Spectrum Business Internet Review: Compare Pricing & Plan Options
Is Spectrum Cable Business Internet worth it? Contract-free options plans, speeds up to 940 Mbps, and exceptional entertainment bundles make Spectrum cable worth a look as your small-business internet provider.
The Federal Communications Commission issued a pledge that all service providers are following. All providers “will not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.”
Comcast Xfinity is offering two free months of their Internet Essentials package to new customers and increased internet speeds to all existing subscribers. Also, anybody can use an Xfinity hotspot for free and subscribers get unlimited data use for 60 days.
Cox is offering the first month of its low-income internet program, Connect 2 Compete, for free until May 12, 2020. The provider is also providing free phone and remote desktop support.
Consumers may be cutting their cable television cords, but cable internet is alive and kicking. And for small-business owners, cable from providers like Spectrum lets you run your online business operations at high speeds and reasonable costs.
|Plan||Starting price (per month)||Max download / upload speed||Learn more|
|Spectrum Internet (100 Mbps)||$59.99||100 / 10 Mbps||View Plan|
|Spectrum Internet (200 Mbps)||$59.99||200 / 10 Mbps||View Plan|
|Spectrum Internet Ultra||$109.99||300 / 20 Mbps||View Plan|
|Spectrum Internet Gig||$249.99||940 / 35 Mbps||View Plan|
So is Spectrum internet a good investment for your business? According to our research, that depends on what type of business you run.
Spectrum Business is best for bars, restaurants, and offices that want stellar TV packages
Spectrum offers several enticing internet bundles that include cable TV packages. Businesses that need to keep customers entertained while they wait, shop, or eat have the most to gain by taking advantage of these bundles.
But even for other company types, solo cable internet plans from Spectrum aren’t too shabby. That’s because the plans are fast and affordable, with no data caps, and they include lots of tantalizing tech features.
If you’re looking for a cheap internet option, you can’t do much better than Spectrum’s $59.99 per month Business Internet 100 cable plan. This plan gets you download speeds up to 100 Mbps, which is enough for about 10 connected devices at a time.
The greatest thing about all of these plans and bundles? Each comes with additional services and free technology packages that can help you get more out of your internet plan.
On the other hand, if it’s speed you crave, consider the Spectrum Internet Ultra plan. For $109.99 per month, your download speeds jump up to 300–400 Mbps (depending on your area) with upload speeds from 7–20 Mbps. At those rates, you can connect several more devices and more easily download and upload large files.
Find out how much internet speed you need for your business with Spectrum’s bandwidth calculator.
Our third recommendation is for bars and restaurants or offices with waiting rooms. Spectrum’s Business TV bundle combines the 200 Mbps internet plan with affordable phone and TV services. Employees can make free local and long-distance phone calls. And customers can stay entertained with HD TV channels.
The greatest thing about all of these plans and bundles? Each comes with additional services and free technology packages that can help you get more out of your internet plan. We give you more details about these perks in the sections below.
Things to consider about Spectrum
Broadband cable debuted in the mid-twentieth century as a way to deliver television to viewers, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that the technology was repurposed for high-speed internet.1 Since Spectrum (a Charter Communications brand) acquired Time Warner Cable in 2016,2 the company has expanded its broadband cable and other internet services across the United States.
Above, we told you what we like about Spectrum—and there’s a lot of likes to give. But what about the not-so-greats? Here’s a rundown of the good and bad of Spectrum business internet.
- Awesomely affordable high-speed plans
- Truckloads of free tech upgrades
- Special offers for bars and restaurants
- Slowish upload speeds
- Gloomy customer service ratings
- Fragmented fiber availability
Although cable internet can get you faster download speeds than many competitors in the DSL internet game, Spectrum’s cable upload speeds are unimpressive. The fastest upload speed Spectrum advertises is 35 Mbps, but that’s a maximum upload speed—not an average. That means your actual upload speeds may not be that high.
