AT&T Internet vs. Spectrum

AT&T and Spectrum are two of the largest internet service providers in the United States. Both providers have extensive coverage in the country with AT&T available in 21 states and Spectrum in 41, so chances are high that you will find both of these providers where you live.

Hand with tablet

The two providers have many similarities in their internet plans and speeds. So which one is best overall? And which one will be best for you?

We made a head-to-head comparison between AT&T Internet vs. Spectrum, with a focus on speeds and prices, as well as other critical factors, such as coverage, data caps and more, to help you determine which internet provider is best for you.

Overall performance of AT&T and Spectrum

AT&T Internet

AT&T Internet ticks all boxes on the performance front. The company offers an affordable range of DSL and fiber internet plans to suit the needs of every single type of internet user. The only catch is that their fiber plans are available in limited areas. Unless you live in an area where fiber is offered, your only AT&T Internet options are their DSL plans, which are slower in comparison to what Spectrum offers in a similar price range. AT&T does have a strong reputation when it comes to customer service. The company outranks Spectrum in the ACSI (American Customer Satisfaction Index), with an overall score of 69 out of 100.

Overall, AT&T Internet makes access to high-speed internet affordable, backed by strong customer support. The limited availability of fiber connection is the only downside that may prevent you from accessing blazing-fast internet.

Spectrum

Spectrum stands out because of its wide coverage across the country. The company’s widespread cable infrastructure allows it to offer faster average speeds over the coverage area compared to AT&T. The extensive availability also means you will likely have access to a fiber connection. Also worth noting, all Spectrum plans are contract-free and have no data caps.

The company does have a less favorable reputation when it comes to customer service. Although it scores 59 in the ACSI rankings, another customer satisfaction survey from J.D. Power shows a different perspective, where Spectrum ranks better than AT&T in most of the regions.

In a nutshell, Spectrum ranks well when it comes to coverage, and the no-contract, data cap-free internet plans offer high-speed internet access, but their plans are a bit expensive in comparison to AT&T, especially the fiber plans. Customer service is another factor that may affect your overall experience with this provider.

AT&T & Spectrum installation

AT&T installation

When you sign up for AT&T Internet service, you will have two choices — either a professional can set up your service, or you can do it yourself by ordering a self-install kit. In the former case, you can schedule the appointment date and time when buying your package. An AT&T technician will handle the rest of the process to connect your home to the internet through a WiFi Gateway.

Make sure you set aside three to four hours, or have someone plan to stay home the day of installation. If you are planning to install the equipment yourself, AT&T also has detailed internet setup guides you can refer to.

Spectrum installation

Similar to AT&T, Spectrum also offers a self-install kit if you would want to set up the internet yourself. Alternatively, you can schedule a service appointment to get the equipment installed by a Spectrum technician. Once you book an appointment, Spectrum will send you a confirmation email and reminders about your appointment.

For quick installation, make sure cable outlets are easily accessible by moving your TV or furniture at least three feet away from the work area. After the installation is complete, the technician will verify if all your subscribed services are working correctly. You can refer to Spectrum’s installation guide in case you want to handle the set up yourself.

Contracts

AT&T contracts

All AT&T plans require a 12-month agreement. If you plan to cancel your subscription before the agreed contract period, you will need to pay an early termination fee depending on the number of months completed.

Spectrum contracts

Spectrum internet plans are contract-free. You can cancel the services any time you want.

Fees

AT&T fees

AT&T charges $10 for equipment that’s already included in the package price. However, the package price will also change after 12 months, adding $10 extra on your monthly internet bills. There is also a one-time activation fee of $49, which the company will waive if you opt for a professional installation. For installation costs, AT&T charges a $149 installation fee for DSL and a $99 installation fee for fiber. If you plan to self-install the equipment, you will still need to pay $99. 

If you break your contract with AT&T, there is an early termination fee (ETF) of up to $180. The final amount depends on the number of months you have completed from the committed months in the contract.

Spectrum fees

Spectrum has a clear advantage when you compare all the charges with AT&T. The company offers equipment for free with all internet plans. There is a small service activation fee of $9.99 and the professional installation fee for cable plans is $49.99, and the installation fee for their Gig plan is $199.99. Or you can avoid these fees entirely by opting for self-installation (though you will still need to pay the  $9.99 activation fee). 

