Astound Broadband/RCN Home Internet Review: Great Starting Price, but Beware a Steep Increase (2023)

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Astound/RCN home internet service Rating

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  • Low first-year pricing
  • No data caps


  • Availability limited to metro areas
  • Sharp price increase after the promotional period

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In late 2022, Astound Broadband announced a nationwide launch of a new internet speed tier with download speeds up to 1,200 megabits per second. Among US internet providers, that puts it in a dead heat with Xfinity for the fastest cable broadband plan available nationally. Not too shabby.

But I have to be honest. I nearly titled this review "Confusion in Cable Land." Why? Because my eyes glazed as I pored over the differences in offerings for the six metro markets covered by Astound Broadband Powered by RCN. (Whoa, that's a mouthful!) But that hardly matters for most people, unless you plan to relocate from one Astound Broadband market to another. What matters most is what Astound/RCN offers in your area.

What Astound brings to the table is some of the most aggressively priced promo offers for cable internet. Add in the fact that Astound/RCN doesn't enforce contracts, termination fees or data caps, and you're looking at a winning combination -- or an appealing one, at least.

Locating local internet providers

Astound Broadband/RCN Home Internet Review: Great Starting Price, but Beware a Steep Increase (1)

What's the catch? Astound's monthly fees jump a considerable amount after your promo period. I would typically ding it quite a bit for that escalation -- and don't get me wrong, it's a sizable leap and you need to be aware of that extreme increase -- but it's not quite what we would term "trap pricing." The main reason is that Astound/RCN doesn't tie you into a term agreement, so when you run into that price hike, you are free to either bail or try to negotiate with your provider before paying those larger bills.

Let's dig in and learn more about Astound Broadband powered by RCN.

Locating local internet providers

Astound Broadband/RCN internet availability

Residential Communications Network, better known as RCN, has been in business since 1993 and is currently owned by Astound Broadband, which provides services under the Grande Communications and Wave Broadband regional brands. Astound/RCN offers home internet service to six different metro areas in the US. That's Boston, Chicago, the Lehigh Valley (Pennsylvania), New York City, Philadelphia (primarily Delaware County) and Washington, DC.

Astound Broadband/RCN internet plans and pricing

This is where I felt like I was wrangling cats. Astound/RCN does not offer the same plans and pricing across its six markets. We've listed below the plans available in its Philadelphia market, which sits almost squarely in the middle of the variety of options that Astound provides its customers throughout its service areas. The prices available to you will depend on where you live, but we'll discuss that further in a second.

Astound/RCN internet plans (Philadelphia market)

PlanMax speedsStarting monthly price (first two years)Regular monthly rateMonthly modem costsData capContract
300Mbps Internet 300Mbps download, 20Mbps upload$20$150Free modem; $5 for Whole-home Wi-Fi (skippable)NoneNone
600Mbps Internet 600Mbps download, 20Mbps upload$35$154Free modem; $5 for Whole-home Wi-Fi (skippable)NoneNone
Gig Internet 940Mbps download, 20Mbps upload$50$162Free modem; $5 for Whole-home Wi-Fi (skippable)NoneNone
1200Mbps Internet 1200Mbps download, 20Mbps upload$60$172Free modem; $5 for Whole-home Wi-Fi (skippable)NoneNone

How Astound/RCN compares with other ISPs on pricing

The monthly prices you see above are representative of what you'll find across all the Astound/RCN markets, but I do want to point out some of the differences as well. Overall, across all RCN markets and plans, you will see an average cost of 8 cents per Mbps for your promo pricing. That is right at the top among all cable ISPs we've reviewed, including WideOpenWest(15 cents),Spectrum (17 cents), Optimum (21 cents), Xfinity (25 cents), Sparklight (28 cents) and Cox (53 cents).

For example, Astound customers in New York City will see some extremely competitive pricing for that area. New Yorkers can sign up for a promo rate of $60 a month for 1200Mbps. That's an impressively affordable 5 cents per Mbps on introductory pricing for our friends in the Northeast that's more affordable than the gig offers from Optimum and Verizon Fios. To top it off, those customers will also get two months of service for free and complimentary HBO Max for one year.