Upload speeds are important for avoiding interruptions with large-file downloads and backups, VoIP service, videoconferences, and running cloud-based applications. If your business needs these services, you may run into trouble with Spectrum’s cable internet plans.
You should also be wary of Spectrum’s low customer satisfaction ratings, as reported by several organizations.
Ultimately, there are several things to like and dislike about Spectrum, so consider your business priorities before making a decision.
The upload speeds for Spectrum cable plans don’t vary much from plan to plan, so only pay for more speed if you care about doubling or tripling your download speeds.
Spectrum business internet speeds and pricing
Spectrum offers a simple suite of internet plans—an upside or downside, depending on what you’re looking for. Cable internet plans range in download speeds up to 400 Mbps. Spectrum also offers fiber plans, but—as we’ll explain—details about fiber service are limited.
Cable internet plans
Starting at 100 Mbps download speeds, Spectrum cable comes in five flavors: Business Internet 60, 100, 200, 300, and 400. As we mentioned above, the upload speeds are lackluster, but the download speeds pack a punch.
|Plan||Starting price (per month)||Learn more|
|Spectrum Internet (100 Mbps)||$59.99||View Plan|
|Spectrum Internet (200 Mbps)||$59.99||View Plan|
|Spectrum Internet Ultra||$109.99||View Plan|
|Spectrum Internet Gig||$249.99||View Plan|
Fiber internet plans
Spectrum is building a fiber-optic network across the United States, so you may be able to snag one of these lightning-speed plans in your area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to dig up particular plan and pricing details, but we did find a list of Spectrum fiber coverage maps.
Check out the maps to see if Spectrum fiber-optic internet has reached your business’s location, and then contact the company at 888-692-8635 to learn more.
Bundles and packages: Keep customers connected and entertained
Internet service providers love to offer bundles—and not just for residential customers. They’re savvy enough to know that if they offer discounts for combined services, you may be tempted to take advantage of the deal.
Fortunately, Spectrum’s business bundles are worth considering. These packages combine reasonably fast internet with long-distance calling or TV services—or both.
|Plan||Starting price (per month)*|
|Spectrum Business TV||$69.98*|
|Spectrum Business Entertainment TV||$89.98*|
|Spectrum Business Game Time TV||$149.98*|
Technology: Extra useful and extra free
One shining facet of Spectrum’s prism of internet services is all the technology the company throws in for free. There are also a few paid services you can buy to truly tailor your business internet experience.
From cloud backups to web hosting, here are all the tech upgrades we found Spectrum serving up.
|Cap-free data usage||Use data without limits on your business internet plan|
|Cloud backup||Get 100GB free to back up your vital business data|
|Assign 25 custom email addresses with your own domain name|
|Internet security||Protect your business from viruses, spyware, spam, and more with Spectrum’s unique Internet Security Solution|
|Modem||Lease a cable modem for free on plans up to 300 Mbps|
|Wi-Fi||Encourage customers to stick around by connecting to a unique Wi-Fi network|
|Web hosting and domain name||Create and host a professional website, including a unique domain name and 5GB of web storage|
|Private business Wi-Fi||Connect any employee or device to a secure and private Wi-Fi network; contact Spectrum for pricing|
|Static IP address||Make it easier to host your own servers, VPNs, and more with unchanging IPs; $14.99/mo.|
Reliability and support: Nothing out of the ordinary
You should be able to count on a reliable connection from your business internet provider. Service outages—or downtime—result in interruptions to essential operations like email, file sharing, and point-of-sale systems.
Let’s see what kind of reliability you can expect from Spectrum business class internet.
Uptime and latency: Down with downtime
Uptime is the percentage of time you can expect working internet. Although we didn’t find a Spectrum uptime service level agreement online, a chat with a customer service representative confirmed that the company guarantees business internet uptime at 99.9%.
That figure sounds nearly perfect, but according to our research, 99.9% is about the industry average. Verizon offers a stronger uptime guarantee of 99.99%.
