Verizon vs. Spectrum: Which Internet Provider Is Best for You?

Verizon and Spectrum offer different internet connection types. We compare the two so you can choose what’s best for you.

Best for

Customer rating: 3.8/5

Price: $39.99–$89.99/mo.*‡†

Speed: 0.5–up to 940 Mbps

Internet type: Fiber, DSL

Annual contract: No

Setup charge: $99.00 (waived when ordered online)

View Plans for Verizon

Best for

Customer rating: 3.6/5

Price: $49.99–$109.99/mo.**

Speed: Up to 200–1,000 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)

Internet type: Cable

Annual contract: No

Setup charge: $49.99 for pro; $9.99 for self

View Plans for Spectrum

Choosing between Verizon and Spectrum mostly comes down to fiber versus cable. Spectrum’s cable internet is the clear choice if you want speeds faster than 100 Mbps and there’s no fiber option in your area (Verizon’s fiber coverage is limited).

However, we suggest going with fiber from Verizon Fios if it’s in your area. Verizon’s high-speed plans are cheaper than Spectrum’s, plus you get the benefits of symmetrical speeds with fiber (uploads are as fast as downloads) and a connection that’s not shared with your neighbors (like cable).

 

Pros and cons: Verizon vs. Spectrum

Pros

  • No annual contracts
  • No data caps
  • Fiber internet with speeds up to 940 Mbps

Cons

  • Limited fiber availability
  • DSL unavailable to new customers

Pros

  • No modem rental fee
  • No annual contracts
  • No data caps

Cons

  • Gigabit setup is expensive
  • Wi-Fi is an extra fee
  • No fiber availability

Want to compare the best Verizon and Spectrum plans in your area? Enter your zip code below.

Plans and pricing: Verizon vs. Spectrum

If you compare plans with similar advertised speeds, Verizon is far cheaper than Spectrum. This is especially true when comparing the gigabit connections (1,000 Mbps)—which doesn’t even factor in Spectrum’s pricey activation fee. Verizon simply has the upper hand in both pricing and symmetrical speeds.

Verizon plans and pricing

PackagePriceSpeedTypeDetails
Internet 200/200$39.99/mo.*200 MbpsFiber

View Plan

Internet 300/300**$39.99/mo.*300 MbpsFiber

View Plan

Internet 400/400$64.99/mo.*400 MbpsFiber

View Plan

Internet 500/500**$64.99/mo.*500 MbpsFiber

View Plan

Fios Gigabit Connection$89.99/mo.‡Up to 940 MbpsFiber

View Plan

At first glance, Verizon offers a wider variety of internet plans than Spectrum. But a closer look shows that Verizon’s Internet 300/300 and Internet 500/500 plans are limited to specific areas in New York. That narrows the list down to three fiber connections in most areas along with Verizon’s DSL service. Spectrum has a similar narrow plan lineup but without the DSL option.

Verizon pairs DSL internet with traditional landline phone service. Customers get speeds up to 15 Mbps, and the plan is more expensive than Frontier’s DSL service with 115 Mbps. However, Verizon does not offer DSL internet to new customers.

Spectrum plans and pricing

PackagePriceSpeedDetails
Spectrum Internet Assist$14.99/mo. for qualifying households**Up to 30 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)

View Plan

Spectrum Internet®$49.99/mo. for 12 mos.Up to 200 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)

View Plan

Spectrum Internet® Ultra$69.99/mo. for 12 mos.Up to 400 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)

View Plan

Spectrum Internet® Gig$109.99/mo. for 12 mos.*Up to 1,000 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)

View Plan

Like Verizon, Spectrum also serves up speeds maxing out at 200, 400, and 1,000 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary).

The big takeaway here is that Spectrum’s internet plans are more expensive than Verizon’s plans. The Spectrum Internet plan alone is $10 more per month for the same download speed as AT&T Internet 200/200, but Verizon’s fiber connection trumps Spectrum’s plan by providing symmetrical speeds—equal uploads and downloads. The Spectrum Internet Gig plan isn’t worth $109.99 a month if you don’t need gigabit speeds.

The win for Spectrum, though, is that its plans have wider availability. Given fiber internet is relatively new and scarce in most areas, Spectrum may be your only high-speed option.

Want to see which Verizon and Spectrum plans are available in your area? Check to see by typing in your zip code below.

Extra fees: Verizon vs. Spectrum

Equipment FeeInstallation FeeOther Fees
Verizon・$15.00/mo. router charge (waived with Fios Gigabit Connection)・$99.00 (waived if you order online)・$7.00 phone payment processing fee
・$9.00 late payment fee
Spectrum・$5.00/mo. for WiFi (no charge with Gigabit plan)・$49.99 for pro install
・$9.99 for self-install
・$8.95 late payment fee
・$199.99 gigabit activation fee

The two fees that stand out the most to us here are Spectrum’s WiFi and gigabit activation fees.

Spectrum doesn’t charge a modem rental fee each month. However, it charges a $5.00 monthly fee for WiFi, whether you have Spectrum’s standalone router or one of its wireless gateways. You can eliminate this fee by buying your own router.

Meanwhile, Spectrum charges a one-time $199.99 activation fee if you want the Spectrum Internet Gig plan—which is already a hefty $109.99 per month for the first 12 months. If you’re a new customer, the total initial cost is at least $359.97 if you want gigabit internet. You should first consider if you even need gigabit internet before you make the investment.

