Mediacom Cable Internet Review
- March 26, 2018 - We’ve elaborated on details around Mediacom’s services to give readers a fuller picture of its service. Specifically, its Xtream WiFi product and fees.
- January 24, 2018 - We’ve updated this review to address Mediacom's new speed and data limit options. We also reformatted the presentation of information to more clearly display our research.
Our Mediacom Cable Internet Review
Mediacom boasts impressive high-speed internet ranging from 60 Mbps to a whopping 1,000 Mbps. It’s unlikely you’ll need speeds that high; even 100 Mbps is plenty for a four person-household of video streamers. If your home has previously had trouble maintaining those high speeds throughout the house, Mediacom has a WiFi mesh system cleverly coined Xtream WiFi that will help eliminate dead zones.
Typically, internet providers implement a hard data limit, restricting the amount of information you can upload, download, and stream. But Mediacom offers choices here too, with data caps ranging from 400 GB to 6,000 GB. The majority of households won’t ever reach 400 GB. Some providers like CenturyLink cap out at 250 GB, while others like Charter Spectrum come with no data caps at all. If you need internet service for more than five or so people, and for demanding activity like streaming or gaming, 6,000 GB becomes more appealing.
Be warned: The power of choice come at the cost of customer service. Mediacom consistently ranks far below the average in consumer surveys from Consumer Reports, J.D. Power, and the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). However, if you do sign up and are unhappy with your service, Mediacom has a unique 90-day money-back guarantee (more on that later).
There’s not much Mediacom claims to excel at, but one tagline stands out. The company claims that “every service from Mediacom can be customized to fit your needs.” On its own, that gives consumers the impression that they can completely design their services to their specific usage habits.
Is it True?
Mediacom’s “customization” is really just selecting from its speed options. It has a range of high-speed choices; 60 Mbps, 100 Mbps, 200 Mbps, 500 Mbps, and 1,000 Mbps. If, for example, you wanted something a little slower (and cheaper), for more basic internet use or fewer users, you can’t “customize” the internet service to anything less than 60 Mbps.
This industry’s customer service reputation is notoriously terrible. Even the best-ranking ISP, Verizon Fios, received a considerably low score of 71 out of 100 from ACSI. That’s a C-. But Mediacom consistently ranks near the bottom with 58 — a solid F. While the ACSI doesn’t list specific reasons for a providers’ low score, it’s an indicator that customers experience long hold times, inconsistent performance, or frequent billing issues.
Mediacom offers 60 Mbps ($40/mo) and 100 Mbps ($50/mo) as its two base plans. For faster speeds, you’ll have to choose its 100 Mbps and add a “speed boost” during checkout. For an additional $10 every month and Mediacom will add 100 Mbps to your base speed. $20 gets you an extra 400 Mbps; $30 will add 900 Mbps.
Mediacom’s “speed boost” charade is an unusual way to organize its offerings. Other ISPs are more straightforward and offer separate plans and prices (which tend to be lower, by the way). For example, 1,000 Mbps with Mediacom will add up $90 per month, before $10 modem rentals and other fees. With AT&T, 1,000 Mbps is $80 per month.
Mediacom also requires a $100 professional installation for its services, which could be frustrating if you would prefer to install it yourself right away. The upside of that? The appointment window is only 30 minutes, and you can schedule it during the weekend. We appreciate that the company doesn’t force us to take a day off work and wait around all day for a technician.
A Closer Look at Features
$10 Activation Fee
$100 Installation Fee
Our Deep Dive
Mediacom Plans & Pricing
- High-Speed Plans: Mediacom’s internet plans cater to the active internet user, with a vast range of speeds from 60 Mbps to 1,000 Mbps. You choose a base plan, usually internet 60 or 100, and then “speed boost” your plan to 200 Mbps, 500 Mbps, or 1,000 Mbps. Each boost will cost an incremental $10 more per month. Your data allowance will increase in increments too.
- Xtream WiFi router: Mediacom advertises its version of a mesh WiFi system called Xtream WiFi. Basically, it uses additional router pods to eliminate dead zones and better extend WiFi around large homes. Mediacom claims its suited for home between 1,000 and 3,000 square feet, or two or more floors. It’s free for the first three months. After that, it will cost $5 per month. If you live in a large home that struggles to maintain strong WiFi performance throughout, consider this solution or purchase your own WiFi mesh system.
