The 940 Mbps Gig internet plan is the fastest internet-only plan currently offered by Charter Spectrum.
Compared with the standard plan, Spectrum Gig offers about four times as much download bandwidth as their base 100–200 Mbps plan.
The speed comes at a cost. To be specific, Gig will cost you up to $720 over the course of a year on top of the total $600/year for Spectrum standard service.
|Plan Name||Download||Upload||Promo Price*||Final Price|
|Spectrum Internet GIG||940 Mbps||35 Mbps||$109.99/mo||$129.99|
For most customers, this is overkill — expensive overkill. However there are some cases where it makes sense to make the upgrade, which I’ll explain below.
Summary of Recommendations
- Spectrum Gig is worth the upgrade if you have a large cloud-connected smart home, or have five or more household members using the connection for high-definition streaming at once. Smart homes with cloud-connected cameras will benefit most from this plan, thanks to the 35 Mbps upload rate. It's also a good option for home offices, especially if you work with video or image files.
- Spectrum Ultra is the better option for most homes, with a more reasonable monthly price that never goes above $100/month even after the promotional rate ends, even including the WiFi router fee. The biggest issue with lower Spectrum plans is the 10–20 Mbps upload speeds, which are limiting compared to the 35 Mbps offered by Spectrum Gig.
Spectrum Gig Pricing Breakdown
Spectrum Gig charges $60 extra on top of Spectrum’s basic internet rate. This adds up to $720 annually on top of the base ~$600/year cost for Spectrum internet-only.
Initially, that means you’ll be paying $109.99.
However, the $109.99 price only lasts 12 months, since it is a “new customer price.” Once you’ve been subscribed for a full year, they bump the price to a “final” rate of $129.99 per month. That’s a 18% increase.
Here’s a quick rundown of how the promotional and final rates vary between Spectrum Gig, Ultra, and Standard plans:
|Plan Name||Down/Up||Promo/Final Price||Avg price over 2 years||Price increase|
|Spectrum Internet GIG||940/35 Mbps||$109.99/$129.99||$120/mo.||+18%|
|Spectrum Internet Ultra||400/20 Mbps||$69.99/$94.99||$82/mo.||+36%|
|Spectrum Internet||200/10 Mbps||$49.99/$69.99||$60/mo.||+40%|
As you can see, the intro pricing looks much better on the basic plan, but when averaged out, it’s actually much closer to Ultra, with Gig as the outlier with pricing in excess of $100/month.
Here’s how that compares with the Spectrum Ultra plan:
There is a catch though, and that’s that both the Standard and Ultra plans do not include the WiFi router, which is included free with Gig plans.
Therefore, if you don’t upgrade to Gig, you have to either pay a $5/month leasing fee or purchase your own equipment up front.
In either case, this makes the effective cost of both the Standard and Ultra plans higher than it appears on paper, compared with Gig. Purchasing your own router will save you more over time, but it voids the ability to get free Spectrum technical support and requires an up-front investment of $50–100+, depending on what type of router you want.
All this is particularly confusing for some customers, since Spectrum prominently advertises “free modem” when promoting all plans, including the Gig plan. Sure it’s free, but in 2020 nobody exactly expects to not be able to use WiFi. And without the router, the WiFi will not function.
Accounting for the WiFi fee, the overall annual price of non-Gig plans goes up by $60/year. Here’s how the Gig and Ultra plan compare, with the difference in router fee factored in:
Spectrum speed limits for TV plans
Note that Spectrum caps the speed on their TV plans at 200 Mbps. So, if you want to bundle with Spectrum’s sports and TV offerings, you will not be able to take advantage of the Gig plan (or the Ultra plan, for that matter).
Spectrum Gig speed: when is gigabit worth the cost?
Gigabit download speeds really only matter for one type of user: large family homes that need to stream HD or 4K video to multiple widescreen TVs at the same time.
Even then, 4K video only consumers 10–15 Mbps at the maximum, so what you’re really optimizing for is how many devices you can have active at once.
When you consider devices individually, the needs are small. 2 Mbps for a cloud-connected IP camera here, 5 Mbps for some YouTube on the iPad there, a few Kbps for various IoT devices…
As mentioned above, the place Spectrum customers run into more trouble is on upload bandwidth. Since the maximum upload even on the Gig plan is only 35 Mbps, most Gig customers fall into the “home office” category, since these types of users can really benefit from the difference in moving a larger 4GB 1080p video file in about 15 minutes rather than almost an hour.
If the difference in moving large files doesn’t matter to you, and you don’t have more than 15 devices connected to the internet at one time… then it’s not likely the Gig plan makes sense for you and your usage.
Gig and gaming: does it make a difference?
Stadia and other streamed gaming platforms have pretty heavy bandwidth requirements, similar to streaming video files on Netflix. Stadia, for example, requires a 10 Mbps minimum — so, if you’re a gamer who prefers to stream, Gig can be a good choice.
However, speed actually isn’t a major factor for most gamers. When you’re playing a MMG like World of Warcraft or PC gaming with a title you downloaded off Steam, the only factor that really matters is your ping, or latency — which is more or less the same on all Spectrum plans, and is well within the competitive range for real-time gaming.
If you’re struggling with gaming, try prioritizing your device on the network and/or plugging into the router directly with ethernet before you consider upgrading the internet plan. In many cases, this will be enough to solve your issues.
Summary: Gig is too expensive for most users
For the majority of Spectrum users, Gigabit download speeds simply aren’t worth all the extra money when the upload speeds are still stuck at 35 Mbps.
If the upload speeds were symmetrical with download, this plan would be compelling — but even then, fiber internet plans in this speed range often market for well under $100, such as the $70 price norm for Google Fiber or Fios.
But then again, if you’re reading this, it’s likely that Spectrum is your only choice — in which case, the price makes perfect sense.