When you think of high-speed, affordable Internet, you’re usually thinking of cable Internet. Using a coaxial connection, data is transmitted over a cable-based network, making this connection type faster and more reliable than DSL. And while you may not get quite the speed capacity of fiber Internet, cable Internet is typically much less expensive.
Although not as well-known as some of the bigger names in the cable industry, Charter Spectrum provides reliable Internet to more than 6 million customers in 28 states. Keep reading for a more in-depth look at Charter Spectrum’s fast and affordable Internet service.
One Speed, One Option
Unlike most other Internet providers, Charter Spectrum advertises only one stand-alone Internet package — a plan with speeds up to 60 Mbps at $39.99 per month for 12 months. This one-tier approach may turn off some consumers, but it’s designed to provide fast Internet to all subscribers for one low monthly price. At this speed, multiple users can rely on the same connection to listen to music, stream videos, and download files.
Despite being more expensive than several other companies’ basic Internet packages, Charter Spectrum’s Internet service provides several perks. In addition to receiving fast Internet, subscribers get free online protection through Charter’s Security Suite, which includes real-time protection against spyware and viruses, a secure firewall, and more. Charter Spectrum Internet™ plans also provide free access to EPIX online content and a free Internet modem, meaning you can save between $6 and $10 per month on equipment rentals.
What’s the Best Package Deal from Charter Spectrum?
While the $39.99 package is the cheapest Internet-only option from Charter Spectrum, it isn’t necessarily the best for every situation. Most users find that bundled plans provide better prices and more expansive services than individual packages. When you bundle with other options, the price of Internet drops down to $29.99 — saving subscribers around 25 percent each month.
If you need a phone line in addition to your network connection, for example, you’ll pay $29.99 for Internet and $19.99 for Charter Spectrum Voice™ monthly for 12 months. If you are looking to bundle Internet with Charter Spectrum TV™ instead, packages start at $89.98 per month for 12 months. That breaks down to $59.99 for cable — including more than 125 channels, free HD service, and access to more than 10,000 On Demand choices — and $29.99 for Internet.
For an even larger package combining TV, Internet, and Voice, the best deal is the Charter Spectrum™ Triple Play Gold package. At just $40 more per month than the above-mentioned TV and Internet plan, the Triple Play Gold package provides 60 Mbps Internet, unlimited nationwide calling, more than 200 cable TV channels, popular premium channels — including HBO®, Cinemax®, Showtime®, Starz®, and others — and HD and DVR service.
Although Charter Spectrum advertises only one stand-alone cable Internet package, the company’s bundled deals will help you save on your monthly costs for a wide range of services. As you evaluate Charter Spectrum’s offerings, check to see which package offers the features you need, rather than choosing based on price alone. If service isn’t currently available to your home, search for another Internet provider that offers the plans you need.
*Pricing and speeds are current as of writing. Pricing and speeds are subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas. Some things are easier to shop for than others. Finding the right Internet Service Provider (ISP) can be one of the tough ones — but it doesn’t have to be. We know that you want to secure the best service at the best price. That’s why we’ve taken a close look at the top Internet providers across the country and compared them based on advertised plan variety, downstream speeds, price, and customer support and reliability. Review our findings and suggestions below, and say goodbye to those ISP shopping nightmares.
Internet habits and needs vary widely, so the number of plans available should be a big consideration when choosing an Internet provider. You need to know that your provider is able to deliver the services you want at a price you can afford.
There are a few different types of plan that ISPs offer. Some are stand-alone Internet plans that provide only a connection to the Internet. Others are bundled plans, combining Internet with other services like television or a phone line.
When it comes to which ISP offers the most advertised stand-alone Internet plan options, the leaders seem to be XFINITY® and Time Warner Cable®. Each company has as many as six widely advertised options, and that doesn’t include any bundled packages. Charter Spectrum falls at the other end of the scale, actively advertising only one stand-alone Internet plan. Most other Internet services, including AT&T and Cox have between three and five stand-alone Internet plans each.
Nearly all providers have bundling options. It’s important to take inventory of your overall needs when shopping for Internet, so that you can choose the plan that makes the most sense for you from both service and financial perspectives. If you are already in a contract with another provider, some ISPs, like Charter Spectrum, have offers that will help buy out your current contract when you switch.
