Spectrum vs TDS: Side by Side Comparison

Enter your zip code below to see if Spectrum or TDS offers service in your area.

Spectrum vs TDS

Potential customers picking between Charter and TDS have more to consider than simply the type of network on offer — speed, price, and TV offerings differ from area to area, especially since some Charter plans will soon be delivered over networks acquired from Time Warner Cable. In many areas, pricing and quality of service are remarkably similar.

Charter Spectrum AT A GLANCE

  • Sales: (855) 347-5741
  • Support: (833) 780-1880

(855) 347-5741

$44.99 to $44.99 / mo.

100 mbps to 940 mbps

10 mbps to 35 mbps

63%63%

Cable

Current: 8th ↑ (+1)

TDS Telecom AT A GLANCE

  • Sales: (866) 571-6662
  • Support: (866) 571-6662

(866) 571-6662

$29.95 to $89.95 / mo.

5.0 mbps to 1,000 mbps

0.512 mbps to 400 mbps

--

DSL

Current: 40th (0)

Spectrum OVERVIEW

Charter Spectrum markets home broadband Internet. They also sell TV and phone packages. Their recent acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks has helped their network to become one of the largest in the US.

TDS OVERVIEW

TDS sells DSL Internet (with cable in some areas) across much of the country. They also sells television and telephone services. Some locations have access to 500+ Mbps download speeds via 100% Fiber to the Home wiring.

Spectrum INTERNET DEALS †

  • $44.99 for 100 mbps Cable
    • 100 Mbps ↓ and 10 Mbps ↑ w/ no data cap.
    • 1-year promo rate. Regular rate is $65.99.
    • Modem included.
    • Call (855) 347-5741 to setup service.
Last updated on 11/12/2018

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

TDS INTERNET DEALS †

  • $29.95 for 15 mbps DSL
    • Download speeds of 6 to 15 Mbps and max upload of 0.768 Mbps
    • 1-year promo rate. Regular rate is $59.95.
    • $100 processing fee applies. Processing fee waiver available to qualifying customers.
    • Setup: $14.95 (Includes equipment one-time handling fee. Activation is free.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $6.95/mo
    • Call (866) 571-6662 to setup service.
  • $29.95 for 25 mbps DSL
    • Download speeds of 18 to 25 Mbps and 1.5 to 5 Mbps upload speeds
    • 1-year promo rate. Regular rate is $64.95.
    • $100 processing fee applies. Processing fee waiver available to qualifying customers.
    • Setup: $14.95 (Includes equipment one-time handling fee. Activation is free.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $6.95/mo
    • Call (866) 571-6662 to setup service.
  • $29.95 for 50 mbps DSL
    • Download speeds of 36 to 50 Mbps and 1.5 to 10 Mbps upload speeds
    • 1-year promo rate. Regular rate is $64.95.
    • $100 processing fee applies. Processing fee waiver available to qualifying customers.
    • Setup: $14.95 (Includes equipment one-time handling fee. Activation is free.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $6.95/mo
    • Call (866) 571-6662 to setup service.
  • $29.95 for 5.0 mbps DSL
    • Download speeds of 2 to 5 Mbps and max upload of 0.512 Mbps
    • 1-year promo rate. Regular rate is $54.95.
    • $100 processing fee applies. Processing fee waiver available to qualifying customers.
    • Setup: $14.95 (Includes equipment one-time handling fee. Activation is free.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $6.95/mo
    • Call (866) 571-6662 to setup service.
  • $39.95 for 100 mbps DSL
    • Download speeds of 75 to 100 Mbps and 7 to 15 Mbps upload speeds
    • 1-year promo rate. Regular rate is $64.95.
    • $100 processing fee applies. Processing fee waiver available to qualifying customers.
    • Setup: $14.95 (Includes equipment one-time handling fee. Activation is free.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $6.95/mo
    • Call (866) 571-6662 to setup service.
  • $39.95 for 100 mbps Cable
    • 100 Mbps ↓ and 10 Mbps
    • 1-year promo rate. Regular rate is $60.00.
    • Modem: $4.95/mo
    • Call (866) 571-6662 to setup service.
  • $49.95 for 100 mbps Fiber
    • 100 Mbps ↓ and 100 Mbps
    • 2-year promo rate. Regular rate is $69.95.
    • $100 Internet-Only processing fee applies. Waiver available for eligible customers.
    • Setup: $14.95 (Includes equipment one-time handling fee. Activation is free.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $6.95/mo
    • Call (866) 571-6662 to setup service.
  • $49.95 for 300 mbps Fiber
    • 300 Mbps ↓ and 300 Mbps
    • 2-year promo rate. Regular rate is $69.95.
    • $100 Internet-Only processing fee applies. Waiver available for eligible customers.
    • Setup: $14.95 (Includes equipment one-time handling fee. Activation is free.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $6.95/mo
    • Call (866) 571-6662 to setup service.
  • $59.95 for 300 mbps Cable
    • 300 Mbps ↓ and 10 Mbps
    • 1-year promo rate. Regular rate is $80.00.
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $10/mo
    • Call (866) 571-6662 to setup service.
  • $69.95 for 600 mbps Fiber
    • 600 Mbps ↓ and 400 Mbps
    • 2-year promo rate. Regular rate is $89.95.
    • $100 Internet-Only processing fee applies. Waiver available for eligible customers.
    • Setup: $14.95 (Includes equipment one-time handling fee. Activation is free.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $6.95/mo
    • Call (866) 571-6662 to setup service.
  • $79.95 for 600 mbps Cable
    • 600 Mbps ↓ and 20 Mbps
    • 1-year promo rate. Regular rate is $100.00.
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $10/mo
    • Call (866) 571-6662 to setup service.
  • $89.95 for 1,000 mbps Fiber
    • 1,000 Mbps ↓ and 400 Mbps
    • 2-year promo rate. Regular rate is $109.95.
    • $100 Internet-Only processing fee applies. Waiver available for eligible customers.
    • Setup: $14.95 (Includes equipment one-time handling fee. Activation is free.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $6.95/mo
    • Call (866) 571-6662 to setup service.
Last updated on 11/10/2018

