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EarthLink vs. Mediacom Internet plan comparison


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Researched by
Dave SchaferContributing Writer
Headshot of Kathryn Casna
Headshot of Bri Field
Reviewed by
Updated 6/18/24

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EarthLink brand
Staff rating
4.0
Customer rating
4.2
(5)

  • Plans starting at $59.95
  • Download speeds up to 100 Mbps
Xtream by Mediacom brand
Staff rating
3.3
Customer rating
3.3
(18)

  • Plans starting at $24.99
  • Download speeds up to 1000 Mbps
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EarthLink brand
Staff rating
4.0

Earthlink offers amazing customer experience at slightly more cost

If you're willing to pay a little bit more for an exceptional customer experience, EarthLink may be the right choice for your Internet service. EarthLink is an interesting Internet provider. Instead of serving internet through its own infrastructure, it partners with other internet providers to repackage their service, acting as a go-between. This means slightly higher prices, but EarthLink's superior customer experience delivers true value and peace of mind.

What we like

  • Wide availability
  • Amazing customer service
  • No price hikes
What we dislike

  • Premium prices
  • Plans vary greatly by area
Savings tip: EarthLink often has sign-up promotions for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
Xtream by Mediacom brand
Staff rating
3.3

Reliable, fast internet, but watch for fees

Mediacom offers a decent overall experience, with fast speeds and modern Wi-Fi gear. However, big rate hikes, a hefty installation cost, and lots of small fees bring the rating down.

What we like

  • Nice selection of plans
  • Very low initial prices
  • Solid availability
What we dislike

  • Contract required
  • Regular price increases
  • No unlimited data option
Savings tip: Mediacom often has sign-up promotions for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
EarthLink brand
Value
5.0
High value and superior customer experience

You often get what you pay for, and that's the case with EarthLink. Although EarthLink offers slightly higher pricing, you get value for your dollar, and you may even end up paying less than you would with competitors in the long-run.

There’s no getting around it: EarthLink's face-value prices are almost always higher than the competition. Although, depending on the area you're in, the difference can be as little as a few dollars per month. EarthLink's slightly elevated price tag equates to some of the best customer service from an internet provider.

EarthLink doesn’t actually have its own internet infrastructure. Instead, it partners with other local DSL and fiber internet providers, like AT&T and Frontier, and EarthLink uses their infrastructure. This costs EarthLink money, and some of this naturally gets passed down to customers. In return, you’re promised a superior customer experience.

The other reason that EarthLink may offer slightly higher prices: it skips the introductory promotional pricing most internet service providers advertise. For example, when AT&T or Spectrum quote you a price, it’s often for an introductory period of 12 or 24 months. After that introductory period, the price may increase (sometimes dramatically). EarthLink doesn’t do this, which is a plus in our book. It means that EarthLink pricing is straightforward, without any hidden fees, complicated pricing structures, or gimmicks. This also means EarthLink may end up being slightly less expensive in the long-run if you intend to keep it for a couple of years.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
EarthLink's website
or call 1-833-804-4930 to speak with a rep.
See pricing
Xtream by Mediacom brand
Value
4.0
Excellent initial value, but heavy price hikes hurt the rating

Rating Mediacom’s value requires a long-term mindset. When you first sign up, the prices are extremely low—possibly the best on the market. Some come in at just 20% of the national benchmark, if you opt for paperless billing and autopay (1). However, each year, your cost gradually increases until it reaches a “standard value” (usually after three years). These prices are less exciting: you’ll end up paying roughly double what you initially signed up for. Depending on the length of your contract term, you may be able to jump ship before the price gets too high, but this might be too much effort for some.

Now, to be fair, many internet service providers (ISPs) do this (with a few notable exceptions, like CenturyLink). Mediacom is also pretty transparent about these price hikes and when you can expect them. However, the low starting prices here make the increases feel worse than they are, and that’s not great.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
Mediacom's website
or call 1-844-716-2788 to speak with a rep.
See pricing
EarthLink brand
Performance
4.0
Solid performance and fast speeds, but depends on area

EarthLink's performance is tough to rate. Because it is essentially reselling other providers’ services, the speed and reliability are highly dependent on which partners it uses in a given area.

That said, performance is generally good, and there are a wide range of high-speed internet plans available in most areas, so you can get exactly how much you need—up to 5 gigs in some places. Much of the service is fiber, which means performance is reliably consistent. Best of all, every plan has unlimited data, so whatever speed you opt for, you can use it without worry.

Available speeds vary by location. Call 1-833-804-4930 to speak with a EarthLink rep or
go to its website.
Xtream by Mediacom brand
Performance
4.0
Solid performance, but no unlimited data is a bummer

We have no major complaints about Mediacom’s performance. There’s a range of plans available (up to 1 Gbps), so you can find something to suit whatever your needs are. We do have a couple of small gripes, though.

First, there are data caps on all internet plans, with no unlimited data option. The lowest-tier package has a cap of just 350 GB, which is pretty harsh, given the average person uses 536 GB per month (2). The middle-tier internet plans have 1.5 and 3 TB limits, and that's better—this should be plenty for most users and is in line with most other providers that have data caps.

