
Jul 12, 2024
Icon Time To Read9 min read

Spectrum Internet is the way to go if you need a reliable home Wi-Fi connection and can’t get fiber internet in your area. You would get faster speeds from most fiber providers, but Spectrum is much more widely available and still gets you excellent speeds at a reasonable price.

“I would say it’s standard and reliable,” Sakia Anwar, a Spectrum customer in Queens, New York, told Reviews.org in an interview. Like many customers, Anwar chose Spectrum because it’s the fastest and most reliable option in her area.

“They’re very affordable, and if I’m having an issue, they’re very good about troubleshooting,” said Sakia Anwar, a Spectrum customer in Queens, New York.

If you’re looking to save money, a 5G home internet provider like T-Mobile would be a better pick than Spectrum. But Spectrum’s cable connection is far more reliable and consistent than 5G. Plus, you can also take advantage of Spectrum’s regular slate of deals and promos—including a mobile phone bundle that gets you an Unlimited Mobile plan free for a year.

“They’re very affordable, and if I’m having an issue, they’re very good about troubleshooting,” Anwar said. “If needed, they’ll send a technician out right away and get it resolved.”

We took a deep dive into Spectrum Internet and spoke with customers and experts to see what it’s all about. Read on for our comprehensive review.

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Spectrum Internet plans and pricing

Plan
Price per Month
Download speed
Details
Spectrum Internet® $49.99/mo. for 12 mos.*Up to 300 Mbps
Spectrum Internet Ultra$69.99/mo. for 24 mo*500 Mbps
Spectrum Internet® Gig$79.99/mo. for 24 mos.Up to 1000 Mbps
* For 12 months when bundled. Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter.
For 24 months when bundled. Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter.

Spectrum offers three internet packages: Up to 300Mbps for $50 per month, 500Mbps for $70 per month, and up to 1Gig for $80 per month. Speed tiers and prices vary slightly depending on the region you’re in. But a customer can get download speeds up to 1,000Mbps over Spectrum’s “hybrid fiber coaxial” network. Spectrum’s network mostly consists of cable coverage, but customers can get fiber-to-the-home connections in limited areas.

Spectrum also has options for bundling internet with TV and mobile (through the Spectrum Mobile brand), and small businesses can sign up for Spectrum Business Internet.

You get a decent deal from Spectrum—compared to similar cable internet providers, the prices are similar and the terms are better. The modem includes an arbitrary-seeming $5 monthly fee just to use Wi-Fi, but that gets canceled out with a $5 monthly AutoPay discount. (You can also waive the $5 Wi-Fi fee if you buy your own modem.) The monthly bill goes up by $20 after a year of service, but customers get unlimited data and don’t have to sign an annual contract.

Which plan is right for you?

Spectrum's 500Mbps plan is the right plan for most internet users, since it offers the most value regarding speed, price, and data. Since all packages offer unlimited data, the key differentiating factors are price and download speeds, and the $70 per month 500Mbps plan hits the sweet spot.

While the 300Mbps plan is the cheapest Spectrum internet plan, it may not be fast enough if you have more than two internet users or multiple connected devices, such as security cameras or smart home equipment.

Most users don't need gigabit speeds, but for just $10 more than Spectrum's 500Mbps, Spectrum's 1Gig plan is a great choice for large families or users with media-heavy professions.

Spectrum fees for modem and installation

Spectrum modem with no Wi-Fi

Free

Spectrum modem with Wi-Fi

$5.00/mo.

Additional Wi-Fi pods

$3/mo. each

Self-installation kit and service activation

$30.00

Professional installation

$65.00

Early termination fee

None

Data overage fee

None

What makes this Spectrum review legit?

Our fact-based research process centers around interviews with internet customers from across the country, helping us understand how internet services hold up against diverse needs and challenges.