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

Spectrum: NO DATACAP FOUND

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

TDS: NO DATACAP FOUND

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

Spectrum's TECHNOLOGY

Charter Communications sends Internet to their customers via their hybrid fiber coaxial network.

Hybrid Fiber Coaxial uses fiber optic cables for the network backbone, but switches to slower copper lines for the “last mile” between customer residences. Local "optical nodes" translate digital signals into electric signal, to be distributed via cable television networks.

This type of connection is reffered to as “cable” because they rely on coaxial cable, which was historically used to offer cable TV.

TDS's TECHNOLOGY

TDS offers Internet, telephone, and TV service to their subscribers via DSL, cable, and fiber networks.

DSL is deployed from a local office near the subscriber via existing telephone lines. Cable is delivered via fiber until reaching a switchpoint in local coverage areas, at which point data is switched to an existing TV “cable” coaxial network for the final distance [3]

Fiber plans from TDS use 100% fiber optic connections. TDS fiber allows speeds up to 1Gbps (1,000Mbps). Keeping data in an digital format for the whole journey between server to user removes performance degradation from switching to an analog signal, as with cable and DSL.

Spectrum INSTALLATION

Installation of equipment required for Charter Internet service is not difficult. Most Charter services are cable, which will require connecting a cable WiFi gateway into the television jack in your home.

Self-installation can be done with self-install instructions provided by Charter. Homes without coaxial wiring or with damages to wiring will require help from a professional technician.

Installation comes with an additional fee, but for customers nervous about installing equipment themselves, the extra fee is likely well worth it for simplicity's sake.

TDS INSTALLATION

TDS is straightforward to set up, particularly for homes that were wired for TDS service in the past. Installing TDS solo is doable for cable Internet plans.

Professional installation is also available fora nominal fee.

Spectrum RATINGS AND REVIEWS

50%50% Customer Rating

50.0% recommendation rating according to 59575 verified Spectrum users.

TDS RATINGS AND REVIEWS

43%43% Customer Rating

42.9% recommendation rating according to 4458 verified TDS users.

Spectrum COVERAGE & AVAILABILITY

Charter Spectrum Interactive SVG Map showing broadband coverage.

TDS COVERAGE & AVAILABILITY

TDS Telecom Interactive SVG Map showing broadband coverage.

Termination fees and hidden costs

Look closely before taking a promotion

Sign-up promotions are a common marketing tactic used by broadband companies to bring on new customers. While the pricing looks great on paper, there are a few things to keep in mind when you’re signing up for service with a new company.

First, be aware of any ETFs (early termination fees) you’ll need to pay if you break the contact early. Second, give the final monthly price more weight than the promotional rate, particularly if you plan to stick with a provider for multiple years. Even if the promo rate is great, a small price for six months doesn’t save much against a high price for six years.[1]

Modems, routers, and rental fees

How to save on extra hardware fees

Modems come with most broadband Internet plans, and they’re usually pretty cheap, less than ten dollars per month. Regardless, customers should consider whether or not it makes sense to simply buy their own, considering that a personal unit pays for itself within a year.[2]

Using your own router also opens up customization options for controlling and securing your home network, so it’s a no-brainer for technically-minded customers who enjoy fiddling with gadgets. Since providers have specific brands they are compatible with, renting makes more sense for people who move regularly, while buying makes more sense for techies and more stable households.

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