Spectrum Internet vs. Google Fiber

Spectrum is available in more markets than Google, but Google Fiber is the better choice for both value and performance.

Best performance
Price per month
$70.00–$150.00
Download Speeds
1000-8000 Mbps
Upload Speeds
1000-8000 Mbps
Best prices
Price per month
$50.00–$80.00
Download Speeds
30-1000 Mbps
Upload Speeds
4-35 Mbps
Easton Smith
Mar 12, 2024
Icon Time To Read7 min read

Google is one of the five largest tech companies in the U.S. It’s no surprise that it created an internet service designed both by and for highly connected people.

On the other hand, Spectrum is a legacy communications company with services that are likely to meet the needs and budget of the average family.

There’s a lot to consider about these two internet service providers (ISPs), but we’ve got you covered. In this comparison, we’ll go over price, performance, plans, availability, fees, and customer service so you’ll know whether Google Fiber or Spectrum Internet is the best fit for you.

Google Fiber pros and cons

Pros
  • Multi-gig download and upload speeds
  • No fees or contracts
  • Good customer service
Cons
  • No low-budget plans
  • Limited availability

Spectrum Internet pros and cons

Pros
  • 300–1,000Mbps download speeds
  • No contracts or hidden fees
  • Wide availability
Cons
  • Slower upload speeds
  • Mediocre customer service

Google Fiber vs. Spectrum Internet plans and pricing

Spectrum has the cheapest low-speed plan, but for medium and high speeds, Google Fiber provides more internet for less money.

Google Fiber is a leader in high-speed internet. Its base 1 Gig plan offers roughly the same download speeds as Spectrum’s top tier. But that’s where the similarities end. Let’s dive a little deeper into the ways these companies differ from each other.

Google Fiber internet plans

Google is known for keeping things simple, and its internet plans reflect that. Its internet plans are named after the offered gigabits per second (Gbps) download speed. For reference, a gigabit is equal to 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps), which basically translates to really fast.

With Google, those speeds are generally symmetrical, meaning that your upload speeds are equal to download speeds. Upload speeds are important for anyone who needs to send a lot of data through the internet, like gamers or livestreamers.

Google Fiber Internet deals
Plan
Price
Download speed
Upload speed
Details
1 Gig$70/mo.*1000 Mbps1000 Mbps
2 Gig$100/mo.*2000 Mbps1000 Mbps
5 Gig$125/mo.5000 Mbps5000 Mbps
8 Gig$150/mo.8000 Mbps8000 Mbps
* Plus taxes and fees. Upload/download speed and device streaming claims are based on maximum wired speeds. Actual Internet speeds are not guaranteed and may vary based on factors such as hardware and software limitations, latency, packet loss, etc.
Available in select markets only. Plus taxes and fees. Upload/download speed and device streaming claims are based on maximum wired speeds. Actual Internet speeds are not guaranteed and may vary based on factors such as hardware and software limitations, latency, packet loss, etc.

You’ll see that each higher tier gives you roughly double the speed for approximately $30 more per month. This means that by the time you get to the 8 Gig plan, you are only paying $19 per gigabit. That’s a sweet deal if you need this kind of speed.

We think the 1 Gig plan will be sufficient for the browsing habits of an average family. And at $70 per month, we’d say you’re getting a competitive price.

While 1Gbps is widely considered to be fast internet, some highly connected households or businesses may want to consider upgrading to the 2 Gig, 5 Gig, or even 8 Gig plans.

How much internet do you really need?
Info Box

If you’re worried about getting too little (or too much) speed, check out our article about internet speeds to help you understand the demands of everyday activities, like streaming, gaming, and Zooming with the grandkids.

A lot of companies advertise that they have no contracts or hidden fees but then hide them in the fine print.  This is not true for Google Fiber. In fact, it even publishes a list of potential fees so that you won’t have any surprises down the road.