What does that mean in real time? Take a look at how several uptime guarantees translate into seconds, minutes, or hours of downtime over longer periods.
|Guarantee||Downtime per month||Downtime per year|
(Spectrum cable, CenturyLink DSL, AT&T fiber*)
|43.8 minutes||8.76 hours|
|21.9 minutes||4.38 hours|
|4.38 minutes||52.56 minutes|
|52.56 seconds||10.51 minutes|
Latency is another marker of reliability. Sometimes called lag, latency is the amount of time it takes for a packet of data to make a round trip from one internet connection point to another. High latency—measured in milliseconds—is an especially noticeable problem when streaming video or conducting video conferences.
We didn’t find any information about Spectrum’s average latency, nor do they offer any latency guarantees. If latency is a top concern for your business, consider a company—such as Verizon—that offers a latency guarantee.
Technical support: Help anytime you need it
If something goes wrong with your internet connection or you’re not getting the service you expect, you need quick access to technical support.
Spectrum offers 24/7, US-based technical support by phone for its business customers. The company also provides a collection of Spectrum Business Support articles and answers to common technical questions.
Customer service: Poor ratings and reviews
Several national organizations are in the business of surveying internet service provider customers and reporting their findings to the public. Here are some recent ratings the industry gave Spectrum, which—spoiler alert—left us disappointed.
ACSI: Spectrum received a 59 out of 100 from The American Customer Satisfaction Index—a barely above-average score.3
BBB: Charter, Spectrum’s parent company, isn’t accredited by the Better Business Bureau. The BBB notes that, for Spectrum, “Patterns of complaints primarily allege poor customer service, billing errors, or misleading advertising.” Spectrum also stumbled from several government actions against it, including New York’s revocation of an approved merger between Charter and Time-Warner Cable. As of February 5, 2019, New York is still undecided about whether Charter will be allowed to operate in the state.4
J.D. Power: Across all three business segments reviewed by J.D. Power in 2019, Spectrum scored poorly. The ISP ranked sixth place out of eight for very small businesses, sixth place out of seven for small and midsize businesses, and fifth place out of six for large enterprise businesses.5 J.D. Power gave Spectrum poor marks in overall satisfaction, communication, cost, sales reps, customer service, and performance/reliability. Customers specifically noted problems stemming from the switch from Time Warner Cable.
To be fair, most internet companies have a poor reputation in the United States, but even by the industry’s low standards, Spectrum ranks on the lower end.
The fine print: Fees, contracts, and equipment
Before signing up with any provider, make sure you understand any costs and other details beyond the sticker price. Up next is a breakdown of Spectrum’s fees, contracts, and equipment.
Spectrum charges a one-time activation fee of $99 for its cable internet service, which is lower than several competitors we’ve reviewed. We couldn’t find any information on possible termination fees.
Spectrum business class has some contract-free options.
Spectrum business class has some contract-free options. The only other business ISP we reviewed that offers no-contract business internet is AT&T, which offers the perk only for fiber plans.
What’s more, Spectrum will buy out your contract—up to $500—with your current provider, making the switch even easier.
You also have 30 days to try out Spectrum business internet. If you’re not satisfied, just contact Spectrum before those 30 days are up, return your equipment, and you’ll get a refund for the plan charges. However, the refund doesn’t include the $99 installation fee.
Unlike most business internet service providers, Spectrum will lease you a cable modem for free. This may make up for the fact that the company doesn’t allow you to use your own modem or TV equipment, even when trying out the limited-time offer.
Wondering if Spectrum allows self-installation with your account credentials? Read our FAQ section below.
FAQs about Spectrum business internet
You might still have questions about business internet from Spectrum. Maybe our research will help answer your concerns.
What’s the difference between Charter, Spectrum, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House?
