Internet Service Comparison: Spectrum Cable Modem vs AT&T Fiber

I’m moving to a new address in Central Florida which has multiple Internet Service Providers (ISPs) available. Spectrum (formerly BrightHouse) provides speeds up to 100Mbps via cable modem. AT&T just installed fiber in the neighborhood, so I was excited to find out what they would offer.

Spectrum Cable Internet

Here’s a cost breakdown by service:

  • Lightning Internet (200Mbps download data rate, 30Mbps upload): $90/month
  • Static IP address: $10/month
  • Modem rental: $4/month  (you must rent a modem to get a static IP)
  • Taxes: $0.26
  • Total monthly bill: $104.26

It was very easy to move my service to a new physical address, and my static IP address will move with me. I’m fortunate to be “grandfathered in” on a BrightHouse plan that permits me to have a static IP address on a residential plan. Going forward, you’ll be required to choose a business plan if you want a static IP address (probably for substantially more money).

Pros

  • No data cap
  • Honest, up-front billing with no hidden fees
  • Up to 400Mbps available in my area (but I will lose my static IP address if I change plans)

Cons

  • Static IP no longer available on residential plans
  • Spectrum’s upload speed is slower, and cable Internet may be more susceptible to slowing down during peak usage times.
  • I had some problems with customer service and support the first time I set up a static IP address on a residential account. A tech had to come out to enable the static IP, but then did nothing other than call the support number and wait while they configured everything remotely.  It took quite a while and everyone seemed confused. However, once they got it working it has worked very well, even when I moved to a new address.

AT&T Internet

The AT&T web site showed some Internet options, but it did not specify that they were fiber. Since the fiber may not be available yet, I called the main customer service number. Unfortunately, AT&T internet customer service is just as bad as it was the last time I used their Internet service. Here is the promotion that I was offered:

  • Internet100: $80/month for Fiber Internet (80-100Mbps download and 80-100Mbps upload)
    • Promotional rate of $60/month for the first 12 months
    • Waive the installation fee and provide a $300 gift card if you bundle any TV service
    • Cheapest TV plan is the YouFamily package for $35/month
  • $99 installation fee
  • Taxes and fees not disclosed

Pros

  • AT&T Fiber has a slight performance advantage over Bright House because of the higher upload speed (symmetric).

Cons

  • AT&T customer service is awful. The sales rep I talked to did not understand the concept of upload vs download speed and I had to wait on hold while she looked up the information. She also told me the cost of the Internet100 plant was $60/month, but failed to disclose that it’s a short-term promotional rate. After that, it was nothing but high-pressure sales tactics, even after I clearly told her that I was just calling for information and was not ready to make a decision.
  • Can you use your own router and get a static IP? I have no idea. There was no point in asking this sales rep, because she clearly had only one objective: get me to sign up today.
  • Data cap: 1TB/month
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