In the majority of cases, installation and equipment are free. There are never any contracts or fees for early termination. All in all, we are big fans of Google Fiber’s straightforward approach to fees.

To sum it up, we think that Google Fiber is going to be great for:

  • Typical households that rely on fast internet for home entertainment
  • Anyone who needs fast upload speeds, such as online gamers or aspiring TikTok influencers
  • Those who work from home and rely on internet for video calls and uploading large files
  • Larger households with multiple people using multiple connected devices

Spectrum Internet plans

Spectrum offers three basic cable internet plans: Internet, Internet Ultra, and Internet Gig. The prices range from $50 to $80 per month.

Spectrum’s lowest tier offers 300Mbps download speed, which is a decent option for budget–conscious families that use the internet for casual browsing and streaming. Especially for those in North Carolina, who can get this plan for $10 less than other regions.

Those who need a little more power under the hood might consider paying the extra $20 to $40 per month to essentially double or triple their max speeds.

Spectrum Internet deals

Plan
Price
Download speed
Upload Speed
Details
Spectrum Internet® $49.99/mo. for 12 mos.Up to 300 MbpsUp to 10 Mbps
Spectrum Internet Ultra$69.99/mo. for 24 mo500 Mbps20 Mbps
Spectrum Internet® Gig$79.99/mo. for 24 mos.^Up to 1000 MbpsUp to 35 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’s plans do not require a contract, so you can cancel at any time. Just be aware that your monthly cost is likely to increase after the 12-month or 24-month promo period if you sign up for the Spectrum Internet or Internet Gig plans.

In most cases, Spectrum Internet will come with an equipment fee and a one-time installation fee. Our Spectrum Internet Review covers these in detail so you can know what to expect.

In short, we might recommend a Spectrum Internet plan to:

  • Smaller families looking for a basic internet plan
  • Larger families that stream and download content but don’t have any serious gamers or content uploaders in the home
  • Those with work-from-home jobs requiring basic office functions and video conferencing

Google Fiber vs. Spectrum Internet Speeds

Google Fiber is the faster internet provider, but some folks might not need all that speed.

The main difference between Google Fiber and Spectrum Internet is speed.

Google Fiber utilizes a new network of fiber optic cables to deliver astronomical speeds up to 8,000Mbps. Meanwhile, Spectrum uses a pre-existing cable television infrastructure to deliver up to 1,000Mbps through coaxial cable.

As we’ve seen, both companies offer plans with 1Gbps download speed for a similar price. So what’s the big difference?

Well, remember those symmetrical speeds we mentioned earlier? It means that with Google Fiber, you’ll be getting equally fast download and upload speeds. Those fast upload speeds are essential for serious gamers, many work-from-home professionals, and anyone who uploads lots of content or large files to the web.

Compared to Google, Spectrum’s upload speeds leave something to be desired.  While its maximum 35Mbps might be enough for casual users, serious uploaders will probably notice the limitation.

Still have questions about upload vs. download speeds?
Bullhorn

Check out this explainer article to learn more about how the two types of internet speeds might affect your online experience.

Google Fiber takes the cake for fastest speeds. According to our research, It is one of the fastest options on the market, which makes it hard for other companies like Spectrum to compete.

Google Fiber vs. Spectrum Internet Availability

Spectrum’s network has a much wider reach than Google Fiber, which appears to favor connection quality over quantity.

Google Fiber has been taking its time growing into new markets. At the moment, the company’s core internet service is available in these nine major metro areas:

  • Huntsville, Ala.
  • Orange County, Calf.
  • Atlanta, Ga.
  • West Des Moines, Iowa (coming soon)
  • Kansas City, Kan. and Mo.
  • Charlotte and The Triangle, N.C.
  • Nashville, Tenn.
  • Austin and San Antonio, Texas
  • Provo and Salt Lake City, Utah

The company offers a secondary plan called Google Fiber Webpass in seven additional cities. Check out our Google Fiber and Google Webpass review for additional information about Webpass.

