EarthLink vs Spectrum: Extra Fees and Contracts
EarthLink’s installation setup is dependent on the type of Internet plan. Installation fees vary from $19.95-69.95. Installation charges for EarthLink’s Hyperlink plans—a combined fiber/DSL connection—include a $69.95 fee for professional installation. DSL-only customers typically pay $19.95 for a self-installation kit and modem shipping. All EarthLink installation packages include WiFi service.
Spectrum customers are offered a free modem with both self-installation and professional installation options. Professional installation is a one-time fee of $49.99 with most of its Internet-only packages. The installation fee may be reduced or waived with select bundles and packages. To avoid the installation fee, customers may opt for the self-installation option for a one-time WiFi activation charge of $9.99. Households can also rent a WiFi router for a $5 monthly fee from Spectrum.
Contracts, Equipment Fees & Fine Print
Currently, all EarthLink Internet plans require a 12-month contract. Customers who cancel their service before their contract ends face early termination fees of up to $200. As with all Internet providers, local taxes and fees may also apply. EarthLink contracts require that customers use the company-provided modem for a rental fee of $6.95/month. All EarthLink equipment must be returned upon cancellation or the customer will be charged additional fees.
As a contract-free provider, Spectrum subscribers pay for their service from month to month and are not required to sign a contract of any duration. Thus, accounts may be cancelled at any time without penalty. Customers should also expect to pay a one-time $9.99 activation fee. Locally assessed taxes and fees may also apply. Spectrum often offers new customers lower promotional rates for the first 12 months followed by a rate increase of as much as $20 per month when the promotional term ends.
All EarthLink Internet plans allow customers to enjoy unlimited downloading, uploading, and streaming. No data caps are placed on user data. This makes EarthLink a suitable choice for households with multiple power-Internet users that may stream a lot of games, movies, or television.
Like EarthLink, Spectrum does not limit the amount of data its customers can upload or download. In fact, Spectrum is prohibited from adding data caps to its Internet plans by an agreement with the FCC in the wake of a recent merger.