Spectrum Internet Ultra (500/20 Mbps) Review

Spectrum Internet Ultra contract-free broadband internet plan. Ultra offers 500 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload speeds. It doesn’t have a data cap and costs $49.99/mo. 

This price will increase to $74.99/mo. after 12 months. 

Ultra works best for households with over 9 high-bandwidth devices running simultaneously. “High-bandwidth” tasks could include streaming 4K or 8K videos.

I’m on a quest to find an internet plan that’ll offer the most value. Thus, I’ve compiled information from various sources into this review.

Throughout this piece, I’ll cover the following:

Let’s get to it.

Spectrum Internet Ultra Pros & Cons

Here are the pros and cons of Internet Ultra.


  • Don’t need to pay for an internet modem
  • No hard data cap
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Contract-free


  • 30% price increase after a year
  • Low upload speed

What Is Spectrum Ultra Internet?

Spectrum Ultra internet is a hybrid fiber/cable internet plan. It comes with a max of 500 Mbps download speed internet that doesn’t have a contract or data cap.

Additional features you’ll get with this plan include:

  • Free antivirus suite: just stick with Windows Defender or Mac’s built-in antivirus
  • More than 500,000 Wi-Fi access hotspots: helps you access Wi-Fi anywhere
  • Free modem rental: you’ll still need a router
  • Access to Spectrum Mobile: an affordable cellular provider

Hybrid cable/fiber means that the internet service provider (ISP) delivers its services with fiber cables for the most part. Then once their signals reach your home, fiber will convert to cable internet.

This type of broadband internet does benefit you a bit. Since it allows features to reach your home quicker. But it’s still not as reliable as 100% fiber internet.

All Spectrum internet plans require you to lease a router for $5.99 monthly. If you have your own router, you can get rid of this fee. And if you’re looking for a router to buy, we have a guide to steer you on the right path.

Let’s talk about Spectrum Mobile.

They use Verizon’s cellular towers, so it’s a perfect plan for anyone who wants some of the best 4G LTE coverage without paying Verizon’s high prices.

If you get this mobile plan, Spectrum will perform a personal credit check on your credit history [1]. You may have to pay a security deposit if you don’t have the best credit history. Or they may not give you the service.

Now I’ll cover the provider’s upload speeds.

Spectrum Internet Ultra Upload Speed

Spectrum Ultra internet only offers a maximum of 20 Mbps upload speeds.

Those speeds show us that Spectrum provides asymmetric speeds. That means unequal download/upload network speeds.

In the following section, I’ll talk about use cases for this internet speed.

Who Is the Spectrum Ultra Plan Best For?

Spectrum Ultra internet is best for the following people and use cases:

  1. Quicker file downloads
  2. 4K UHD TV1 resolution video streaming
  3. Cloud gaming

The first point is practical when you receive projects from a classmate, client, or someone you’re collaborating with for a remote project.

Say you need to download a 10 GB file from a client. With 300 Mbps speeds, that’ll take you close to 5 minutes [2]. 500 Mbps speeds would take you closer to 2 minutes.

The internet package doesn’t work well if you frequently upload massive files. If you’re the one sending the 10 GB file, it would take you over an hour to upload.

But the upload speeds offer more flexibility for upstream-reliant hardware like security cameras.

Let’s use Cox’s 500 Mbps plan as an example. It only offers 10 Mbps upload speeds. That can support 2 cameras. Spectrum’s Ultra package can support 4 cameras.

That could make an enormous difference by monitoring different areas around your home.

What Can You Do With Ultra Download Speeds?

Here’s what you can do with Ultra’s 500 Mbps download speeds (and 20 Mbps upload):

Online ActivitySpeed Req. (DL)Speed Req. (UL)
1 Ring Doorbell2.0 Mbps2.0 Mbps
7 Devices Streaming 4K On Disney+175 MbpsNA
4 Devices Using GEFORCE Now In 4K160 MbpsNA
10 Devices Streaming Peacock Premium30 MbpsNA
1 Device Live Streaming While Gaming24.5 Mbps9.24 Mbps (w/ buffer)
5 People Browsing Reddit10 Mbps5.0 Mbps
One 1:1 Zoom Conference (1080p FHD)3.8 Mbps3.8 Mbps
4 Devices Playing Xbox Cloud Gaming80 MbpsNA

Online tasks you can do with 500 Mbps download speeds.

