Verizon Fios vs. Spectrum Internet
We’ve researched everything from coverage maps to download speeds to tell you the best internet provider.
Verizon Fios is an excellent option if you need high-performance internet at a reasonable cost. But if you’re already in a home that’s been wired for cable internet, and you need immediate service, Spectrum can quickly get you online.
Verizon Fios vs. Spectrum: pros and cons
✓ Fast download and upload speeds
✓ No contract price hikes
✗ Limited availability in nine states
✓ Free Internet modem
✓ Low-cost Wi-Fi router rental
✗ Expensive plans versus Verizon
Deals and promotions
Verizon Fios deals and promotions
Verizon offers up to $25 in monthly discounts when you bundle Fios with Verizon cellular service. When you upgrade to Fios Gigabit Connection, you’ll also get deals including a bundled Verizon router (which normally requires a $15 monthly rental fee) and free streaming service subscriptions.
Spectrum deals and promotions
If you want to break the contract with your current home internet service provider (ISP) to join Spectrum, the company’s deals include reimbursing you for up to $500 to cover early termination fees.
How are Verizon Fios and Spectrum different?
Verizon Fios and Spectrum head-to-head
|Provider||Type of service||Price||Download speeds||Data cap||Contract||Installation fee||Editorial ranking|
|Verizon||Fiber||$49.99–$89.99/mo.*||200 Mbps–940 Mbps||Unlimited||None||$99.00, waived with online order||4.3/5||View Plans|
|Spectrum||Cable||$49.99–$89.99/mo. for first 12 mos.||200 Mbps–1000 Mbps||Unlimited||None||
Pro installation: $49.99
*With Auto Pay + taxes and equipment charges.
Data effective as of post date. Not all offers available in all areas.
Verizon Fios offers higher upload speeds for the same prices as Spectrum, but Spectrum is available in far more states than Verizon. Let’s break down the fine print for both ISPs.
Verizon Fios vs. Spectrum prices and plans
Verizon Fios pricing and plans
|Packages||Price*||Max. download speed||Max. upload speed||Details|
|Fios Internet 200/200||$49.99/mo.||200 Mbps||200 Mbps||View Plans|
|Fios Internet 300/300†||$49.99/mo.||300 Mbps||300 Mbps||View Plans|
|Fios Internet 400/400||$69.99/mo.||400 Mbps||400 Mbps||View Plans|
|Fios Internet 500/500†||$69.99/mo.||500 Mbps||500 Mbps||View Plans|
|Fios Gigabit Connection||$79.99/mo.||940 Mbps||840 Mbps||View Plans|
Data effective as of post date. Not all offers available in all areas.
*w/ Auto Pay + taxes & equip charges
†Available only in New York designated market area.
Verizon’s listed download speeds fall in line with most ISPs, and thanks to the Fios fiber network, you’ll also get excellent maximum upload speeds. Fast upload speeds will make it easier to back files up into the cloud or do your Sunday night family Zoom call.
Verizon Fios doesn’t require contracts, so you’ll have flexibility if you want Verizon Fios service for less than a year. Unlike most ISPs, Verizon won’t automatically increase prices after a year, so you’ll save money if you’re a long-term Verizon customer and won’t need to jump between ISPs to chase the lowest possible deal.
The biggest issue with Fios is Verizon’s limited coverage. If you’re not on a small chunk of the eastern seaboard of the United States, you won’t be getting Fios at the moment. Nine states currently have Verizon Fios coverage:
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
- Washington, DC
And for customers in certain areas in New York, you might be eligible for better speeds at the same prices. Verizon’s 500/500 and 300/300 plans are only available in the New York designated market area. To find out what plans are available near you, enter your zip code below.
Spectrum Fios pricing and plans
|Packages||Price||Max. download speed||Max. upload speed|
|Spectrum Internet®||$49.99/mo. for 12 mos.||Up to 200 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)||10 Mbps|
|Spectrum Internet® Ultra||$69.99/mo. for 12 mos.||Up to 400 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)||20 Mbps|
|Spectrum Internet® Gig||$89.99/mo. for 12 mos.||Up to 1,000 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)||35 Mbps|
For potential Spectrum customers, the Spectrum Internet package is a decent option. With a maximum download speed of 200 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary), the package can work if your household is taking regular video calls or streaming TV shows.
Spectrum Internet Ultra will be the best option for most customers, because the package offers better home internet speeds for the price. With maximum download speeds of 400 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary), more people at your house can download files or watch Netflix without a hiccup.
Spectrum Internet Gig can be a fit if your house has multiple heavy internet users, and it’s priced the same as Verizon Fios’s gigabit plan (though Spectrum doesn’t have the same fast upload speeds).
