Spectrum Internet Review 2022

The nation’s second-largest cable internet provider has decent prices, fast speeds, and no data caps or contracts. But is that enough to outweigh its bogus fees and poor customer service?  
Spectrum Internet Plans
Spectrum
4 out of 5 stars
4
  • pro
    Spectrum offers good prices for most speeds
  • pro
    No contracts or data caps
  • con
    Slower download speeds than advertised
Plan
Price
Download speed
Details
Spectrum Internet®$49.99/mo. for 12 mos.*Up to 300 Mbps
Spectrum Internet® Ultra$69.99/mo. for 12 mos.*Up to 500 Mbps
Spectrum Internet® Gig$89.99/mo. for 12 mos.Up to 1000 Mbps^
Data effective 08/15/22. 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.
Wireless speeds may vary.
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 Internet® Gig promotion price is $89.99/mo; standard rates apply after yr. 1. Taxes, fees and surcharges extra and subject to change during and after the promotional period; installation/network activation, equipment and additional services are extra.
^ Speed based on wired connection. Available Internet speeds may vary by address. Gig capable modem required for Gig speed. For a list of Gig capable modems, visit Spectrum.net/modem.
Mindy Woodall
Managing Editor, Home Security & Smart Home
Read More
April 26, 2022
9 min read

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Banner advertising latest deals from Spectrum

While the Spectrum Internet service received some not-so-great news coverage in the past,1 it offers up some good prices and download speeds when compared to other internet service providers (ISPs) that cover the same locations.

To top that off, Spectrum Internet plans come with a few extra perks you might not find elsewhere, like unlimited data. So is Spectrum the right internet provider for you? Let's dig into the facts and find out.

Pros
  • Spectrum has good prices for most speeds
  • There are no contracts
  • There are also no data caps
Cons
  • Spectrum might have download speeds that may be slower than advertised
  • This internet provider gives poor customer service
Compare Spectrum and other internet providers in your area.

Is Spectrum Internet right for you?

Before we get into the details, let's figure out if Spectrum is the right fit for you. 

One thing we like is that Spectrum is widely available across the US. Use that zip code internet finder above to see if you live in one of the 42 states it's available.

Spectrum only has three plans to choose from, and we wish their Gig plan was a little less expensive. In comparison to Xfinity internet, our top pick, Spectrum offers three fewer plans and the Gig internet is $15 more. Compared to Cox Internet, Spectrum has more expensive plans, especially after the second-year price hikes.

We do like how Spectrum doesn't require you to sign a contract, but the Spectrum Internet service could be a little better (this is why it didn't make our top five).


Spectrum prices and plans

Spectrum has a couple good deals, but we'd love to see a lower price on its Gig plan

If you're looking for fast download speeds that'll keep a family gaming and streaming over the weekend, Spectrum has you covered. It offers a few different plans with speeds ranging from up to 200 to 1,000 Mbps.* Each of those speeds is juicy enough to keep that buffering icon away.

But we're not gonna lie, we'd love to see more plans from Spectrum. That's because we love choices, and right now Spectrum doesn't offer anything in the way of slower download speeds at lower prices.

Sure, the price for its up to 200 Mbps plan* is reasonable, but what about solo gamers or casual web surfers that don't need that much speed? (Of course, more speed is better than less speed, so we still think the Spectrum Internet® plan is a deal.)

Looking for a Time Warner Cable or Charter Spectrum Communications internet review?
Light Bulb

You're in the right place. Back in 2016, Charter Communications bought both Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. Yup, now all that ISP prowess is housed under one name, Spectrum. And you’ll find all the juicy details right here in our Spectrum internet review.

Spectrum prices and plans
Plan
Price
Download speed
Data cap
Details
Spectrum Internet®$49.99/mo. for 12 mos.*Up to 300 MbpsUnlimited
Spectrum Internet® Ultra$69.99/mo. for 12 mos.*Up to 500 MbpsUnlimited
Spectrum Internet® Gig$89.99/mo. for 12 mos.Up to 1000 Mbps^Unlimited
Data effective 08/15/22. 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.
Wireless speeds may vary.
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 Internet® Gig promotion price is $89.99/mo; standard rates apply after yr. 1. Taxes, fees and surcharges extra and subject to change during and after the promotional period; installation/network activation, equipment and additional services are extra.
^ Speed based on wired connection. Available Internet speeds may vary by address. Gig capable modem required for Gig speed. For a list of Gig capable modems, visit Spectrum.net/modem.

