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Is $50 a good price for internet service?

$49.99 has become a popular base price for internet service, with major cable providers like Spectrum and Cox phasing out introductory prices below $50 in most regions.

$49.99 ($50) is a reasonable rate for internet service, assuming it’s a final price with no extra line items. However, the $49.99 rate offered by cable providers is generally a first-year discount for new customers — meaning that the price increases over time.

The long-term cost of home Wi-Fi is $16.67 per month higher on average across the top three US cable companies. Xfinity and Cox are the only major cable company that currently offer non-discounted plans at $50 per month. Spectrum offers $49.99 to new customers, but ultimate raises the rate to $69.99 once coupons expire.

Can I get internet for less than $50?

Getting internet at a non-discounted rate below $50 is possible if you qualify for a government program like the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), or if you live in an area serviced by a local alternative to the big cable companies.

The market survey below shows how base pricing compares across the top cable and fiber internet providers. Fiber service is offered at a higher price point of $71/month average. The price difference is only $14 per month when removing new customer discount rates.

Internet base rates: market summary

ProviderBase priceBase speed
Spectrum$49.99200 Mbps
Cox$50.0050 Mbps
Xfinity$19.99300 Mbps
AT&T Fiber$55300 Mbps
Google Fiber$701000 Mbps
Ting Fiber$891000 Mbps

What internet speed should I get for $50?

The speed offered for $50 ranges dramatically based on local market conditions, with a normal range between 50 Mbps (Cox) and 300 Mbps (Xfinity). Removing the impact of new customer discounts, the range is less favorable; 50 Mbps is the maximum offered over the long term, since Spectrum pricing after 12 months increases by $20 on most plans.

In Los Angeles, for example, Spectrum’s only major competition is from AT&T Fiber. Since AT&T is priced at $55 and only services about a third of the city, the majority of residents are stuck with whatever Spectrum offers; which in this case is a $69.99 per month long-term price for 200 Mbps download speed.

Provider$50 offersSpeed offered
Xfinity$49.99300 Mbps
Spectrum$49.99200 Mbps
Cox$5050 Mbps

Cable pricing: discount lengths

ProviderBase price (discounted)Base speedFinal price
Spectrum$49.99200 Mbps$69.99
Cox$50.0050 Mbps$50

The final prices of each major $50 cable internet offer on the market is subject to change over time. This is most notable for Spectrum and Xfinity’s new customer rates; both of which increase by $20 in years 2–3 of service.

  • Xfinity: $20 bill increase after year 1
  • Spectrum: $20 bill increase after year 1
  • Cox: No bill increase after year 1

Fiber vs cable base plan costs

The biggest difference between fiber and cable providers is that fiber is priced as a premium product, while cable is priced for budget shoppers.

This difference is noticeable in the fine print; cable companies will almost always offer a “new customer rate” that’s discounted between $5–20 per month for the first year.

Fiber providers rely on the network quality and speeds to lure customers, resulting in pricing between $55–89 per month with no discounts or “special rates.”

Over the long term, the cost difference between cable and fiber is minimal; just $14 per month, and that’s before factoring in added costs like router rentals and TV services.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is $50 a reasonable cost for internet?

$50 is a reasonable cost assuming speeds of at least 200 Mbps download. It's a normal speed for cable companies like Spectrum and Cox, both of whom have dropped cheaper plans in most areas. Fiber providers offer higher speeds, but typically charge closer to $80 per month for the premium service.

What is a normal price for Wi-Fi?

Basic cable internet provides home Wi-Fi for an average of $39.99 per month across the three largest cable providers. However, Xfinity is the outlier in offering plans below $49.99 ($50) on the first-year discount. Cox quietly ended cheaper plans in most of their service areas in 2022.


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Page Summary
  • $50 per month is a standard base rate for most major internet providers including Spectrum, Cox, and Xfinity.
  • Additional costs like router fees drive the final bill up an additional $5–14 per month for most customers.
  • The average rate across the six largest cable and fiber internet providers is $57 for cable internet and $71 for fiber internet.

Author
Jameson Zimmer
Broadband Market Analyst
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Last Update: July 23, 2022
Published: July 23, 2022
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