The Hidden Costs of Spectrum

We’ve gone through Spectrum’s contracts with a fine-tooth comb to find every Spectrum hidden cost and fee.

While Spectrum has straightforward pricing on most of its plans, surprise charges and fees can pop up on your Spectrum cable bill if you’re not careful. We’ll walk you through potential costs to watch out for with your Spectrum internet and TV service.

The hidden costs of Spectrum internet plans

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FeeAmount
Self-installation activation$19.99
Reconnection fee$4.99
Modem equipment rentalIncluded
Home Wi-Fi equipment (modem/Wi-Fi router)$5.00/mo.
Late payment fee$8.95
Data overage feeNone

In general, Spectrum internet won’t hit you with too many hidden fees.

That said, sure your modem is free, but we don’t love that you have to pay $5 a month for Wi-Fi service.

Competitors like Verizon Fios and Google Fiber are just giving their Wi-Fi away, just sayin’.

But again, compared to competitors like Xfinity and Cox, Spectrum isn’t trying to upsell you or surprise you with fees and other hidden costs.

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

See what real customers think about Spectrum internet

Read the results of our Internet Customer Satisfaction

What is Spectrum’s internet-only price?

Spectrum has three internet packages, which are available at the following prices:

Be aware that Spectrum’s prices go up after the two-year promotional period, after which your bill will increase. We recommend you set a reminder on your digital calendar for 12 months out to call and ask for a discount before your prices go up.

Also, Spectrum’s highest internet speeds may not be available in all areas, because some of its internet lines might be a little dated. To see what internet service providers (ISPs) are available in your area—and what their internet speeds are—enter your zip code below:

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Spectrum internet taxes and fees: varies by package and area

Spectrum internet is pretty light on recurring fees. If you have an internet-only plan, you’ll see the plan itself and a router rental if you opt for Spectrum’s home Wi-Fi service (or you could buy your own high-speed router). If you add TV service, you’ll see those fees as well, including the Broadcast TV Fee and various federal regulatory fees, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.

Spectrum internet installation fees: $19.99 onetime charge

Spectrum plans come with a $19.99 charge for your self-installation activation. While we don’t love being charged for DIY, at least installation isn’t too tricky. Head over to our Spectrum Installation Guide to learn more about how to easily install your Spectrum internet service.

Spectrum internet equipment fee: cable modem included, $5/mo. for Wi-Fi router

Spectrum doesn’t charge for its essential cable modem device. But if you want Wi-Fi (who doesn’t?) you can rent a Spectrum router for $5 per month—unless you’re on the Spectrum Internet GIG plan, which includes a Wi-Fi router for no extra cost.

And those aren’t the only ways to get home Wi-Fi. You can buy your own Wi-Fi router for around a hundred bucks, which is a great way to save cash in the long run.

Spectrum internet late payment fee: $8.95 per missed payment

If you miss paying your internet bill, Spectrum gives you a 30-day grace period to pay before incurring a late fee. The fee is $8.95—not too bad. And the grace period gives you plenty of time to correct the issue.

Spectrum internet cancellation and early termination fees: none

Since Spectrum is a contract-free provider, there are no cancellation fees or early termination fees (ETFs) to worry about. Internet service is on a month-to-month basis, and if you decide you want to try another internet service provider, all you need to do is cancel Spectrum internet and return any rented equipment.

Spectrum internet data overage fees: none

Many providers have a data cap on internet service, after which they charge overage fees for additional use. Not Spectrum internet—there’s no data limit and no overage fee. Customers are free to stream, download, and game to their heart’s content.

The hidden costs of Spectrum TV plans

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FeeAmount
Broadcast TV service charge$17.99/mo.
Self-installation activation$19.99
Reconnection fee$4.99
TV receiver with built-in DVR and remote$8.99/mo.
DVR service fee (1 DVR)$4.99/mo.
DVR service package (2–4 DVRs)$9.99/mo.
Cloud DVR$5.00/mo.
HBO Max™$15.00/mo.
CINEMAX®$9.99/mo.
SHOWTIME®$15.00/mo.
STARZ®$9.99/mo.
Late payment fee$8.95

Hidden Spectrum TV fees and costs are where your bill can really start to hurt your wallet.

In general, we’re over DVR fees, especially for a DVR with as little storage as Spectrum’s.

Live TV streaming services like YouTube TV and Philo feature unlimited cloud DVR storage for free, for reference.

And don’t even get us started on broadcast TV fees. We have a whole page full of opinions on those bad boys.

In terms of premium channels, we suggest skipping the lackluster price of the add-ons and upgrading to either Spectrum Silver or Spectrum Gold, which include SHOWTIME and HBO.

The one bright spot here is that Spectrum TV service doesn’t charge early termination fees if you want to switch to a live TV streaming service or another cable TV provider.

It’s worth noting that the Spectrum channel lineups themselves are pretty solid, just watch out for those pesky equipment fees.