- Data caps: Like with speed, Mediacom’s data options will appeal to advanced internet users and large homes. As you increase your speed plans, data will increase in increments that start at 400 GB and reach up to 6,000 GB. Though some providers offer unlimited data, 6,000 GB is more than plenty for most people. For example, Xfinity reports that the average data usage of its customers hovers around 130 GB per month.
- Bundling services: In most cities, you can get TV and Internet service starting at just $40 per month. That specific bundle unlocks 100+ channels and 60 Mbps. While it seems like an excellent deal, your bill might be closer to $110. You’ll pay a standard $10 modem rental fee and $10 local station surcharge each month, too. And on your first bill, you’ll need to pay the $100 installation fee, and $10 activation fee.
Mediacom Customer Satisfaction
- Customer service: When it comes to satisfying its customers, Mediacom trends towards disappointment. The American Consumer Satisfaction Index rated them 58/100, and it only managed to rank in the West region with 2/5 from J.D. Power, the lowest publishable score. Complaints typically consist of unresolved issues, frequent outages, and double billing.
- Reliability: Across all types of internet, Mediacom provides above-average reliability to customers. In 2016, the Federal Communications Commission reported on the performance and reliability of internet providers, including how often their subscribers receive advertised speeds. Mediacom provided advertised speeds about 80 percent of the time. That’s better than Cox, which does so 75 percent of the time — but pales next to Comcast, which achieves its advertised speeds just over 90 percent of the time.
- 90-Day money-back guarantee: As a small redemption for its subpar customer service, Mediacom does offer a 90-day money-back guarantee. If you experience any grievances within the first 90-days, you cancel your service without contract penalties. Be sure to follow up and request your refund as Mediacom carefully words its guarantee, “may disconnect during the first 90 days and, on request, receive a full refund of monthly service and equipment rental(s) actually paid.”
Mediacom Internet vs. The Competition
Mediacom vs. AT&T
AT&T consistently tops the charts for its customer service, the polar opposite of Mediacom. It also offers high speeds and data limits for all its plans, but it may vary based on AT&T’s limited availability. Package options for internet service alone are pretty limited, and unlike Mediacom, you’ll have to bundle to choose between speeds.
Mediacom vs. Charter Spectrum
Spectrum doesn’t cap your data, and it offers a few bundling perks. You’ll get a free modem, free DVR service, and free installation with its Triple Play plan — significant savings (nearly $200 in the first year) next to Mediacom’s fees. Its plans are pretty simple, and that means fewer choices for speed, either 60 Mbps or 100 Mbps.
Mediacom vs. WOW!
WOW! is another provider with no data caps and speeds similar to Charter. In most areas, it’s only $40 for 100 Mbps, a better value than Mediacom’s 60 Mbps for the same price. WOW! is great for streamers and ranks fourth on the Netflix speed index (measurements of Netflix performance) just below Comcast and two fiber-optic options.
What Others Are Saying
Mediacom’s abysmal customer service is the worst of the worst.
When Fortune reached out to Mediacom, Senior Vice President of Government and Public Relations Thomas Larsen claimed that “Mediacom is “at a distinct disadvantage” as compared to its larger rivals regarding the sample size of respondents in ACSI’s survey. Larsen also said Mediacom has recently increased its investments in improving its customers’ experiences with the company.” Some of the ways Larsen detailed include an improved mobile experience and flexible scheduling for service installation.
Mediacom customers throughout the entire state of Missouri were without service for hours.
The Missourian reported on a recent statewide outage, which interrupted “internet and phone service for 70,000 to 90,000 households and businesses.” Construction crews had accidentally severed cable lines and repair would require precise cable splicing. The outage lasted for six hours and rendered many local businesses unable to accept electronic payment.
The Bottom Line — Mediacom Cable Internet Review
Mediacom offers impressively high speeds and unique options for data limits that will appeal to streaming-heavy households. Still, because its customer service reputation is so poor, you’ll want to weigh which matters most when choosing your internet provider.