Keep in mind, your monthly internet bill will increase after the initial 12-month promotion period ends. The prices for all packages increase by $10 to $20.

Data caps

AT&T data caps

Internet 1000 is the only fiber plan that comes with unlimited data. All other AT&T DSL internet packages have data caps that range between 150 GB and 1 TB. Once you go over your data limit, AT&T will charge $10 for each 50 GB block of additional data. However, if you wish to get unlimited data for these plans, you can do so by paying $30 extra on your monthly internet bill.

Spectrum data caps

Spectrum internet plans have no data caps. You can enjoy unlimited internet access at the same speeds you paid for throughout the month.

Coverage & availability

AT&T coverage and availability

AT&T Internet is available in select cities of 21 states which include Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

Spectrum coverage and availability

Spectrum has a broader coverage and is available in 41 states that include Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

ProviderType of internetSpeedsStarting package price
AT&T logoHigh-Speed Internet1 - 1,000 MBPS$49.99/mo for 12 monthsView deals
Spectrum logoCable internet100 - 940 MBPS$44.99/mo for 12 months

Internet packages

AT&T internet packages

If AT&T is available in your area, these are the top three plans you should consider:

Internet 50

Internet 50 is an affordable DSL internet plan that offers download speeds of up to 50 Mbps, which is ideal for HD video streaming or online gaming on one to two devices. 

Internet 100

The Internet 100 plan features download speeds of up to 100 Mbps. The package is best for video calling, HD video streaming and gaming on two to three devices at a time.

Internet 1000

If AT&T fiber internet is available in your area, go for this Gig plan, which offers super-fast speeds of up to 940 Mbps. Operate your smart home or watch HD movies on multiple devices without any glitches.

Spectrum internet packages

Here are the top three Spectrum internet plans we recommend:

Spectrum Internet 100

Experience high-speed internet with download speeds of up to 100 Mbps with this plan. You get a free modem and antivirus software with unlimited internet access.

Spectrum Internet Ultra 400

The Ultra 400 internet package is ideal for online gaming and HD video streaming. The plan offers speeds of up to 400 Mbps with no data cap. Plus, you will receive free modem and antivirus software when you subscribe to the package.

Spectrum Internet GIG

Enjoy blazing-fast download speeds of up to 940 Mbps with unlimited data with this Gig plan. You will also get a free modem and antivirus software when you purchase this package.

Deals

AT&T Internet deals

While AT&T Internet plans are already affordable, you can get the best bang for your buck with bundling. For example, with the Choice bundle, you can access some of the top TV channels, 45,000 on-demand titles and 500 hours of cloud DVR storage along with internet access without data caps. You can get this bundle at $44.99 per month for the first 12 months.

Spectrum internet deals

Spectrum also has some good deals available when you bundle its TV and phone services. For example, at $124.97 per month, the Triple Play SILVER bundle offers 100 Mbps internet along with access to over 175 channels and unlimited nationwide calling.

In your area

Call now to learn about AT&T Internet and Spectrum deals. If you're ready to secure high-speed internet services, then visit ISP.com. Simply enter your zip code to find high-speed internet near you. If you have questions, then we're available to take your calls.

 in you area image

Frequently Asked Questions

AT&T has data caps on most of its internet plans, which range from 150 GB to 1 TB. The Internet 1000 fiber plan is the only package that offers unlimited data. All Spectrum internet plans offer unlimited data without any overage fees or slower speeds.

Both Spectrum and AT&T offer high-speed internet with Gig plans that provide download speeds of up to 940 Mbps. But since the Gig internet from AT&T might not be available in many locations, Spectrum would be the faster choice in those locations.

AT&T has more affordable internet plans compared to Spectrum. All the AT&T plans, including the fiber plans, have the same flat fee of $49.99 per month. Spectrum internet packages start from $49.99 and go all the way to $129.99 per month, depending on the speed you choose. However, it's worth noting that when looking at costs such as installation and early termination fees, AT&T plans do carry a lot more fees than Spectrum.

AT&T Internet plans have a 12-month contract. If you cancel your internet service before the contract period, you will need to pay up to $180 as early termination fees. In contrast, Spectrum plans are contract-free and you can cancel the service at any time.

Spectrum internet plans will cost you $10 to $20 more after the initial 12-month promotion for new customers is completed.