You’ll have around 18 Mbps of extra downstream bandwidth. And you’ll go 500 Kbps over your upload bandwidth. People who are streaming in your massive household may have a bit of lag.

No one will likely need 1.0 Mbps for browsing Reddit. But that’s an extreme example.

Otherwise, no one will have issues gaming or streaming.

The above chart illustrates that these speeds are unnecessary for most homes. If people want to frequently download large files in less than 20 minutes, that’s a different story.

The upload speeds don’t give you much flexibility. Here’s an example. Say you’re a remote worker in video conferences often. You may sweat a bit with your available bandwidth.

Imagine if someone else in your home wants to upload something to social media. Or video chat with one of their buddies. That MAY interrupt your video conference.

Or it may take longer to upload files that you’ll send to clients.

If upload speeds are an issue, consider a symmetric (equal DL/UL speeds) provider. However, there aren’t many of them.

Spectrum Internet Ultra Price

Spectrum Ultra Internet costs $69.99 per month for the first year. This price DOESN’T include taxes and other potential fees.

You’ll pay $0.13 per megabit.

They don’t have a discount for enabling automatic payments on your account.

Let’s find out the price of Spectrum’s 500 Mbps internet once a year passes.

How Much Is Spectrum Internet Ultra After 12 Months

After 12 months of using Spectrum Ultra internet, you’ll need to pay $94.99. That’s a 30% increase.

That also brings the cost per megabit to $0.18.

There are only a couple of ways to potentially remove this price increase:

  1. Open a Spectrum plan under someone else in your home
  2. Call Spectrum’s retention department and attempt to negotiate

The first method would require a partner, relative, or roommate to open a plan under their name. So long as they’ve never used Spectrum.

If you’re using Spectrum Mobile, then you’ll also lose your cellular service. Because you must have an active internet-only plan to keep their cell service active on your account.

And you’ll need to consider credit checks. Spectrum doesn’t specify whether they require credit checks for internet services. But they may.

If the person signing up for your new Spectrum plan doesn’t have a good credit history, that’ll lower their likelihood of getting a Spectrum plan.

I’ve spent enough time on this section. I’ll discuss negotiating with Spectrum’s retention department later in this guide.

Let’s discuss hidden costs and whether they’ll impact your bill.

Spectrum Ultra Internet Hidden Costs

Additional costs for Spectrum internet you should consider include:

Activation Fee$19.99
WiFi Service$5.00/mo.
Spectrum WiFi Pods$3.00/mo. per pod
Data Overage ChargeNo Charge
Unreturned Wireless Router fee$76
Unreturned Modem fee $60
Unreturned Spectrum WiFi Pod fee$64
Unreturned EPON ONU fee$95

“Hidden” fees for Spectrum internet.

Almost all these fees are optional. So long as you buy a third-party internet router or Wi-Fi pods.

You only can’t avoid the self-installation fee. It’s either that fee, or you pay over $40 for a technician to deal with the installation.

The pods are only necessary for homes over 3,000 square feet [3]. In that case, I recommend getting a mesh Wi-Fi router.

It’ll give you a router, and a means to access wireless dead zones in your home. Check out our comparison if you need help finding a mesh router that’ll give you the best value.

Unreturned equipment fees only surface when you don’t return your equipment to Spectrum after canceling your plan. Ensure you return everything that came in your getting started kit. And request a return receipt.

You can use the receipt to combat false claims stating you didn’t return your hardware.

Spectrum Internet Ultra Availability

Spectrum Internet Ultra is available in the following 41 states:

New HampshireNew JerseyNew Mexico
New YorkNorth CarolinaOhio
OregonPennsylvaniaSouth Carolina
VirginiaWashingtonWest Virginia

States where you can access Charter Spectrum internet.

You won’t find support in every county and city. You’ll need to visit Spectrum’s availability page, click your state, and see whether they serve your county.

