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Verizon Fios vs. Spectrum 2021 | Internet Providers

If you’re looking for a fiber-based internet provider, Verizon Internet is top notch, with symmetrical speeds and reasonable pricing. For its part, Spectrum is much more widely available than Verizon, which only serves eight states in the Northeast plus the District of Columbia. Neither company requires contracts or data caps, which is a boon to heavy internet users. Both have low packet loss and latency rates (which means streaming and online gaming will be smoother), but only Spectrum offers a network of public Wi-Fi hotspots.

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Verizon Internet and Spectrum have similar download speeds as well as some other features in common, such as no-contract plans, no data caps, and bundled services including TV and phone. That’s where the commonalities stop, however.

Spectrum internet is available in 44 states, giving it a wide coverage area. New York alone has 2.2 million Spectrum customers. Verizon Internet gets the nod in Washington, D.C., since Spectrum does not operate there. Overall, Verizon is faster for uploads, has lower latency, and costs less for its base plan. It’s only available in a limited area in the Northeast section of the United States, though, so Spectrum is a good second choice.

Where Spectrum shines is in its unlimited access to a half-million or more Wi-Fi hot spots across the country, which allows you to have internet access on the go. Verizon doesn’t offer any hot spots. The American Consumer Satisfaction Index rated Verizon 73 out of 100, placing it at the top of the customer service benchmarking list for 2020. Spectrum scored a respectable 63 out of 100. Customers who place a high priority on service should consider Verizon Internet.

Verizon Internet plans are segmented neatly into three options, offering download speeds of 200 Mbps, 400 Mbps, and 940 Mbps. Upload speeds are the same or nearly so. Spectrum’s plans are close to Verizon Internet for down speeds at 100, 400, and 940 Mbps. Spectrum’s upload speeds, on the other hand, are much slower at 10, 20, and 35 Mbps. Again, coaxial cable internet is reliable and fast, but it’s not as fast as fiber-optic cable.

Verizon Internet had the lowest latency of .12 milliseconds (ms) on our list, and Spectrum is double that at .24 ms. For most people, the difference will be negligible, but committed gamers might notice a difference.

Verizon Internet Pros:

Verizon Internet Cons:

Verizon Internet slipped to No. 2 on our list of Best Internet Service Providers of 2021, but it still reigns supreme at the top of our Best Fiber Internet Providers of 2021 list. With no data cap, a low packet loss rate (0.4%), and reasonable prices for near-symmetrical speeds up and down the plan selection, Verizon offers an excellent product. The only catch is that you have to reside in the Northeast in one of Verizon Internet’s covered states to have access to it. Verizon offers fiber internet service in Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia.

The company doesn’t offer open access to Wi-Fi hot spots like Spectrum. However, Verizon does offer mobile hot spots if you opt for wireless service with Verizon, and the company will sell to you a hot spot on the go device to take with you on the road.

Verizon Internet has been rated highly in the past for its speed consistency and reliability. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), more than 90% of Verizon Internet’s test customers could attain a median download speed of at least 95% of the advertised download speed. Most, if not all, internet customers are primarily focused on two attributes of a provider’s service: speed and reliability. Verizon Internet has both of those to spare.

Spectrum Pros:

  • Low latency rates, but higher than Verizon Internet

Spectrum Cons:

  • Relatively expensive base plan

Spectrum offers cable access to internet, TV, home phone service, and mobile to a wide swath of the country. Spectrum has made a strong showing in our latest ratings, now nipping at Verizon’s heels and tied with the telecommunications giant AT&T in our ratings for the Best Internet Service Providers of 2021.

Want to know just how fast the service is in your area? Enter your zip code on the company’s website and it will give you the latest speed statistics. Spectrum claims they will never throttle, or slow down, customers’ speeds. Owned by Stamford, Connecticut-based Charter Communications, Spectrum is on track to keep growing and expanding its already-large network footprint.

This cable provider markets itself as a no-commitment, no-contract, no-data-cap option for those looking for consistent, reliable internet service. Spectrum’s bundled packages offer new customers a unique benefit: It will buy out your old contract’s early termination fee up to $500. As a customer, you also get unlimited access to more than 500,000 Wi-Fi hot spots. It’s rated No. 2 on our Best Cable Internet Providers of 2021 list and No. 6 on our Best Internet Providers for Gaming 2021 roundup.

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), more than 93% of Spectrum customers realized a median download speed of at least 95% of what Spectrum advertised. Packet loss is also very low – less than 0.4 percent, which means fewer glitches and interruptions.

Verizon offers fast speeds up and down, as well as the lowest latency of the two companies, but it might not be available in your area. Spectrum is much more widely available and offers niceties like public Wi-Fi hotspots, but its latency is a bit higher, and you won’t get the fast upload speeds that Verizon’s fiber service provides.

Internet Service Providers

Other Products to Consider

In addition to the companies in our rating of the Best Internet Service Providers, here are some others to consider:

How U.S. News Evaluated Internet Service Providers

We explain what matters when it comes to internet service by sourcing experts and professional reviewers. Then we provide an unbiased evaluation of internet service providers. Our goal is to empower consumers with the information and tools they need to make informed decisions. More information about our 360 Reviews methodology for evaluating internet service providers is here.

U.S. News 360 Reviews takes an unbiased approach to our recommendations. When you use our links to buy products, we may earn a commission but that in no way affects our editorial independence.

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