AT&T vs. Spectrum: Which is Best for Your Home Internet Connection? (2023)

We have a few options for getting online here in Louisville, Kentucky, but two of the best providers that people can choose from areAndspectrum. Derby City isn't alone in this regard — AT&T and Spectrum are two of the nation's biggest housesinternet provider, and coverage by the two companies overlaps much of the South and Midwest, as well as parts of Texas and California.

All in all, every provider offers servicefor more than a third of the US population, so that means a great many of us are choosing between AT&T and Spectrum for our home Internet connection. If that sounds like you and you're looking for a quick breakdown of the two providers, you've come to the right place! Read on for a look at each company's coverage map, plans, pricing, terms, fees, and track record of customer service.

AT&T vs. Spectrum: Which is Best for Your Home Internet Connection? (1)

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When they're available in your area, AT&T's fiber plans are hard to beat for value. They offer symmetrical speeds, no equipment rental fee, no contracts, and no data caps. The average cost per megabit per second is just under 10 cents at all tiers - and impressively even cheaper for the multi-gig plans (if they have them).available near you). In comparison, Spectrum's plans average 18 cents per Mbps when you're still getting the promotional price, and 25 cents per Mbps after your first year. This impressive value is a big part of why we named AT&T asour top full-service provider for fiber optic internetfor 2022.


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(Video) Who's got the Fastest Internet? AT&T "High Speed" internet vs. Spectrum 1g internet.

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AT&T vs. Spectrum: Which is Best for Your Home Internet Connection? (2)

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(Video) SPECTRUM VS AT&T - Speed Test! Which is better?

If AT&T Fiber isn't available in your location, Spectrum is likely to offer better value. None of Spectrum's plans will cost you more than 38 cents per Mbps after the first year. In comparison, AT&T's ADSL and fixed-line plans have much higher costs per megabit. The AT&T Internet 100 plan, which boasts download speeds of 100 Mbps, is the only one keeping the price per megabit under $1.

Read our Spectrum Home Internet Review.

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AT&T vs. Spectrum: Which is Best for Your Home Internet Connection? (3)

Where do Spectrum and AT&T offer home internet service?

Though not widely available - well establishedsatellite providerHowViasatAndHughesNetare the only ISPs that can make this claim - both AT&T and Spectrum offer coverage in multiple regions in the US.

(Video) T-Mobile Home Internet vs Spectrum Home Internet.

On the AT&T side, the map spans 21 states, with service focused on the Gulf Coast and Great Lakes and much of California. With Spectrum's sprawling cable empire, you'll find service in parts of 41 states - all but Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Iowa, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Utah (as well as Washington). , direct current). Note that Hawaii isn't on that list — Spectrum does indeed provide internet services to the Aloha State.

Plans, speeds and monthly costs

Time for the nuts and bolts. Both AT&T and Spectrum offer a variety of plans in their respective service areas. Spectrum's offering is pretty basic, so let's start with that.

Spectrum Internet plans and pricing

The plan Promotional price for the first year Regular rate top speeds equipment fee Contract
spectrum internet $50 $75 200 Mbit/s Download, 10 Mbit/s Upload modem free; $5 for router (skippable) None required
Spectrum Internet Ultra $70 $95 400 Mbit/s Download, 20 Mbit/s Upload modem free; $5 for router (skippable) None required
Spectrum Internet Gig $90 $115 940 Mbit/s Download, 35 Mbit/s Upload modem free; $5 for router (skippable) None required

As you can see, Spectrum has three plans to choose from, with download speeds ranging from 200Mbps up to 940Mbps. Note that upload speeds are much slower - that isa quirk of cable internet, which typically doesn't offer matching, simultaneous upload and download speeds like a fiber optic connection.

Spectrum plans do not require contracts, but your monthly price increases by $25 after the first year. On the plus side, Spectrum's Internet plans don't come with many additional fees, aside from the relatively low $5 rental fee, which you can skip entirely if you're using your own router.

