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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.
✓ 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
Verizon offers up to $20 in monthly discounts when you bundle Fios with Verizon cellular service, along with free discovery+ trials for up to a year.
When you upgrade to Fios Gigabit Connection, you’ll also get a $100 Verizon gift card, a bundled Verizon router (which normally requires a $15 monthly rental fee), and a free Stream TV set-top box.
If you want to break the contract with your current home internet service provider (ISP) to join Spectrum, the company will reimburse you for up to $500 to cover early termination fees.
|Type of service||Price||Download speeds||Data cap||Contract||Installation fee||Editorial ranking|
|Fiber||$39.99–$79.99/mo.||200 Mbps–940 Mbps||Unlimited||None||$99.00, waived with online order||4.3/5||View plans|
|Cable||$49.99–$109.99/mo.||100 Mbps–940 Mbps||Unlimited||None||
Pro installation: $49.99
Data effective 1/25/21. Not all offers available in all areas.
When it comes to price and speeds, Verizon Fios offers more for less compared to Spectrum’s internet plans. But Spectrum is available in far more states than Verizon. Let’s break down the fine print for both ISPs.
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:
For potential Spectrum customers, the Spectrum Internet package just isn’t a great option. With a maximum download speed of only 100 Mbps, the package can work if you just need internet for one or two people, but it’ll buckle if multiple people are taking regular video calls or streaming TV shows.
At $49.99 per month ($74.99 after a year), you’re also getting less but paying more with the Spectrum Internet package. For $50 per month, most carriers offer download speeds of at least 200 Mbps.
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, 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, although the package falls on the pricier end of the scale. For reference, most ISPs have kept monthly gigabit internet pricing below $100 compared to Spectrum’s $109.99.
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.
|$15.00/mo., $299.99 to buy|
|$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 Wi-Fi router rental|
|Wi-Fi activation fee|
|$9.99 with technician visit|
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, self-installation, and Wi-Fi activation fees are slight inconveniences, but besides the $9.99 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.
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, $9.99 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 smoothes 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 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.
When you’re ordering Verizon Fios internet, you can add Verizon’s TV packages: Your Fios TV offers 125 channels for $50.00 monthly, More Fios TV adds 300 channels for $70.00 a month, and The Most Fios TV includes 425 channels for $90.00 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 Double Play bundles add 125 cable TV channels on its Select package for an additional $39.99 monthly, 175 channels for $69.99 on the Silver package, or 200 channels for $89.99 on the Gold package. After one year, your monthly price for all three packages will go up by $29.00.
But even with the price increase, Spectrum’s TV bundles still win out over Verizon. On Double Play Silver and Double Play Gold, you’ll get premium cable channels like HBO Max and STARZ® for free. Double Play Silver also has more basic cable channels including NBA TV and Cooking Channel compared to Verizon’s More Fios TV package.
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 is generally better than Spectrum because Verizon Fios plans have the same internet speeds as Spectrum for less per month and use Verizon’s higher-performance fiber internet network.
Verizon Fios’s download speeds are comparable to cable internet providers, but its plans offer faster upload speeds of up to 880 Mbps. By comparison, cable internet upload speeds usually top off at around 30 to 40 Mbps.
Verizon Fios routers won’t work with Spectrum because Verizon uses its own fiber network and hardware. Spectrum uses cable internet modems, which will not communicate with Verizon’s fiber-optic network.
Spectrum is a cable internet provider.