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Brightspeed vs. Buckeye Broadband vs. Spectrum Internet plan comparison


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Rebecca Palmer smiles for the camera
Researched by
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Reviewed by
Updated 6/26/24

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BRIGHTSPEED
Staff rating
3.6

  • Plans starting at $50.00
  • Download speeds up to 940 Mbps
Buckeye Broadband brand
Staff rating
3.3
Customer rating
3.6
(6)

  • Plans starting at $9.99
  • Download speeds up to 600MB
Charter Spectrum brand logo
Staff rating
3.5
Customer rating
4.0
(513)

  • Plans starting at $29.99
  • Download speeds up to 1 Gbps
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BRIGHTSPEED
Staff rating
3.6

We were extremely impressed with Brightspeed’s prices—you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal on gigabit fiber internet. While its fiber coverage area is growing, it currently remains very small. Plus, it's a brand-new provider so there are still a lot of unknowns.

What we like

  • No data caps or contracts
  • Reasonable pricing
  • Good availability on DSL
What we dislike

  • Mostly limited to DSL
  • New, unproven company
Savings tip: Brightspeed often has sign-up promotions for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
Buckeye Broadband brand
Staff rating
3.3

High-value starter plans during promotional periods

Buckeye Broadband offers a good internet experience for residents of the Toledo area. However, substantial price hikes, high prices on the faster plans, and a reputation for poor customer service make it tough to recommend for certain customers.

What we like

  • Low upfront costs
  • Competitive budget packages
What we dislike

  • Poor value on faster plans
  • Hefty early termination fees
Savings tip: Buckeye Broadband often has sign-up promotions for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
Charter Spectrum brand logo
Staff rating
3.5

Fast internet at reasonable prices

Spectrum offers speedy, reasonably priced cable internet service, and a strong budget plan. We wish there were fewer fees attached, though.

What we like

  • Simple plan selection
  • No contracts
  • No data cap
What we dislike

  • Pricey gig plan
  • Lots of small fees
  • Price increase after 12 months
Savings tip: Spectrum often has sign-up promotions for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
BRIGHTSPEED
Value
4.0
Excellent fiber deals (and decent DSL)

Brightspeed is slowly building out a fiber network that offers a pretty great value at $65 per month for up to 940 Mbps. That’s just 7 cents per Mbps, which puts it right in line with top fiber providers like AT&T. Unfortunately, this fiber service is still not widely available.

Because Brightspeed’s fiber footprint is still fairly small, the vast majority of Brightspeed’s current service offerings are DSL. That means that you’re going to pay more money for less speed—it’s just the nature of the DSL beast.

The upshot is that Brightspeed’s DSL prices are actually pretty competitive, starting at $50 per month. With advertised speeds of up to 140 Mbps (but often lower, depending on where you live), that puts the provider at about 36 cents per Mbps. This, of course, falls far short of most cable and fiber providers.

Learn more about the differences between fiber and DSL internet.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
Brightspeed's website
or call 1-833-438-0878 to speak with a rep.
See pricing
Buckeye Broadband brand
Value
2.5
Price hikes turn a decent deal into a bad one

Buckeye Broadband isn't a bad deal if you're looking at the introductory price. In fact, for the first six months of service, you can often get a better deal with Buckeye than with the major national players. However, while most providers will guarantee prices for a year or two, you'll see significant price hikes from Buckeye after only six months if you have one of their cable plans. Fiber plans are a bit better, with promotional prices that last 12 months.

In most cases, the month seven price hike will amount to an additional $20 per month on your bill. Then, once the regular rate is applied, it is often double the advertised promotional price. Most Buckeye plans don't have contracts, but you might be locked into these higher prices if you sign one to get a specific deal. We also don't like that the length of the promotional period isn't obvious unless you read the fine print.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
Buckeye Broadband's website
or call 1-844-719-0029 to speak with a rep.
See pricing
Charter Spectrum brand logo
Value
3.0
Straightforward internet plans with budget-friendly pricing

Spectrum service offers a solid value—particularly at the lowest tier. There are only three plans to choose from, which could either be a plus or minus depending on your perspective. In this case, we feel it’s a good thing: the plans are straightforward and easy to understand.

The lowest-tier plan offers speeds up to 300 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary) at a decent price, according to government benchmarks (1). That's just $0.17 per megabit per second, with speeds that blow any DSL plan out of the water. The other two internet plans are less exciting, but still reasonably priced for the first year. After 12 months, your price could be up by $20 or more.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
Spectrum's website
or call 1-844-733-6483 to speak with a rep.
See pricing
BRIGHTSPEED
Performance
4.0
Impressive fiber speeds

Impressive is definitely the right word to describe Brightspeed’s performance. The fiber service is excellent, with symmetrical speeds up to 940 Mbps. Symmetrical speed means the upload and download speeds are equal, which makes for much better overall performance compared to typical services where upload is significantly slower.

