Spectrum Internet® plans are increasingly a common option across the United States as Charter Communications has been aggressively expanding their “Spectrum” Internet service area in the past couple of years.
Spectrum is best known for their cable internet packages, although they also offer TV, phone, internet-only plans, mobile phone service, and business broadband services.
Spectrum Internet Plans and Pricing Summary
|Plan name||Download speed||Monthly start price|
|Spectrum Internet®||200 Mbps||$50/mo|
|Spectrum Internet® Ultra||400 Mbps||$70/mo|
|Spectrum Internet® Gig||1000 Mbps||$110/mo|
Spectrum has also been working to upgrade their service tiers, and it’s now common to see 200 Mbps instead of 100 Mbps as the speed for their cheapest internet-only plan. The upgraded speed comes at no extra cost at this time, and may include Spectrum’s 2-year price lock deal.
In terms of pricing, Spectrum has straightforward, standardized prices. Spectrum Internet plans are favored by cord-cutters, thanks to their unlimited data and affordable contract-free options. Unlike other cable providers, there is no limit to video streaming, even on the cheapest packages. In fact, we rank Spectrum third for best internet providers for streaming.
Spectrum Internet-Only Packages
Spectrum Internet plans come in three basic flavors: Standard, Ultra, and Gig.
The specific speeds of each Spectrum speed tier varies depending on your location. Specifically, many areas do not yet have access to Ultra or Gig Internet. Use our zip search tool above to see which Spectrum plans are available near you.
The standard Spectrum Internet plan offers speed of up to 200 megabits per second (Mbps). In most areas, it’s closer to 60 or 100 Mbps due to network congestion, an issue cable internet suffers from more than any other internet connection. Either way, this is fast enough for most users. Customers can stream videos without issue and the speeds are fast enough to support multiple users on the same network.
To put this in concrete terms, imagine you’re downloading an HD movie on iTunes to watch on a plane later. On a Spectrum 200 Mbps connection, downloading the 3 GB file will take you just over two minutes.
Spectrum Internet Ultra
With up to 400 Mbps, Spectrum’s mid-level plan is a good pick for large families, power users, subscribers who work from home, and anyone else that needs a little more power for multiple devices. There is a bit more reliability in speed compared to the Spectrum Internet plan — even when the network gets congested, Spectrum Internet Ultra subscribers are still able to receive 200+ Mbps on average.
Spectrum Internet Gig
The Spectrum Internet Gig plan is overkill for the average customer, but if you can afford it, you’ll never have to look at a Netflix buffering icon again. We rank Spectrum in the top three for best internet providers for streaming. One gigabit (1,000 Mbps) is the gold standard for Internet speed currently, but it’s important to note that Spectrum Internet Gig does not have symmetrical speeds. This means that while the download speed is up to 1,000 Mbps, the upload speed is only up to 35 Mbps. Customers who need gigabit upload speeds for purposes like uploading files or excessive live-streaming should look for fiber internet providers.
Price-wise, Spectrum is on par with fellow cable providers such as Xfinity unless you want gigabit speeds. Spectrum has Cox beat for pricing on its Internet and Internet Ultra plans, but again, Spectrum’s gigabit plan is one of the most expensive in the industry. Xfinity and Cox cost $20-30 less per month than Spectrum for gigabit speed. Fiber internet providers like AT&T and Verizon Fios offer lower prices than Spectrum across the board; however, if your only option for fiber internet is through Frontier Communications, you’ll find Spectrum offers lower prices than Frontier for similar speeds.
Spectrum Equipment and Fees
All Spectrum Internet plans require two pieces of equipment to get up and running: a modem and a router. The modem translates internet signal, and the router distributes it as WiFi in your home.
Spectrum includes the modem free on all plans. However, there is a $5 per month fee to rent the router—Spectrum calls this a “WiFi fee”. Unless you’re planning to have the service for a good number of years, we recommend the extra charge each month to use the company’s own equipment. By using their devices, you’ll have access to their customer support, and technicians will know how to troubleshoot their own routers.
If you’re a long-term customer and feel comfortable managing your own hardware, Spectrum maintains a list of compatible third-party routers you can purchase outright. Just be sure to let them know you’re using your own router, and provide the media access control (MAC) address so they can switch on service easily.
Spectrum Internet Installation
New Spectrum customers have two options for installation: professional installation or self-install.
- Professional installation is recommended if you are subscribing to TV service since the setup is more complicated. You should also get a technician installation if you are not comfortable configuring your own WiFi router. Fortunately, Spectrum’s professional installation is only $49 — about half the price of most ISP installation fees.
- Self-installation is recommended if you are a Spectrum Internet-only customer, and you want to save on the installation fee. This is also the fastest way to get set up, and in some cases, they will even activate same-day service if you’re using your own router. If you’re using a Spectrum router, you will pay $9.99 for the self-installation kit which includes your modem and router (or gateway).
Spectrum Contract-free plans
Spectrum is unique in that they’re one of the few internet providers that doesn’t use contracts. This is great for renters and those who move frequently since you can change or cancel service at any time with no charge. In comparison, other cable providers commonly charge upwards of $300 for contracts that end early, also known as Early Termination Fees (ETFs).
Pay Close Attention to the Final Price
Current Spectrum “promotional pricing” and the “final price” you pay after taxes and additional equipment fees can vary quite a bit. This is honestly the biggest problem we’ve found with Spectrum pricing.
As you are evaluating different Spectrum prices and promotional deals, make sure to compare the final price after tax. This will be what you are paying in the long term even if the advertised price is lower.
We do our best to collect all the fine print so you can understand all the details about your service. However, we still encourage you to read the fine print and verify plan details on the phone or online before signing up.