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.
MaxxSouth Broadband delivers fast, reliable cable and fiber internet to much of Mississippi and some of Alabama. The internet service provider (ISP) packs a ton of value in its plans, especially for smaller households. But if you want top-notch customer service, this might not be the company for you.
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.
MaxxSouth offers plans ranging from 150 Mbps to an incredible 10 gigs. However, anything above 1 gig isn't yet widely available, and for good reason. Most households don't need near those speeds, and current devices can't use it anyway. So stick with MaxxSouth's 1 gig plans or lower. In fact, the slower your plan, the better the deal you get with MaxxSouth. A 150 Mbps plan costs just 28% of the national benchmark, while a 1 gig plan runs about 67% of the national benchmark (which is still a good deal). (1)
Plans come with unlimited data, decent upload speeds, and inexpensive equipment and installation—all with no contract. That’s a ton of value!
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.
MaxxSouth Broadband offers cable and fiber internet plans, both of which are highly reliable. MaxxSouth’s cable plans range from 150 Mbps to 1 gig download speeds, with upload speeds from 5 Mbps to 15 Mbps, which is better than a lot of other providers.
Some MaxxSouth fiber plans boast a whopping 10 gigs (holy cannoli!) with symmetrical connections (meaning the upload speeds match the download speeds). However, it's more realistic to see actual speeds max out at around 1 gig, even if you buy a faster plan. With 10 gigs, you could host the mother of all LAN parties (can we join?) and still have mountains of leftover bandwidth.
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.
MaxxSouth has minimal equipment and installation costs. A router/modem combo is included in your plan’s pricing, which is a rare find indeed. If you have a large home or a big family, though, you probably want to spring for this provider’s eero TrueMesh Wi-Fi, which uses multiple signal extenders placed throughout your home for the best coverage. At a reasonable $15 per month, this Wi-Fi package also includes an app that helps you find and eliminate dead spots, set parental controls, and even gives you access to remote support.
MaxxSouth’s professional installation will cost you around $20 in most cases, though if your home isn’t quite internet ready, this cost could go up. Since professional installation usually costs $70–$100 even for plug-and-play homes, that’s a sweet deal. The downside is that there’s no free self-install option, which means you’ll have to schedule an appointment. But there are worse trade-offs.
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.
We love that installation is just $20 in most cases and that you can call into MaxxSouth customer service 24/7/365. However, some of the customer reviews suggest that the low price and availability aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Multiple reviews cite technicians leaving holes in walls, unsightly cables, or non-functioning internet in their wake, while others say it’s hard to get a person on the phone when they call in.
MaxxSouth has some decent self-help content on its website to help you troubleshoot issues on your own, but not all issues can be solved this way. We’d love to see MaxxSouth’s customer service rise to the level of its value in other areas.