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Last updated on Jul 02, 2020

Spectrum Internet Review 2020

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Charter Spectrum

  • $500 contract buyout
  • No contracts or termination fees
  • Free install and DVR service with the Triple Play bundle
  • No data caps
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Spectrum is one of the largest providers of broadband internet in the United States. They offer three internet plans, with prices ranging from $49.99 to $109.99 and speeds ranging from 200 Mbps to 940 Mbps. Their plans come with no contracts, no data caps and include a free modem rental, although there is still an installation fee. According to the most recent FCC report on the matter, Spectrum had some of the most consistent internet speeds when compared to other internet service providers (ISPs) and scored better than most when it came to meeting or exceeding the internet speeds advertised with each of their plans.

While the infrastructure and services provided by Spectrum have seen high ratings, their reputation with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is less promising. The BBB gave Spectrum an F rating on their scale, which is the lowest grade possible. This measurement seeks to evaluate how a company will interact with its customers and can reflect a company’s customer service. On the 2019 J.D. Power ISP satisfaction survey, which surveys customers about their satisfaction with their residential ISP, Spectrum scored average in most  regions of the United States except for the east region, where it scored below average. The J.D. Power report surveys customers about their satisfaction with their residential ISP.

Pros

  • No data caps
  • No contracts
  • No modem rental fee

Cons

  • Poor customer service
  • Slightly pricey plans
  • Router rental fee of $5 monthly for WiFi

Spectrum Internet Plans and Prices

PlanDownload Speeds up toPrice per monthNumber of Devices
Spectrum Internet200 Mbps$49.994-5
Spectrum Internet Ultra400 Mbps$69.996-8
Spectrum Internet Gig940 Mbps$109.9910+

Data effective 5/28/2020

* For more details on these plans click here to learn more from our partner site, Allconnect.

Pricing

With Spectrum internet, you may request a self-install kit to DIY, or you may pay a one-time installation fee of $49.99. As internet providers go, that’s a low installation price, and not all companies allow for self-install. All of Spectrum’s plans rely on cable internet and so can often be installed with minimal effort, especially if the location already has coaxial lines. Spectrum plans start at $49.99 per month for 200 Mbps, with the middle tier plan being $69.99 per month for 400 Mbps, and the top tier plan being $109.99 per month with 940 Mbps. Although it may not be intuitive, the more expensive plans charge less per Mbps of speed.

Contacting Spectrum to schedule an installation is as easy as filing a purchase request on their website, or calling the sales phone number. If you want to do the installation yourself, make sure you have the necessary equipment and request a self-installation when you speak with a Spectrum sales representative.

Spectrum Speeds and Data Caps

Plan
Upload SpeedDownload SpeedDataCap
Spectrum Internet10 Mbps200 Mbpsnone
Spectrum Internet Ultra20 Mbps400 Mbpsnone
Spectrum Internet Gig35 Mbps940 Mbpsnone

Estimated Speeds

While Spectrum has speeds listed with each of their plans, it is important to note that these are estimates of top speeds during optimal performance. Although they are well rated for consistently delivering speeds as advertised, it is common for internet speeds to fluctuate based on traffic levels and location. Thus, it is recommended to purchase a faster internet plan than you otherwise might; for instance, if you need your connection to maintain at least 400 Mbps of download speed, then you might consider the Spectrum Internet Gig plan. While the Gig plan will often deliver more speed than you need in this case, it should rarely—if ever—drop below that threshold. 

For simple tasks such as social media, web browsing, and other basic internet tasks, the Spectrum Internet 200 Mbps plan should be sufficient. For slightly more data-heavy tasks such as online photo and video downloading, the 400 Mbps plan is reasonable. For intensive activities such as streaming HD movies on multiple devices, uploading and downloading large amounts of video content, the 940 Mbps plan can be a wise choice.

How Fast is Spectrum Internet?

According to the most recent report published by the FCC on ISP speed scores, a majority of panelists reported that most of the time, Spectrum (listed as Charter on the report) internet speeds were higher than 95% of the advertised speed. According to this same FCC report, Spectrum maintains among the most consistent internet speeds across time and geography. On latency, Spectrum scored roughly average. The final part of the FCC report shows that, compared to other ISPs, Spectrum showed minimal packet loss. Overall, this is good news for Spectrum customers, as it shows that Spectrum can deliver well on their advertised speeds.