Does Spectrum offer Ultra in your area?

If so, let’s talk about how to get started with their services.

How To Get Started With Spectrum Ultra Internet Plan

Follow these steps to get started with Spectrum Ultra internet:

  1. Order your plan online: or visit your nearest Spectrum store
  2. Create your Spectrum online account
  3. Order & receive your self-installation kit
  4. Plug in your router & modem (or gateway)
  5. Visit Spectrum.net/selfinstall to activate your modem
  6. Test your internet speeds

Spectrum charges a $19 self-installation fee. You shouldn’t have to pay this, but it beats the $49.99 professional installation charge.

You can use your own router with Spectrum, so long they approve the model. You’ll follow all the installation steps I mentioned with a couple of extra steps.

Find your device’s Media Access Control (MAC) number. It’s a 12-digit number sequence found on the bottom of your modem. You’ll need to provide this when going through the self-installation process.

Let’s talk about Spectrum wireless router installation.

Plug it into the wall, connect it to your modem, and wait for the green lights to glow. The lights you’ll look for will vary by router. Here’s a guide on what lights you’ll want to look out for.

Once you install your device, you’ll have to return the modem (and possibly router) to avoid unreturned equipment fees. Drop it off at a FedEx, UPS, or Spectrum store. Or you can request a Home Return Kit by contacting Spectrum’s internet customer service.

You can also activate your device by downloading the My Spectrum mobile app. Open the software and follow the on-screen prompts.

ALWAYS test your internet speeds after your initial setup. Ensure you’re getting the advertised speeds. If not, follow my nifty guide on fixing slow Spectrum internet.

Spectrum Ultra Internet Promotions

All new and existing Spectrum Internet Ultra customers get 90 days of Peacock Premium for free.

That saves you around $15 and gives you access to over 80,000 hours of content.

Otherwise, Spectrum doesn’t offer discounts on the service itself.

If you’re considering Spectrum’s other services, I suggest checking out our deals page. It covers every available Spectrum promotion.

Before you go, you will want to check out ways you can save money on your internet bill.

How To Save More on the Ultra Internet Package

You can save money on Spectrum Ultra internet by buying a router or calling Spectrum’s retention department and negotiating for lower rates.

Buying a third-party router will save you $5.00 a month, $60 a year, and $120 every 2 years. While routers have a higher up-front cost, they’ll pay themselves off in a year or 2.

Depending on your hardware’s price.

Don’t want to bother researching a wireless router? We’ve done the work for you. Check out our comparison of devices that offer the most value.

If you want to get your new customer price, call 833-267-6094 and request to speak to someone from their retention department.

Upon reaching someone, mention how the price after the new customer price is a bit out of your price range. And you’re considering going with “X” internet provider because of their lower rates.

Ensure you’re friendly throughout the call and research competing internet service providers in your area.

The retention department agent may offer you a promotion to keep you with Spectrum. If not, transition the call to an end and call back another day.

You may reach someone who has a different answer than the previous representative.

Spectrum Ultra Internet Bundles

Bundle Internet Ultra and get 1 Spectrum Unlimited mobile line and an Advanced WiFi rental for free. For 1 year.

That means you’ll only need to pay for Internet Ultra’s portion of the bill for the year first.

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Once the year passes, you’ll need to pay $129.98 monthly. This price includes the increased cost for Ultra after a year, Spectrum Mobile, and the leased Wi-Fi router.

Otherwise, you won’t find any discounts when bundling Ultra internet with television and voice services. But it’ll simplify billing by condensing your expenses.

My job isn’t complete until I provide examples.

Here’s what pricing would look like if you bundle Spectrum TV, internet, and phone:

BundlePromo. PricingPost Promo.Percentage Increase
Ultra + TV Select$129.98/mo.$174.98/mo.29%
Ultra + TV Select + Voice$149.97/mo.$194.97/mo.26%
Mi Plan Latino + Ultra$109.98/mo.$149.98/mo.30%

Spectrum TV, internet, and landline bundles compared.

Let’s see how Ultra compares to its counterparts.

