In a Nutshell
- No data caps, 99.9% network reliability
- Free antivirus and modem with every plan
- Nationwide WiFi network for on-the-go internet
- WiFi is not included in the price
- Confusing pricing plans
Spectrum at a Glance
Best for: Students, sports, streaming, gaming
Starting Price: $49.99 per month
Connection Type: Hybrid fiber coaxial
Download Speeds: 200-940 Mbps
Coverage: 44 states
Money-back Guarantee: 30 days
What Services and Features Does Spectrum Offer
Widely available in almost every state, Spectrum is a hybrid fiber coaxial internet service, which means one thing to consumers: faster, smoother internet. In fact, the company boasts an impressive 99.9% reliability rating and offers speeds ranging from 200 Mbps to 940 Mbps.
Spectrum has these speeds thanks to the hybrid fiber aspect, despite being a cable-based service. But the combination also means there is a lot more availability. Spectrum is available in 44 states in the US. Aside from all that, one of the most impressive features of Spectrum internet services is its commitment to quality. The ISP continuously upgrades its services, with a whopping 10 Gbps end goal.
Despite being comparatively small (compare 29 million to 200 million customers with big names like AT&T), Spectrum has plenty to offer.
- Lots of WiFi hotspots
In addition to internet plans, Spectrum has WiFi hotspots across the country, and any Spectrum customer can access the more than 500,000 hotspots.
- Additional services
Bundle your cable TV, home phone, or mobile phone plans along with your internet plans to save overall. Spectrum is also particularly good for gaming with its Gig plan. This plan offers up to 940 Mbps, the fastest internet speed around, which is ideal for multiplayer online gaming, virtual reality games, and connecting multiple gaming devices without latency issues (in fact, Spectrum has a marginally lower latency than the industry average).
- Contract buyout payment
Spectrum is anxious to get customers, and the contract buyout offer is a testament to that fact. The ISP will work with customers who are in the middle of a contract with a different internet service provider. Spectrum will refund you the early termination fee you have to pay when you cancel your service mid-contract. You have to send in a copy of your bill with the early termination fee on it, and fill out the reimbursement form. Your request will be processed. And assuming all goes well, you’ll get your refund within 10 business days.
One catch: Spectrum only pays up to $500 in early termination fees. While most of these fees will not reach or exceed that amount, be careful if you are early on in your contract and your current ISP has a per-month charge for early termination.
Prices, Plans, and Value for Money
Spectrum offers competitive pricing for fast speeds. You can sign up for a one-year contract at $49.99 a month. Rumor has it you can have month-to-month contracts too, but that was not apparent on the website.
Unfortunately, Spectrum doesn’t clearly publish how much the higher-tiered plans are. You’ll have to enter your address to get this information, and that doesn’t always work. We experienced some other technical difficulties, as well, which you should look out for. Sometimes you’ll be redirected to a partner ISP with the message saying Spectrum doesn’t provide service to your area, which feels suspicious, especially since Spectrum covers 44 states in the country.
Here’s a look at Spectrum’s plans, per its website:
You’ll get a free modem when you sign up for router rental, which is a $10 savings. But here’s the interesting part of the deal. WiFi doesn’t come included in your plan. You’ll need to pay an extra $5 if you want that feature, something that comes included with most ISP service plans.
You can get two months free if you have students or teachers living in your home. Spectrum also has an interesting buyout feature. If you are in a contract with a different internet service provider, Spectrum will help buy you out of that contract for up to $500.
Ease of Use, Hardware, and Setup
Spectrum has the option to either self-install or have the equipment professionally installed and devices connected by a pro. You also have the choice to buy your own equipment or rent from Spectrum. If you go the rental route, Spectrum will throw in the modem for free. So you’ll only be paying for the router rental.
Spectrum has a mobile app that makes managing your internet and account pretty simple. You can change WiFi passwords, view usage stats, and do other interesting things with your account via the mobile app.
Spectrum has a security suite with important features like real-time cloud-based monitoring, antivirus protection, and spyware protection built in. Other features include antibot scanner, online parental controls, browser protection, secure sign-in, and authentication protocols for WiFi networks. Plus, Spectrum has a WiFi Plus network which adds another encryption layer for more secure connections.
Spectrum has fast speeds that are 99.9% guaranteed to be reliable. During independent tests, Spectrum customers were able to reach or exceed advertised speeds 95% of the time, making it one of the more reliable companies in the industry.
Spectrum Customer Service
Spectrum has several support options people can use to get tech support or answers to their questions. For one thing, you can call one of the 855 numbers for sales and support questions. You can also reach out to a representative online via the live chat support feature.
There is a large help center on the website. Spectrum also has not one, but two mobile apps. One is for Spectrum internet services, and there’s another app specifically for support. That’s awfully thorough.
What is the cost of Spectrum Internet only?
$49.99 a month for one year.
Does Spectrum Internet include WiFi?
No, you’ll need to pay an extra $5.
Should I buy my own router for Spectrum?
The benefit of buying your own is what you save on the rental fees and the ability to choose.
Spectrum has a lot to offer, including good security features, wide availability, and lots of help options. Where the ISP falls short is its transparency, making it difficult to trust the service altogether. Spectrum also charges extra for WiFi, which isn’t great. But prices are decent, modems come for free, and the fiber network delivers fast speeds for gamers, telecommuters, and multi-user households.