Spectrum is the internet service arm of Charter Communications, one of the largest cable TV operators in the United States. Charter began offering internet plans at its inception in 1993, just a few years after the invention of the world wide web. It introduced Spectrum in 2014 and now offers cable and fiber internet options. But is it right for you?

We have researched and ranked the best internet service providers (ISPs) in the country and named Spectrum Internet the ‘Best for High Data Use.’ The company has no data caps, no extra fees for equipment and no contract requirements. Learn more about its products and services below.

Spectrum Pros & Cons

Pros

Cons

Unlimited data

Mixed customer reviews

No long-term contracts

Fiber plans are priced higher than some competitors

Wide availability across the country

Spectrum Background & Availability

Unlike many other ISPs, Spectrum provides comprehensive service plans in 41 states and to more than 27 million residential broadband subscribers, so it’s highly likely it’s available in your area. It’s not available in Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Iowa, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Utah (as well as Washington, DC).

Keep in mind that availability and connection options change from ZIP code to ZIP code, so even if Spectrum is in your state, it may not be able to provide all of its services at your address.

Spectrum Connection Types

Spectrum provides internet speeds of 200 Mbps or higher through cable and fiber-optic internet plans. The company offers two cable plans: Spectrum Internet and Internet Ultra. It also offers one fiber-optic plan called Internet Gig.

Here are Spectrum’s plans and their connection types:

  • Spectrum Internet: Cable
  • Internet Ultra: Cable
  • Internet Gig: Fiber-optic

Spectrum Starting Cost

Like many ISPs, Spectrum offers special pricing for your first 12 months of service. Its starting costs range from $45 to $110, which is fair for these speeds. After 12 months, Spectrum will apply standard rates to its plans.

If you’re already locked into a contract with another company, Spectrum offers contract buyouts up to $500. Spectrum also provides its services on a month-to-month basis, so you don’t need to worry about any long-term contracts.

Other costs to be aware of with Spectrum include installation fees of $50 for professional installation or $10 for self-installation. Customers receive a free modem (cable), but Spectrum’s Wi-Fi router costs an extra $5 per month.

Read over Spectrum’s starting costs per month below:

  • Spectrum Internet: $45
  • Internet Ultra: $70
  • Internet Gig: $110

Spectrum Internet Speeds

Spectrum’s baseline cable plan, simply called Spectrum Internet, offers speeds of 200 Mbps. This is sufficient for smaller homes with users that browse social media and stream media. Its Internet Ultra plan provides higher speeds up to 400 Mbps. This allows you to stream HD video and play online games on multiple devices.

The company’s most powerful plan, Internet Gig, provides a fiber-optic connection for high speeds up to 1,000 Mbps. This plan can handle multiple devices streaming HD video content, gaming online, engaging in remote office work and browsing online at the same time. This plan is ideal for larger households or those who use the internet often.

Read over some more details about Spectrum’s connection types here:

Plan

Spectrum Internet

Internet Ultra

Internet Gig

Download Speed

200 Mbps

400 Mbps

1,000 Mbps

Upload Speed

10 Mbps

20 Mbps

35 Mbps

Spectrum Bundle Options

Spectrum offers unlimited data with no caps, making it a good choice to bundle your internet plan with TV and home phone services. Customers are able to mix and match these three services. When you bundle Spectrum Internet with its TV service, Spectrum TV, you save an additional $5 on your monthly cost.

Spectrum TV provides 200+ channels, 60,000+ On-Demand titles and the ability to stream live TV on the go through the Spectrum TV app. Spectrum’s home phone service, Spectrum Voice, provides more than 28 home phone features without additional fees or taxes, including readable voicemail, instant tracing to 911, unlimited nationwide calling, and caller ID on Spectrum TV.

Learn about Spectrum’s package options below:

Package

Internet + TV

Internet + Voice

Internet + TV + Voice

Starting Cost

$100

$53

$113

Spectrum Reviews & Customer Service

Spectrum provides a variety of customer service tools, such as an online customer portal, mobile app and online chat feature. You are also able to call customer service 24/7.

Though Charter Spectrum’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) profile* currently has a B+ rating, the company recently settled two lawsuits: one over allegedly defrauding New Yorkers over internet speeds and performance and the other for tricking customers into switching providers.

