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Mediacom vs. Starry Internet plan comparison


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Headshot of Brittany McGhee
Researched by
Headshot of Bri Field
Reviewed by
Bri FieldAssigning Editor
Updated 4/4/23

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Xtream by Mediacom brand
Staff rating
3.3
Customer rating
3.3
(18)

  • Plans starting at $24.99
  • Download speeds up to 1000 Mbps
Starry
Staff rating
3.6
Customer rating
4.0
(1)

  • Plans starting at $15.00
  • Download speeds up to 1000 Mbps
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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
Starry
Staff rating
3.6

Fast fixed wireless internet for city dwellers who want to save

Starry provides no-contract fixed wireless internet in just a handful of cities. Its cheap plans, free equipment, and high speeds make it a solid alternative to cable and fiber. Unfortunately, the company's financial instability makes it a poor choice for anyone with other options.

What we like

  • Simple pricing and good value
  • No contracts or data caps
  • Free equipment and installation
What we dislike

  • Slower upload speeds than fiber
  • Weather impact on reliability
  • Unstable company finances
Savings tip: Starry 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
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
Starry
Value
4.0
Starry's plans can compete with cable and fiber

Starry’s fixed wireless plans are straightforward and attractive. There are no contracts or data caps. Equipment and installation are provided for free. Prices are subject to change, but there are no price hikes built in since the company doesn’t offer large short-term discounts to new customers like other internet service providers (ISPs) do. It is worth checking for ongoing promotions before you sign up. Starry sometimes offers deals on its plans, like 200 Mbps for $30 per month, which is an even better value than usual.

The Starry Plus plan has 200 Mbps download speeds, which gives you more than enough speed for working from home, streaming, and browsing the web on multiple devices. Starry’s prices and upload speeds tend to beat cable plans with comparable download speeds. At gigabit download speed with Starry, you get half the upload speed of comparable fiber plans, but it’s still more than enough for most people and often cheaper.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
Starry's website
or call 1-888-231-9403 to speak with a rep.
See pricing
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.
Starry
Performance
4.0
Fast fixed wireless that lives up to its promises

Starry offers fixed wireless internet service with performance that rivals most other connection types available in the urban areas it serves. Fixed wireless is, of course, wireless. But unlike mobile internet, which allows you to access the internet wirelessly with your phone anywhere, it works by beaming the internet connection directly to equipment mounted on top of your building. Starry sets itself apart from other fixed wireless providers because it takes advantage of high-frequency spectrum, which allows it to achieve up to gigabit speeds.

Actual speeds vary based on several factors, like how many devices are being used on your network and which apps you’re using. In Q3 of 2022, Starry reported its customers had an average download speed of 196 Mbps, upload speed of 104 Mbps, and latency of 20.3 ms. (1) Speeds have slowed a little over time, but only by a matter of milliseconds.

While it’s not as good as fiber, this is more than adequate for streaming, gaming, video chats, and other intense use on multiple devices simultaneously. Since Starry’s internet service uses fixed wireless rather than a wired connection, weather can affect signal range and reliability. Some users have reported slowdowns and outages due to rain and snow. (2)

Available speeds vary by location. Call 1-888-231-9403 to speak with a Starry rep or
go to its website.
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.

As an Amazon Associate, Switchful.com may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
Mediacom plans
available in your area.
View plans
Starry
Equipment and installation
4.0
Free router and professional installation

All Starry internet customers get free professional installation and are provided with equipment to use at no cost while their service is active. The included ZyXEL router is functional and easy to use, but the company doesn't publicize whether you can use your own instead. Either way, there's no extra equipment cost.

Installation appointments have 30-minute arrival windows, which is respectful of customers’ time. The installation process takes 1–2 hours. The installer will activate the service, make sure it works in every room, and set up your router and devices. There is no self-installation option.

Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
Starry plans
available in your area.
View plans
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
Starry
Customer experience
2.5
Impressive customer service, at least for now

Starry has a great reputation for customer service, but has recently been in the news for mass layoffs and even pulling out of one of its newest service areas—Columbus, Ohio. (3)

If you can still get Starry, you'll benefit from a 30-day satisfaction guarantee and no contracts. Starry will refund you for service interruptions that last longer than 24 hours if you request the credit within 30 days, unless the outage is because of scheduled maintenance, power outage, weather, or something else beyond the company’s control.

Customer service is impressively responsive. Support is offered by phone, email, and social media. The website offers plenty of help articles, and the app has a chatbot that can inform you of outages at your address. Starry reports it has a Net Promoter Score of 69 (excellent) while other broadband providers have an average of 0 (neutral), meaning customer satisfaction with the brand is unusually high. (4)

Visit Starry's website
or call 1-888-231-9403 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
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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
Starry
4.0
(1)
5 Star
0%
4 Star
100%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
A
Annfrom Poteau, OK
Starry Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
They are Always quick to help With any problem. Customer service workers are polite and well educated. Service has never failed me when I needed it the most.
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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.
Endnotes and sources
(1) “We Support Net Neutrality,” Starry Internet. Accessed 19 December 2022.(2) “Starry Internet,” Reddit. Accessed 19 July 2022.(3) "Starry internet shutting down Columbus operations," The Columbus Dispatch. Accessed 9 February 2023.(3) “Form 10-K,” United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Accessed 8 July 2022.As an Amazon Associate, Switchful.com may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.
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