Also keep in mind that not all plans are available in all areas. Providers may have more or fewer plans than advertised, depending on your location. Make sure you reach out to each ISP near you to learn what offerings exist in your ZIP code.
When it comes to the Internet, faster is usually better — but not always. With multiple people and devices accessing the Internet simultaneously, busy homes need speeds that can handle heavy traffic. A single person, on the other hand, might be satisfied with significantly less speed. If you’re not sure how much speed you need, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a guide to help you figure it out. You can also use an online speed test to see what speeds you are currently getting from your provider.
Today, XFINITY has some astoundingly fast options. In certain areas, the company offers downstream speeds up to 2 Gbps as part of their Gigabit Pro plans. However, XFINITY’s lower tier options — ranging between 10 and 75 Mbps — are likely more cost-effective for normal Internet users.
Cox and Windstream have plans available for up to 100 Mbps, but again, the availability of those speeds may be limited based on location. Time Warner Cable, AT&T, and CenturyLink provide speeds between 40 and 50 Mbps, which is plenty fast for most standard Internet activities.
It’s no surprise that the bottom line for choosing an ISP is often how much it’s going to cost every month. Internet plans vary widely, ranging from as little as $15 to over $200 per month. Factors that impact monthly costs include the type of service, speeds, and whether or not the service is combined in a bundle for a discounted rate. First-time customers also often have access to better prices than those available to people who already have an account.
Most providers offer an introductory package at a reasonable price, usually starting at close to $20 per month. Time Warner offers one of the cheapest standard plans for just $15 per month. CenturyLink and Frontier both have Internet packages that start around $20 per month. XFINITY, Charter Spectrum, and Cox all start their basic stand-alone Internet plans between $30 and $45 for monthly service. Some of the most expensive plans on the market are from XFINITY, which has fast options available in limited areas for as much as $300 per month.
Other typical plans across most fiber, cable, and DSL providers range from $30 to $80 per month, depending on the services included. Time Warner, for instance, has 16 different cable Internet package options that range from the aforementioned stand-alone Internet for $15 per month to a bundle with over 200 cable channels, phone service, and Internet downstream speeds up to 50 Mbps for around $130 each month.
When it comes to price, the many variables of location, speed, and bundling can make a big difference. It’s smart to shop around and even check with your current provider to see if they will offer you a break to stay with them instead of losing you to a competitor. If you do sign up for an introductory rate, make sure to pay attention to when the deal expires so you can follow up and ask for an extension or find out what other offers you might be able to tap into.
Customer Support and Reliability
It doesn’t matter if you found the best deal or the fastest speeds if the provider isn’t reliable. Equally important is the availability of support when something goes wrong.
Most ISPs provide 24-hour support available via phone, email, or online chat. AT&T offers a fee-based service that guarantees personalized service with no wait to customers who select that option. XFINITY and Cox both offer live chat, as well as online troubleshooting guides. Time Warner has extensive online support tools, too.
In rare instances, a technician may need to be dispatched to your home to assist with a technical problem. Most providers have qualified technicians available in all areas where their services are offered, but it’s a good idea to check before signing any contracts.
In regard to connection reliability, XFINITY, Time Warner, and AT&T have all performed well on third-party tests. These companies experience limited downtime and experienced speeds are generally close to what is advertised.
If you’re in a fairly rural area, wired connections may not reliably reach your home. In that case, you may want to consider a satellite Internet connection. Though costlier than most traditional wired connections, HughesNet is one of the most reliable satellite ISPs — as long as you can access the southern sky, you should be able to connect.
It can pay to do your homework when it comes to Internet service. As you shop around, consider the speeds that you need, the possibility of bundling with other services like TV and phone, and the price you’re willing to pay. Remember that new customers are usually able to take advantage of introductory rates or special discounts, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a deal if you’re a long-term customer.
It’s time to stop thinking about getting a better Internet deal, and start finding one. Use this information to help you secure an Internet deal that keeps you online without breaking the bank.