Spectrum also has mixed customer reviews across popular customer review sites like the BBB, Yelp and Trustpilot. See what Spectrum customers had to share about their experiences below:

When you discontinue the service, [Spectrum] will bill you for the entire month instead of your disconnect date. And they will not tell you this. They say it is on your statement, and that is enough notice that you need. However, if you have your funds taken out every month, there really isn’t a reason to look at your bill because it usually doesn’t change too much.… And it’s not like you can use the service should you move and disconnect it. If I had known this, I would have disconnected it two days prior and used my [hotspot]. But instead, I was charged $200 for a service that I could not use. — Tricia K. via BBB

The internet service we receive is excellent. We rarely even think about the great service we get because it’s always there, and [on] the rare occasions the service goes down, it is never for long and they will credit our account no problem at all. All we have to do is phone to report the down time. The staff in their shops and call centers are always so customer service-focused, it makes it easy to ask questions and know we are getting the right answers. — Neil B. via BBB

I can tell you that here the download speed is stable, but it’s time to let the service providers [know] that download is NOT the only service. For gamers, YouTubers and people that need to send or upload big files, we need more upload [speed]. You can ask them for 300 or more downloads, and you’ll NEVER get a decent upload speed. 5 megs of upload… Really? Last month, it took me three days to upload a long video to YouTube and I disconnected all other devices and used the ethernet cable. That’s a shame. — Jose Velazquez via Trustpilot

I had some issues with the setup but it seemed to be my house. A tech came out the next day and set it up for me and I haven’t had any issues since. I think once or twice there [have] been outages in my area but they are always out working on it pretty quickly. We do high-end gaming and haven’t had any problems.…I don’t ever contact them really. I just pay my bill on time and my service is good. Have been with them for 8 months. — Dre via Trustpilot

*BBB information accurate as of August 2021

Spectrum FAQs

  • What is Spectrum’s contract buyout?

    If you are interested in switching to Spectrum’s service, the company offers up to $500 towards any early termination fees from your previous provider.

  • What internet assistance plan does Spectrum offer?

    Spectrum has a program for eligible, low-income households. Spectrum Internet Assist features 30 Mbps download and 4 Mbps upload with similar terms as its other internet plans for a rate of $18 per month.

  • Can my neighbors slow down my internet?

    Yes, they can. If you have a cable connection and your neighbors have the same provider and they use their internet a lot, your internet connection may slow down. This is why internet speeds tend to drop during peak hours.

  • How do I install Spectrum’s equipment?

    If you do not require any wiring or are opting to save money by choosing Spectrum’s $10 self-installation option, you simply have to connect one end of a coaxial cable to a cable outlet and connect the other end to your Spectrum modem. You then wait for the modem to connect to Spectrum’s network, which takes roughly two to five minutes. Once live, you are able to connect your computer or your Wi-Fi router to the modem.

  • Why should I get fiber internet?

    If you are searching for the most powerful internet connection on the market currently, then we recommend you look into getting a fiber-optic connection. Fiber internet provides greater speeds, higher bandwidth and more reliability than cable or satellite internet access. If you stream a lot of HD content, download or upload large files, play multiplayer online games or work from home, fiber internet will provide the best service for you.

  • Is Spectrum good for rural areas?

    This depends entirely on the ZIP code in question. We suggest you call customer service or visit Spectrum’s website to determine what options are available for your rural home. We also encourage you to read over our top choices for internet options for rural areas.

Methodology for Rating Internet Service Providers

Our Advisor team has created a detailed methodology that we use when we rank and research internet service providers. We have analyzed ISPs on their cost, speeds, connection types, additional perks, service availability and more.

Here’s a breakdown of the factors we consider when rating companies. Our top picks score well across all these factors.

Factor

Weight

Criteria

Starting Price Cost

15

We considered the monthly starting price, most often set for 12 months, each provider offers. The lower the price, the higher the score.

Broadband Options

12

We reviewed whether the provider is able to offer DSL, satellite, cable and/or fiber-optic connections for the internet. The more connection types a provider is able to supply, the higher the score they receive.

Additional Benefits

10

Though primarily focused on bundles with TV, streaming and phone services, we also weighed extra perks, such as deals or free equipment.

Download Speeds

10

Based on advertised download speeds, we ranked companies on their ability to supply ample downloads ranging from 100 Mbps to 500+ Mbps. If the company provides speeds lower than these, they receive a significantly lower score.

Customer Service

10

We considered whether the company offers customer support 24/7 or only during business hours, as well as if it offers a separate customer tech support line. We also look at customer satisfaction scores across sites like Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Technological Accessibility

15

We considered the availability of the company through an online customer portal, a mobile app or an online chat. The more options the provider offers, the higher the score.

Service Areas

10

We weighed each provider based on how many states it is available in. If the provider offers its services in more states, then it receives a higher score. A provider may also receive a higher score if it is in less states, but it provides excellent services for those in rural areas.

Reputation 

13

We considered the overall reputation a provider has received over time based on BBB scores and the number of years the provider has been in business.