To put together this review, we spoke with six customers over the phone and to two dozen others on Reddit and other online platforms. We let their experiences guide our research and shape our conclusions. We also spoke with a Spectrum spokesperson and an expert on internet technology to get answers about Spectrum’s so-called “hybrid fiber coaxial” network and its budding fiber-optic capabilities. 

how we review products and services

Our breakdown of Spectrum Internet features

For all our internet reviews, we give a rating based on three main criteria—speed and reliability, dollar value, and customer experience—which we then average to make an overall score. 

Want to know how Spectrum Internet stacks up? See our full take below.

Speed and reliability

internet speed
4.0/5.0

Reviews.org’s speed test results show that the average Spectrum customer gets speeds of 140Mbps. That’s considerably slower than what you get from fiber competitors like Google Fiber, and it also comes in behind cable competitors Cox, Optimum, and Xfinity. But it’s not slow by any means, and certainly much better than a DSL line.

The 300Mbps of the basic Spectrum Internet® plan is ideal for a mid-sized household, while Internet Gig is better for a content creator or large family. You don’t get symmetrical speeds either way, but most people don’t need them.

Dollar value

dollar value
3.8/5.0

Spectrum’s pricing structure includes discounted promotional rates for the first year, followed by a $20/mo. price hike on all plans after those first twelve months. There is no annual contract or early cancelation fee on Spectrum plans, so you can switch to a different provider if you don’t feel like paying the regular rate, or call customer service and try to haggle it down.

Typical to a cable provider, Spectrum also imposes extra fees for things that fiber-optic and 5G home providers don’t charge for—you have to fork over $30 for the self-install kit, for example. And while Spectrum technically doesn’t charge for renting a modem, it does have a $5 monthly fee just to use the Wi-Fi. You don't have to pay the fee when you bring your own modem, though. 

Despite the extra fees, you still get a decent deal. You don’t have to worry about data caps or early termination fees when you cancel your service. New customers are eligible for a $5 monthly Autopay discount and a $100 Visa Rewards Card. And you get a free Unlimited Mobile cellular line for one year with any internet plan.

Customer experience

customer experience
3.2/5.0

Spectrum gets mostly average ratings in public surveys. The provider ranked right in the middle for overall satisfaction, price, and customer service in HighSpeedInternet.com’s 2023 customer satisfaction survey, and it got a couple points below average in the 2022-2023 ACSI Telecommunications Study.

The customers that Reviews.org spoke with mostly are happy with their service, but some give marks down for technical support. “It’s totally fine. It’s fast and we’ve never had an outage,” said Anna Harsanyi in New York City. “Just hope you don’t need help from customer service,” said Robyn Straw in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Opinions on Spectrum Internet’s customer service swerve between good and bad—some have positive experience while other customers report dealing with pushy customer service agents and unreliable support on the My Spectrum app.

Overall quality

overall quality
3.7/5.0

Despite the extra fees and limited fiber availability, Spectrum’s robust range of plan options and reliable cable connectivity make it a solid pick for most internet users.

Don’t expect the provider to exceed your expectations, necessarily: You aren’t going to get symmetrical speeds or multi-gig capabilities unless you can get Spectrum’s fiber service in your area, and that’s rare. But you still get a fast, reliable connection with infrequent outages, and the regular deals help counterbalance the $5 Wi-Fi fee (if you rent a modem) and 12-month or 24-month price hike.

Spectrum Internet—What deals and promotions can you get?

Spectrum has stepped up its efforts to give customers a good deal. New customers are eligible for a $100 Visa Rewards Card when you get a plan with 300Mbps speeds or faster, and Spectrum Internet also comes with a 90-day trial of Peacock Premium. Through Spectrum’s wireless brand, Spectrum Mobile, you can also get a free Unlimited Mobile plan.

deals badge
Free Unlimited Spectrum Mobile phone line for 12 mos.

Sign up for a qualifying Spectrum Internet plan to claim this massive deal. Phone line is $29.99/month after the free 12 months is over.

Spectrum add-ons and perks


Sign up for a qualifying Spectrum Internet plan

Free Peacock Premium for 90 days ($5.99/mo. value)


Sign up for a 300 Mbps (or faster) plan

$100 Visa Rewards Card


Sign up for Autopay

$5 monthly discount


What do customers think of Spectrum Internet?