*Pricing and speeds are current as of writing. Pricing and speeds are subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas. Everyone loves a great deal, especially when it comes to monthly services. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) understand this principle, which is why many of them offer free equipment or other perks when you sign up for service. If you’re not sure what perks your current ISP offers, or if you’re shopping for a new ISP altogether, this guide will help you figure out which provider is offering a deal that you simply can’t refuse.
You’re probably familiar with some basic XFINITY® offerings, including fast speeds and a rapidly expanding service area, but what you may not know is that every XFINITY customer also has access to an additional service called Internet on the Go. With Internet on the Go, subscribers have free access to over 8 million hotspots nationwide. This extensive coverage, paired with the XFINITY Connect™ app, makes it easy to keep track of appointments and check email away from home.
Another perk is Constant Guard® by XFINITY. All XFINITY Internet customers receive basic online security protection via the Norton™ Security Suite, which provides protection against viruses and spyware. The company also makes it easy to add upgrades to regular monthly bills.
Charter Spectrum is one of the only ISPs that provides customers with a free modem across most plan offerings — including bundles. This helps reduce overall monthly costs, as it saves users from paying a rental fee for this necessary equipment.
Another feature that Charter Spectrum offers is month-to-month service. Customers can enjoy reliable, fast Internet without being tied down to a contract. This gives users flexibility and freedom to choose the Internet plan that makes the most sense for them, even if their needs change. In fact, Charter Spectrum is so committed to abolishing contracts that certain new customers may qualify for up to a $500 buyout to help them get out of a current contract with another provider.
All CenturyLink Internet plans include basic protection from CenturyLink @Ease® online security by Norton™. Customers can adjust their level of security coverage and take advantage of the peace of mind that comes with Identity Guard for an additional monthly fee. The company also offers a 30-day Satisfaction Guarantee for new Internet customers, a policy that ensures any user who is not satisfied with their CenturyLink service can cancel within 30 days and receive a credit for all Internet service charges, modem or router charges, shipping fees, activation fees, and any other applicable taxes or other surcharges.
As an added bonus, subscribers can avoid installation fees by opting for CenturyLink’s self-installation kit, which includes everything necessary to get an Internet connection up and running. Plus, customers who order a CenturyLink bundle online may qualify for a prepaid Visa card worth up to $150. The company also offers prepaid Visa cards for customers who refer friends and family members to CenturyLink.
Subscribers enjoy a variety of free services with their Cox High Speed Internet™ plan. The company starts things on the right foot by waiving installation fees, but it doesn’t stop there. Cox gives customers a free Cox email account with Cloud storage, which is protected by free security through the Cox Security Suite powered by McAfee®. The Security Suite also provides antivirus protection and an online app that customers can use to check the security of their home wireless network.
Additionally, Cox gives High Speed Internet subscribers access to Music Choice, a portal that offers a wide selection of music channels, videos, and original programming. Customers can listen to more than 50 pre-made channels or create their own music channels and video playlists.
Windstream offers its subscribers the ability to sign up for High Speed Internet without the hassle of a long-term contract. Very few other ISPs provide such a winning combination of flexibility and security.
Windstream’s solid plan offerings are backed up by an extensive 24/7 help network. In addition to a large library of online support resources, Windstream also provides real-time assistance via their virtual agent, Wendy. Customers can chat live with Wendy, email questions to support, or call the help line directly at any time, day or night.
AT&T U-verse® Internet plans include up to 11 email accounts and 2 GB of secure online storage. In addition, U-verse customers have access to AT&T’s extensive network of public Wi-Fi hotspots across the country and internationally. Users can consult the company’s Wi-Fi location map to find hotspots, whether they are close to home or on vacation. This allows U-verse customers consistent access to their Internet service and other network resources.
U-verse also offers one particular benefit that most other ISPs don’t: a battery backup. This device will keep customers’ Internet services up and running, even if the power goes out. The backup only extends power for a few hours, but that can be the difference between saving a current project and losing hours of work. For customers who live in areas where severe weather often affects power, this perk could be a lifesaver.
In addition to all of these great perks, several of the above listed companies offer further discounts for subscribers with limited financial means. So no matter what your situation, if you need Internet service, there are ISPs that can provide the benefits you want. Now that you know the kinds of perks that are out there, it’s time to stop browsing and start shopping. Check out providers in your area today.