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AT&T vs. Spectrum: Which Internet Provider Is Best for You?

AT&T fiber can't be beat for speed and value, but Spectrum has wider availability

  • Best for speed
    • Customer rating: 3.9/5
    • Price: $55.00–$250.00/mo.*
    • Speed: 225–5,000Mbps
    • Internet type: Fiber, fixed wireless
    • Data cap: No cap (fiber); 350GB (fixed wireless); 1TB for speeds 75Mbps and under
    • Contract: No contract
  • Best for availability
    • Customer rating: 3.7/5
    • Price: $24.99–$79.99/mo.†‡§
    • Speed: Up to 50Mbps–1,000Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)
    • Internet type: Cable, fiber
    • Data cap: No cap
    • Contract: No contract

Compare AT&T and Spectrum head to head

It’s a tough call deciding which of these two is the better provider.

On the one hand, it would be a no-brainer to pick one of AT&T’s fiber plans like Fiber Internet 1000 , which get you incredibly fast speeds at an affordable price. AT&T gives you unlimited data on most fiber plans and you don’t have to sign an annual contract to sign up. You can also get discounts when you bundle your internet with an AT&T phone plan. AT&T’s DSL is sluggish and overpriced, but the provider is now in the process of replacing its DSL service with a solid 5G home internet option called AT&T Internet Air

On the other hand, Spectrum makes for a pretty great option if you can’t get fiber from AT&T. The cable provider gets you speeds up to 1,000Mbps, while its budget-friendly, lower-tier options cost as little as $24.99 a month—way cheaper than AT&T’s baseline offerings. Like AT&T, Spectrum has unlimited data and no contracts. It has a larger nationwide footprint than AT&T, and it has a killer mobile and internet bundle deal to boot.

Not sure which of these providers should be your pick of choice? Read on for our full breakdown of these two providers and a look at where each of their strengths lie.

Pros and cons: AT&T vs. Spectrum


  • Fast speeds
  • Good customer service reputation
  • Lots of fiber plans


  • Limited fiber availability


  • Consistent speeds
  • Simple package choices
  • Affordable pricing


  • Price hikes after the promotional period
  • Limited fiber availability

Are AT&T and Spectrum available in your area?

Enter your zip code below to see what’s available and compare packages.

Plans and pricing: AT&T vs. Spectrum

Let’s jump right into the meat and potatoes. AT&T gives you some seriously fast fiber speeds at a great price. Spectrum’s cable plans tend to cost more for speed, but the cheaper plans are still fast—and more widely available than AT&T’s.

AT&T plans and pricing

PackagePrice*SpeedTypeOrder online
Internet 300$55.00/mo.*300MbpsFiberView Plan
Internet 500$65.00/mo.*500MbpsFiberView Plan
Internet 1 Gig$80.00/mo.1,000MbpsFiberView Plan
Internet 2 Gig$150.00/mo.2,000MbpsFiberView Plan
Internet 5 Gig$250.00/mo.5,000MbpsFiberView Plan
Internet Air$55.00/mo.75–225MbpsFixed Wireless/5GView Plan

How Much Internet Speed Do I Need?

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How many people in your household use the internet/WiFi on a daily basis?

How many devices in your home connect to the internet, including tablets, gaming consoles, and smart devices?

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What video quality do you use for streaming TV and movies?

How intensely does your household participate in online gaming?

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Our minimum speed recommendation for you:

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AT&T offers multiple packages, most of them using excellent fiber connections. You can even get a 5,000Mbps plan—the fastest speeds currently available to homes from any major provider in America.

Overall, the prices are reasonable. We do think it’s worth jumping to the 1G Internet plan if it’s offered where you live—it delivers superior speeds, letting you do practically anything online at a reasonable price.

But if the 1G Internet plan isn’t available, you’ll be good to go with the Internet 300 plan. It’s much faster and gives you more data than what you can get from similarly priced plans from competitor internet service providers (ISPs).

Try out AT&T Internet Air for an alternative to DSL

If you’re living in a rural area or smaller town, check out AT&T Internet Air, a new 5G-based plan designed to serve as a replacement for AT&T’s DSL service. It gives you speeds up to 225Mbps and doesn’t come with any data limits or contract requirements. Fixed wireless connections like 5G have gotten really big in the past few years as an internet service option, and customers gave this developing technology rave reviews in our annual customer satisfaction survey.

Spectrum plans and pricing

PackagePriceSpeedsOrder online
Spectrum Internet® Assist$24.99/mo.*Up to 50Mbps
(wireless speeds may vary)
View Plan
Spectrum Internet® 100$29.99/mo.*Up to 100Mbps
(wireless speeds may vary)
View Plan
Spectrum Internet®$39.99–$49.99/mo.
for 12 mos.
Up to 300Mbps
(wireless speeds may vary)
View Plan
Spectrum Internet® Ultra$49.99–$69.99/mo.
for 24 mos.
Up to 500Mbps
(wireless speeds may vary)
View Plan
Spectrum Internet® Gig$59.99–$79.99/mo.
for 24 mos.
Up to 1,000Mbps
(wireless speeds may vary)
View Plan

Spectrum keeps it simple with three high-speed plans that range from up to 300 to 1,000Mbps (wireless speeds may vary).

