In less than a decade, Spectrum by Charter Communications has earned its position among the top 5 internet service providers in the USA. Spectrum was launched in 2014 to exclusively serve Charter Communications’ residential customers and offer services like cable TV, internet, home phone, and mobile phone connections. Spectrum’s 41-state footprint spans from the east to the west coast and its gigabit-speed broadband service is available in most metropolitan areas across the country. 

Despite its rapid growth and success in just eight years since its inception, Spectrum has received its fair share of criticism for spotty internet speeds, unexpected bill hikes, and poor customer service. In this blog post, we will dive deep to understand why is Spectrum Internet so bad and whether this flak is justified or just another ‘haters gonna hate’- netizen rant.

Spectrum Sucks! – Is Spectrum Internet Bad?

Vague statements and questions, such as “Why is Spectrum Internet so bad?” or “Spectrum Sucks” can often mislead potential customers and create misconceptions about the service provider. Our job here is to debunk the myth that Spectrum internet service is the worst in the USA. If truth be told, even the best internet providers in the USA are prone to criticism mainly because of the gradually developing internet landscape within the country.

Currently, only 43 percent of the country has access to fiber internet services. And while there are around 1,610 fully-fiber optic internet service providers in the USA, they face insurmountable challenges in providing multi-gigabit speeds in their coverage areas. Lack of fiber-optic network compromises internet speeds, and as DSL cables can carry a maximum bandwidth of 100 Mbps, users find themselves dealing with frustratingly slow download and upload speeds. In other words, we can say that internet service providers cannot keep up with the growing demand for ultrafast internet speeds as more segments of our lives become dependent on the online medium.

Spectrum Internet users have bashed the carrier for slow upload speeds and speed reduction while using Wi-Fi. Many subscribers also took to online forums to complain about sudden hikes in their monthly internet bills. So, why is Spectrum Internet so bad and what can be done on your end to remedy this grievance?

Why is Spectrum Internet So Slow?

First, you must understand that Spectrum’s download speeds remain consistent throughout its coverage map. Let’s say that you have subscribed to the Spectrum Internet Ultra plan for 500 Mbps internet speed for $69.99 per month. You will receive that speed regardless of your location within the country. You can conduct a quick speed test to confirm this. Use an Ethernet cable and directly connect your device to the Spectrum internet modem. Now run a speed test using websites like Ookla and SpeedTest.Net to verify your internet speed.

Before taking the speed test, please ensure that you have closed all the other tabs on your web browser and you don’t have any other software/ activities running in the background.

The website should give you individual results for the download and upload speeds of your internet connection. If your internet speed is less than what you are paying for, you can report the matter to Spectrum 24/7 customer service. But most probably you will notice that the download speed is either 300 Mbps, 500 Mbps, or 940 Mbps. However, your upload speed may be slower than 30 Mbps.

How to Fix the Upload Speed of Spectrum Internet?

Upload speed is the speed at which your device sends information back to your internet service provider. It is also known as the internet upstream or using the upstream channel for activities like file uploads/ transfers, playing an online multiplayer game, or video conferencing.

Users will usually experience slow upload speeds if:

  • The modem and routers are outdated.
  • They are running too many programs and tasks in the background on the device.
  • There is congestion on the network, and high traffic (too many users are trying to use the upstream channel at the same time)
  • Their device is infected by malware
  • They are using a VPN
  • The upload bandwidth is limited

How to Increase Upload Speed of Spectrum Internet?

You can optimize the upload speed of your Spectrum Internet by 

1) Restarting Your Router – Sometimes the solution can be as simple as restarting your router. Unfinished installations and system settings can affect the performance of your Wi-Fi router. To ensure that there is a backlog on your outbound data, switch off your router for at least 10 seconds before switching it on again. You can also try to set your router to default settings because sometimes system updates can hamper the upload speed of our internet.