Most of the customers we spoke to about Spectrum decided to sign up because they had no other viable options. Cable internet companies tend to hold a lot of sway in the regions where they operate, and it’s not uncommon for a brand like Spectrum to be the only high-speed internet option in an area.

“Spectrum was the only service provider that offered anything faster than 100Mbps download,” said Sean Huntley, a documentary producer who lives in Glendale, California with his girlfriend, Alex Brown.

“What, are you going to go to a different water company? It’s a water company,” he said.

Huntley and Brown both work in the film industry (Brown is a film editor) and their jobs require them to have a gigabit home internet plan to work from home. So they go for the fastest-possible Spectrum plan. Their speeds usually clock in at around 400–500Mbps. That’s below the 1,000Mbps ceiling that is advertised on their plan, but it’s common for internet connections to fall short of the absolute max. They still get plenty of bandwidth to handle downloading large video files, although uploads take longer.

They have rare outages, and setup was quick. All in all, they’re pleased with their service, even if they would prefer fiber. “It’s been competent—and compulsory,” Huntley jokes.

"Spectrum is competent—and compulsory." - Sean Huntley

Some users report poor customer service and inconsistent speeds

Conrad Burnham, a Spectrum user in Los Angeles, doesn’t have to wait long if there is an outage in his area. “They seem to respond quickly and take care of problems pretty fast,” he said.

But things haven’t gone as smoothly for other Spectrum users—experiences that mirror Spectrum’s middling ratings for customer service. When New York City customer Sakia Anwar experienced a service outage recently, she contacted technical support, only to get stuck on the phone with an upselling customer service agent. He tried to sell her a cable TV plan as she raced to get her internet back up to make it to a work call.

“I told him three or four times, ‘No, I am not interested,’ and he just would not stop,” Anwar recalls. “I think he was reading off a script or something. He was like, ‘Oh, okay, thank you for your feedback,’ and he would keep going on. I wanted to punch him in the throat.”

"I told [the customer service agent] three or four times, ‘No, I am not interested,’ and he just would not stop.” - Sakia Anwar, customer

Robyn Straw, a Spectrum user in St. Cloud, experienced daily outages in summer 2023 that took hours each time to fix. She has missed work calls over Zoom and is now fed up with the long waits that come when she contacts customer service through the My Spectrum app.

“It’s not very customer friendly,” she said, noting that she’s now considering a switch to satellite provider Starlink.

Need to contact Spectrum customer service or tech support?

Does Spectrum have fiber internet?

Spectrum’s internet runs over what it calls a “hybrid fiber coaxial” network. That’s a fancy term used to describe a typical cable internet network: fiber-optic infrastructure makes up a provider’s regional backbone, and then the network switches to coaxial cable for the “last mile” to deliver data into peoples’ homes. That’s not to be confused with a fiber-optic internet service, often referred to as fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), which delivers internet entirely over a fiber network.

But while the bulk of its customers get cable internet only, Spectrum has actually been offering fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) in parts of the country. “It’s a real thing. The company installs it in ‘green’ markets not claimed by other fiber providers,” said Kevin Parrish, a staff writer (and longtime Spectrum customer) at HighSpeedInternet.com. “What it doesn’t do is install FTTH in areas it already delivers cable internet.”

"It's a real thing." – Internet expert Kevin Parrish on Spectrum fiber

It’s not clear how many homes Spectrum has connected to fiber so far—a spokesperson declined to give Reviews.org an exact number. Regardless of the network size, Spectrum’s cable offerings could eventually become as powerful as fiber as the company works to upgrade its core network to support 10Gbps symmetrical speeds.

“Our multiyear network evolution now underway will give us the ability to deliver symmetrical and multi-gigabit speeds across our entire footprint in the coming years,” Bret Picciolo, Vice President of Communications at Charter Communications, tells Reviews.org in an email.

Email
Have thoughts about home internet?

