Switchful Logo

Clearwave Fiber vs. Spectrum vs. Xfinity Internet plan comparison


Headshot of Dave Schafer
Rebecca Palmer smiles for the camera
Researched by
Headshot of Michal Ash
Headshot of Bri Field
Reviewed by
Updated 6/26/24

We’re committed to transparency. We may earn money when you follow our recommendations, but compensation doesn’t affect our ratings. Learn more.
Clearwave Logo
Staff rating
3.8

  • Plans starting at $65.00
  • Download speeds up to 1000 Mbps
Charter Spectrum brand logo
Staff rating
3.5
Customer rating
4.0
(513)

  • Plans starting at $29.99
  • Download speeds up to 1 Gbps
Xfinity brand
Staff rating
4.2
Customer rating
4.1
(479)

  • Plans starting at $19.99
  • Download speeds up to 6000 Mbps
city map lines pattern
Check availability
See what providers service your area.
Clearwave Logo
Staff rating
3.8

Strong value and performance from a smaller brand

Overall, we like Clearwave Fiber. It’s a speedy fiber provider with decent pricing and good customer service. Our main complaint is that it’s just not as competitive on the pricing as it could be. In general, though, we think people will be happy with Clearwave Fiber.

Unknown block type "callout", specify a component for it in the `components.types` prop
What we like

  • Symmetrical speeds
  • Unlimited data
  • No contracts
What we dislike

  • Price hikes after 12 months
  • Relatively new, unproven company
Savings tip: Clearwave Fiber 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
Xfinity brand
Staff rating
4.2

Lightning-fast, reliable internet at an excellent price

Xfinity is a fantastic provider overall. It offers fast speeds, reliable service, and reasonable prices. Some plans still require contracts, and others still have data limits. Watch out for Xfinity’s hidden fees and spotty customer service record, but it may not be as bad as it once was.

What we like

  • Consistently fast speeds
  • Wide availability
  • Excellent pricing
What we dislike

  • Data caps on some plans
  • Some billing complaints
Savings tip: Xfinity often has sign-up promotions for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
Clearwave Logo
Value
3.5
Solid value and transparent pricing

Clearwave Fiber fares decently overall in the value department, in large part because fiber just tends to be a good value. With faster plans, like Fiber 1 Gig, Clearwave is competitive and the performance is excellent. This package offers 11.75 Mbps per dollar spent, compared to the Fiber 500 plan at 6.67 Mbps per dollar. Although the latter is cheaper per month, you can clearly see how you get more for each dollar spent with the top-tier plan.

However, compared to competitors like AT&T, Clearwave is definitely more expensive. This difference is more pronounced with the lower-tier packages, where you get a lot more for your money with other providers.

It’s not all bad news, however. You do get unlimited data on all the plans by default—some providers, notably Xfinity, charge quite a lot for this. The equipment costs are also low, at $10 per month.

Additionally, while the price does increase after 12 months, the bump is relatively small at just $15 per month. Clearwave is very up front about this, which is a refreshing change—normally we have to dig to find out how much a plan’s price will increase after promotional periods end.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
Clearwave Fiber's website
or call 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
Xfinity brand
Value
4.0
Fast internet speeds at a great price

Xfinity is generally a very good value, especially at the middle and lower tiers. In fact, it offers some of the best budget plans of any of the major internet service providers. Eligible households may qualify for high-speed internet as low as $9.95 a month with unlimited data and equipment.

Depending on your area, you can get a 50 Mbps Internet Essentials plan for less than $20 per month and a 400 Mbps plan for $50 per month. Those plans have a data cap of 1.2 terabytes which is a high data cap. Data caps are common among cable internet service providers (ISPs). Removing it costs an extra $30. But overall, this pricing is an excellent deal for the speeds you're getting.

The 400 Mbps plan, which is about right for an average family that's online a lot, is also a great price. It rings in at about 36% of the national benchmark in its range. (1) That means you're paying just $0.18 per megabit, with plenty of megabits to go around.

Faster internet plans are available from Xfinity. Some areas can get speeds up to 2 Gbps, and others can get plans as fast as 6 Gbps. For reference, 6 Mbps is ridiculously fast, and it also comes at a higher price. Most households don’t need 6 Gbps internet speeds unless they’re streaming a ton of 4K content or have several people gaming online at the same time. These fast internet plans do come with unlimited data, though, so it might still be worth it for some households.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
Xfinity's website
or call 1-844-716-2783 to speak with a rep.
See pricing
Clearwave Logo
Performance
5.0
Fast fiber speeds and unlimited data

Clearwave Fiber does better in the performance department. Speeds are fast—up to 1 Gbps—and all the fiber plans offer symmetrical speeds. This means the download and upload speeds are the same.

With something like cable your upload is normally about 10% of your download speed, if that. This helps a lot with live streaming, video calls, and sharing large files like videos.

As for reliability, fiber is generally pretty solid. However, Clearwave is a newer company, so it’s hard to say how well the service will hold up. Here’s what we can say: in some markets, Clearwave has taken over Hargray’s fiber services, which we have found to be somewhat unreliable in the past. Hopefully Clearwave makes improvements for customers going forward.

