EarthLink vs. Spectrum

A Side-by-Side Comparison of EarthLink and Spectrum Internet Service in 2021

As two of the largest internet providers in the country by coverage area, EarthLink and Spectrum are similar in many ways. Both provide reliable high-speed internet service. However, there are a number of crucial differences in the way these rival companies operate and the service and pricing options they offer. Depending on your location and internet needs, one internet provider may be a better option over the other.

EarthLink Info

Price Range


Spectrum Info

Price Range


EarthLink vs. Spectrum Comparison
Provider EarthLink Spectrum
Speed 12-1,000 Mbps 200-1,000 Mbps
Pricing $49.95-99.95/mo. $49.99-109.99/mo.
Service Type DSL or Fiber Cable or Fiber
EarthLink vs. Spectrum FEATURE COMPARISON
Provider EarthLink Spectrum
High-Speed Plans Yes Yes
Unlimited Data Yes Yes
Contract-Free Plans No Yes
TV Service No Yes
Phone Service No Yes

EarthLink Internet Deals †

Last updated on 10/24/2021

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

Spectrum Internet Deals †

Last updated on 11/16/2021

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

EarthLink vs. Spectrum Performance Overview

EarthLink has the nation’s third-largest fiber network by coverage area and is also the largest provider of residential DSL internet by coverage area. Availability for either internet type will still vary by location. Customers with fiber connections can access internet speeds up to 1000 Mbps. EarthLink provides internet service only, with no phone or TV options.

Spectrum is an internet, cable TV, and telephone provider that uses cable connections almost exclusively for residential internet. The company is the second-largest cable provider in the United States by coverage area. Spectrum offers more than two dozen pricing options for high speed internet service, either alone or bundled with TV and/or phone service. Package availability varies by location.

EarthLink Installation

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 Wi-Fi service.

Spectrum Installation

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 Wi-Fi activation charge of $9.99. Households can also rent a Wi-Fi router for a $5 monthly fee from Spectrum.

EarthLink 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.

Spectrum Contracts, Equipment Fees & Fine Print

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.

EarthLink Data Caps

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.

Spectrum Data Caps

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.

Service Review

on October 29, 2019

5 Stars all the way! Front desk scheduling any time of the day or night. Tech support calls no time limits, smart and always helpful, invested in your problem all the way. Thank you all so much for your kind attitude and willingness to help us.

Consistent reliability but problem with pricing

on August 17, 2021

I have no issues with their reliability as they were always on except when a catastrophe hit town. My issue is with their pricing and customer service. Yes, they bring you in with a low price at the beginning but will end up paying almost double that rate. $75 for a 200mbps down and 15mbps up. If you call to complain and get a deal, they tell you to add services that may drive the price up.

EarthLink vs. Spectrum Coverage Availability

EarthLink Coverage & Availability

Spectrum Coverage & Availability

Frequently Asked Questions about EarthLink & Spectrum Internet Services

  • Is EarthLink cheaper than Spectrum?

    The price difference between EarthLink and Spectrum depends on a number of factors such as select plans, promotional rates, location, and the consumer’s internet needs. After promotional rates, most of EarthLink’s internet plans are higher than Spectrum’s internet-only plan. Currently, Spectrum’s internet-only plan (with speeds up to 100 Mbps) is billed at $44.99/month for the first 12 months and then at $64.99/month thereafter. The promo rate for EarthLink’s lowest-priced internet-only plan (with speeds up to 3 Mbps) is $14.95/month for the first three months and then raised to $39.95/month.

  • Who has faster speeds? EarthLink or Spectrum?

    EarthLink’s most expensive plan—HyperLink 1 Gbps—offers speeds up to 1000 Mbps. Trailing closely behind, Spectrum Internet Gig plan supplies speeds up to 940 Mbps. Both internet providers also offer a range of lower-speed, lower-priced service tiers.

  • Do EarthLink and Spectrum have unlimited data?

    Both providers offer unlimited data on all of their internet-only plans. Although some providers still impose data caps on their lower-priced packages, plans with unlimited data are becoming increasingly common across the industry. EarthLink and Spectrum are great for power internet users who anticipate on using large amounts of data.

  • Do EarthLink and Spectrum require a contract?

    All EarthLink plans require customers to sign a 12-month contract. Those terminating the service before the end of their agreement face an early termination fee of up to $200. Spectrum customers pay month-to-month, are not required to sign a contract, and may terminate their service at any time.