The DSL service is competitive with most other DSL providers, and seems to be fairly reliable—although we have heard some complaints of outages and interruptions. That said, it is DSL, so you’re only going to get limited speeds.

Our main concern with Brightspeed’s performance is simply how new the company is. It hasn’t had a chance to prove itself yet, and there may be growing pains as it builds out its fiber network. That said, we don’t expect many issues with DSL, since Brightspeed basically inherited the infrastructure directly from CenturyLink.

Available speeds vary by location. Call 1-833-438-0878 to speak with a Brightspeed rep or
go to its website.
Buckeye Broadband brand
Performance
4.5
Excellent performance across the board, plus symmetrical upload speeds

In terms of speed, Buckeye Broadband competes well. The company offers a range of speeds up to 1 gig, with a good spread of package tiers. There are two types of service—cable internet and fiber—and both offer speedy downloads. The fiber plans also come with symmetrical speeds, meaning the upload speed and download speed are equal—excellent for content creators and anyone else who uploads and shares lots of large files.

Additionally, Buckeye Broadband offers unlimited data. We're happy about this update since cable plans used to only come with 250 GB of data. For a modern household, that's not nearly enough--on average, people typically use around 536 GB of data per month (1). You could upgrade to unlimited data for $30 per month before, but we're happy to see it included from the get-go.

Available speeds vary by location. Call 1-844-719-0029 to speak with a Buckeye Broadband rep or
go to its website.
Charter Spectrum brand logo
Performance
4.0
Reliable internet with speeds up to 1 Gbps

Spectrum offers speedy performance overall, with packages up to 1,000 Mbps available (wireless speeds may vary). The lower tiers are more exciting—almost every provider has a gig plan these days, but Spectrum’s lowest plan has speeds up to 300 Mbps, which is still excellent for all but the heaviest users. Additionally, there are no data caps on any of the plans, so you can use as much bandwidth as you like.

Speed is only half the equation, though—even the fastest connection is useless if it doesn’t work when you need it. Luckily, Spectrum is on par with its closest cable competitors here. It offers faster-than-advertised speeds most of the time, according to the US Federal Communications Commission (2), and earned the top spot for median speeds from Speedtest.net (3). Spectrum’s latency scores were a little higher than competitors Xfinity and Cox, but at just 25 ms, you’re still within the playability range for most online games.

Available speeds vary by location. Call 1-844-733-6483 to speak with a Spectrum rep or
go to its website.
BRIGHTSPEED
Equipment and installation
3.5
Decent equipment and self-install options

Brightspeed installation is relatively straightforward. The professional installation has a $99 fee attached, which is pretty standard, but self-installation is free. You’ll probably have to go for the pro install with a fiber plan, since you’ll need an optical network terminal (ONT) installed.

For DSL service, you have a choice of professional installation or self-installation, though you can only self-install DSL service if you already have a phone jack in your home. If you don’t, a technician will have to come out and add one.

The equipment is also straightforward. You get a basic wireless gateway (a combination modem and router) that’ll get you online and handle the speeds for your plan. There are none of the mesh systems and other fancy extras some providers offer, but it’ll do the job. Equipment rental will run you $15 per month, which is fairly standard.

That’s kind of the theme with Brightspeed’s equipment and installation process. There’s nothing bad or out of the ordinary, but there’s also nothing particularly interesting or exciting about it.

Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
Brightspeed plans
available in your area.
View plans
Buckeye Broadband brand
Equipment and installation
4.0
A fantastic installation process

Buckeye Broadband's equipment situation depends on whether you have cable or fiber.

Buckeye uses pretty standard Arris wireless gateways for its cable plans. Customers can rent one from the provider for $14 per month, which is in line with most other providers. You can also opt to bring your own equipment—the provider has a list of supported modems to choose from.

Fiber plans include free SmartNet routers powered by eero. However, after chatting with a customer service rep about unclear terms of service, we found out there is a $120 activation fee for any SmartNet services unless you sign a 12-month contract. Since you can keep your promotional price for the length of the contract, that's not a deal-breaker, but it is something to keep in mind.

As for installation, Buckeye doesn’t charge a fee for either installation or service activation with most plans. In the event you somehow land on a package that doesn’t waive the installation fee, it’s only $10, which is lower than most providers—it’s usually closer to $100 for a professional installation.

Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
Buckeye Broadband plans
available in your area.
View plans
Charter Spectrum brand logo
Equipment and Installation
4.5
You can rent a router or use your own, and there’s a fee for self-installation

Spectrum’s equipment setup is a bit different than most—at least when it comes to fees. There is no charge for the modem, but there is a $5 monthly fee for the wireless router (waived on the gig plan). What this means is that Spectrum gives you a separate modem and router, instead of a combined gateway. It also means you can opt to bring your own wireless router if you prefer. Customers can also add Wi-Fi extenders, called Pods, for $3 each per month. If you use the Spectrum router, you can use the company's highly rated smartphone app to manage settings and parental controls.