Like with most cable internet providers, Spectrum’s upload speeds are decent, but nothing to write home about. Spectrum’s coverage area stretches across 41 states including Texas, New York, and California.
Verizon Fios vs. Spectrum fees and extra charges
Verizon Fios fees and extra charges
|Router rental||$15.00/mo., $299.99 to buy|
|Installation||$99.00, waived with online order|
Most Verizon Fios customers will have to plan only for the router rental fee, since it’s easy to avoid Verizon’s hefty $99 installation fee by subscribing online. You can also skip the router rental fee by paying for Fios Gigabit Connection, which includes a Verizon router.
Spectrum fees and extra charges
|Spectrum Wi-Fi router rental||$5.00/mo.|
Spectrum’s installation fee is fairly affordable among ISPs, and the company includes a free cable internet modem with its plans.
The ISP’s router rental and self-installation fees are slight inconveniences, but besides the $19.99 self-installation charge, it’s easy to bypass the expenses.
You’ll save in the long run by buying your own wireless router, and the Wi-Fi activation fee applies only when Spectrum sends a technician to your home.
Verizon vs. Spectrum installation
In CableTV.com’s customer satisfaction survey, Verizon and Spectrum tied for second place on installation and setup quality.
Spectrum has low installation fees ($49.99 for a technician visit, $19.99 fee for self-installation), while Verizon waives them when you order service online. Both ISPs have a bunch of guides and videos that’ll walk you through the entire installation process.
If you’re a prospective Spectrum customer, we’d recommend doing a Spectrum self-installation, since it’s convenient and doesn’t require much technical know-how.
But if your home hasn’t been set up for Verizon Fios, the installation process will require a few more steps. Since Verizon uses its own fiber internet network, technicians will have to schedule an appointment to install hardware and wiring at your home.
Verizon Fios’s waived installation fee smooths over a lot of these bumps, but if your home wasn’t set up for Fios, the setup process won’t be as convenient as Spectrum.
The Verizon Fios Router is actually a modem-router combo, and along with Wi-Fi 6 compatibility that keeps your Wi-Fi router up-to-date, the Fios Router includes tri-band support that divides your traffic between three Wi-Fi networks for better performance. Compared to Spectrum, you’ll be paying $10 more in monthly rental charges, but you’ll also be getting better equipment.
All of Spectrum’s Internet plans include a free cable internet modem, but you’ll still need to get a wireless router if you want Wi-Fi.
At $5 per month, Spectrum’s rentable routers work fine if you want something low-maintenance. But if you’d rather own your own hardware for better performance or in case you change ISPs, check out our cable modem/wireless router combo and Wi-Fi router recommendations.
In CableTV.com’s 2020 customer satisfaction survey, Verizon earned top overall marks and beat Spectrum thanks to Verizon’s low pricing, strong customer service, and network performance.
Spectrum subscribers were fans of the ISP’s free modem and simple installation process. But the ISP landed at fifth-place in our customer survey and fell behind Verizon because of its prices and network reliability.
Bundling with TV
When you’re ordering Verizon Fios internet, you can add Verizon’s TV packages: Your Fios TV offers 125 channels for $70.00 monthly, More Fios TV adds 300 channels for $90.00 a month, and The Most Fios TV includes 425 channels for $110.00 per month.
On paper, you’ll get more channels from Verizon compared to Spectrum, but popular sister channels like Disney XD and CBS Sports Network are behind The Most Fios TV package. You’ll have to upgrade to The Most Fios TV to get as many of the best channels compared to Spectrum, but with Verizon’s no-contract pricing, you won’t have to worry about surprise price hikes after a year.
Spectrum’s internet and TV bundles add 125 cable TV channels on its Select package for an additional $49.99 monthly. After one year, your monthly price for your cable TV package will go up around $30.00.
If you’re on a budget, we definitely recommend Spectrum’s internet and TV bundles. You can add à la carte channel packs to bulk up your TV Select package the way you like, and even the premium channels come at an affordable price.
If you’re in one of the nine states with Verizon Fios internet coverage, Verizon’s low prices, fast internet packages, and strong customer service ratings make Fios the best high-speed internet recommendation. Compared to cable internet, fiber internet through Verizon Fios is a great long-term investment that will grow with your home’s future internet needs.
Although Spectrum Internet packages are a step behind Verizon’s, the ISP’s free modem and easy installation are upsides if you need internet service and aren’t covered by a fiber internet provider.
Verizon Fios vs. Spectrum FAQ
Our experts crunched the fine print on Verizon and Spectrum, rating both ISPs on areas including cost, TV plans, and value. We also used our annual customer satisfaction survey to see how real customers felt about Verizon and Spectrum. For more information on our methodology, check out our How We Rank page.
Disclaimer: °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.