Astound Broadband/RCN Home Internet Review: Great Starting Price, but Beware a Steep Increase (2)

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Astound Broadband/RCN Home Internet Review: Great Starting Price, but Beware a Steep Increase (3)

That's the good news. The not-so-great side of the story is the price jump after the introductory rate. Whereas the average cost per Mbps was 8 cents for the introductory pricing, Astound/RCN's regular rate, which kicks in after 24 months, holds an average price of 57 cents per Mbps. While that's not the highest we've seen among cable ISPs -- here's looking at you, Cox (80 cents per Mbps) -- it's undoubtedly one of the starkest differences we've seen between the promo rate and the regular rate.

What does that look like in real terms? Check out the table above and look again at the sticker shock awaiting Philly customers of the 300Mbps-to-940Mbps plans. All of those offerings have a monthly price that leaps by more than $100 after the first year, which is staggering compared with the average price jumps of cable competitors like Xfinity (average increase of $15 to $50 after 12 months), Cox (average increase of $15 to $26 after 12 months) and Spectrum (a flat increase of $30 for all plans after 12 months). Compared with those, an increase of $100 in the monthly cost of your home internet service is an extremely tough pill to swallow, especially if you're trying to keep your budget buttoned down.

When we asked Astound/RCN about that massive jump, its spokesperson said, "It's important to note that promotions do not increase to the standard retail rates published on the rate card ... [which are] generally the maximum price that one may pay, and what is published for consumers to reference.

"Additionally, RCN customers are provided advanced notice that the promotion is coming to an end, along with their new monthly rate," they said. "This information is included in their billing statement the month before the promotion ends."

Either way, you're not tied down to Astound with a term agreement, so as you approach the end of your promo period, you can see what terms Astound/RCN offers or try researching other ISPs in your area. For example, Verizon Fios may be an option for customers in the Washington, DC, area, and Chicagoans may choose to switch to Xfinity. In each case, though, make sure to do your homework. If Verizon's DSL service is the only other option for you, Astound/RCN will still be cheaper, and those considering a jump to Xfinity will need to be aware that to receive the best rates, you'll need to sign up for a term contract, which is not required of Astound customers.

Additional Astound Broadband/RCN internet fees

All Astound Broadband markets charge a one-time activation fee of $10, which isn't unusual among ISPs. However, what isn't quite so common is an add-on monthly fee that Astound calls a Network Access and Maintenance Fee. This is an additional charge of $10 per month.

As far as equipment goes, a free modem is standard across the markets, but the Wi-Fi rental fee differs from city to city. For instance, the Whole Home Wi-Fi cost for Philly customers is $5 a month, while New York customers will pay $10 monthly to start and then $13 per month after two years.

You can avoid the monthly equipment charge

Astound does give you the option to skip the additional equipment fee altogether by using your own device. You can use your own modem and router if they're compatible with Astound/RCN's network. As you're about to see, this may be the easiest way to navigate a web of potential add-ons.

Astound Broadband/RCN has more options, but also potentially more fees

Although Astound/RCN gives you the chance to skip the equipment fee, it also makes several supplemental items available that could help boost your home networking hardware -- while bumping up your bill, too.

For example, while a standard Wi-Fi router is typically going to run you $10 a month (it is included in some plans), Astound/RCN gives you the option to add enhanced Wi-Fi to your home. For the Boston, New York and Philly markets, this is supplied via the Eero Pro 6 mesh router, which my CNET colleague Ry Crist gave high marks when he put it through its paces. But it should also be noted that customers in the Chicago, Lehigh Valley and Washington, DC, areas will get the lesser-rated Eero 6 for the same rental price.

Astound/RCN also taps on the shoulders of gamers by offering a chance to upgrade to a gaming router. Customers on a 250Mbps plan or higher can opt to rent the Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 for $13 a month on top of their monthly modem charge. Like the Eero Pro 6 deal, the first month's rental is free.

There are other opportunities to upgrade your broadband experience, including the option to add a Sonos smart home speaker ($6 a month) or Sonos Beam soundbar ($13 a month).