Available speeds vary by location. Call to speak with a Clearwave Fiber 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.
Xfinity brand
Performance
5.0
Some of the best internet reliability

Xfinity internet performance is excellent. Its speeds are fast and reliable. In fact, in many markets, it has one of the fastest internet speeds around. Xfinity's internet service is reliable and consistent. If outages occur, Xfinity is responsive and generally restores service within hours. Xfinity internet is also highly rated for speed (2), and research from the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) scored it among the top for reliability (3).

Available speeds vary by location. Call 1-844-716-2783 to speak with a Xfinity rep or
go to its website.
Clearwave Logo
Equipment and installation
3.5
No surprises here

Clearwave Fiber offers what it calls the Clearwave Fiber Router. Combined with a whole-home Wi-Fi system and a smartphone app, customers are promised wall-to-wall coverage and a slew of features to help make the experience better. These include individual profiles for people and rooms, bandwidth tests, guest networks, and parental controls. That’s a pretty solid package for $10 per month.

Installation is the typical fiber deal—you’ll need a tech to come out and install the Optical Network Terminal (ONT), which is basically the modem for your fiber network. After that, you can either use Clearwave’s router or bring your own. There’s a $99 installation fee, which is pretty standard.

Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
Clearwave Fiber 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
Xfinity brand
Equipment and installation
4.0
DIY or professional install and Wi-Fi equipment

Xfinity internet offers the choice of professional and self-installation. The professional option is often more affordable than competitors, at $100. It's required if you haven't had Xfinity service at the address for more than 12 months. The self-install kit is free, but you may pay for shipping and handling. If you have trouble installing yourself, you can contact customer service for help, but beware that you may face long hold times.

As for equipment, the Xfinity xFi gateway is fairly typical (and costs a fairly typical $14 per month). You can add a Wi-Fi extender (and unlimited data) if you bump up to xFi Complete for about $15 per month for the first two years (and $25 per month starting in year 3). This is a bit steep for just the extender—you can grab an excellent Wi-Fi extender for right around $50. However, using Xfinity's equipment gives you unlimited data, and you qualify for a free upgrade after three years.

Read more about how internet bills work.

If you use your own equipment, unlimited data costs an extra $30 per month for lower tier plans, but is included for plans of at least 1 Gbps.

Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
Xfinity plans
available in your area.
View plans
Clearwave Logo
Customer experience
3.5
Quick and helpful service

Since Clearwave is fairly new, the customer experience is a bit of a question mark. We’ve not seen a ton of user comments about the provider, but the few we have seen have been generally positive, citing good reliability, lack of data caps, and local customer support. This includes both former Hargray customers as well as new Clearwave customers.

Unknown block type "socialEmbedList", specify a component for it in the `components.types` prop

Additionally, while the company’s website lacks self-help options, we chatted with customer service reps several times and were able to consistently get a response within a minute or two. The reps were direct, helpful, and friendly, and we appreciated the speed of the responses.

Visit Clearwave Fiber's website
or call 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
Xfinity brand
Customer experience
4.0
Rapidly improving customer service scores

The Xfinity internet customer experience is a mixed bag. On the one hand, you have reliable service, with the option for unlimited data if you want it. This makes for a great day-to-day experience with Xfinity.

On the other hand, Xfinity internet has a spotty customer service track record. It ranks above average on customer surveys (4). While customer service seems to be above average, not everyone has a great experience, and we've seen some complaints about billing issues and miscommunication between the company and their technicians.

If you need to connect with the company, we recommend using its customer service portal and downloading the Xfinity app first before trying to reach reps by phone.

Visit Xfinity's website
or call 1-844-716-2783 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
city map lines pattern
Made up your mind?
Find out what providers are available near you.
Clearwave Fiber
0.0
(0)
5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
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
Xfinity
4.1
(479)
5 Star
41%
4 Star
41%
3 Star
14%
2 Star
2%
1 Star
2%
R
Ronfrom Red Bank, NJ
Xfinity Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
The service offered and the connection and the costs all meet my desires
R
Rebeccafrom Olathe, KS
Xfinity Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
Xfinity has been a great service provider. Fast speeds and good customer service. I like the flexibility of different programs available. I also like the cost. It is pretty compareable and a manageable month payment.
D
Davidfrom Aurora, CO
Xfinity Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
I think I pay too much, especially when I hear the offers to potential new customers. No attention is given to reducing the cost for us loyal customers. Phoning Customer Service is a nightmare I will avoid sat all costs. Reliability is good, speeds questionable at times, Flex is a great product.
D
Darrylfrom Monroe, GA
Xfinity Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
It is very fast and reliable. It always has a good signal. They do not need to improve.
city map lines pattern
Providers near you
See all options in your area within seconds.
Endnotes and sources
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.
Endnotes and sources
As an Amazon Associate, Switchful.com may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.
1. "2022 Urban Rate Survey," FCC. Retrieved Dec. 7, 2022.2. "Speed Test Global Index," SpeedTest.net. Accessed 19 October, 2022.3. "Measuring Broadband America," Federal Communications Commission. Accessed 19 October 2022 4. "Internet Service Providers," American Customer Satisfaction Index. Accessed 19 October 2022.