AT&T Internet plans and prices

The plan top speeds Promotional price (first 12 months) Regular monthly costs (after 12 months) equipment fee Datenobergrenze
AT&T Fixed Wireless 25 Mbit/s Download, 1 Mbit/s Upload $70 $70 none 350 GB
AT&T-Internet 10 10 Mbit/s Download, 1 Mbit/s Upload $55 $70 none 1 TB
AT&T-Internet 18 18 Mbit/s Download, 1 Mbit/s Upload $55 $70 none 1 TB
AT&T-Internet 25 25 Mbit/s Download, 2 Mbit/s Upload $55 $70 none 1 TB
AT&T-Internet 50 50 Mbit/s Download, 10 Mbit/s Upload $55 $70 none 1 TB
AT&T Internet 100 100 Mbit/s Download, 20 Mbit/s Upload $55 $70 none none
AT&T Fiber Optics - Internet 300 300 Mbit/s Download, 300 Mbit/s Upload $55 $55 none none
AT&T Fiber Optics - Internet 500 500 Mbit/s Download, 500 Mbit/s Upload $65 $65 none none
AT&T Fiber - Internet 1000 940 Mbit/s Download, 880 Mbit/s Upload $80 $80 none none
AT&T Fiber - Internet 2000 2 Gbit/s Download, 2 Gbit/s Upload $110 $110 none none
AT&T Glasfaser - Internet 5000 5 Gbit/s Download, 5 Gbit/s Upload $180 $180 none none

The list of AT&T plans is much longer, as AT&T uses a mix of technologies to provide different plans in different parts of its coverage map. In December 2020, the FCC listed AT&T as providing a high-speed fiber optic connectionabout 30% of its customers. An AT&T spokesman told CNET that the company's fiber footprint has since grown, but wouldn't provide a more recent number.

AT&T offers a much slower DSL hybrid service called ADSL, which supplements the traditional phone line approach with copper wires for regions where fiber isn't available. AT&T also offers fixed wireless service in some parts of the country.

This mix of methods means that AT&T's speeds, plans, and pricing vary widely by location. If AT&T fiber is available in your area, you can sign up for 300 Mbps symmetric upload and download speeds for $55 a month, which is less than what you pay for AT&T's fixed WiFi plan would offer download speeds of up to 10 Mbps uploads that only reach 1 Mbps. Meanwhile, AT&T ADSL subscribers start at $55 per month regardless of the actual speeds available at their address. Depending on the location, this speed can be between 10 Mbit/s and 100 Mbit/s.

Like Spectrum, AT&T Internet plans don't require a contract -- but AT&T doesn't price their ADSL plans until after 12 months. Even then, the jump isn't as steep as Spectrum -- count on an extra $15 a month after the first year for an AT&T ADSL plan. Another point for AT&T Fiber plans: There is no automatic price increase after the first year.

What other terms and fees should I expect?

I've already mentioned equipment rental fees, but I'll summarize them in case you're skimming: Spectrum plans come with a free modem, but you'll have to pay an additional $5 a month to rent a router to connect to wirelessly via WiFi. You can skip the fee if you trade in your own router. Meanwhile, AT&T is skipping equipment rental fees entirely.

Additionally, here's a quick rundown of the rest of the fine print.

Installation and Activation Fees

Spectrum has been temporarily suspended due to professional home installationPandemic, so the typical $50 installation fee (or a staggering $200 for the already pricey Internet Gig plan) doesn't currently apply. Instead, new customers can request a self-installation kit for $10. There's also an additional, one-time $10 Wi-Fi activation fee that feels arbitrary.

(Video) AT&T Fiber VS Spectrum Gigabit Speed Test Comparison

AT&T charges $99 for professional installation, but often waives this fee as part of its online promotions. You can also request a self-installation kit, but not every address has it, so you'll have to do itCheck suitability.


Spectrum doesn't enforce data caps on any of its plans, so you can surf, stream, and download to your heart's content without fear of being charged or having your speed throttled. Give Spectrum a gold star for that, I say — especially since data caps are definitely a thing with other cable ISPs, vizComcast XfinityAndCox.

As for AT&T, the company boasts unlimited data on its fiber plans, which is great -- but ADSL and fixed-line Wi-Fi customers aren't so lucky. With these plans, AT&T enforces a data cap of 1 terabyte (1,000 GB). Once you use more data than in a given month, you'll be charged at $10 per 50GB of excess, up to a $100 maximum penalty.

The good news is that there are ways to bypass this data cap. Your first option is to pay an additional $30 per month to upgrade your plan with unlimited data. The second (and better for most customers) option is to get unlimited data at no extra charge. I'm not giving out a gold star sticker for this, but it's something.

