Google Fiber vs Spectrum

Best Speeds
Google Fiber logo sized
Price: $70.00–$100.00/mo.

Speed: 1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps)–2 Gbps

Internet type: Fiber

Additional fees: None

Best prices
Spectrum Logo
Price: $49.99–$109.99/mo.

Speed: 200 Mbps–1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps)*

Internet type: Cable

Additional fees: None

Google Fiber gives you the speed and reliability that you can get only with fiber-to-the-home service. Spectrum has much wider availability, offers decent speeds, and has cheaper options. But if you opt for a gigabit connection, Google Fiber is actually the more affordable option.

 

Pros and cons: Google Fiber vs. Spectrum

Google Fiber

Pros

  • Gigabit and multigigabit speeds (1,000–2,000 Mbps)
  • No contracts
  • No hidden fees

Cons

  • Limited availability

Pros

  • Speeds up to 1,000 Mbps*
  • Wider availability
  • No contracts

Cons

  • More expensive gigabit plan
  • Price hikes after 1 year

Want to see what plans are available in your area? Enter your zip code below.

Plans and pricing: Google Fiber vs. Spectrum

Google Fiber offers gigabit and multigigabit fiber internet connections at a reasonable price. Spectrum offers cable connections, which can reach gigabit speeds but also provide slower, more affordable plan options. If your household can get by on a 200 Mbps connection, going with Spectrum will save you some money. But if you need higher speeds than that, Google Fiber offers faster speeds at a better price per megabit than Spectrum.

Google Fiber plans and pricing

PackagePriceSpeedDetails
Google Fiber 1 Gig$70.00/mo.1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps)View Google Fiber Plans
Google Fiber 2 Gig$100.00/mo.2 Gbps (2,000 Mbps)View Google Fiber Plans

Google Fiber gives an amazing value to customers that need a fast connection. It’s one of the smaller nationwide internet service providers (ISPs), but it has had a huge impact in popularizing fiber home internet.1 Its plans start at a higher price point than most ISPs, but these plans are still cheaper than many offering the same speeds.

Spectrum plans and pricing

PackagePriceSpeedDetails
Spectrum Internet®$49.99/mo for 12 mos.†Up to 200 Mbps*View Plan
Spectrum Internet® Ultra$69.99/mo for 12 mos.†Up to 400 Mbps*View Plan
Spectrum Internet® Gig$109.99/mo for 12 mos.†Up to 1,000 Mbps*View Plan

Data as of 6/7/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

*wireless speeds may vary

Spectrum’s plans start at 200 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary) which, while considerably slower than a gigabit connection, is more than enough to do most online activities, including bandwidth-intensive ones like streaming video. In homes with just a handful of connected devices, this basic plan can meet your needs while saving you money on your monthly bill.

Pro tip:

Are you paying for the right amount of internet speed? Take our quiz on how much speed you need to find out.

If, on the other hand, your home network often has multiple computers, tablets, or smart TVs that all use the internet at once, you might need a faster connection.

Spectrum has plans all the way up to 1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps) (wireless speeds may vary), but this plan is more expensive than Google Fiber’s equivalent and also doesn’t come with the other benefits of fiber connections.

It’s also important to note that Spectrum’s prices go up after a year, so the difference in price only gets worse as time goes on.

Want to see what plans are available in your area? Enter your zip code below.

Extra fees: Google Fiber vs. Spectrum

Equipment FeeInstallation Fee
Google FiberFreeFree
Spectrum$5.00/mo. WiFi fee (free with gigabit plan)$49.99; $9.99 for self-installation

Google Fiber has simple, straightforward pricing with no hidden fees. Installation is free, as is the equipment. Spectrum has an installation fee, but it also has a cheaper option for self-installation, which can keep your initial costs pretty low.

While your Spectrum modem is free, it does charge a $5 fee if you want a WiFi router to go with it. Spectrum’s gigabit Internet plan throws in a WiFi router at no extra charge. But for the slower plans, an extra $5 per month eats away at the monthly savings you get from opting for a cheaper plan in the first place.

Best TV and internet bundles

PackageInternet speedTV channelsPriceDetails
Spectrum Select Double PlayUp to 200 Mbps*125+$89.98/mo for 12 mos.†View Plans
Spectrum Gold Triple PlayUp to 200 Mbps*200+$152.97/mo for 12 mos.†View Plans

Data as of 6/7/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

*wireless speeds may vary

†Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter. Spectrum TV® Select promotion price is $44.99/mo; standard rates apply after yr. 1. Spectrum Internet® promotion price is $44.99/mo; standard rates apply after yr. 1. Taxes, fees and surcharges (broadcast surcharge up to $16.45/mo) extra and subject to change during and after the promotional period; installation/network activation, equipment and additional services are extra. General Terms: INTERNET: Speed based on wired connection and may vary by address. Wireless speeds may vary. TV: TV equipment required; charges may apply. Channel and HD programming availability based on level of service. Account credentials may be required to stream some TV content online. Services subject to all applicable service terms and conditions, subject to change. Services not available in all areas. Restrictions apply. Enter your address to determine availability. ©2021 Charter Communications.

