How to Get the Most Out of Your Unlimited, No-contract Home Wi-Fi/spectrum

How to Get the Most Out of Your Unlimited, No-contract Home Wi-Fi/spectrum

Spectrum overview

Spectrum has three plans with fast download and upload speeds of 300/10, 500/20 or 1,000/35 Mbps. Limited areas also have 2 GB speeds available.

Spectrum uses cable lines, meaning upload speeds won’t match as they do with fiber internet. Cable is a shared internet connection that can slow down when the network is busy. However, Spectrum enhances its internet service in most areas with hybrid coaxial and fiber technology.

Spectrum covers about 30% of the U.S. across 41 states and keeps costs low with minimal fees, including free installation and a free modem. The only additional cost is $5–7/mo. (based on location) for a Wi-Fi router, but you can also opt to supply your own.

Spectrum internet pros and cons

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Pros
  • Spectrum internet pros and cons.

  • No data limits or contracts.

  • Reduced-price internet available for low-income households.

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Cons
  • Router rental fee is $5–$7/mo.

  • Rates increase after 12–24 months.

  • Speeds may slow at busy times of day (evenings/weekends).

How we reviewed Spectrum

Spectrum scored 3.9 out of 5 on our provider rating scale, a higher score than more than half of the ISPs we reviewed. Spectrum ranked evenly with Xfinity, the other largest U.S. cable provider. Spectrum gained points for factors including broad availability, fast speeds and no-contract plans. However, the provider lost points for its slightly below-average customer service marks (from ACSI) and its lack of true end-to-end fiber options.

Best Spectrum Internet plans and prices

PlanStarting price*Download/Upload speedsStandard rate*
Spectrum Internet®$49.99/mo.300/10 Mbps$79.99/mo.
Spectrum Internet® Ultra$69.99/mo.500/20 Mbps$99.99/mo.
Spectrum Internet® Gig$79.99/mo.1,000/35 Mbps$119.99/mo.
*Limited time offer; subject to change; new residential customers only (no Spectrum services within past 30 days) and in good standing with Charter. Taxes and fees extra in select states. SPECTRUM INTERNET: Standard rates apply after promo period. Advertised price reflects $5 discount when enrolling in Auto Pay. Additional charge for installation. Speeds based on wired connection. Actual speeds (including wireless) vary and are not guaranteed. Gig capable modem required for Gig speed. For a list of Gig capable modems, visit Spectrum.net/modem. Services subject to all applicable service terms and conditions, subject to change. Not available in all areas. Restrictions apply. ©2024 Charter Communications.

Spectrum internet speeds

Spectrum internet speeds tiers are 300, 500 or 1,000 Mbps. Regardless of what you use the internet for, one of these plans can support your online activities, including gaming, streaming, email, browsing, social media, content creation and more. The only obstacle you may run into is if you frequently upload lots of large files since the maximum Spectrum upload speed is 35 Mbps.

Some cities also carry a Spectrum 100 Mbps plan for $29.99/mo. for the most basic internet use. Additionally, reduced-price internet for low-income households is available through Spectrum Internet Assist at 50 Mbps for $24.99/mo.

Methodology

 

How to choose a Spectrum Internet plan

Use these guidelines when choosing the speed you need for your household internet when selecting a Spectrum plan.

  • How much do you want to spend? Spectrum’s three plans are fairly budget-friendly, especially considering that many households do not need 1 GB speeds. A monthly starting price of either $49.99 (300 Mbps) or $69.99 (500 Mbps) should be enough speed for many situations. However, if these prices are at the top of your price range, keep in mind that Spectrum prices also increase by $25–$30 after 12 months.
  • What do you need to do online? Online activities can range from basic email and browsing to constant streaming and gaming. Evaluate what your household consistently does online to pick a complimentary speed.
  • How many devices do you typically use? Spectrum’s 300, 500 or 1,000 Mbps plans can support any online activities, but with multiple devices connected at once, you may notice Wi-Fi lag. Households with around 20 devices should consider 1 GB options.
  • Does your home have any Wi-Fi trouble areas? If you have zones of your home that have trouble getting Wi-Fi, try getting a faster Spectrum plan or installing Wi-Fi extenders.

Spectrum Internet®

Spectrum Internet® offers speeds up to 300 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload for $49.99/mo. Numerous devices can connect to Wi-Fi on this plan.

Who fits this plan?

This plan is good for homes that do any type of online activity, including gaming and streaming, with around 10 connected devices.

Who doesn’t fit this plan?

Super-connected homes may want to opt for a faster Spectrum plan for best results with minimal buffering or lag.

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Pros
  • Available everywhere.

  • Sometimes on sale for less than the normal promotional price of $49.99/mo.

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Cons
  • Can exhaust the bandwidth and result in laggy Wi-Fi service if you connect too many devices at once.

Spectrum Internet® Ultra

The Internet Ultra is $69.99/mo. for 500 Mbps. This plan nets you an additional 200 Mbps from the basic Spectrum plan, allowing for more connected devices. In some areas, Spectrum offers 500 Mbps starting at $49.99/mo., the same promotional price as Spectrum’s 300 Mbps plan.

Who fits this plan?

This plan is sufficient for homes with multiple people working from home or streaming at the same time.

Who doesn’t fit this plan?

The speed is unnecessary for light internet users (web browsing, email, minimal streaming) and homes with few devices.

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Pros
  • No data caps, contracts or early termination fees (ETFs).

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Cons
  • Upload speeds up to 20 Mbps (frequent uploaders like content creators or photographers may still face some wait times with large files).