2) Updating to the Latest Hardware – Your internet speed might be compromised because your hardware (modem and router) is not compatible with Spectrum internet. To get gigabit speeds of Spectrum internet, you need modems and routers with DOCSIS 3.1 technology. If your current modem and router are running on DOCSIS 3.0 or older versions, you will experience speed reductions as the older technology is not capable of supporting such high bandwidths. Purchasing the latest Spectrum-approved modem and router could cost you more than $500 but the good thing is that when you sign up for the Spectrum Internet plan, you get a free modem and an Advanced Home Wi-Fi system for a small monthly fee of $5. 

3) Using Ethernet Cord – Connecting your device directly to the internet modem or router can immediately increase the upload speed of your Spectrum internet. Imagine that you have a bucket filled with water. You have to distribute the same amount of water equally into multiple glasses. Every person drinking water from the glass will only be drinking a small portion of water instead of the whole bucket. It is the same case with internet speeds. The internet modem is the bucket and will be receiving maximum download and upload speeds. In contrast, every Wi-Fi router and device connected to the network is a glass and will receive just a portion of the internet speed. For faster upload speeds, the number of routers and devices connected to the network should be as less as possible.

4) Closing Background Applications – Applications and programs that are running in the background consume a lot of power and bog down your internet speed. If you have opened several tabs on your internet browser and are simultaneously working on three or more applications e.g. WhatsApp for Web, Skype, MS. Office Outlook, and Chrome then you will experience speed reductions. Your messages will get delivered a lot slower, your email attachment will take longer to upload, and each website’s loading time will increase by two folds. To solve this problem, you can start by prioritizing and working on one application at a time. Close all the other applications that are using the internet and now try to either send a message, upload an attachment or load a website.

5) Switching Off VPN – Virtual Private Network (VPN) slows down your upload speed because the internet traffic goes through the VPN server instead of directly going to the internet service provider. This additional step in the process decreases the upload speed. You should keep your VPN switched off when it is not needed to avoid increased upload times and high latency. You should also check for other extensions and plug-ins on your browser that might be slowing down your internet speed, such as ad-blockers and Grammarly.

6) Upgrading your Plan – The last resort is to upgrade your Spectrum internet plan. If you are subscribed to the Spectrum internet plan with a maximum download speed of up to 300 Mbps then you will only get a maximum upload speed of 10 Mbps. It is an industry-specific rule that the upload speeds are three times less than the download speeds because most of the traffic is on the downstream channel and therefore, data downloads are allotted higher bandwidths. As you upgrade your monthly internet plan you get faster download and upload speeds. With the Spectrum Internet Gig plan, you will get an upload speed of up to 35 Mbps which should be sufficient for live streaming games, uploading HD-quality videos to YouTube, and attending glitch-free Zoom calls. 

Why is Spectrum Wi-Fi So Bad?

Many of us have blamed the Spectrum internet service when suddenly, in the middle of an urgent online task, our Wi-Fi bars disappeared, and we received the most annoying message on our computer screens, “Internet Connection Lost.” Yes. Sometimes, Spectrum is to be blamed for a temporary glitch in the service, but often the problem is from our end.

Some of the most common reasons for the slow Wi-Fi performance and connectivity issues are as follows:

1) Age and Compatibility of Your Router – Your Wi-Fi router must be up to date and compatible with the internet plan. All the latest Spectrum-approved routers operate on the DOCSIS 3.1 technology that can withstand high bandwidths and deliver multi-gigabit speeds. Using old routers, especially those that are not Spectrum-approved, will result in speed reductions and you will end up paying more for slower speeds. You must also check the settings of your Wi-Fi router because sometimes being on the wrong channel, inbuilt encryptions and security settings can reduce your bandwidth.

To enhance the performance of your Wi-Fi router, switch to Spectrum Advanced Home Wi-Fi system and optimize your internet speeds by installing Wi-Fi pods throughout your home.