How do AT&T and Spectrum customer satisfaction scores compare?

According to theAmerican Customer Satisfaction Index, which conducts annual surveys across various product and service categories to measure—you guessed it—customer satisfaction, the ISP category remains stable. That's not bad, especially considering the industry posted positive growth in 2020 for the first time in over five years. Overall, customer satisfaction with their internet provider was 65 out of 100 in 2021, which is the same as in 2020 and up 3 points from 2019.

So how did our two well-known providers close? AT&T posted a score of 71, up three points from last year's result and tying with Verizon at the top. Spectrum, on the other hand, was just below average with a score of 63. That's four points higher than the company's score in 2019 and at 2020 levels, which could indicate some positive momentum, but there's still work to be done, it seems.

Separate customer satisfaction data from J.D. Power & Associates seem to confirm this. In the company2021 ISP Satisfaction Study, Spectrum scored below average in every region surveyed. Meanwhile, AT&T finished with the highest score of any ISP surveyed in the North Central and South regions, with an overall average of 738 out of 1,000. Spectrum performed best in the south, where it achieved a score of 725, just below the regional average of 727.

Summarizing everything

AT&T and Spectrum both provide home Internet services to a significant percentage of the US population, and their footprints overlap in several regions. When deciding between the two, be sure to check whether or not AT&T offers fiber at your address. These give you the best upload and download speeds at the best price. If not, you're probably better off with Spectrum, since AT&T's ADSL and landline plans aren't great value, and they come with a monthly data cap on top of that.

AT&T vs. Spectrum: Which is Best for Your Home Internet Connection? (5)
(Video) Xfinity vs Spectrum - Price vs Data Caps, which Home Internet is right for you?

Currently running: Look at that: Slow internet? We have tips to speed it up


See also

  • Spectrum Home Internet Review: Pursuit of Simplicity

More on home internet, routers and Wi-Fi

  • Better WiFi at home: 4 tips for remote workers
  • Wi-Fi 6E routers are here, and we're not ready for them
  • The best ways to find free wifi when you can't connect at home
  • 11 ways to make your WiFi faster
  • Are you experiencing slow WiFi? It could be caused by internet throttling. Here's how to say it
  • 5 things you should know before buying a new router


Which is better at and T or Spectrum? ›

While Spectrum's prices are significantly more affordable per Mbps than AT&T's, AT&T offers much faster speeds overall. While Spectrum's top-speed plan caps out at 1 Gbps or 1000 Mbps, AT&T offers speeds up to 5 Gs or 5000 Mbps.

Is AT&T WIFI faster than Spectrum? ›

Speed: AT&T offers speeds up to 5,000 Mbps while Spectrum goes up to 1,000 Mbps. * And, more often than not, we think you'll see speeds close to what each ISP advertises. Customer service: AT&T ranks better, but Spectrum is most improved.

How fast is 200 Mbps Spectrum vs ATT fiber? ›

AT&T's $55 fiber option has 300 Mbps downloads and uploads, while Spectrum's $49.99 cable plan has 200 Mbps downloads but only 10 Mbps uploads. Neither company hides a modem rental fee behind that monthly rate, nor does either require you to sign a one or two-year contract to get that rate.

What WIFI is better than Spectrum? ›

AT&T offers significantly faster upload speeds than Spectrum. With AT&T fiber, you receive symmetrical upload/download speeds. Conversely, with Spectrum internet, upload speeds are significantly slower than the advertised download speeds.

Is AT and T good WIFI? ›

AT&T is rated highly in customer satisfaction for residential internet service. The company is known for internet reliability and fast speeds, even at peak times. In fact, AT&T Internet tops the Forbes 10 Best Internet Providers of 2023 list.

Is Spectrum Internet a good choice? ›

Spectrum is a highly-rated internet service provider. Spectrum ties for fifth in our rating of the Best Internet Service Providers of 2023, and does a good job at balancing cost with performance. Its plans are easy to understand and choose from.

How fast is AT&T wireless home internet? ›

A professional installer will confirm sufficient signal strength at your location before installation. How fast is AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet? Expect speeds of at least 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload. Customers typically experience download speeds of 25Mbps.


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