You might hear Spectrum compared to AT&T Fiber or Frontier. That's because these three ISPs serve some of the same parts of the US.

When it comes to price, we think AT&T Fiber offers the best value—and the lowest prices. AT&T Fiber is also a fiber internet connection, which tends to be more reliable than the cable internet connection Spectrum uses.

But if you can't get AT&T Fiber and instead have a choice of Spectrum versus Frontier, we'd go with Spectrum. Frontier's prices start out great, but quickly skyrocket to the highest price we've seen for a gig speed plan.

Spectrum price comparison
Provider
Monthly price
Download speeds
Data cap
Learn more
Spectrum Internet®$49.99/mo. for 12 mos.$89.99/mo. for 12 mos.°3001000 MbpsUnlimited
AT&T Fiber$55.00/mo.$180.00/mo.**3005000 MbpsUnlimited
Frontier Fiber Internet$49.99/mo.$149.99/mo.††5002000 MbpsUnlimited
Data effective 05/04/22. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
° For the first 12 months.
** Price after $5/mo Autopay & Paperless bill discount (w/in 2 bills). Plus taxes $ fees. Limited availability. May not be available in your area.
†† Requires Auto Pay or $5/mo. fee applies. Beginning April 2022, a printed bill fee of $2.99/mo. will apply, NY, PA and select customers excluded. A $10 fee applies when Internet is disconnected. Equipment return required at disconnection, up to $150 per device if not returned. Multi-Device Security covers up to 10 devices. Other applicable charges and additional services are extra. Service subject to availability. Cannot be combined with other offers. Other restrictions, Frontier policies and service terms apply.

Is Spectrum Internet available in your area?

Spectrum Internet is available in 42 states, so chances are pretty good that it's available near you. Especially if you live in the northeastern US, where Spectrum is focused on connecting cities and towns to the world wide web.

A map of the US shows 42 states where Spectrum internet is available

Of the states where you can find Spectrum, here are the top five states with the most availability:

  1. Ohio
  2. Maine
  3. New York
  4. Wisconsin
  5. North Carolina

If you're not sure whether the Spectrum Internet service is available in your hometown, we can help you out. Just enter your zip code below and we'll tell you if Spectrum is in your area.

Search for Spectrum Internet plans in your area

Spectrum Internet speed

Stream in 4K or download your entire Steam library without worrying about data charges

We mentioned we wished Spectrum offered more choices for download speeds, but what speeds it does offer are great for streaming The Expanse on Amazon Prime Video or teaming up with your buddies in a PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds match.

The up to 200 Mbps plan* should be hefty enough to keep parents happily streaming Schitt's Creek while their kiddo watches Phineas and Ferb on Disney+. (Just maybe not in the same room.)

But if you've got more than a few connected devices, like cell phones, home security systems, and smart TVs, and still want to binge-watch The Great British Baking Show when you come home from work, you'll probably want to upgrade to Spectrum's up to 400 plan.*

And that Spectrum Internet Gig plan? That's perfect for a large family who loves to do all of the above—or for serious gamers or adults who make a living working from home.

Did you know about Spectrum Mobile cell phone plans?

Spectrum is one of the largest cable TV and internet providers in the country. If you're considering Spectrum TV in your area, then Spectrum mobile is probably an option for you too. Check out Spectrum's mobile plans to see if it makes sense to bundle your services. 

Spectrum download speeds and upload speeds
Plan
Download speed
Upload speed
Data cap
Details
Spectrum Internet®Up to 300 Mbps10 MbpsUnlimited
Spectrum Internet® UltraUp to 500 Mbps20 MbpsUnlimited
Spectrum Internet® GigUp to 1000 Mbps^35 MbpsUnlimited
Data effective 08/15/22. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Wireless speeds may vary.
^ Speed based on wired connection. Available Internet speeds may vary by address. Gig capable modem required for Gig speed. For a list of Gig capable modems, visit Spectrum.net/modem.

So what about all this news coverage of Spectrum's slower-than-advertised speeds? Yeah, we've heard about that too, and it has us shaking our heads in disappointment.

In our latest analysis of the fastest internet providers in the US, Spectrum ranked 14th out of the 38 total ISPs we analyzed. That puts it far below other cable internet providers like RCN (ranked 6th), Xfinity (ranked 7th), and Optimum (ranked 9th).

