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.
Customer rating: 3.8/5
Speed: 0.5–up to 940 Mbps
Internet type: Fiber, DSL
Annual contract: No
Setup charge: $99.00 (waived when ordered online)
Customer rating: 3.6/5
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
* With AutoPay plus taxes and equipment charges.
‡ With AutoPay plus taxes.
† Available only in parts of Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York.
** For the first 12 months.
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
- No annual contracts
- No data caps
- Fiber internet with speeds up to 940 Mbps
- Limited fiber availability
- DSL unavailable to new customers
- No modem rental fee
- No annual contracts
- No data caps
- Gigabit setup is expensive
- Wi-Fi is an extra fee
- No fiber availability
Compare Verizon and Spectrum head to head
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
|Internet 200/200||$39.99/mo.*||200 Mbps||Fiber|
|Internet 300/300**||$39.99/mo.*||300 Mbps||Fiber|
|Internet 400/400||$64.99/mo.*||400 Mbps||Fiber|
|Internet 500/500**||$64.99/mo.*||500 Mbps||Fiber|
|Fios Gigabit Connection||$89.99/mo.‡||Up to 940 Mbps||Fiber|
* w/ Auto Pay + taxes & equip. charges.
** Package not available in all areas.
‡ w/ Auto Pay + taxes.
‡‡ for 1 year plus taxes, equip. charges & other fees. Speeds 1.1–3 Mbps, 3.1–7 Mbps, and 7.1–15 Mbps. Voice + LD Included. Voice service required.
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
|Spectrum Internet Assist||$14.99/mo. for qualifying households**||Up to 30 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)|
|Spectrum Internet®||$49.99/mo. for 12 mos.||Up to 200 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)|
|Spectrum Internet® Ultra||$69.99/mo. for 12 mos.||Up to 400 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)|
|Spectrum Internet® Gig||$109.99/mo. for 12 mos.*||Up to 1,000 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)|
* Speed based on wired connection. Available Internet speeds may vary by address. Gig capable modem required for Gig speed. For a list of Gig capable modems, visit Spectrum.net/modem.
** The Spectrum Internet Assist plan requires one or more members to be enrolled in the National School Lunch Program, the Community Eligibility Provision, or the Supplemental Security Income program.
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.
Extra fees: Verizon vs. Spectrum
|Equipment Fee||Installation Fee||Other 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 Rating||Reliability Rating||Customer Service Rating||Speed Rating||Price Rating|
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
|Package||Internet speed||TV channels||Price||Details|
|Verizon 400 Mbps Internet + Your Fios TV||Up to 400 Mbps||125+||$129.99/mo.*|
|Verizon Fios Gigabit Connection + More Fios TV||Up to 940 Mbps||300+||$149.99/mo.**|
|Spectrum Double Play Silver||Up to 200 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)||175+||$119.98/mo.#|
|Spectrum Double Play Gold||Up to 200 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)||200+||$139.98/mo.#|
*For new eligible TV and/or Internet res. custs. Availability varies. Wired & wireless Internet speeds vary due to device limits, multiple users, network & other factors. See Verizon.com/yourspeed for more info. $15/mo. router and $99 setup charges & other taxes & terms may apply. Auto Pay & paper-free billing reqd. Subj. to credit approval & may require a deposit. Fios TV: $12/mo. STB charge may apply.
** For new eligible TV and/or Internet res. custs. Availability varies. Wired & wireless Internet speeds vary due to device limits, multiple users, network & other factors. See Verizon.com/yourspeed for more info. $15/mo. router and $99 setup charges & other taxes & terms may apply. Auto Pay (ACH or bank debit card only) & paper-free billing req’d. for Internet service. Subj. to credit approval & may require a deposit. Fios Gigabit Connection: Gigabit network connection to your home. Wired speeds up to 940/880 Mbps with avg. speeds betw. 750-940 Mbps download / 750-880 Mbps upload. Fios TV: $12/mo. STB charge may apply.
# for 12 mos when bundled*
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
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
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
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
|Verizon||・$99.00 (waived if you order online)|
|Spectrum||・$49.99 for pro install|
・$9.99 for self-install
Data as of 09/27/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
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.
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.
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.
- Federal Communications Commission, “Reply of Charter Communications, Inc.,” August 6, 2020. Accessed August 20, 2021.
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Author - Kevin Parrish
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.