Data caps

Unlike many ISPs, Spectrum does not have data caps placed within their plans. What this means is that there is no limit to how much data you can download and upload. The average American household uses 190 gigabytes per month, according to research performed by iGR. With many ISPs, it is necessary to either pay extra for unlimited data or to pay overage fees any time you go over your monthly data allotment.

Reviews.com: Who is each plan best for?

  • 200 Mbps – Best for 1-2 users with 4-5 devices, or one device used for high bandwidth activity such as HD movie streaming or light online gaming.
  • 400 Mbps – Best for 3-5 users with 6-8 devices, or two devices used for high bandwidth activity such as HD movie streaming on multiple devices or moderate online gaming.
  • 940 Mbps – Best for 5 or more users with 10 or more devices, or three to four devices used for high bandwidth activity such as HD movie streaming on numerous devices or heavy online gaming.

Internet Availability

Spectrum offers broadband cable internet coverage in 44 states. Spectrum provides fiber internet to businesses in a smaller area of 5,899 zip codes. As with all ISPs, the speed of Spectrum internet plans varies by location. In general, urban areas with more modern infrastructure experience higher speeds and greater consistency of service.This is a result of the speed with which infrastructure problems are addressed and how many alternative lines of communication exist within an area. As a result, large cities with substantial telecommunication infrastructures tend to have the best internet service. Nevertheless, rural areas are often capable of high-speed connections but remain more vulnerable to internet disruptions.

Spectrum Internet Additional Features

Spectrum internet plans come with several extra features. Each plan includes a rental modem free of charge, meaning you have to return the modem when your plan ends, but you don’t have to pay to use it. Customers gain access to Spectrum WiFi hotspots for mobile internet in public spaces. Each Spectrum account also gives you access to a Spectrum email account and to the Spectrum security suite software, which includes antivirus and other computer monitoring programs.

Reviews.com recommends

While having speeds as 940 Mbps is convenient, the average American family will do excellently with the 200 and 400 Mbps plans. The average internet speed in America is around 50 Mbps and falls well below Spectrum’s slowest plan. However,as long as your connection is above 25 Mbps consistently, your network should be able to handle most basic internet activities. 

For homes with only 1-5 devices and 1-2 regular internet users, the 200 Mbps plan is excellent. For larger households and more devices, the 400 Mbps plan is recommended. At the end of the day, though, the best plan for your family will depend on your household’s use. It can be wise to start with a slower plan and upgrade speeds with that provider if it becomes necessary. Just make sure that faster speeds are available for your location before you commit to such a strategy.

The Bottom Line

Spectrum internet plans have no data caps, no contracts, and come with a free modem rental. Spectrum broadband internet is widely available, with a presence in 44 states. Three plans are offered, ranging in price from $49.99 to $109.99 with speeds ranging from 200 Mbps to 940 Mbps. The first two plans use cable internet while the third, highest speed plan uses fiber.

Spectrum delivers quality internet at a variety of speeds, scoring well with the FCC on actual speeds versus advertised speeds and consistency of speed. This same report highlights that Spectrum has average latency and below-average packet loss. However, Spectrum does have a reputation for poor customer service and average customer satisfaction, as can be seen on the BBB and the J.D. Power report. Nevertheless, their product exhibits many signs of quality, and the lack of any contract makes cancellation easy. 

FAQ

What is Spectrum’s best plan and how much does it cost?

Spectrum Internet Gig is the plan that delivers the most speeds. Because it uses fiber, it will experience lower latency issues than their other plans. For those who want the absolute most out of their internet, this is the best plan, but it is also the most expensive at $109.99 a month.

Where is Spectrum available?

Spectrum broadband internet is available in 44 states across the United States. Further, Spectrum offers fiber internet to businesses in 5,899 zip codes. However, speeds and plan availability vary by location within these locales.

Further Reading:

About the Authors

Joshua Cox-Steib is a sociologist and freelance writer. He lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with his wife and their three pets. He obtained his bachelor of sociology at the University of Tulsa. Before his career in writing, Joshua worked as a behavioral health case manager. As a freelance writer, he has gained experience in a diversity of industries including but not limited to internet technologies, finance, HVAC, home and garden, insurance, and dentistry.