Spectrum Internet speed scores2
Provider
Overall rank
Cable ISP rank
Spectrum Internet®

14th out of 38 ISPs

7th out of 22 cable ISPs

Really quick, we want to note that Spectrum's weighted score of 35.6 out of 100 isn't representative of any download speeds you might see with it. Instead, that weighted score is a combination of the average download speeds, upload speeds, and latency that Spectrum Internet customers saw in more than 1 million speed tests taken between January and December 2019.

Our highest-ranked cable internet provider, RCN, earned 47.4 out of 100, while our lowest-ranked cable provider, Sparklight, earned 31.5 out of 100. That puts Spectrum toward the bottom of the pack when it comes to high-speed internet access from large cable ISPs. So, we expect that you'll likely get slower speeds than what you pay for with Spectrum.

The somewhat silver lining is that Spectrum has no contracts. So if you find your download speeds waning and customer service is no help, it's easy to put a stop to your service and find someone else. You won't get slapped with early termination fees either.

What speeds do I need?
Light Bulb

Not sure if Spectrum’s download speeds are enough for you? Check out our Mbps guide for more info.

Data caps

Spectrum will neither throttle your speeds nor charge you extra for your data use. That's the best kind of "no" we've ever heard.

While most ISPs offer only 1 TB of data (which is usually more than enough data for most of us), Spectrum's unlimited data is a dream come true for anyone who uses the web for file sharing, (legally) downloading movies, or working from home.


Contracts, equipment, and fees

Spectrum comes with no contract, but you'll still pay for installation and a Wi-Fi activation fee

We like that Spectrum offers a no-contract internet option because it frees you up to switch providers if you’re moving homes or unsatisfied with the service. That's perfect if you're renting, temporarily in a city for work, or just don't like commitments. (We get it.)

Other options for no-contract internet access that may be in your area include Frontier and Xfinity.

The only issues we have with Spectrum are it's additional fees. Those fees are a confusing bunch, so we'll try to clear them up for you.

Equipment

Spectrum throws in a free modem with your internet, which is pretty nice of them. Most other companies charge anywhere from $10 to $20 extra a month to rent equipment.

Of course, you can still bring your own modem and router combo if you prefer. If you need a recommendation, we're fans of this ARRIS SURFboard modem router combo from Amazon.

Service fees

The professional installation fee for the Spectrum Internet and Spectrum Internet Ultra plans is one of the most reasonable we've seen. Spectrum also gives its customers the option to self-install.

  • Pro installation fees: $49.99 
  • Self installation fee: $19.99
  • Early termination fees: No contract means no early termination fee. Yay!

Spectrum TV's customer service

Spectrum's customer service improved over the last year, but there's still room for more improvement

Internet service as a whole doesn't do well in the customer service department. We know that's no excuse, but we want to put the situation in perspective before we dive into how Spectrum's customer service performs.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) scores ISPs for customer service each year, and the internet industry averaged a score of 65 out of 100 for 2021.3 So if you look at Spectrum's latest score of 63 out of 100, it may not seem that great. But that score is still a major improvement from two years ago, when Spectrum scored a lackluster 59 out of 100.

Spectrum customer service rating3
Customer service rating
Spectrum

ACSI 2020

63 out of 100

So, while we're pleased to see Spectrum improved over the past couple of years, we're still expecting bigger and better things from it.

But if you have no other choice but to call customer service, what can you do? First thing's first, take a deep breath and grab a pen and paper.

  1. Use online chat or email if you can. Chat and email free you up to continue living your life without a cell phone attached to your ear. Both of these methods also keep a log of what was said or promised, which is perfect if you need to refer back to it for proof.
  2. Advocate for yourself. If your current customer service rep isn't cutting it, ask to speak to someone else—or their manager. It may seem disrespectful, but at the end of the day you're the customer and you deserve fair and respectful treatment!
  3. Negotiate. Spectrum doesn't have contracts, so this can be a huge bargaining chip for you. Research other internet providers' prices and speeds before you call or chat, and don't be afraid to say you'll cancel your service if Spectrum can't give you what you're asking for.

Get in touch with Spectrum here:


How does Spectrum Internet compare to the competitors?

As we mentioned earlier, Spectrum Internet barely made our top internet service provider picks

Although it's still a good provider for some, we'll give you some context of how Spectrum stacks up against our top four internet providers.

