Spectrum Internet® Review

Spectrum is a good cable-based alternative to fiber and DSL.


Price: $49.99–$89.99/mo. for 12 mos.

Speeds: 300–1,000 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)

Data cap: No cap

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 Provider star ratings are based on user reviews and our independent customer satisfaction survey.


  • Speeds up to 1,000 Mbps
  • No data caps
  • No contracts
  • Rent-free modem for new customers


  • Monthly WiFi fee
  • Lacking customer support
  • Modem lease fee for legacy customers

Our Spectrum Internet® review

Spectrum typically delivers cable internet in areas where it doesn’t overlap other cable providers. It’s faster than DSL internet from providers like AT&T, Frontier, and Verizon—but it’s not the best choice if the competition offers fiber internet. Overall, Spectrum’s a solid provider if you can overlook some of its questionable fees and lackluster customer support.

Before we begin, I’m a Spectrum customer—a longtime inherited Time Warner Cable customer, in fact. I will compare Spectrum against its competitors and tell you my personal experience as a customer.

Compare Spectrum Internet® plans and pricing

PackagePriceSpeedView on Spectrum’s site
Spectrum Internet®$49.99/mo. for 12 mos.Up to 300 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)Shop Plans
Spectrum Internet® Ultra$69.99/mo. for 12 mos.Up to 500 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)Shop Plans
Spectrum Internet® Gig$89.99/mo. for 12 mos.Up to 1,000 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)Shop Plans

Spectrum ongoing deals and promotions + bundles

Get a free, 90-day trial of Peacock Premium when you sign up for a qualifying internet plan.

Spectrum internet fees

Equipment Fee
  • $5.00/mo. for WiFi (no charge with Internet Gig plan)
  • $3.00/mo. per Spectrum WiFi Pod
  • No charge for modem or gateway
Installation Fee
  • $49.99 for pro install
  • $19.99 for self-install and service activation
  • $49.99 for WiFi Pod install
Other Fees
  • $9.99 service activation fee
  • $8.95 late payment fee (after 21 days)
  • $25.00 insufficient funds fee
  • $5.00 phone payment processing fee
  • $9.99 reconnection fee (internet)
  • $4.99 reconnection fee (TV)
  • $19.99 equipment upgrade fee to Internet Gig plan

As a customer, the one fee that’s a real eyesore each month is Spectrum’s WiFi charge. At first glance, it appears to be a monthly lease for its standalone routers. After all, customers don’t lease Spectrum’s modems or gateways.

But no, that fee also applies to its wireless gateways. Customers are essentially leasing the convenience of WiFi. Plus, if you want to use its WiFi Pod mesh system, you must pay an additional $3 for each unit every month. That can add up if you need whole-home coverage.

We go into more detail in the Why does Spectrum charge a WiFi fee section.

Another eyesore that’s not listed above is the modem rental fee for customers on legacy plans, which persists even though Spectrum advertises free modems. Yes, new customers won’t see the monthly lease—at least for another few years. However, if you were a Time Warner Cable or Bright House Networks customer and never manually switched to an official Spectrum plan, you will continue to pay $10 or $4 per month, respectively, until you do so.

For more information about this fee, jump to the Why do I still see a modem fee on my bill section.

Spectrum internet installation, equipment, and contracts

Spectrum is a cable internet provider, so you have options to self-install or have a technician come out to get you set up. But you definitely need a pro install if you don’t have existing cable TV lines in your home or building.

Spectrum installation and equipment

Spectrum encourages new customers to opt for self-install over a pro install. You can pick up the equipment from a local Spectrum store or have the devices shipped to your address. After that, you can find instructions online on how to activate the modem.

But don’t worry—Spectrum’s pro install is still available for new installations for $49.99. Spectrum provides you with a separate modem and router or a single wireless gateway, depending on what’s available at the time.

Spectrum charges $49.99 per hour for any additional labor, and another $49.99 to make a special trip.

Spectrum Internet contracts

Spectrum doesn’t enforce contracts. Instead, it provides discounted pricing for the first 12 or 24 months of service, depending on the plan. You must keep the service for at least one month to get the discounted price. Once the promotion ends, prices increase by at least $20 per month.

Spectrum internet customer ratings

 Overall RatingReliability RatingCustomer Service RatingSpeed RatingPrice Rating
Spectrum customer satisfaction rating3.7/53.2/53.6/53.6/53.6/5
Average rating*3.8/53.3/53.7/53.7/53.7/5

While Spectrum ranked relatively low in our annual customer satisfaction survey, most of its customers (64%) reported experiencing outages Not Often or Never—that’s better than any other provider included in our survey, which suggests that Spectrum service is actually quite reliable for most customers.

Spectrum customers also seem satisfied with their speeds—even though Spectrum ranked extremely low on the speed satisfaction list. As a paying customer, my household sees faster speeds than my plan’s 400 Mbps maximum—almost 475 Mbps, in fact. Peak time slowdowns? They don’t happen to this customer.

Spectrum’s low customer support score is understandable, however. Getting info on pricing and plans can be a frustrating experience, whether you call, use the My Spectrum app, or try the website’s chat tool. I avoid calling due to Spectrum’s frustrating automated system—there are just too many hoops to jump through to get the help you need. The online chat service is problematic as well.

  • Spectrum vs. the competition

     SpeedPriceTypeCustomer rating*Order online
    Spectrum300–1,000 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)$49.99–$89.99/mo. for 12 mos.†‡Cable3.6View Plans
    100–5,000 Mbps$55.00–$180.00/mo.§||#**DSL, Fiber3.8
    Frontier500–2,000 Mbps$49.99–$149.99/mo. w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill††‡‡§§FiberN/AView Plans
    200–2,000 Mbps$39.99–$119.99/mo.||||##Fiber3.8

    Spectrum’s direct competitors are AT&T, Verizon, and Frontier—all four can overlap in some service areas. Of the four, Spectrum is the middle ground provider with cable internet, while the other three serve faster fiber and slower DSL connections.

    Generally, Spectrum’s prices are more expensive when you look at other comparable plans. For example, AT&T’s Internet 300 plan is $5 more per month than the base Spectrum Internet plan, but there’s no promotional pricing, making AT&T the better deal. Verizon has a similar plan at the same price, but again, there’s no price hike with Verizon. Plus, fiber has symmetrical speeds, which cable does not.

    Customers who want gigabit speeds may now find Spectrum’s Internet Gig plan more appealing. The company recently dropped the price by $30 per month and discontinued the hefty $199.99 installation fee. The only drawback is that Internet Gig costs $114.99 a month by the third year of service, making it the most expensive long-term gigabit plan compared to the competition.

    Read our full reviews of Spectrum vs its main internet competitors

Is Spectrum Internet® right for you?

Spectrum is a good alternative if you don’t have access to fiber internet. It’s an even better choice than DSL, which can reach only half the speed offered by the Spectrum Internet® plan.

Depending on your monthly download needs, your best bet is either the 300 Mbps or the 500 Mbps plan. The 1,000 Mbps plan is a good deal, too, although you may find cheaper options elsewhere. The average user probably doesn’t need gigabit speeds, but at least Spectrum’s Internet Gig service is now a more affordable option if you want all the speed you can get from Spectrum.

Interestingly, in addition to gigabit download speeds Spectrum’s Internet Gig plan boasts an upload speed of up to 500 Mbps in limited areas. That’s ideal if you need to upload large files quickly or stream your gameplay to Twitch. We provide a guide—Mbps vs. Gbps: Do You Need Gigabit Internet?—to help you determine if gigabit internet is right for you.