AT&T Internet vs RCN: Side by Side Comparison

Enter your zip code below to see if AT&T Internet or RCN offers service in your area.

AT&T Internet vs RCN

AT&T and RCN offer a lot for broadband shoppers to think about. While their offerings often look similar on the surface, the details can be quite different depending on your area and household needs, especially when it comes to add-ons. RCN has a background as a cable TV company while AT&T uses it’s DSL phone network to reach most customers, but both offer triple-play bundles with some form of TV, phone, and Internet included.

AT&T Internet AT A GLANCE

  • Sales: (844) 602-3932
  • Support: (800) 288-2020

(844) 602-3932

$30 to $80 / mo.

6.0 mbps to 1,000 mbps

1.0 mbps to 1,000 mbps

64%64%

DSL

Current: 15th ↑ (+2)

RCN AT A GLANCE

  • Sales: (858) 947-7561
  • Support: (800) 746-4726

(858) 947-7561

$29.99 to $29.99 / mo.

10 mbps to 1,000 mbps

Up to 20 mbps

--

Cable

Current: 14th ↓ (-2)

AT&T Internet OVERVIEW

AT&T U-Verse is a bundled broadband Internet, phone, and digital TV provider. They provide connectivity via both DSL and fiber networks.

RCN OVERVIEW

RCN is a cable broadband Internet, TV, and phone provider. They also offer business broadband plans, and fiber-to-the-building (FTTB) connectivity in some select areas.

AT&T Internet INTERNET DEALS †

  • $30 for 6.0 mbps DSL
    • 0.768 to 6mbps depending on location w/ a 1000 GB/mo data cap
    • 1-year promo rate. Regular rate is $40.00.
    • Contract Term: 1 year with $180 ETF
    • Setup: $99.00 (Internet Installation Fee)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $10/mo
    • Call (844) 602-3932 to setup service.
  • $40 for 50 mbps Fiber
    • 50 mbps ↓ and 50 mbps ↑ w/ a 1000 GB/mo data cap
    • 1-year promo rate. Regular rate is $70.00.
    • Contract Term: 1 year with $180 ETF
    • Setup: $99.00 (Internet Installation Fee)
    • Modem w/ WiFi included.
    • Call (844) 602-3932 to setup service.
  • $40 for 75 mbps DSL
    • 10 to 75 mbps depending on location w/ a 1000 GB/mo data cap
    • 1-year promo rate. Regular rate is $60.00.
    • Contract Term: 1 year with $180 ETF
    • Setup: $99.00 (Installation Fee)
    • Modem w/ WiFi included.
    • Call (844) 602-3932 to setup service.
  • $60 for 100 mbps Fiber
    • 100 mbps ↓ and 100 mbps ↑ w/ a 1000 GB/mo data cap
    • 1-year promo rate. Regular rate is $80.00.
    • Contract Term: 1 year with $180 ETF
    • Setup: $99.00 (Internet Installation Fee)
    • Modem w/ WiFi included.
    • Call (844) 602-3932 to setup service.
  • $80 for 1,000 mbps Fiber
    • 1,000 mbps ↓ and 1,000 mbps ↑ w/ no data cap.
    • 1-year promo rate. Regular rate is $90.00.
    • Contract Term: 1 year with $180 ETF
    • Setup: waived
    • Modem w/ WiFi included.
    • Call (844) 602-3932 to setup service.
Last updated on 10/11/2017

†All plans not available in all areas or to all customers. Verify details with AT&T Internet.

RCN INTERNET DEALS †

  • $29.99 for 25 mbps Cable
    • 25 mbps ↓ and -- mbps
    • 1-year promo rate.
    • RCN prices their plans regionally. We do our best to collect these regions and zip codes, but always verify pricing via phone or online in your specific zip code.
    • Free installation with promo code RCNOFFER. Account activation fee is $9.99.
    • Modem: $7/mo
    • Call (858) 947-7561 to setup service.
Last updated on 10/17/2017

†All plans not available in all areas or to all customers. Verify details with RCN.

AT&T Internet: DATACAPS From 1000 GB/mo.

We have found plans that include datacaps. AT&T Internet offer plans with data caps regionally or nationwide. Be sure to verify plan details before purchasing.

RCN: NO DATACAP FOUND

We have not found plans that include data caps. This doesn't mean RCN doesn't have data caps, just that we haven't found them when collecting their plans. Always verify plan details before purchasing.