Google Fiber doesn’t offer bundles with TV, but its high download speeds make it a good choice for those who use streaming services like Netflix or Hulu.

Spectrum offers bundles with both cable TV and phone service. There’s a wide variety of plans to choose from, depending on how many channels you want and whether or not you want phone service. It’s important to note that all these plans come bundled with a 200 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary) internet connection, so if download speed is a major factor in your decision, bundling might not be worth it for you.

Internet types: Google Fiber vs. Spectrum

Internet typeDetails
Google FiberFiberView Plans
SpectrumCableView Plans

Google Fiber offers fiber-to-the-home internet. This means the connection to your home is built from the same technology as the backbone of the entire internet. Fiber has low latency, which is good for video chat and online games, and high upload speeds, which is good for streamers and other content creators.

Spectrum provides cable internet, which is one of the faster and more reliable types of connection but not as fast or reliable as fiber. Notably, cable connections can slow down if there’s high traffic in your neighborhood. This often means that your speed slows down during peak hours. Cable also has slow upload speeds, which can cause issues for people who work or go to school from home.

Find out more about the differences between cable and fiber.

Data caps: Google Fiber vs. Spectrum

Data CapDetails
Google FiberNo data capsView Plans
SpectrumNo data capsView Plans

Neither Google Fiber nor Spectrum have data caps, which is a big perk. This is especially important on fast plans where you can download massive amounts of data in seconds. With either ISP, you can download to your heart’s content with no fear of having your connection throttled.

Contracts: Google Fiber vs. Spectrum

Contract lengthDetails
Google FiberNo contractView Plans
SpectrumNo contractView Plans

Neither Google Fiber nor Spectrum make you sign a contract when you sign up for an Internet plan. You pay month to month and are free to switch providers at any time.

Installation: Google Fiber vs. Spectrum

Installation optionsDetails
Google FiberFree professional installationView Plans
Spectrum$49.99 professional installation; $9.99 self-installationView Plans

Google Fiber gives new customers free professional installation. This is especially nice considering fiber connections are generally quite a bit more complicated than other technologies, so self-installation usually isn’t an option

Spectrum does charge for professional installation, but manages to offer it at a very low price (though it still can’t beat free). If $49.99 still seems like a bit too much, you can opt for self-installation and get the price down to just $9.99.

Availability: Google Fiber vs. Spectrum

Google Fiber’s biggest hurdle is its very limited availability. Even with new Google Fiber cities getting connected over the last few years, it still covers less than 1% of the US population.2

On the opposite end of the spectrum (so to speak), Spectrum’s cable network reaches over a third of all US households, though it’s primarily found on the East Coast and large urban areas.2

Final call: Google Fiber vs. Spectrum

Google Fiber offers fast, reliable connections that are a great value. If speed is a major factor in your decision or you have a very connected household, go with Google Fiber if it’s available. If you don’t need as much speed, or if you’re interested in bundling services, Spectrum might be worth considering.

You can save a bit on your monthly bill with some Spectrum plans, but upfront costs and price hikes down the road mean you might not save much compared to Google Fiber’s more straightforward plans.

View Google Fiber Plans

View Spectrum Plans

Methodology

Our HighSpeedInternet.com editorial team bases our analyses on customer input from our annual customer satisfaction survey, results from our speed test tool, and proprietary internet provider data on speeds and pricing. To strengthen our research, we look closely at provider contracts to get hard-to-find information on price hikes, data caps, and extra fees, and we keep tabs on the latest news reports and online reviews. When applicable, we also rely on our personal experiences testing these services.

Sources

  1. Blair Levin and Larry Downes, Harvard Business Review, “Why Google Fiber Is High-Speed Internet’s Most Successful Failure,” September 7, 2018. Accessed June 7, 2021.
  2. Federal Communications Commission, “Fixed Broadband Deployment,” Accessed June 7, 2021.

Author -

Peter Christiansen writes about satellite internet, rural connectivity, livestreaming, and parental controls for HighSpeedInternet.com. Peter holds a PhD in communication from the University of Utah and has been working in tech for over 15 years as a computer programmer, game developer, filmmaker, and writer. His writing has been praised by outlets like Wired, Digital Humanities Now, and the New Statesman.

Editor - Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for HighSpeedInternet.com for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.

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