Fiber is the future, and AT&T are one of the providers doing it best in the US. Their second-tier fiber plan, AT&T Fiber 500, offers more than enough speed for a whole family or a small workplace.
But there’s a lot more to it than just speed. To find out how good AT&T Fiber 500 is, we’ve been doing a lot of research on the contract, the availability, and importantly, the competition.
And with all that in mind, we’re certainly fans. But it’s not going to be the perfect plan for everyone. Stay with us as we reveal our findings, and you’ll be able to make the call on whether AT&T Fiber 500 is the right plan for you.
AT&T Fiber 500 Speed Overview
As the name suggests, AT&T Fiber 500 is a fiber internet plan that comes with a download speed cap of 500 Mbps. But here’s the cool thing: the upload speed is capped at the same speed instead of being one tenth or less of the download speed like a lot of plans are.
AT&T’s Fiber plans are the most readily available in the US right now so you’ve got a better chance of being able to get this plan than one of any of the competition. However, it very much depends on where you live.
In terms of value, it’s not the cheapest 500 Mbps fiber plan out there but it does justify its price in a few ways that we’ll reveal to you throughout this article.
Is the Plan Right For You?
Before we go any further, it’s worth deciding whether you need all of 500 Mbps. That’s a lot of speed, and would certainly be a nice thing to have. However, a lot of internet users could get away with saving some money by opting for a slower, more affordable plan.
We did some research on 500 Mbps as an internet speed and found out that it would be more than enough for any household. This kind of speed would even satisfy a small workplace even if everybody in the office used the internet quite heavily.
Because the upload speed cap is the same as the download speed, 10 or so people would be able to video call, game or stream to their heart’s content here.
What You Can Do With 500 Mbps
To explain how we came to the decision that this speed would be enough for a whole lot of people, we checked out how some of the most popular internet processes would fare under it.
Of course, it’s not going to be quite as black and white as the following numbers. There are a few factors that will bring them down a little, such as the background processes of other devices connected to the network and the distance your device is from the router.
But overall, this data will give you a good idea as to the capabilities of the AT&T Fiber 500 plan.
The most demanding streaming quality we could find was Netflix’s Ultra HD – it requires 25 Mbps . So, with 500 Mbps, you’d be able to stream as many as 20 Ultra HD movies or TV shows at the same time!
That figure becomes even larger when you opt for a different quality. The next step down, regular HD, requires 5 Mbps so you could, on paper, stream 100 movies simultaneously. Time for a movie party!
Those who need to download a lot of large files would definitely see the benefit of 500 Mbps. If you’re in the process of setting up for your new PC and need to download Microsoft Office Suite, you’d be able to grab all 4 GB of it in just one minute and four seconds.
Another instance where you might want to download a lot of large files is if you’re a gamer. Gamers will be very aware of how large game files can be to download, and some will know how tedious that can be with a slow internet speed.
The largest game file ever is Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. On PC, it’s a massive 250 GB, and that would be a real headache at slow speeds. However with AT&T Fiber 500, you could be playing it in one hour and six minutes.
Video calling and other work activity
The fact that the upload speed of AT&T Fiber 500 is also 500 Mbps means that the video calling potential is very strong. Video calling often requires more upload bandwidth than download, and in the case of Zoom, that upload is 3.8 Mbps for HD calling.
This means that some slower internet plans would be unable to call at this quality. Not AT&T Fiber 500. With this plan, you’d technically be able to make 131 calls at the same time !
Prices and Clauses
So you’ve seen how desirable 500 Mbps is as a speed. But is the AT&T Fiber 500 plan worth it for you? For this, we need to look at the price, of course. But we also need to look at a few other factors, so stay tuned here!
How much does it cost?
The price per month of the AT&T Fiber 500 plan is $65 plus taxes . That’s not bad. While it’s not as cheap as some of the competition, it’s quite a bit more affordable than even some slower AT&T plans, strangely.
There are additional charges in the states of Texas, Ohio and Nevada so make sure you look into them while you’re budgeting if you live in those states. Some customers will also need to pay an installation fee of up to $99.
But here’s another thing: customers who haven’t been with AT&T before will be able to claim a $150 gift card for making the switch. Plus, AT&T will pay any cancellation fees to previous internet providers. They’re really keen to bring in new customers.
And, you won’t be charged for equipment hire (for the router etc.)  like you will with some providers. $55 (plus taxes and maybe that state fee) is all you have to pay per month.
What are the contract lengths?
Another great thing about AT&T Fiber 500 is that there is no fixed term contract. You can join up for as little as one month. That’s pretty rare in the US broadband market as most plans will require you to sign up for at least 12 months, sometimes 24.
Of course, signing up for just one month might not be super cost effective considering that installation fee. But it’s great to know that you have the flexibility should you have a change in circumstances such as an increase in office size or a change of address.
Is there a data cap?
Nope! You won’t have to worry about how much internet you use with this plan. Download and stream at your will.
Again, this shouldn’t be taken for granted. Some plans do have data caps which can make things a little stressful if you use a lot of internet. Not with AT&T.
AT&T 500 & AT&T Wireless
If you’re looking for even more ways to save money while you upgrade to AT&T Fiber, then consider bringing your cell phone plan into the equation.
There are no bundle plans from AT&T like there are with Verizon Fios but you can claim some bonus cash. For example, Fiber customers can get $250 in bill credits when they change their phone to AT&T .
Or there’s the other way round. If you’re a Wireless customer (AT&T’s mobile network), you can get a $300 reward card when you convert to one of AT&T’s broadband packages.
AT&T 500 vs AT&T Internet
Before AT&T started rolling out their fiber network, you’d have to go down the wireless route. Their previous internet, AT&T Internet, is still available as a lot of their customers are unable to get fiber in their area just yet.