AT&T Internet's TECHNOLOGY

AT&T offers fiber optic and hybrid DSL internet connections to many residential consumers and businesses across the US. They also offer a variety of “triple play” plans with bundled TV and home phone service.

Their DSL offering, historically known as AT&T U-verse, leverages a fiber-to-the-node (FTTN) layout where fiber optic cable terminates at a point near consumers, with the final stretch to the subscriber residence reached via telephone, ethernet, and in some rare cases coaxial cable. This hybrid fiber network has allowed AT&T to offer higher bandwidth plans than traditionally expected from DSL.[3]

In addition to their DSL offering, AT&T also offers fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) in some areas. FTTH is considered the “gold standard” for strong, fast, and reliable home internet connection.

RCN's TECHNOLOGY

RCN offers broadband Internet, digital cable TV, and phone plans via three network types: hybrid fiber coaxial (HFC) “cable”, DSL, and fiber optic.

RCN’s “cable” HFC network is their most widely available option. Like most cable broadband networks, data is delivered via fiber to a local node within subscriber areas, where the data is switched over to an electrical signal for transmission via the existing coaxial cable networks originally installed for cable TV service. Using existing copper cables for the last leg of the journey makes cable broadband somewhat slower than true “fiber” connections, but saves the high up-front cost of purchasing and installing brand new cables for the company.[4]

RCN’s fiber plans generally terminate inside or very near the building, allowing for speed several times those offered by traditional DSL and cable networks. Fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) connections are widely considered the premium option for home Internet access, and true FTTH connections offer the highest bandwidth and lowest latency available today.

AT&T Internet INSTALLATION

To get AT&T services installed, you have two main routes: professional installation or self-installation.

AT&T generally charges a fee for professional installation, so if your house is already wired and qualifies for self-installation, this may be an easy route for you to save money when setting up service.

RCN INSTALLATION

As with most providers, customers of RCN can either self-install or have a technician from the provider do it for them. Self-installation is fairly simple and the company should provide a detailed guide with your plan or via their website. If bringing your own router and modem, you’ll need to check that it’s compatible with their service.

Professional installation is sometimes necessary for more complicated wiring roadblocks. When setting up a connection for home Wi-Fi via a router, be sure to ask the technician to connect to the router for setup, rather than directly to a computer. If not possible, be sure to ask for explicit instructions for router installation details like MAC address setup.

AT&T Internet RATINGS AND REVIEWS

41%41% Customer Rating

41.3% recommendation rating according to 80,556 verified users.

RCN RATINGS AND REVIEWS

65%65% Customer Rating

65.3% recommendation rating according to 2,573 verified users.

AT&T Internet COVERAGE & AVAILABILITY

AT&T Internet Interactive SVG Map showing broadband coverage.

RCN COVERAGE & AVAILABILITY

RCN Interactive SVG Map showing broadband coverage.

ETFs, promotional periods, and other contract complications

It’s important to understand the fine print before you agrp to it

AT&T and RCN often create discounted sign-up promotions to encourage customers to get on board. These are great and can definitely save you money, but be sure the plan you’re signing up for doesn’t have any “gotchas” in the fine print. Specifically, ETFs (early termination fees) are fine if you plan to stay put for the duration of the contract, but could eat up all your savings and more if you need to relocate or switch providers before it ends.[1]

If you’re getting service for the short term, skip the long contracts and pay extra for a plan with less commitment. Also be sure to compare the final monthly price when you’re scoping out promotional offers, as that will ultimately matter more than the more appealing sign-up price, which is designed to catch your eye and acclimate you to the higher final price.

Bring your own modem for savings

Friendliness to custom hardware can cut fees

Both AT&T and RCN offer “bring your own modem” service, which will cut out the rental fee for a company-provided modem or modem/router combo unit. RCN, in particular is fine with custom hardware, and both companies offer information on which specific brands, models, and types are compatible with their network offerings.[2]

The cost of buying your own will pay for itself, usually within a year. After that, it’s very gratifying to save the hundred or so dollars annually that otherwise would go to an unnecessary rental fee. Just keep in mind that, if you move regularly, the modem you purchase might not work with another provider. Rental modems also generally include maintenance, making renting a good choice for less technically-minded customers.

Last updated on 10/11/2017.

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