If you have ever wondered where Time Warner Cable went then look no further. Spectrum is the combination of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks combined under Charter Communications and is now called Spectrum. It is currently the United States' second-largest Internet Service Provider (ISP).
If you are looking for internet services and you aren’t sure if this provider is the right call then don’t worry, read my spectrum internet review with all the information you need to make a decision. If you don’t want to trust my opinion then check out these top-rated internet provider reviews.
Spectrum Internet Plan Features
There are a variety of spectrum internet plans on offer to choose from but the primary features across all plans include access to their internet in many public locations, unlimited data caps, and no need to pay extra for your provided modem. You can even access your spectrum bill pay through the spectrum app. These are excellent features that really add to the convenience of getting your internet services provided by Spectrum.
Accessing public wireless networks is never a good idea for security reasons, but you can't beat it if you require internet services in an urgent situation. Having access to these spectrum wifi services could be a lifesaver if you are traveling or become stranded in a location due to transportation failures.
Having no cap on your data is extremely convenient for users that like to stream a lot of content for their entertainment needs. No matter how much data you use, Spectrum will continue to provide your internet service needs at no extra charge.
Many ISPs will charge you a monthly rental fee on top of the fee your plan requires just for allowing you to use their modem or router. It is a transparent way to gouge you for more money than you signed up for which is just scummy and leaves a bad taste in my mouth. No need to worry about that with Spectrum, they won’t charge you a dime for the use of their modem.
These features alone make this ISP much better than other services I’ve used personally.
Does Spectrum Internet Have Data Caps?
Data capping is something that some ISPs will do to users that download a lot of content over the internet. If you are downloading large files or streaming a lot of content each month and you are consistently noticing a drop in service quality towards the end of each month then you are probably having your data capped. Some ISPs will slow or even stop service altogether when you have reached some arbitrary amount of data usage.
Always read the fine print when signing up for an ISP because most will try to hide extra charges in their contract that you won’t even notice until it comes time to pay the bill and it is many times higher than what you signed up for. This is because there are often hidden charges associated with data usage over a certain limit and scummy ISPs will do everything in their power to get you signed up with them without noticing that this is going to happen. Trust me, I’ve had this happen to me and it is a terrible feeling.
The spectrum internet service does not have data caps! You can stream as much content as you want with no extra charges being applied against you. If you want to stream a music video from your television while watching a cooking video on your phone in the kitchen while occasionally checking in on your favorite Twitch stream on your tablet, you can do that with no concern that your spectrum internet prices will be affected.
Spectrum Internet Contract Options
There are several spectrum deals you can look forward to when signing up with time warner spectrum but there are actually no contracts you’ll have to sign. The spectrum internet service comes with no contracts so you can stop or switch services at any time without any additional fees. This is extremely convenient for situations where you might be in a place only temporarily or if you prefer not to be committed to a single provider in case you come across a better deal.
This is a high mark in the charter internet’s Spectrum service’s favor. Many ISPs will try to get you to sign a contract with them that ensures you will use their services for a certain amount of time usually with the clause that if you end your association with them early they will charge you a lot of money to cancel the service.
This tactic is employed by a lot of ISPs but especially by the previously mentioned shady services so that they can lock you into a plan with unfair hidden charges to gouge you for more of your hard-earned cash.
Any ISP that doesn’t use this tactic should receive more of your attention, though you also have to be careful with them because they have to make a profit somehow, which means that they might be getting you in another way. Regardless, spectrum does not employ these tactics and for that reason alone they deserve some consideration.
Potential Spectrum Internet Service Fees
Unfortunately, spectrum does have to make a profit off of their services to remain in service which means they will charge you some fees for their service in exchange for not using the shady tactics discussed earlier.
Their installation fees, the fee you pay for having your modem and possibly router installed and your internet activated, are pretty average when compared to other services. That said, if you are having the highest speed of spectrum internet plans installed then there is an absolutely gargantuan and completely ridiculous jump in the price for their installation services.
If you have the technical skill required and decide to avoid these fees altogether by doing the work yourself installing the necessary equipment you’re still out of luck. Even when you do all the work yourself they still charge you an installation fee which is baffling, but it is admittedly much less than the normal installation fees.
What even is a “Wi-Fi Activation fee?” I’ve never seen this charge from any other ISP, probably because Wi-Fi is provided by a router and doesn’t need to be activated, but they will charge you a small sum for it.
That said, these fees might be outrageous but they are a small price to pay to not have to deal with contracts or hidden data charges and they ultimately add up to be much less than you would pay if you were dealing with those tactics.
