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EarthLink vs. Spectrum Internet

Compare EarthLink and Spectrum internet service in 2024

8 Plans Available
EarthLink internet
price range
$39.95 - $189.95/month
*Prices may vary depending on the plan.


  • Download speeds up to: 5 Gbps
  • DSL, Fixed Wireless, Fiber
  • Unlimited Data
8 Plans Available
Spectrum internet
price range
$49.99 - $79.99/month
*Prices may vary depending on the plan.


  • Download speeds up to: 1 Gbps
  • Cable, Fiber
  • Unlimited Data

Learn more about EarthLink and Spectrum:

EarthLink has 8 plans:
Spectrum has 8 plans:

Learn more about EarthLink and Spectrum

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 than the other.

EarthLink has the nation’s third-largest fiber network by coverage area and is also the second-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 5 Gbps. EarthLink provides Internet, phone, and TV services.

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 phone service. Package availability varies by location.

EarthLink vs Spectrum: Best Deals

Internet Deals

EarthLink vs Spectrum: Extra Fees and Contracts


EarthLink’s installation setup is dependent on the type of Internet plan. Installation fees vary from $39.95-$79.95. EarthLink Fiber plans have a $39.95 installation fee, while EarthLink Wireless Home Internet has a $79.95 installation charge. All EarthLink installation packages include WiFi service.

Spectrum Internet® customers are offered a free modem with both self-installation and professional installation options. Professional installation is a one-time fee of $65. Customers may also opt for the self-installation option for a one-time WiFi activation charge of $30. 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. EarthLink contracts require that customers use the company-provided modem for a rental fee of $12.95 per 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. 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.

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.

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.

EarthLink vs. Spectrum Internet Review

We asked BroadbandNow users to review EarthLink based on four core attributes: Customer Service, Reliability, Speed, and Value.

BroadbandNow readers submitted 349 for EarthLink. EarthLink earned an average score of 4.08 out of 5.

We asked BroadbandNow users to review Spectrum based on four core attributes: Customer Service, Reliability, Speed, and Value.

BroadbandNow readers submitted 8746 for Spectrum. Spectrum earned an average score of 3.38 out of 5.

Frequently Asked Questions About EarthLink and Spectrum Internet Services

  • Is EarthLink or Spectrum cheaper?

    Spectrum is cheaper than EarthLink, with plans starting at $49.99 per month for 12 months.

  • Who has faster speeds? EarthLink or Spectrum?

    EarthLink Fiber is faster than Spectrum with download speeds up to 5 Gbps.

  • Do EarthLink and Spectrum have unlimited data?

    Both providers offer unlimited data on all of their Internet-only plans.

  • 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 doesn’t require contracts.