Spectrum Ultra vs. Other Spectrum Internet Plans

Before deciding whether this plan’s right for your home, compare Ultra to other Spectrum internet plans:

TierPromo. PricePost Promo.Percentage IncreaseMax. Speed (DL/UL)
Internet$49.99/mo.$74.99/mo.40%300/10 Mbps
Internet Ultra$69.99/mo.$94.99/mo.30%500/20 Mbps
Internet Gig$89.99/mo.$114.99/mo.24%1,000/35 Mbps

Charter Spectrum broadband internet plans compared.

Only get an internet plan where your household will utilize all the speeds offered. For instance, don’t go for Internet Gig if your home regularly uses 100 Mbps in downstream bandwidth.

Get Spectrum Internet 300 Mbps.

The only scenario where I’d say otherwise is if you need more upload speeds. For instance, if you want to run 7 home security cameras, you’ll want Internet Gig.

Because each camera will likely require around 4.0 Mbps of upstream bandwidth. And with the gigabit internet plan, you’d have 5.0 Mbps of available bandwidth for people in your home.

That means a couple of people could chat on Zoom or similar video conferencing software without worrying about interruptions.

Other than speeds, none of Spectrum’s internet plans offer special perks to entice customers. They also don’t provide prepaid internet, which is a bummer.

Since Spectrum doesn’t have a contract or require a credit check (maybe) for their internet, I suppose there’s no use for prepaid.

Charter Spectrum Internet Ultra vs. The Competition

Here’s how Spectrum Ultra internet compares to competing plans with the same download speeds:

Tier/ProviderPost Promo. PriceMax. Upload SpeedData Cap?Price Per Megabit
Spectrum Ultra$94.99/mo.20 MbpsNo$0.18
Cox Ultimate Internet$99.99/mo.10 MbpsYes$0.19
Verizon Fios 500$69.99/mo.500 MbpsNo$0.139
AT&T Fiber 500$65/mo.500 MbpsNo$0.13

500 Mbps broadband internet plans compared.

AT&T Fiber and Verizon Fios have less availability than other providers (less than 20 states). They offer the best pricing if you’re lucky enough to live in a city that supports them.

Both plans have equal download and upload speeds, no data cap or contract, and run on 100% fiber optic internet.

Since I wrote everything as “Post Promotion Pricing” in the above table, your rates won’t increase after a year.

These plans will serve as the best options for remote workers who regularly upload massive files. For instance, video editors. With symmetric network speeds, you won’t have to waste an hour uploading a 4K video to your cloud storage.

If you’re outside these areas, Spectrum offers the most value in these areas:

  • Higher upload speeds
  • No data cap
  • Cheaper router rental fee
  • Contract-free

But it has a self-installation fee. And its router doesn’t have many features compared to Cox’s Panoramic WiFi router.

Cox’s router has what’s called Elite Gamer. It reduces your latency by redirecting your connection to a server closer to your online game’s host server.

That DOESN’T mean Cox is the best plan for gamers. You could get a router with Smart Queue Management (SQM) or subscribe to ExitLag. The former uses hardware to lower latency.

Meanwhile, the latter acts like a virtual private network (VPN) to improve your ping.

I talk about states where these plans overlap in a separate piece.

FAQs: Spectrum Internet Ultra

The following sections will cover frequently asked questions about the Ultra 500 Mbps internet plan.

Is Spectrum Internet Ultra Good for Gaming?

Spectrum Internet Ultra is good for gaming. At max., you’d need 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload speeds for competitive gaming. Internet Ultra provides at least 10 times the download speed you’d need.

What Does Spectrum Internet Ultra Include?

Spectrum Internet Ultra includes a free modem rental, antivirus software, access to over 500,000 Wi-Fi hotspots, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.


Spectrum Internet Ultra gives customers more flexibility compared to some providers. With its contract- and data cap-free structure.

They don’t have symmetric speeds, which puts them behind Verizon Fios and AT&T Fiber. But it’ll benefit those who don’t regularly upload files.

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Spectrum Offer

300 Mbps plans for $39.99/mo
$ 69
  • Enough for a familly
  • High availability
  • No data cap