Spectrum Internet competitor comparison
Provider
Monthly price
Download speeds
Data cap
Learn more
Spectrum$49.99/mo. for 12 mos.$89.99/mo. for 12 mos.°3001000 MbpsUnlimited
Xfinity$24.99$80‡‡751200 Mbps1.2 TBUnlimited
Verizon Authorized Dealer$49.99$119.99^^3002048 MbpsUnlimited
Centurylink$30$70°°100940 MbpsUnlimited
ATT$55**75100 Mbps1 TBUnlimited
Data effective 08/15/22. 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.
^^ w/ Auto Pay + taxes & equip. charges.
°° New customers only. Rate requires paperless billing and excludes taxes. Additional fees apply.
** Price after $5/mo Autopay & Paperless bill discount (w/in 2 bills). Plus taxes $ fees. Limited availability. May not be available in your area.

Our picks: The best Spectrum Internet plan

Best budget pick for most families: Spectrum Internet

Who it’s best for: If your family loves to stream videos or play Farming Simulator 19 together online, the Spectrum Internet plan's up to 200 Mbps* is fast enough to keep you connected on a budget.

But hey, if your house is home to a large family, you've got kiddos uploading YouTube videos, or a partner who works from home, you'll want to look into the up to 400 or 1,000 Mbps* plans instead.

Why we picked it: The price Spectrum charges for its up to 200 Mbps plan* isn't the best out there, but it's still reasonable. We also think it's the best deal of all three Spectrum plans available. So if you're stuck on a budget but still love to game and stream reruns of Parks and Recreation, we think this plan is the perfect compromise.

4 out of 5 stars
4
Download speed:
Up to 200 Mbps
Data cap:
Unlimited
$49.99/mo for 12 mos.
Data effective 08/15/2022. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Recap: Is Spectrum Internet good?

Spectrum’s got okay pricing and customer service, but on the plus side it pairs its fast speeds with unlimited data and no contracts

As the nation’s second largest internet provider, Spectrum has to compete with big dogs like Xfinity, Verizon Wireless, and AT&T.

How does it stack up? Mmm, so-so if you ask us.

It’s widely available in the United States, offers a wide range of speeds that work for streaming or gaming households, and keeps you going with unlimited data—all while avoiding contracts.

But its confusing fees and iffy customer service make us hesitate. Can you find better than Spectrum? Yes. But are there worse ISPs out there? Again, yes.

Spectrum internet prices and plans recap

  • Spectrum Internet: $49.99/mo. for the first 12 months, up to 200 Mbps download speeds,* no data cap
  • Spectrum Internet Ultra: $69.99/mo. for the first 12 months, up to 400 Mbps download speeds,* no data cap
  • Spectrum Internet Gig: $89.99/mo. for the first 12 months, up to 1,000 Mbps download speeds,* no data cap

Data effective 4/26/2022. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Methodology

We research and rate our internet providers based on the following criteria:

  • Prices
  • Availability
  • Speed scores
  • Customer service scores
  • Connection type

After comparing the criteria, we give you our honest opinion about each provider while giving you the information you need to know before signing up.


Spectrum FAQs

Who owns Spectrum Internet?

Back in 2016, Charter Communications bought both Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. Now, all that ISP prowess is housed under one name, making Charter the proud new owner of Spectrum.

How much is Spectrum Internet after 12 months?

After 12 months of service, your prices will increase by $21 for internet. Since Spectrum doesn’t require a contract, your promotional price isn’t guaranteed after the first year (although it’s worth calling and negotiating for if you’re an existing customer).

How do I install Spectrum Internet?

If you already have a cable connection and basic knowledge of modems and routers, you can set it up yourself. It’s straightforward enough if you’ve set-up a Wi-Fi network before, but there’s a Spectrum video if you haven’t.


Sources

*Wireless speeds may vary.
°Speed based on wired connection. Available Internet speeds may vary by address. Gig capable modem required for Gig speed. For a list of Gig capable modems, visit Spectrum.net/modem.


Mindy Woodall
Written by
Mindy Woodall
Mindy has been writing about technology for seven years. She covers all things smart home for Reviews.org, and keeps track of the latest robot gadgets. Mindy attended the University of Utah and her work has been featured on the likes of Parents.com, Digital Care, Hostfully, and more.

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