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

See what real customers think about Spectrum TV

CableTV.com TV customer satisfaction survey

Spectrum TV promotional cost: $44.99–$89.99/mo.*

Spectrum offers pretty straightforward pricing for its cable TV packages. If you go for just TV, with no bundles, you’ll pay the following prices:

Of course, these package prices don’t include all the little Spectrum fees (listed in the table above) that increase the total cost of your bill. Still, these will be the base prices your bill is built on, so it’s worth leading with them.

Our recommended Spectrum TV package

Our pick for the best balance of features and price from Spectrum is Spectrum TV Silver. This package gets you 175+ channels—including HBO and SHOWTIME—for $69.99 per month. We feel it’s the best bang for your buck.

Check out Spectrum TV Silver

Spectrum TV price increases after promo period: up to $35/mo.

Spectrum bundle prices increase by $10 to $35 per month after the 12-month promo period ends. How much of an increase you’ll see depends on which Spectrum services you bundle—cable TV prices go up $25 per month and phone prices go up $10 per month.

However, there’s no contract, so there’s nothing stopping you from calling and selecting a new promotion.

But many of Spectrum’s promotions apply only if you haven’t been a Spectrum customer for 30 days, so you may want to check out other options in your area. If you put in your zip code below, we’ll show you the other cable providers near you:

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Spectrum TV taxes and fees: vary by package and area

“Taxes and fees” is the nebulous category of additional charges you may see mentioned in the fine print of your TV package. A lot of these are regulatory fees imposed on providers by the federal government, which are then passed onto customers. These fees sometimes vary by region, but there are a few that are common across the country.

So basically all providers charge these fees—there’s really no getting around it. What catches most people off guard is that they are almost never included in the advertised price for a plan, so when you get your first bill, the number may not match your expectations.

One of the most common regulatory fees is the Broadcast TV Fee, which is $17.99 per month with Spectrum. Another common fee is the Regional Sports Fee, though Spectrum customers appear to be off the hook for this one.

Here’s a very thorough rundown from Spectrum on what each fee is and why you might see it.

Spectrum TV installation fee: $19.99 onetime charge

Whether you’re bundling your TV service with internet or going for a TV-only plan, your self-installation activation costs $19.99. Check out our Spectrum Installation Guide for more information about installing your Spectrum TV service.

Spectrum TV equipment fees: $8.99/mo. for HD-Box, $4.99–$9.99/mo. for DVR service

Spectrum charges $8.99 per month for each HD-Box (TV receiver). You can activate the built-in DVR in one HD-Box with a $4.99 per month fee, or pay a flat $9.99 per month for DVR service in two or more TV receivers.

While equipment fees can be a real bummer, it’s rare to see this kind of deal on DVR service. But Spectrum is going one step further—you can switch out your traditional HD-Box for at Apple TV 4K at $8.99 per month for 20 months or a $180.00 one-time payment.

If you go for the Apple TV 4K, you’ll be using some of your Spectrum internet bandwidth to stream your live and on-demand TV. Make sure your internet plan has speeds to support online streaming—we recommend at least Spectrum Internet® Ultra if you have multiple TVs at home.

You can upgrade your Apple TV 4K with the Spectrum Cloud DVR for $4.99 per month to record up to 50 shows and store them for up to 90 days. Or you can pay $9.99 for Spectrum Cloud DVR Plus, which can record up to 100 shows and store them for up to one year.

Spectrum TV premium channel fees: up to $15.00/mo. per channel

Spectrum offers a wide variety of premium channels like HBO, CINEMAX, SHOWTIME, and STARZ. These channels can be added to any package for an additional $9.99–$15.00 per channel, per month.

Select premium channels are also included in higher-tier Spectrum packages:

If you know you’ll want some of these channels, it’s probably worth springing for either Spectrum TV Silver or Spectrum TV Gold to get them, rather than adding the channels à la carte to another package.

Spectrum TV late payment fee: $8.95 per missed payment

Most cable companies charge a late payment fee, and Spectrum is no exception. It does offer an unusually long grace period, though—you get thirty days after your due date to pay your bill. After that period, you’ll be assessed a late fee of $8.95.

Spectrum TV cancellation and early termination fees: none

Spectrum is a contract-free provider, meaning none of its packages require service agreements or commitments. That also means you won’t find any Spectrum fees for cancelling service, so you’re free to come and go as you please.

Our final take

Hopefully seeing everything laid out like this helps ease any fee-related fears you may have had. The fees seem like a lot, but the reality is it’s just par for the course with internet and TV providers. And knowing what to expect on your bill should give you some peace of mind so you can kick back and enjoy your Spectrum service stress-free.

Get Spectrum Internet and TV

Methodology

All the fees and associated charges listed in this article come straight from Spectrum’s official website. We dug through Spectrum’s terms and conditions, service agreements, and online checkout to find every cost you might not notice on first glance.

To learn more about how we conduct research at CableTV.com, head over to our How We Rank page.

