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.
Kinetic by Windstream aims to bring better internet to rural and remote areas. While it offers one of the best values in internet service anywhere, it’s hampered by a mediocre customer experience.
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!
Windstream’s Kinetic internet service offers a surprisingly strong value. Prices are competitive—in fact, the 1 gig plan ties Google Fiber as the most affordable option we’ve seen for gigabit download speed. They both cost just over 50% of the national benchmark for similar plans (1).
The advertised prices are for a 12-month introductory period and will increase in the range of about $15 after the first year. This practice of second-year price hikes used to be the norm, but the best fiber internet providers we review have abandoned the practice.
Overall, Windstream represents one of the best values in home internet if you can get fiber. It's also a good deal if you can get only DSL, but your speeds will be much slower.
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.
Kinetic by Windstream is a fiber and DSL internet service. Normally, that would mean two sides to the performance story—excellent speed, reliability, and consistency with fiber, and then DSL. That’s technically true of Windstream, but there’s a big “but” to consider.
The “but” is that Windstream is primarily targeted at rural areas, where other internet options may be limited to satellite or even dial-up (yes, that’s still a thing). In these markets, the Kinetic service can actually be a breath of fresh air—including its DSL. Plus, there are no data caps to worry about, which is a major limitation with satellite. Finally, the fiber performance is excellent, with speeds up to 2 gigs.
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.
Windstream charges a pretty standard $10–$12 per month for equipment rental if you are in its fiber service area. This gets you a very usable wireless gateway.
If you are in a DSL area, you'll be charged a $10 monthly modem fee but will also need a router. You can technically bring your own equipment, but Windstream officially supports a very limited number of modems, so it might be easier just to rent one.
The Windstream professional installation fee seems very reasonable at first—just $35 (or free, with some promotions). However, there’s a $50 activation fee on your first bill that brings it more in line with other providers. If you need a phone jack installed, you’ll be charged another $65 on top of the other fees. Ouch.
You can install your DSL connection for free if you're home is already wired correctly, and online instructions make it a breeze.
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.
The customer experience with Windstream leaves something to be desired. The provider ranks low in independent industry benchmarks like the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) (2), with a score of 62 out of 100. This is slightly below the industry average of 64.
Customer reviews of Windstream are generally mixed, with some pointing out that since they are often the only decent choice in an area, they try to get away with the bare minimum customer service. Customers also complain about frequent outages that sometimes last for days (3). That said, if your only other option is satellite internet (with its high prices and higher latency), it may be worth dealing with less-than-stellar customer service.