Installation is straightforward and affordable. If you need a pro to come out, you can opt for a professional installation for $59.99. If you can handle the installation yourself, the self-install kit is about $25. We’d prefer free self-installation, but it isn’t the highest self-install fee we’ve seen, so we’ll take what we can get.

Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
Spectrum plans
available in your area.
View plans
BRIGHTSPEED
Customer experience
3.0
The great unknown

If one area will make or break Brightspeed, it’s customer experience. The provider got its start by acquiring a large number of DSL markets from CenturyLink, so a lot of customers had their internet service transition from one provider to another. A sudden shift in customer experience here could have been really bad.

Opinions of the service are quite mixed so far. Some customers seem to be having a fine experience, with no noticeable change from how things were with CenturyLink. Others have had a rockier transition, with major complaints about speed and customer service.

These types of reports may give you pause, but since the provider is new and the transition from CenturyLink is still happening, things may improve.

Visit Brightspeed's website
or call 1-833-438-0878 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
Buckeye Broadband brand
Customer experience
2.5
A solid experience brought down by dodgy customer support—what else is new?

The combination of solid performance and minimal fees makes for a good overall experience with Buckeye. However, as with all internet providers, there are some issues. The first is that the prices increase substantially after the introductory period. This is normal internet provider stuff, but that doesn’t mean we have to like it.

The second issue is a general reputation for poor customer service. You’ll quickly find complaints online about communication difficulties and service reliability.

In our research, we thought some of the terms were pretty hard to find on the website, but it only took a few minutes to get in contact with a customer service rep via their online chat feature, and they were able to answer our questions.

Not everyone has a bad experience with Buckeye, but clearly, not everyone has a good experience, either, so just be aware of what you’re getting into.

Visit Buckeye Broadband's website
or call 1-844-719-0029 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
Charter Spectrum brand logo
Customer Experience
2.5
Watch out for hefty fees and price hikes down the road

We’ll just come right out and say it: Spectrum has a lot of fees. While you may never see most of them, it’s worth noting that they’re there. Here’s a sample:

  • $5 to pay over the phone(?!)
  • $5 reconnection fee
  • $19.99 to upgrade equipment when switching to the Internet Gig plan

These aren’t going to be on every bill, and you may never see most of them. However, when you do, it makes for a poor experience.

When you add second-year price hikes in the range of $20+, things aren't looking good for Spectrum customers. However, Spectrum customers seem to be about as satisfied with customer service as customers with competitors Cox and CenturyLink, and it's only slightly worse than average. (4)

If Spectrum is the only cable provider in your area and your home isn't wired for fiber internet, we recommend the service. Just set a calendar reminder to contact customer service in a year and see if you can negotiate the price down!

Visit Spectrum's website
or call 1-844-733-6483 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
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Made up your mind?
Find out what providers are available near you.
Brightspeed
0.0
(0)
5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Buckeye Broadband
3.6
(6)
5 Star
17%
4 Star
33%
3 Star
50%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
B
Brittneyfrom Toledo, OH
Buckeye Broadband Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 6-24-2022
Good, fast internet
T
Terrencefrom Perrysburg, OH
Buckeye Broadband Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 6-22-2022
they are reliable the speed could be better the wifi does not seem to work like it should thats my big hang up
R
Rebeccafrom Toledo, OH
Buckeye Broadband Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
They're extremely over-priced. As soon as I move somewhere that I have a choice in providers, I will be dumping them.
W
Whitneyfrom Montgomery, AL
Buckeye Broadband Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
They try to help u as much as they can.With whatever you need help to guide you.
Spectrum
4.0
(513)
5 Star
34%
4 Star
41%
3 Star
20%
2 Star
4%
1 Star
1%
A
Andrewfrom Newark, NY
Spectrum Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
My internet goes out all the time whenever I first go to use it when returning home from anywhere.
T
Theresafrom Merriam, KS
Spectrum Customer for Less than a year
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
My choice was limited due to my location. Not very pleased that I got my first bill less than a week after activation. And due in less than three after activation.
N
Nathaliafrom Sherman Oaks, CA
Spectrum Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
The connection is good and fast overall. It disconnects sometimes out of nowhere, so I wish it was more stable.
J
Jpfrom Evansville, IN
Spectrum Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
Thank you all right we have a limited opportunities in this
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Endnotes and sources
Endnotes and sources
1. "Broadband Insights Report (OVBI)," OpenVault. Accessed 17 October 2022.
Endnotes and sources
  1. 2022 Urban Rate Survey – Fixed Broadband Service,” FCC. Accessed 17 June 2022.
  2. "Measuring Broadband America," FCC. Retreieved Dec. 7, 2022.
  3. "Fastests ISPs of 2022," Speetest.net. Retrieved Dec. 7, 2022.
  4. "Satisfaction Benchmarks by Company, Internet Service Providers," ACSI. Retrieved Dec. 7, 2022.