Spectrum hidden costs FAQ

What’s the difference between Spectrum, Charter, Time Warner Cable, and Brighthouse Networks?

Spectrum is the result of the merger between these Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable, and Brighthouse Networks.

As you look at Spectrum packages, you may see mentions of these three cable companies. Big mergers take time, and Spectrum is still adjusting to change. Just be aware that these are all the same company now, and you’ll avoid any confusion.

What is the best low-cost Spectrum internet and TV bundle?

Our pick for the best-value Spectrum bundle is the Select Double Play. This package offers 125+ channels and up to 200 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary) internet download speeds for $89.98 per month. This plan is well worth the money, especially considering the unlimited internet use and lack of a contract.

How can I get a Spectrum discount?

Spectrum offers discounts for people in qualifying assistance programs. Recipients of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can apply for a 30 Mbps internet plan that costs $14.99 per month.

Do I have to pay more to watch Spectrum shows on the go?

If you have a Spectrum TV plan, you can watch shows on the Spectrum app for no extra charge. Download the Spectrum TV app from Google Play or the Apple App Store, and you can watch live TV from anywhere that has internet access.

How much is HBO on Spectrum?

HBO Max™ costs an additional $15 per month with Spectrum TV Select. However, HBO Max™ comes included with Spectrum TV Silver and Spectrum TV Gold. Yay, free stuff!

Does Spectrum have contracts?

Spectrum doesn’t have annual contracts—you can leave your Spectrum service whenever you need to.

How much does Spectrum price increase after 12 months?

After the first 12 months, Spectrum TV increases by $29 per month, internet by $25 per month, and phone by $10 per month.

How much is Spectrum internet after 12 months?

After 12 months, your Spectrum internet bill increases to the normal prevailing rate. Right now, the normal prevailing rate is $25 more per month. That raises the Spectrum Internet plan from $49.99 to $74.99 a month, Spectrum Internet Ultra from $69.99 to $94.99 a month, and Spectrum Internet Gig from $109.99 to $134.99 a month.

Does Spectrum charge for a modem?

Spectrum’s modem comes included with your internet plan, but if you want Spectrum to provide Wi-Fi service, you’ll need to pay $5 more a month. Or you can buy a Wi-Fi router instead.

Disclaimer

Spectrum TV® Select: Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter. Spectrum TV® Select promotion price is $44.99/mo; standard rates apply after yr. 1. Taxes, fees and surcharges (broadcast surcharge up to $16.45/mo) extra and subject to change during and after the promotional period; installation/network activation, equipment and additional services are extra. General Terms: TV: TV equipment required; charges may apply. Channeland HD programming availability based on level of service. Account credentials may be required to stream some TV content online. Services subject to all applicable service terms and conditions, subject to change. Services not available in all areas. Restrictions apply. Enter your address to determine availability.©2021 Charter Communications.

Spectrum TV® Silver: Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter. Spectrum TV® Silver promotion price is $74.99/mo; standard rates apply after yr 1. Taxes, fees and surcharges (broadcast surcharge up to $16.45/mo) extra and subject to change during and after the promotional period; installation/network activation, equipment and additional services are extra. General Terms: TV: TV equipment required; charges may apply. Channel and HD programming availability based on level of service. Account credentials may be required to stream some TV content online. Services subject to all applicable service terms and conditions, subject to change. Services not available in all areas. Restrictions apply. Enter your address to determine availability.

Spectrum TV® Gold: Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter. Spectrum TV® Gold promotion price is $94.99/mo; standard rates apply after yr 1. Taxes, fees and surcharges (broadcast surcharge up to $16.45/mo) extra and subject to change during and after the promotional period; installation/network activation, equipment and additional services are extra. General Terms: TV: TV equipment required; charges may apply. Channel and HD programming availability based on level of service. Account credentials may be required to stream some TV content online. Services subject to all applicable service terms and conditions, subject to change. Services not available in all areas. Restrictions apply. Enter your address to determine availability.

Spectrum Internet®: Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter. Spectrum Internet® promotion price is $49.99/mo; standard rates apply after yr. 1. Taxes, fees and surcharges extra and subject to change during and after the promotional period; installation/network activation, equipment and additional services are extra. General Terms: INTERNET: Speed based on wired connection and may vary by address. Wireless speeds may vary. Services subject to all applicable service terms and conditions, subject to change. Services not available in all areas. Restrictions apply. Enter your address to determine availability. ©2021 Charter Communications.

Spectrum Internet® Ultra: Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter. Spectrum Internet® Ultra promotion price is $69.99/mo; standard rates apply after yr. 1. Taxes, fees and surcharges extra and subject to change during and after the promotional period; installation/network activation, equipment and additional services are extra. General Terms: INTERNET: Speed based on wired connection and may vary by address. Wireless speeds may vary. Services subject to all applicable service terms and conditions, subject to change. Services not available in all areas. Restrictions apply. Enter your address to determine availability. ©2021 Charter Communications.

Spectrum Internet® GIG: 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.

°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.