2) Old or Faulty Wiring – Old and damaged wires or cables can also be a reason for slow Wi-Fi performance. A close inspection of all the wires going in and out of the Wi-Fi router should give you a clear idea of whether wire damage is the reason for your slow internet. Router wires frequently get damaged in homes that have children and pets so, you must make sure that the wires are hidden and kept out of reach from your young ones and furry friends. Once you replace the old and faulty wires with new ones you will notice an instant boost in your internet speed.

3) The Device is Out of Range – Spectrum users who live in big and multiple-story homes often face problems with their Wi-Fi speeds because quite often their device is not in the range of the Wi-Fi network. Walls and furniture are known to obstruct Wi-Fi signals and can have an adverse effect on internet speed. To ensure that your device is in the range of Spectrum Wi-Fi network, place the router in a central location at home. Also, keep your Wi-Fi router in an open space so that nothing is blocking the signals. You can use Wi-Fi extenders if your bedroom is far from the Wi-Fi router to get maximum speeds

4) Other Devices are Speed Stealing – Other users such as your neighbors might be speed stealing your Wi-Fi network without your knowledge. Not having a strong Wi-Fi password and device security can put you at risk of theft. Unwanted devices can be connected to your network, lower your internet speeds and make you pay for someone else’s internet usage. Spectrum’s Advanced Home Wi-Fi allows you to control and monitor all the devices that are connected to your network. You also get the option to manually log out the devices that do not belong to your household and permanently block them from your Wi-Fi network.

5) Too Much Traffic on the Network – Maybe the problem isn’t you, nor Spectrum. Maybe the real problem is millions of internet users using a limited amount of servers and causing traffic congestion. If spectrum is the sole internet provider in your area, chances are that you will experience slower speeds on your Wi-Fi network. This is because everyone is using the same Wi-Fi channel and during peak hours, it can create a Wi-Fi channel overlap. Network crowding is a common occurrence in apartments and communities where several Spectrum users reside and the only way around it is to do the heavy lifting (online tasks that require a stable and fast internet connection) during off-peak hours.

Why are Spectrum Internet Bills So High?

Many Spectrum internet users either misunderstand the Spectrum billing cycle or are unaware of the applicable taxes, surcharges, and price hikes after the first 12 months of service. New Spectrum Internet users get discounts on their monthly internet fee for a promo period of one year. After 12 months, the subscribers pay 15 to 18 percent higher than the first-year promo rates. Hence, users will notice a price hike of between $8 and $15 in the second year’s billing cycle.

Spectrum Internet subscribers are required to pay federal and state taxes in addition to their monthly internet fees.  For example, Spectrum Internet, TV, and Home Phone subscribers are charged $9.08 in taxes for their cable TV and phone service. You must pay additional surcharges of around $11.55 for receiving sports programming from Channels such as ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. Spectrum also imposes a rental equipment fee of $11.75 on its HD Set-Top Box for cable TV.

Your Spectrum Internet bill will occasionally include fees such as:

  • Franchise Fee: $5.67
  • PEG Capital Fee: $1.78
  • Regulatory Cost Recovery Fee: $0.08

Please note that the government taxes and surcharges will vary from state to state and so will the monthly cost of your Spectrum internet service.

Final Verdict

Debasish Mridha, an American philosopher, once said “No matter what you do and how you do it, you will always be criticized. Do it anyway.”

Spectrum sucks…No. It doesn’t. Spectrum is trying to offer the best service with bundles at prices that are at least $20 less than its competitors. After AT&T and Verizon, Spectrum is the third biggest internet provider in the USA in terms of its 41-state-wide coverage area. Like, the country’s other top-notch internet carriers, Spectrum Internet’s capability to provide high-speed broadband service all over the country is limited by poor infrastructure. Most often, when users complain about slow internet speeds, the problem is on their end. We hope that with this detailed blog on ‘why is Spectrum Internet so bad in 2022′, you will now see that it is not always Spectrum’s fault, and with some easy, quick fixes, you can improve the speed of your Spectrum internet.