The prices are a bit higher than what you’d get from AT&T, and you won’t get the fast upload speeds that you can get from one of AT&T’s fiber plans. While fiber gives you symmetrical speeds—meaning both download and upload speeds are the same—cable internet delivers much slower uploads than downloads.

Spectrum’s handful of offerings makes choosing a plan easy. You can’t go wrong with the Spectrum Internet® plan—that’s an excellent speed for a fair price. Spectrum’s new discounted pricing for the Internet Gig plan makes it more competitive with AT&T’s 1G Internet plan, but it’s still slightly more expensive. The price increases to $114.99 per month by the third year of service, too.

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Deals and promotions: AT&T vs. Spectrum

Enter your address with AT&T Fiber to find deals and gift card promotions in your area.


Get the Deal

Sign up for Spectrum One and get Spectrum internet with speeds up to 300Mbps, free Advanced Wifi, and one Unlimited Mobile line free for 12 months.



Get the Deal

Extra fees: AT&T vs. Spectrum

PackageEquipment FeeInstallation FeeOther Fees
  • $10.00/mo. (for DSL)
  • Free self installation
  • $99.00 DSL pro installation
  • $15.00/mo. early termination (contract plans only)
  • Up to $9.00 (late payment)
  • Spectrum
  • $7.00/mo. for WiFi (no charge with Internet Gig plan)
  • $3.00/mo. per Spectrum WiFi Pod
  • No charge for modem or gateway
  • $59.99 for pro install
  • $24.99 for self-install and service activation
  • $49.99 for WiFi Pod install
  • $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
  • Spectrum doesn’t charge a modem fee each month. Instead, you have a monthly WiFi access fee whether you have Spectrum’s standalone router or its wireless gateway. Spectrum also encourages new customers to use the cheaper self-install kit, but the more expensive pro install option is available if needed.

    AT&T also gives you a break on installation costs if you decide to install it yourself, but you’ll have to pay more for the activation fee than you would with Spectrum. AT&T’s modem/router gateway device is free with a fiber plan.

    There’s a good chance that you won’t have to worry about early termination fees with either of these providers. Most of AT&T’s internet packages run month to month at this point, so that’s not a fee you need to worry about. Spectrum doesn’t have contracts at all, but you’re obligated to keep its service for at least one month before you cancel the service to get the 12-month discounted pricing.

    But AT&T does charge $15 per month (up to $180) for canceling plans that have contracts.

    Customer ratings: AT&T vs. Spectrum

    PackageOverallSpeedPriceReliabilityCustomer service
    AT&T 3.9/53.9/53.7/53.8/53.8/5
    Spectrum 3.7/53.9/53.3/53.7/53.7/5

    AT&T and Spectrum performed well in our annual customer satisfaction survey, getting above-average rankings for overall satisfaction. But AT&T does better in speed, price, and customer service.

    Spectrum also fares excellently in important categories like reliability and speed, but it dips to just average on price, scoring a 3.3 out of 5 rating that’s markedly below AT&T’s score of 3.7.

    Want to see if AT&T or Spectrum are available in your area?

    Enter your zip code below to find out.

    Best mobile and internet bundles

    DealOrder online
    Get Spectrum Mobile Unlimited for just $45.00/mo. when you bundle with Spectrum InternetGet the Deal
    25% per mo. off qualifying AT&T wireless plan when you bundle it with AT&T fiberGet the Deal

    AT&T and Spectrum both offer discounts and deals when you bundle your internet with phone plans. AT&T has a wide range of wireless plans, and you can get 25% per month off a qualifying phone plan when you also have an AT&T fiber internet plan.

    Spectrum meanwhile recently has started offering phone plans through its MVNO branch, Spectrum Mobile. The Spectrum Mobile Ultimate plan costs just $45.00 per month and gives you 20GB per month of premium data that you can use for browsing, streaming, gaming, and hotspotting. The Ultimate plan costs $29.99 per month when you have two or more lines, and you can pay $10 more per month for an additional 10GB of data. (You need a Spectrum Internet plan to sign up for Spectrum Mobile.)

    Pro tip:

    Take a look at our guide to the best mobile and internet bundles to find more ways to save when you connect your Wi-Fi with your cell phone plan.

    Best TV and internet bundles

    PackageInternet speedTV channelsPriceOrder online
    Spectrum Internet + TV SelectUp to 300Mbps
    (wireless speeds may vary)
    for 12 mos.
    View Plans
    Spectrum Internet Ultra + TV SelectUp to 500Mbps
    (wireless speeds may vary)
    for 12 mos.
    View Plans
    DIRECTV ENTERTAINMENT + AT&T Fiber Internet 300300Mbps75+$124.99/mo.View Plans
    DIRECTV CHOICE All-Included Package + AT&T Fiber Internet 300300Mbps105+$129.99/mo.View Plans

    Spectrum doesn’t offer discounted bundles. Instead, you can pair its TV service with its cable internet plan. Both services have discounted pricing for 12 months, but all premium channels are extra. You’ll also see a broadcast surcharge of up to $21 on your bill each month.

