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Spectrum VS AT&T Internet In Los Angeles

The choice between Charter Spectrum internet and AT&T internet is extremely common in the Los Angeles area, thanks to extensive network overlap in Southern California. They are the only wired internet options for more than 85% of homes in Los Angeles County.

AT&T Fiber offers faster speeds and clearer pricing, while Spectrum offers the lowest starting price and better TV bundle options. We typically suggest AT&T Fiber for internet-only customers and Spectrum for TV bundle buyers.

View Spectrum Plans → View AT&T Internet Plans →

Brand Service type Speed range Price range
Spectrum Cable 300–1,000 Mbps $49.99–119.99/mo.
AT&T DSL, Fiber 5–5,000 Mbps $55–250/mo.

Fees and fine print Compare plans

In this article, we’ve broken down the differences between Spectrum and AT&T’s Los Angeles County networks so that you can make an informed decision.

Pricing is the primary difference for most users, and Spectrum caters heavily to price shoppers. This is particularly the case for those who qualify for Spectrum’s income-based subsidy plans.

AT&T has a lead on speed, but our testing suggests that only “power users” (home offices, large families) will notice the difference.

Spectrum vs AT&T Internet Basic Features

FeatureCharter SpectrumAT&T Internet
Starting price$49.99/mo. sign-up price$55/mo. flat rate
Download speed range300–1,000 Mbps5–5,000 Mbps
Upload speed range10–35 Mbps1–5,000 Mbps
Network typeCableDSL, Fiber
Contract termsContract-freeContract-free

Spectrum vs AT&T Internet-Only Plan Comparison

Most Common Plan Internet speed Sign-up price Final price Avg price over 2 yrs
Provider logo. Spectrum Internet (Spectrum) 100 Mbps $49.99/mo. $79.99/mo. $65/mo.
Provider logo. Fiber Internet 300 (AT&T) 300 Mbps $55/mo. $55/mo. $55/mo.

The price of the Spectrum Spectrum Internet internet plan is $49.99/month for the first Contract-Free. However, the price then rises 60% to a final price of $79.99.

So, that means the price you actually pay for internet, averaged over two years, is $65/month.

AT&T, meanwhile, uses flat-rate pricing for their entry-level Fiber Internet 300 plan. The $55 monthly cost does not rise over time.

Here’s what that looks like over two years of service:

As you can see, the pricing is essentially the same over two years of service. The longer you stay as a customer, the cheaper it gets to go with AT&T Fiber.

Spectrum vs AT&T Pricing and Fees in Los Angeles

See the chart and table below for a summary of pricing over time for Spectrum and AT&T base tier plans.

WiFi equipment fee~$7/mo.~$0/mo.
Price increasesBill increases after promo periodFlat rate
Early Termination FeeFree cancellationFree cancellation

Note that fee amounts described above may vary by plan. See the plan comparison tables for Spectrum and AT&T below for more information.

As mentioned above, Wi-Fi fees are another key pricing difference to account for. Spectrum charges a $7 per month fee for leasing a router with service.

Spectrum vs AT&T Data Usage Policies

Many internet providers in California use data caps to manage their network, meaning that if you use more than a certain amount of data, you will be charged extra on top of your monthly bill.

Charter Spectrum Data Caps Provider logo.

Spectrum offers internet plans with unlimited data

AT&T Internet Data Caps Provider logo.

AT&T offers internet plans with unlimited data

Thankfully, data caps are not a major issue in the Los Angeles metro area; at least, not yet.

Spectrum’s historically had an agreement with the FCC against the use of data caps. However, that agreement is set to expire by 2024. It’s not yet clear if Spectrum will add caps (as Xfinity does) or continue offering unlimited packages.

Spectrum vs AT&T Internet Plans Overview

Plans and pricing shown below are based on 2024 plan data collected within Los Angeles County.