In terms of availability, Spectrum Internet certainly has the edge. It is available in most U.S. states, coast to coast, and Hawaii. See if your state is covered in the availability map below!

spectrum internet availability map

We’ve heard rumors that Google Fiber might be expanding into a handful of additional markets someday, but for now, consider yourself lucky if you live in Google’s coverage area.

Meanwhile, chances are good that Spectrum is already available where you live, especially if you happen to be in the northeastern U.S.

If you’re still unsure whether Google Fiber or Spectrum Internet are available in your neighborhood, just enter your zip code in the box below, and we’ll pull up a list of every internet provider in your area.

reviews.org next zip logo

Spectrum Internet vs. Google Fiber customer service

Google Fiber sets a high bar for customer service, while Spectrum might be content to fall back on mediocre industry standards.

People are generally unhappy with their telecommunications companies, in no small part due to lackluster customer service across the industry.  This phenomenon may be driven, in part, by a drought of competition in markets where only one or two ISPs are available.

This is why it’s such a pleasant surprise to see any internet company provide stellar customer service.  And believe it or not, Google Fiber received high marks in customer satisfaction across the board in a recent Consumer Reports study.

On the other hand, Spectrum’s customer service falls somewhere in the middle. According to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report, it scored 64 out of 100, which is just below average.

We hope that you never run into trouble with your internet service. But in reality, most of us will need to call or chat with our ISP every once in a while. When that time comes, we would rather dial the number for Google Fiber than Spectrum.

Here are the customer service numbers you can use if you do find yourself needing assistance with Google or Spectrum.

Spectrum Internet customer service:

  • Call +1-833-949-0036
  • Visit www.spectrum.net/support

Google Fiber customer service:

  • Call +1-866-777-7550
  • Visit www.fiber.google.com/support

Recap: Which is better for you?

High speeds at a reasonable price is where Google Fiber really shines. However, its bottom–tier plan still costs $70. Casual internet users might be happy to save $20 per month for the slower Spectrum Internet plan.

If you’re looking for a fast and reliable ISP with transparent pricing, Google Fiber might be the best fit for you. It also doesn’t hurt that when things do go wrong, Google users feel like they can get the customer service support they need.

Let’s review the biggest factors that we covered in this article. At the end of the day, the decision is yours!

  • Plans and prices: Spectrum has a 300Mbps plan that is cheaper than anything Google offers, but if you want a gig or more in speed, Google Fiber gets you more speed for less money.
  • Speeds: Google Fiber brings users symmetrical download and upload speeds that are great for all kinds of internet users. Spectrum’s upload speeds are fine for casual users, but may be insufficient for some households.
  • Availability: Spectrum serves a larger geographical area than Google Fiber, whose availability is currently limited to a select handful of cities.
  • Our advice: Virtually every type of internet user is going to be happy with Google Fiber’s service if they live in a city where it is available. For casual users who just want to catch the next episode of Suits on Netflix, Spectrum’s most affordable plan might be a wise choice.

Methodology

Our goal is to publish articles that are informative, accessible, and accurate. To do this, we start by conducting lots of research. We used that research, along with anecdotal experience, industry studies, and user testimonials to write this Spectrum Internet vs. Google Fiber article.

First, we checked out the latest information available directly from both companies about plans, pricing, performance, availability, and customer satisfaction. Next, we referenced third-party sources and people we know who have experience with these services. In the end, we hope to present a clear and concise synthesis of everything we learned through the process.

If you have any questions or feedback about this article, please don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know! 

Easton Smith
Written by
Easton Smith
Easton has worked as a freelance writer and researcher for several years, reviewing health, lifestyle, and technology products. He has probably read more Terms of Use contracts than any human alive. When he’s not sitting in front of a computer, Easton spends his time camping, climbing, and volunteering with humanitarian aid organizations.

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