    AT&T bundles it’s internet packages with DIRECTV, so you can get AT&T’s plan variety and up to 150 channels.

    Internet connection types: AT&T vs. Spectrum

    PackageInternet typeOrder online
    AT&T Fiber, fixed wirelessView Plans
    Spectrum Cable, fiberView Plans

    AT&T Internet comes in three flavors, depending on the plan you choose: fiber, DSL, or fixed wireless. Fiber is much faster and more reliable than other types of connections, although it’s not always available. DSL is an old-school copper connection that runs over a telephone landline, making it widely available but slow. Fixed wireless is mostly useful for rural areas or neighborhoods with poor internet connections, giving you a nice option that isn’t slow satellite.

    Meanwhile, Spectrum uses a hybrid fiber-coaxial system to deliver a more stable internet connection than providers that use 100% coaxial cable networks. Spectrum’s network is all fiber up until a certain point where coax cable takes over, such as the entrance to a neighborhood already wired up for cable TV. Spectrum installs fiber-to-the-home connections in “green” areas—think new neighborhoods—other fiber internet providers haven’t claimed. Peak time slowdowns are now mostly due to heavy traffic within your home rather than your neighbors.

    Data caps: AT&T vs. Spectrum

    PackageData CapOrder online
  • No cap
  • 1TB for speeds up to 75Mbps
  • 350GB for fixed wireless
  • View Plans
  • No cap
  • View Plans

    AT&T and Spectrum both give you unlimited data on their internet packages so you can browse, stream, and attend Zoom meetings as much as you like all month long without hitting a limit.

    The one place where you should watch for a data cap is with AT&T’s Fixed Wireless Internet plan. Unlike its fiber internet plans, AT&T’s fixed-wireless package—mainly geared toward rural customers—gives you 350GB per month as a data cap, which is not a whole lot.

    The overage fee for AT&T’s Fixed Wireless Internet plan is $10 for every 50GB you go over. And that fee isn’t prorated, so you’ll have to pay that whole $10 even if you go over by just one or two gigs.

    Spectrum may enforce a data cap in the near future, however. Parent company Charter Communications signed a seven-year deal with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2016 that prohibits data caps, but the agreement ends in May 2023.1

    Contracts: AT&T vs. Spectrum

    PackageContract lengthOrder online
    AT&T No contractsView Plans
    Spectrum No contractsView Plans

    AT&T and Spectrum both give you a break when it comes to contracts—there are none. That means you can cancel your service any time after the first month and won’t be hit with an early termination fee (ETF). Very nice.

    Installation: AT&T vs. Spectrum

    PackageInstallation optionsOrder online
  • Up to $99.00 for DSL pro install
  • Free for self-install
  • View Plans
  • $59.99 for pro install
  • $24.99 for self-install and service activation
  • $49.99 for WiFi Pod install
  • View Plans

    Spectrum definitely offers a better deal on installation prices. Spectrum encourages new customers to opt for the self-install kit first, which is cheaper than AT&T’s kit. Pro installs are still available if you need a new installation, a modem moved, or other services.

    AT&T’s installation options are obviously less expensive, and if your home isn’t wired for fiber, AT&T offers deals from time to time to waive installation costs. Take a look at the best internet deals to see if you can rustle up an installation bargain.

    Availability: AT&T vs. Spectrum

    AT&T and Spectrum are both some of the country’s biggest internet providers. AT&T’s network is accessible to 44% of the US population, with coverage centered around the Midwest, the South, and California. Spectrum can reach 39% of the population, with its biggest availability in New York, California, and Texas.

    Looking for a new internet provider?

    You can find out if AT&T and Spectrum are available in your area by typing in your zip code below.

    Final call: Which has better service, AT&T or Spectrum?

    AT&T is the best bet out of these two providers, but only if you can get a fiber-optic plan. The provider’s fiber packages get you fast, symmetrical speeds at an affordable price, with no data caps or contracts. But AT&T’s DSL is slow and not quite worth the money. If that’s all you can find from AT&T, stick to Spectrum. Wherever you are in Spectrum’s service area, you can get you top speeds for a good price or a relatively cheap plan if you’re on a budget.


    Our 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.

    Author -

    Peter Holslin has more than a decade of experience working as a writer and freelance journalist. He graduated with a BA in liberal arts and journalism from New York City’s The New School University in 2008 and went on to contribute to publications like Rolling Stone, VICE, BuzzFeed, and countless others. At, he focuses on covering 5G, nerding out about frequency bands and virtual RAN, and producing reviews on emerging services like 5G home internet. He also writes about internet providers and packages, hotspots, VPNs, and Wi-Fi troubleshooting.

    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 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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