Spectrum Internet® Gig

Spectrum Internet® Gig is the provider’s fastest plan at $79.99/mo. and offers the most seamless online connection. While the 1,000 Mbps download speed is not necessary for the average home user, the speed can prove useful for the ultra-connected smart home.

Who fits this plan?

This plan is for homes with constant internet activity and 20 or more connected devices. Additionally, the 35 Mbps upload speed can be helpful if your job or hobbies involve uploading large files, videos, email attachments or photos regularly.

Who doesn’t fit this plan?

If you have less than 20 connected devices, try the 300 or 500 Mbps Spectrum plan. That way, you are not overpaying for additional speed you don’t require.

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Pros
  • Fastest download and upload speeds that Spectrum offers (1,000/35 Mbps).

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Cons
  • Standard price of $119/mo. is $30 more than 1 GB plans from competitors like AT&T, Frontier Fiber and CenturyLink.

Spectrum cable bundles

Spectrum cable bundles can include internet, TV, home phone and mobile phone. Internet and TV bundles are offered at promotional rates, so expect rates to increase (sometimes substantially) after the promotional period. Additionally, TV service also includes Broadcast TV surcharges. These fees vary by area but can be $20/mo. or more.

Home phone with Spectrum, also called Spectrum Voice®, includes unlimited nationwide calling, call forwarding, call waiting, call blocking and over 20 other features at no extra cost. Voice service also includes unlimited calling to Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Guam and other U.S. territories.

The following table includes common Spectrum bundles.

PlanStarting cost*Download speed (up to)No. of channelsHome phoneMobile phone
Internet, TV and home phone$129.97/mo.300 Mbps150+YesNo
Internet and TV$109.98/mo.300 Mbps150+NoNo
Internet and home phone$69.98/mo.300 MbpsN/AYesNo
Internet and mobile phone$89.99/mo.1,000 MbpsN/ANoYes
*Limited time offer; subject to change; new residential customers only (no Spectrum services within past 30 days) and in good standing with Charter. Taxes and fees extra in select states. SPECTRUM INTERNET: Standard rates apply after promo period. Advertised price reflects $5 discount when enrolling in Auto Pay. Additional charge for installation. Speeds based on wired connection. Actual speeds (including wireless) vary and are not guaranteed. Gig capable modem required for Gig speed. For a list of Gig capable modems, visit Spectrum.net/modem. Services subject to all applicable service terms and conditions, subject to change. Not available in all areas. Restrictions apply. ©2024 Charter Communications.

Spectrum availability and coverage

Spectrum offers service in 41 states. However, the bulk of its coverage includes Alabama, Central Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee. Other major markets include the Dallas, Austin and Houston areas of Texas; Los Angeles and Bakersfield, California; and the Oregon coast.

Spectrum vs. other internet providers

Spectrum’s internet deals are above average in our rankings compared to other internet providers. The following list highlights the pros and cons of Spectrum vs. other ISPs in the same coverage area.

  • Spectrum vs. AT&T Internet: The price difference between AT&T Fiber for its 300 and 500 Mbps plans are similar (within $5–$10). However, AT&T does not raise prices after 12 months and offers symmetrical upload and download speeds.
  • Spectrum vs. CenturyLink: CenturyLink offers a promotional rate that’s $15 less than the cheapest internet plan from Spectrum. CenturyLink throttles speeds after 1 TB data usage, and Spectrum similarly manages its network during peak congestion.
  • Spectrum vs. Frontier Fiber: Like Spectrum, Frontier Fiber has unlimited and no-contract internet. Frontier also offers symmetrical speeds and lower promotional and standard rates than Spectrum.
  • Spectrum vs. Hughesnet: Hughesnet is a satellite internet provider with broader availability and provides options for rural internet. Spectrum has faster speeds with a more reliable connection for a lower monthly cost but is not usually found in rural areas.
  • Spectrum vs. T-Mobile 5G: T-Mobile and Spectrum both offer no contracts or data caps, but T-Mobile is ahead of Spectrum in availability and consistent pricing. However, 5G internet speeds with T-Mobile max out at 245 Mbps, which is slower than the basic Spectrum plan.
  • Spectrum vs. Verizon Fios: Verizon Fios has the same three plan tiers (300, 500 and 940 Mbps) at the same starting prices as Spectrum. However, Verizon doesn’t raise rates after the first year like Spectrum.

Spectrum customer service

Spectrum customer satisfaction is one of the categories the company could improve. In the most recent 2022–2023 ACSI data, the company earned a 64/100. This score is two points below the average for all non-fiber internet providers and nine points less than the top-ranked provider, T-Mobile 5G Home Internet.

  • Call customer service and tech support for Spectrum Internet at 1-833-949-0036.
  • Chat with a Spectrum representative here. You can also troubleshoot common Spectrum issues, like what to do if your Wi-Fi is not working, by asking questions in the search box.
  • Check for Spectrum outages in your area here.

Spectrum bill pay

  • Pay online: Sign in to your Spectrum account. Select “Billing,” then “Make a Payment.”
  • Pay by phone: Call 1-833-267-6094.
  • Pay at a retail store: Find a Spectrum store location near you. Finding a retail location is the only way to pay cash for your Spectrum service.
  • Pay by mail: Send a check or money order with a copy of your statement. Sign into your Spectrum account to find the correct mailing address for your area. You can also find the address on your billing statement.
  • Help with late payments: You can set up a payment plan for late payments when you log in to your Spectrum account or by calling customer service.

 

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