Spectrum is the brand name Charter Communications uses for its broadband communications services, including phone, TV, and internet. In 2016, Charter made two big acquisitions for approximately $71 billion: Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. With this mega-merger, Charter internet grew its customer base to 25 million, expanding its footprint to 41 states and earning it second place in the US broadband internet market share.6
As part of the FCC’s approval of the merger, Charter made a seven-year agreement not to cap data usage on its plans or charge customers more for certain types of content.7 However, the FCC’s 2017 repeal of net neutrality rules may change things—and Charter has already made moves that could worry net neutrality supporters and Charter customers alike.8
Can I install Spectrum internet myself?
If you’re looking to shave off some up-front costs, you may want to consider self-installation. Spectrum advises you to take the following steps to install your own business internet:
- Contact Spectrum to find out if your plan is eligible for self-installation. Ask whether there are surcharges to install your own connection.
- Order a self-installation kit, which includes a welcome and installation guide plus a modem, power cord, coax cable, ethernet cable, and splitter. You may also pick up your kit at a Spectrum store.
- Once your service is active, connect your equipment following the details in your welcome kit or this online installation guide with video.
Cable vs. DSL internet: Which is better?
Depending on your business’s area, you may have the option to choose between a cable business internet service provider—like Spectrum—or one that offers high-speed internet via digital subscriber line (DSL).
The truth is that neither internet type is better—each has its advantages and disadvantages. The better choice is whichever offers the best solution for you and your business’s needs.
Here are the main advantages and disadvantages of cable internet:
- Doesn't use phone lines or dial-up connections, which means your connection is always on
- Is less affected by your physical distance from the connections origin
- Has faster speeds than dial-up and satellite (and often faster speeds than DSL)
- Has slower speeds than fiber internet
- Shares your connection with other users, risking slowdowns during peak hours
- Costs more than dial-up and satellite (and often more than DSL)
- Has limited availability in rural areas
Cable internet uses coaxial cables, just like the ones used to deliver cable television to millions of customers and connect to your business using a cable modem. Meanwhile, DSL internet is provided over the same copper wires used to provide phone lines. But unlike dial-up internet, DSL doesn’t interfere with phone service.
Here are the key advantages and disadvantages of DSL internet:
- May be more secure than cable due to the ability to create discrete network connections
- Is more commonly available than cable in many rural areas
- Has faster speeds than dial-up and satellite
- Has slower speeds than fiber internet (and often slower speeds than cable)
- Is prone to slowdowns the farther you are from the connection origin
- May require purchasing phone services to lower rates
How do I set up Wi-Fi for my business?
Spectrum offers two Wi-Fi options for business customers. The first is free and allows you to set-up a basic Wi-Fi network for employees and customers. However, this connection isn’t monitored by Spectrum and is less secure than managed Wi-Fi.
The other option is managed Wi-Fi for business, which Spectrum offers for a fee. This service lets you set up a secure wireless network that your customers and employees log in to. Spectrum technicians—available 24/7—monitor your managed hotspots and Wi-Fi speeds for security and performance. The service can also scale to fit the physical size of your buildings.
Unless poor customer satisfaction ratings are a deal breaker, Spectrum is an affordable and fast option for your small business.
Lagging customer reviews are worth thinking twice about before you sign up your business for Spectrum internet. But because these plans come with contract-free options, if you experience serious trouble, it’s possible that you can simply cancel under Spectrum’s terms and conditions. Also, there are plenty of other great ISP options out there.
Not sure if Spectrum is right for you? Check out our top business internet picks to see how Spectrum measures up.
At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don’t guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.
1. California Cable & Telecommunications Association, “History of Cable”
2. CNN, “Bye, Bye Time Warner Cable. Hello Charter”
3. ACSI, “Benchmarks By Industry: Internet Service Providers”
4. Better Business Bureau, “Charter Spectrum”
5. J.D. Power, “2019 US Business Wireline Satisfaction Study”
6. LA Times, “Charter Completes Purchase of Time Warner Cable, Bright House”
7. DSLReports.com, “FCC to Approve Charter Merger, Conditions Ban Caps for 7 Years”
8. The Hollywood Reporter, “Charter Points to FCC’s Net Neutrality Repeal in Lawsuit Alleging Netflix Throttling”