Customer ratings: Verizon vs. Spectrum

Overall RatingReliability RatingCustomer Service RatingSpeed RatingPrice Rating
Verizon3.83.83.83.93.5
Spectrum3.63.63.63.73.2

Verizon ranked third for overall satisfaction in our annual customer satisfaction survey. It also ranked second in terms of speed, price, and reliability satisfaction, falling behind EarthLink in most cases. Meanwhile, Spectrum hovered in the lower half of 12 internet providers, swapping places throughout each category with cable internet rivals Xfinity and Optimum.

Based on our report, 43% of the Verizon customers surveyed said they felt “very satisfied” with their connection’s reliability—Spectrum saw a slightly lower 41% from its customers. Verizon also saw a better response in speed satisfaction, with 89% of its customers saying their speeds “usually” or “always” met their needs. Spectrum scored slightly lower at 87%, which still isn’t bad.

Best TV and internet bundles

PackageInternet speedTV channelsPriceDetails
Verizon 400 Mbps Internet + Your Fios TVUp to 400 Mbps125+$129.99/mo.*

View Plans


Verizon Fios Gigabit Connection + More Fios TVUp to 940 Mbps300+$149.99/mo.**

View Plans


Spectrum Double Play SilverUp to 200 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)175+$119.98/mo.#

View Plans


Spectrum Double Play GoldUp to 200 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)200+$139.98/mo.#

View Plans


Verizon’s Mix & Match options come in only four flavors, the cheapest of which costs $89.99 per month. Verizon’s Your Fios TV service includes one set-top box and allows you to pick five of your favorite channels. The More Fios TV service consists of a set-top box, basic DVR service, Verizon’s most popular channels, and regional sports.

Spectrum’s TV and internet bundles fall under the Double Play banner. The Silver bundle adds HBO Max, SHOWTIME®, and the NFL Network on top of Spectrum’s channel lineup. The Gold bundle layers on STARZ®, STARZ Encore, and THE MOVIE CHANNEL™. If you just want a few channels you can manually pick, the Double Play Select bundle is a better option.

Internet types: Verizon vs. Spectrum

Internet typeDetails
VerizonFiber, DSL

View Plans

SpectrumCable

View Plans

Verizon’s DSL service is the slowest of the three. It uses telephone wiring already installed in most areas and supports a maximum speed of 115 Mbps. On the other hand, Verizon’s Fios network is the fastest due to its use of fiber-optic infrastructure. Fiber supports equal upload and download speeds.

Cable internet is in the middle when it comes to speeds. It relies on the same cords used for cable TV and doesn’t support symmetrical upload and download speeds like fiber. Cable internet providers like Spectrum currently cap the bandwidth at 1,000 Mbps, whereas fiber options offered by Google and Xfinity max out at 2,000 Mbps. Verizon’s fastest fiber plan reaches up to 940 Mbps.

Data caps: Verizon vs. Spectrum

Data CapDetails
VerizonNone

View Plans

SpectrumNone

View Plans

Verizon and Spectrum do not force data caps, but that may change in the next few years for Spectrum.

Part of Charter’s deal with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2016 when it acquired Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks was that it wouldn’t impose a data cap and usage-based pricing. That agreement will lapse in May 2023, and Charter already attempted to end its agreement two years early but withdrew its petition. In a response to the FCC, Charter implied that customers would benefit from data caps and usage-based pricing.1

Contracts: Verizon vs. Spectrum

Contract lengthDetails
VerizonNone

View Plans

SpectrumNone

View Plans

Verizon and Spectrum do not enforce annual contracts or early termination fees. Spectrum, however, offers discounted pricing for 12 or 24 months, depending on the plan or bundle. There’s no catch either—you can cancel the discounted service at any time without any hidden penalties. They’re just promotions to get you to sign up with Spectrum.

Installation: Verizon vs. Spectrum

Installation optionsDetails
Verizon・$99.00 (waived if you order online)

View Plans

Spectrum・$49.99 for pro install
・$9.99 for self-install

View Plans

You can save money by ordering Verizon’s service online—Verizon will waive the pro install fee. You can also save money with Spectrum if you choose the self-install options.

What’s missing from this picture is Spectrum’s hefty activation fee for its Spectrum Internet Gig service, whereas Verizon does not have a similar fee for its gigabit internet.

Availability: Verizon vs. Spectrum

Verizon’s DSL internet covers most of its service areas. Its fiber-based Fios network has a smaller footprint, available in key metro areas within Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

Spectrum has a broader footprint across North America. It provides cable internet in California, Florida, Kentucky, Maine, New York, North and South Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and several other states.

To see Verizon and Spectrum availability in your area, enter your zip code below.

Final call: Verizon vs. Spectrum

The choice between Verizon and Spectrum boils down to fiber versus cable internet. Verizon doesn’t offer DSL service to new customers, and its fiber internet has limited availability. We suggest Spectrum’s cable internet over DSL and satellite if fiber isn’t available.

But if you live or work where Verizon Fios overlaps in coverage with Spectrum’s cable internet, go with Verizon instead. Fiber internet plans are hard to beat, and Verizon Fios’s fiber plans are a great deal. They’re cheaper than Spectrum plans and provide equal upload and download speeds.

View Verizon 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. Federal Communications Commission, “Reply of Charter Communications, Inc.,” August 6, 2020. Accessed August 20, 2021.

Author -

Kevin Parrish has more than a decade of experience working as a writer, editor, and product tester. He began writing about computer hardware and soon branched out to other devices and services such as networking equipment, phones and tablets, game consoles, and other internet-connected devices. His work has appeared in Tom’s Hardware, Tom's Guide, Maximum PC, Digital Trends, Android Authority, How-To Geek, Lifewire, and others. At HighSpeedInternet.com, he focuses on internet security.

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.

Share This