But what’s the difference? Well, fiber is basically better all-round. It has the potential to be faster, and it is more reliable such is the nature of how it works. We won’t go into too much technical detail on that right now, but believe us when we say fiber is the way forward!
So if you’re lucky enough to be able to choose between fiber and regular wireless, fiber is always going to be the better option if it works out cost-wise. And here’s the thing. AT&T Fiber is actually better value than regular AT&T Internet.
Take a look at the AT&T Internet 75 plan, for example. 75 Mbps costs you $55 , only $10 less than Fiber 500. Plus, you’ll be locked into a 12 month contract and restricted to a pretty low data cap of 1 TB. That’s not ideal.
In the future, we expect to see the end of AT&T Internet as fiber will hopefully take over all AT&T territories, and the whole country. But that could be a little while off yet.
Where Can I Get AT&T Fiber?
Right now, only about a third of AT&T customers will be able to get fiber based on their location. Fiber has been rolled out to a few locations throughout California and the midwest, but AT&T doesn’t service the east coast.
If you want to find out whether you’ll be able to get fiber in your current location, simply head over to the AT&T website and enter your address. It will display all the plans that are currently available for you, if any.
And if you’re considering moving to a location where you can get AT&T Fiber, there’s a map on the site that will show you all the locations where it’s available.
What Else You Get With the Plan
There are a few extra things that come with the AT&T Fiber 500 plan that help sweeten the deal. Here’s a quick look at them.
AT&T Smart Home Manager app
You’ll be able to stay in control of your home network with the AT&T Fiber 500 plan thanks to the Smart Home Manager app. It’s a great app, and you can download it for free from the Play Store or the App Store, depending on which smartphone you have.
The functions of the app include setting up your network in the first place and changing the settings such as disconnecting devices or editing the network name or password.
The actual router you get from AT&T is called Gateway. It’s technically a modem/router combo so you won’t need to worry about picking up any extra kit to get online. Plus, you’ll get all the right cables to be able to plug in and go.
Remember, you can always upgrade your router if you want to extend the range or the features of it. If you want some help with finding a new router, we’ve put together a guide to the best ones. You can check that out here.
AT&T ActiveArmor network security
If your home network were to become compromised by some kind of outside threat, it could put all your devices and your personal information at risk. AT&T recognizes this, and to combat it, they provide free antivirus software called ActiveArmor.
This helps to combat external complications, keeping your network and the people who use it safe.
AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spot
With AT&T, you’ll be able to stay connected even after you leave your home. All customers get access to Wi-Fi Hot Spot, which provides Wi-Fi on the go from a number of locations across the US. It has pretty good coverage!
AT&T 500 vs Other AT&T Fiber Plans
If you want to go faster than 500 Mbps or save a little money by opting for a lower speed, both of those are possible with AT&T. Here’s a quick look at the other AT&T Fiber plans available (just remember to work out the taxes on top of these):
|Plan||Price||Who It’s For|
|AT&T Internet 300||$55||Large families and small businesses|
|AT&T Internet 500||$65||Large families and small businesses|
|AT&T Internet 1 Gig||$80||Medium-sized businesses|
|AT&T Internet 2 Gig||$110||Larger businesses|
|AT&T Internet 5 Gig||$180||Super intensive work among many|
By the way, the 1 Gig+ plans will only be available for a third of AT&T Fiber areas. That means they’re very limited right now, but you might get some luck!
We generally don’t recommend any home user gets 2 Gig or 5 Gig internet. You just won’t be able to see the benefit of these if you’re not sharing the network with at least 10 other people. These plans are better suited to business use in an office environment.
Even the 1 Gig plan will probably be too quick for most home users, but it is great to be able to download quickly. Still, the 300 or 500 plans should be more than enough people, even if you do have a large family to share the network with.
AT&T 500 vs the Competition
|Provider & Plan||Speed||Price per month||Who It’s For|
|AT&T Internet 500||500 Mbps||$65||Large families and small businesses|
|Verizon Fios 500||500 Mbps||$70||Large families and small businesses|
|Google Fiber 1000||1 Gbps||$70||Medium-sized businesses|
|Optimum Fiber 500||500 Mbps||$60||Large families and small businesses|
AT&T Fiber 500 might be sounding great to you right now but before you pull the trigger and sign up, it’s important to take a look at a couple of other plans. Plus, these other plans might be essential if you’re unable to get AT&T Fiber due to your location!
The biggest competitor to AT&T Fiber is Verizon Fios. There aren’t many locations where you can get both, but Verizon is on its own geographical path in terms of rolling out fiber and in the future, they could be competing for more areas.
Right now, Verizon Fios and AT&T are pretty neck-and-neck with the prices. Their 500 Fiber comes in at a similar price ($70) and there are no minimum terms or other fees such as equipment rental.
Verizon also charges a $99 setup fee but it is possible to remove this by ordering online instead of in-store or over the phone.
If you live in a more rural area as opposed to a city, you might find your only option is Windstream Kinetic. But that’s not a bad thing. Their 500 Mbps plan is one of the most affordable out there at just $57 per month with similar terms to Verizon and AT&T.
Wrapping Up on AT&T Fiber 500
The AT&T Fiber 500 plan is competitively priced, comes with loads of great perks and is super flexible. It’s definitely one of the best fiber internet plans in the US right now!
If you’re lucky enough to be living in an area where AT&T Fiber 500 is available, you could certainly do a lot worse.
500 Mbps is really fast. Not a lot of people are actually going to need that speed (although it is nice to have in any situation!). Any household of 4 or 5 people may find that they can save some money by going for a plan with a lower speed cap.
For example, you can save $10 per month by opting for the 300 Mbps plan. This will still be more than enough for any family home, for example.
Enjoy your new fiber plan!