Spectrum Internet Plans

Plan NameDownload SpeedFinal Price
Spectrum Internet100 Mbps$79.99
Spectrum Internet Ultra400 Mbps$99.99
Spectrum Internet GIG1000 Mbps$119.99

AT&T Fiber and IPBB Internet Plans

Plan NameDownload SpeedPromo PriceFinal Price
Internet 2525 Mbps$55/mo$65
Fiber Internet 300300 Mbps$55/mo$55
Fiber Internet 500500 Mbps$65/mo$65
Fiber Internet 10001000 Mbps$80/mo$80
Fiber Internet 20002000 Mbps$125/mo$150
Fiber Internet 50005000 Mbps$225/mo$250

Plan and Provider Recomendations

300 Mbps is the minimum speed for both Spectrum and AT&T in the LA area; this speed is more than enough for most homes, with enough bandwidth to support normal use for up to four people

The only plan that doesn’t meet this benchmark between them is AT&T’s IPBB basic plan. Homes that don’t yet have AT&T Fiber are generally limited to Spectrum if they want speeds of 300 Mbps or above.

AT&T vs Spectrum internet service.
In terms of maximizing speed, the choice between Spectrum and AT&T in LA County is largely a question of whether AT&T Fiber has reached your building yet.

Overall value comparison

So, do you actually get what you pay for? We’ve already seen that there are differing download speeds between providers:

  • Spectrum offers up to 1,000 Mbps download and 35 upload.
  • AT&T Fiber offers up to 5,000 Mbps (5 Gbps) download and matched upload.

FCC reports claim that many internet providers, including AT&T and Spectrum, actually provide over 100% of the advertised speed. That is, you get even more bandwidth that you pay for. However, Wi-Fi degredation typically results in speed tests between 15–40% below the speed tier selected. 1

Independent review by sources like the Wall Street Journal have demonstrated that the service providers have an advantage in these rankings and can pick and choose the data that the FCC uses to base its conclusions on. In short, the FCC’s data is not independent, and you can’t entirely rely on it.

However, it’s fair to say that both Spectrum and AT&T have made major network upgrades around LA in recent years, and it’s one of the better areas to subscribe to either service. This is especially true for AT&T, who has invested heavily in fiber buildouts post-Covid.

Spectrum vs AT&T Net Neutrality Policies

Charter Spectrum Net Neutrality Stance

Charter Communications has public statements supporting open networks, but in practice has been applying to remove network management requirements imposed by the FCC during their merger with Time Warner Cable.

Spectrum Net Neutrality statement
AT&T Internet Net Neutrality Stance

AT&T has a statement of support for Net Neutrality on their policy website, but has remained quiet on the topic of future paid prioritization for certain services.

AT&T Net Neutrality statement

Spectrum vs AT&T Customer Service Ratings

Let’s be fair and agree that neither Spectrum nor AT&T will be winning any industry customer service awards any time soon.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index gave AT&T 69/100 for the most recent year, and Spectrum scored 63/100. When it comes to ACSI scores, that’s basically a tie. 2

We’re also going to note that getting through to either of these providers on the phone is famously difficult. So difficult, in fact, that companies like Earthlink have been able to build entire businesses by leasing AT&T lines and offering the exact same speeds with slightly better pricing and customer serivce.

Conclusion: Spectrum or AT&T for LA Residents?

Between AT&T Internet, AT&T Fiber, and Spectrum internet, we typically recommend them in this order:

  1. AT&T Fiber: Best speed and long-term value
  2. Spectrum: Best price and TV options

This would be an easy choice if AT&T Fiber were available everywhere. AT&T Fiber is cheaper in the long term, their bundles are a better value, and they offer ever so slightly better customer service than Spectrum.

But, for practical purposes Spectrum is the most likely top choice because AT&T Fiber is only available in a few limited areas for the moment. Compared to AT&T's non-fiber service area, Spectrum is faster and there’s no data cap.

Page Summary
  • AT&T Fiber is the best option for home offices and cord cutters in California. However, it has limited availability (about 1 in 3 households has access in 2024).
  • Spectrum is the the best mix of price and value compared to AT&T. Their 300–500 Mbps basic plans are more than enough for most homes.
  • AT&T Internet should be considered a backup for most users. Outside fiber service areas, AT&T Internet is slower than Spectrum and costs $15–25 more money in the first year.

Jameson Zimmer
Broadband Market Analyst
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Last Update: January 28, 2024
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