The 1 Gbps plan bumps data caps up to 6 TB, which is effectively unlimited for most use cases, although a household streaming in 4K could theoretically max this one out, too. Going over the cap costs $10 per 50 GB, which, again, is in line with other providers charging overage fees.

Available speeds vary by location. Call 1-844-716-2788 to speak with a Mediacom rep or
go to its website.
EarthLink brand
Equipment and Installation
2.5
Reasonably priced equipment, but varies by area

This is another category that’s tough to rate. Since EarthLink partners with other internet service providers (ISPs) to provide service, it doesn’t actually issue its own equipment. Instead, you’ll get equipment from whichever partner EarthLink uses in your area. The good news is that EarthLink does set the fees, and they’re reasonable: $9.95 per month.

It’s a similar story for installation—your service will be installed and set up by a rep from the partner company, not EarthLink itself. The installation fee is $79.95, which isn’t the highest we’ve seen. That said, we’d rather see installation included in the price, particularly since EarthLink’s overall prices tend to be on the high side. Self-install is available only in some service areas.

Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
EarthLink plans
available in your area.
View plans
Xtream by Mediacom brand
Equipment and installation
3.0
Equipment is excellent, but the installation fee is steep

Mediacom offers a home networking combo called Xtream WiFi360pro. It uses a cable modem and eero Pro 6 mesh routers to ensure coverage over your whole house. The cost is $10 per month for a pair of routers, and you can add additional units for $6 each if needed.

Installation is less exciting. A professional installation and an activation fee will cost you around $120 total, and there’s no option to do it yourself. The fees can sometimes be waived with certain promotions—we recommend shopping around for one or asking a sales rep because these are steep.

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Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
Mediacom plans
available in your area.
View plans
EarthLink brand
Customer Experience
4.5
EarthLink provides a surprisingly exceptional customer service.

Customer service is where EarthLink really shines. The company claims to prioritize customer service and experience, and users seem to agree. The company actually ranks first in some user-driven surveys of internet satisfaction, beating out providers like AT&T and Verizon, despite the slightly higher prices.

From a practical standpoint, it seems that EarthLink representatives are friendlier, more helpful, and more knowledgeable than those we’ve dealt with at other companies. However, we've seen reports that in some places, customer service is handled by the end provider instead, resulting in worse customer service.

Visit EarthLink's website
or call 1-833-804-4930 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
Xtream by Mediacom brand
Customer experience
2.5
Lots of fees add up to a so-so experience

The Mediacom customer experience is decent overall. The provider scores a bit below average on customer satisfaction surveys like the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) (3), but overall, the service itself is fine. Speeds are solid and reliable, the Wi-Fi equipment is good, and the prices are competitive (at least initially).

Our biggest knock against Mediacom is the tremendous amount of small fees the company hits you with. In addition to the equipment and installation fees already mentioned, the company charges one-time fees for activation, early termination of your contract, and “Wi-Fi certification” (whatever that means). There’s a fee every time you have a technician come out for service. All these fees add up and can really sour the experience over time.

Visit Mediacom's website
or call 1-844-716-2788 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
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Made up your mind?
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EarthLink
4.2
(5)
5 Star
40%
4 Star
40%
3 Star
20%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
M
Marstonfrom Brooklyn , NY
EarthLink Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 4-4-2023
Earthlink is good internet, but not better than anyone else. I haven't had problems, but I don't expect to have problems.
J
Jerryfrom Elkin, NC
EarthLink Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 3-14-2023
Earthlink has been pretty good for what I use it for. It's a little expensive but not bad
J
J.J.from Dominguez, CA
EarthLink Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 8-29-2022
been an ok provider so far. nothing outstanding, nothing to complain about.
V
Veronica from Macon, GA
EarthLink Customer for Less than a year
Reviewed on: 8-29-2022
Fast internet service, cloud storage
Mediacom
3.2
(18)
5 Star
6%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
22%
2 Star
11%
1 Star
11%
M
Meganfrom Bay Minette , Al
Mediacom Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 6-22-2022
Better options in the area. My area cannot withstand some of the top options that I would happily pay for if it were available in my area.
A
Anjifrom Havana, FL
Mediacom Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 6-22-2022
They charge alot for service not to work all the time. Customer service is awful and no help at all.
V
Veronicafrom Leesburg, GA
Mediacom Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
Lower their price. They are the nay provider
R
Richardfrom Poplar Grove, IL
Mediacom Customer for Less than a year
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
It's too early to tell. We had issues at the beginning, but they seem to be getting better
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Endnotes and sources
Endnotes and sources
1. “2022 Urban Rate Survey – Fixed Broadband Service,” FCC. Accessed 15 December 2022.2. "Broadband Insights Report (OVBI)," OpenVault. Accessed 15 December 2022.3. “Internet Service Providers,” American Customer Satisfaction Index. Accessed 15 December 2022.
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