We’re eager to hear from internet customers about their experiences with their home Wi-Fi. Contact us at info@reviews.org to share your thoughts, recommendations, and hot tips.

Where is Spectrum Internet available?

Since Charter’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable in 2016, Spectrum has risen to become one of the most widely available internet service providers in the United States. Search your zip code below to see if you can find it where you live.

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Spectrum Internet vs. the competition

Although Spectrum has plans in the making to compete with fiber, it still can’t top fiber-optic rivals like Verizon or Google Fiber in terms of speed or price.

Spectrum’s cable internet customers simply don’t get the symmetrical upload speeds that fiber internet customers do. With slower uploads, you get longer wait times and more buffering when you upload large files, post to social media, or host a livestream. Many fiber internet providers also don’t impose price hikes on their plans, so you end up paying less over time than you would with a cable provider like Spectrum.

“Spectrum needs to get rid of promo rates and drastically lower their regular rates to be competitive in areas with fiber,” one Reddit user, teavoo, told Reviews.org. “I would need a very significant discount to give up fiber for Spectrum, like maybe $35 [per month] on a regular [rate], not a promo rate.”

Compare internet providers and prices

Provider
Prices
Download speeds
Upload speeds
Connection type
View plans
Spectrum Internet®$24.99-$79.9950-1000 Mbps4-35 MbpsCable
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet$50-$70^72–245 Mbps15–31 MbpsFixed Wireless
Verizon Fios Home Internet$49.99-$109.99°300-2300 Mbps10-2300 MbpsFiber
Verizon 5G Home Internet$35-$80**300-1000 Mbps10-50 MbpsFixed Wireless
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter.
^ w/ Auto Pay. Regulatory fees included in monthly price for qualified accounts. See full terms.
° Price per month with Auto Pay & without select 5G mobile plans. Fios plan prices include taxes & fees
** w/ Auto Pay. Available in select areas.

5G home internet is a low-cost Spectrum alternative

Spectrum also isn’t as affordable as 5G home internet options from T-Mobile or Verizon. However, you're better off with Spectrum if you need fast speeds and a reliable connection.

With price hikes baked into the deal, Spectrum’s plans end up costing customers more than a 5G plan, which usually comes with a fixed price for two years or longer. 5G home internet also doesn’t have extra fees for things like installation or equipment.

However, Spectrum still beats 5G when it comes to speed—a cable connection is much more consistent than a wireless connection beamed from a cellular tower.

Spectrum Internet FAQ

Generally, yes. Spectrum customers report its service as reliable and sufficient for their needs despite occasional slow speeds, though they'd prefer fiber if it were available.

Check to see if Spectrum is experiencing an outage. If so, reboot your Spectrum equipment, which is sometimes necessary after an outage.

A poor Wi-Fi connection can generally be traced to a few possible factors: your Wi-Fi device, your equipment, or your network. Check out our internet troubleshooting guide to learn more about improving your connection.

According to Spectrum's 2024 first-quarter reports, residential Internet customers decreased by 72,000, marking a notable contrast from the 67,000 increase observed in the first quarter of 2023.

In its quarterly report, Spectrum plans to upgrade its network to be more affordable than competitors, aiming to deliver symmetrical and multi-gigabit speeds throughout its entire service area.

Want Spectrum Internet? Find it in your area

Spectrum offers a solid deal on reliable internet, so it’s worth signing up. Run a search below to see if Spectrum is available where you live.

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Peter Holslin
Written by
Peter is a journalist and editor who has been covering tech, culture, and music since the late 2000s. Prior to joining the Reviews.org team, he was the senior staff writer at HighSpeedInternet.com, where he covered 5G, mobile hotspots, and internet services. As a freelancer, he’s also written for Rolling Stone, VICE, BuzzFeed, Pitchfork, LA Weekly, and many other publications. He studied writing and journalism at The New School University in New York City and got his start in the media industry as the music editor of the California alt-weekly San Diego CityBeat. He’s also a musician and DJ and owns too many vinyl records for his own good.

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