Today’s Spectrum Internet Deals
There are several spectrum internet speeds available through the spectrum packages on offer and they are comparable to most other ISPs. The prices you will be working with vary depending on if you are considering an internet-only plan or one of the spectrum tv packages.
If you are only interested in internet services then spectrum’s deals are reasonable though they could stand to be a little cheaper. If you are interested in having television service with your internet service then things get a little more expensive and their highest speed plan can also come with television services and landline phone service but it is expensive.
Even with spectrum adding bogus fees and charging exorbitant installation fees it could be a lot worse. There are services out there that are just as popular as spectrum that will charge you similar amounts for their internet plans while also contracting you to continue service with them and charging you through the nose on your data usage or just stopping your service all together which is almost as bad.
Ultimately what it comes down to is, if you keep it to only internet services the prices are relatively reasonable, they aren’t the least expensive option you could go with but they do better than some other common names out there which is impressive considering the severe lack of shady tactics being employed by them in their business dealings with their customers.
Spectrum Internet Technology
Spectrum Internet Services uses a variety of different modems and routers for their services from many reliable companies like Motorola or Cisco. They prefer to use DOCSIS 3.0 though there are options for DOCSIS 2.0 and 3.1 available.
DOCSIS stands for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification which is a standard for international telecommunications that allows for high bandwidth data transfer. Which version of this you are using is important because it determines the speeds that will be available to you. Thankfully, Spectrum uses almost exclusively 3.0 which is very fast.
For routers, they have their own proprietary equipment that you can use or they do support equipment from some other vendors including Netgear, Cisco, and many others. It is also possible to get a Modem / Router combo.
The Modem you receive from spectrum when they set up your internet services is completely free of charge while you are using their services but if you are also using one of their routers then you will be charged a monthly fee for the privilege of renting from them.
If the convenience of not having to acquire your own equipment is not enough to convince you to pay their monthly fee then it is recommended that you seek out your own router and possibly modem. This has the added benefit of being available to you if you change internet service providers.
If you decide to go this route then you should know ahead of time that not all routers are authorized to access the spectrum network, so you should check the list on the spectrum website that lists what routers are and are not approved.
Spectrum Installation Information
Part of acquiring Spectrum internet services is the installation process for which there are directions online. Once you set up an appointment for your services to be installed you will have to contact Spectrum to confirm the appointment. The default method of contact between you and Spectrum is via phone call but you can change this to either text messages or emails depending on your preference.
The day before your appointment you will be contacted based on your preference by spectrum to confirm the appointment once again. If you do confirm on this day then there will be no need to confirm on the day of the scheduled appointment.
If you do not confirm your appointment through this method then you will be contacted on the day of the appointment. For the service installation to be completed there will have to be someone over the age of 18 with a government-issued form of identification present throughout the appointment. These usually last between one and three hours depending on the services being installed.
All pets should be secured before the technician arrives and any equipment that will be necessary for the installation should be set up and within 3 feet of the installation area including computers, televisions, and phones.
If some equipment is not available at the time of the appointment then another appointment can be scheduled for additional fees. Once the installation is done the technician will ensure that all services are active and working properly before leaving.
Spectrum Internet Customer Satisfaction
Customer service for ISPs is horrible in general, across the board. The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) conducted a report on ISP customer service for the year 2018 to 2019 and the average score for all ISPs was 64 out of 100. That is, objectively speaking, a bad score and something the industry should be ashamed of.
The internet is completely flooded by records of bad customer service interactions with various ISPs, good reviews are extremely rare, and most of the ones you find read as very fake. I don’t mention this to discourage potential customers but to ensure that expectations are realistic. No matter which ISP you go with, you are almost certainly going to have a bad customer service experience with them.
Spectrum scored a 63 out of 100 on that ASCI report which left it just barely below average. That said, I have never personally had a bad interaction with Spectrum or their services.
An excellent tip for dealing with customer service for any ISP and ensuring that you get the best service you can is to keep your composure and treat the representative with civility. I find that it helps to keep in mind that the customer service representative isn’t usually responsible for the problems that I’m facing and likely doesn’t have any power except to pass my information up the chain.
It isn’t comforting and it certainly doesn’t improve my mood any, but it does help to keep me in control of my voice and emotions when speaking with them. If you can empathize with your customer service representative and encourage them to like you then they are more likely to go out of their way to help you.
This is very easy to accomplish especially when you consider that most callers will be very angry going into the conversation and likely make demands and raise their voice. A representative that is expecting this behavior will be pleasantly surprised to find a calm and reasonable caller.