Yes, all of these options will ultimately increase your bill -- and if you plan on using them for longer than a year or two, it probably makes more sense to buy them outright rather than rent them. Still, these might provide significant value to your service, especially if you can foresee using them for those initial 24 months when your broadband bill is at its lowest. You might also find it helpful to try a mesh network out in your home to see if it makes a meaningful difference. If it does, you could consider purchasing one for yourself outright. If not, you're only out a single month's rental fee.

Astound/RCN deals and promotions to catch your eye

Astound offers a few intriguing deals to try to sway your attention. It has a handful of limited-time offers available, including free installation (in all markets) if you order online, an $80 value. In addition to the free installation, online orders will also receive a $100 gift card in some markets, others will get one free month of service, and some markets might see both.

Astound Broadband/RCN's customer satisfaction numbers are solid

Astound doesn't appear on either the J.D. Power US Residential Internet Service Provider Satisfaction Study or the latest ISP report from the American Customer Satisfaction index. We've used these two industry benchmarks to track how broadband providers measure up with American consumers. This has become especially important as more and more of us lean on our home internet for work and school, not just bingeing Netflix.

Over atPCMag's 2022 Readers' Choice awards, Astound did very well. It scored a 7.9 in overall customer satisfaction, which put it in the top five listed internet providers. It also scored well above the average industry score, which was 6.9.

The bottom line on Astound Broadband/RCN internet service

Astound Broadband/RCN is at the top of the class for cable internet providers. It gives you many different options to customize your service and its promo pricing is second to none. Yes, that significant change in monthly price after your introductory period is substantial -- but to an extent, that is mitigated by the lack of contracts binding you to those hefty charges. With no early termination fees looming, the power is in your hands to try to negotiate with Astound or seek services elsewhere after your first year.

Astound Broadband powered by RCN home internet FAQs

What does RCN stand for?

How do I contact Astound/RCN customer service?

What is Astound/RCN's Internet First program?


Is astound a reputable company? ›

Yes. Astound Broadband by RCN is considered one of the fastest internet providers in the country. They offer download speeds up to 1,200 Mbps, though exact speeds vary by location.

What happened to RCN internet? ›

RCN is changing to Astound Broadband under a unification of five regional companies acquired by a private equity firm, with the formal transition to the Astound name announced Wednesday.

What is the highest Internet speed available through astound? ›

High speed internet for your home

Astound Broadband is an award winning internet service provider with gigabit internet speeds up to 1200* Mbps.

What kind of modem does Astound Broadband use? ›

For speed tiers above 940Mbps Astound recommends a DOCSIS 3.1 modem with a 2.5GE port to provide a physical port that can pass more than 940Mbps. Modems without a 2.5GE port are sometimes capable of passing more than 940Mbps across WIFI and multiple physical ports simultaneously.

Who is Astound Broadband owned by? ›

Amid all that activity, Astound Broadband itself was acquired by Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners for a cool $8.1 billion.

Is RCN owned by Comcast? ›

ABRY Partners, a private equity firm, acquired RCN Corporation for $1.2 billion in 2010.

Is there a class action lawsuit against RCN? ›

The RCN Telecom fees class action settlement will pay a range from 20% to 80% of allocated losses, depending on when the class member signed up for the service.

Is there a lawsuit against RCN? ›

RCN $11.5 Million Class Action

The originating RCN class action lawsuit was filed against RCN Telecom on behalf of customers who were allegedly charged and paid a late fee on their broadband Internet service between August 12, 2014 and April 25, 2022.

How do I deal with complaints with RCN? ›

You can either call us on 0345 772 6100; submit the form below or write to us at: Customer Relations Manager, Royal College of Nursing, Copse Walk, Cardiff Gate Business Park, Cardiff, CF23 8XG.

What is a respectable internet speed? ›

An internet speed of at least 25Mbps is good for Wi-Fi. That will make sure that multiple people get adequate bandwidth on your Wi-Fi network while multiple devices are being used at the same time. For larger households, a speed of 100Mbps is even better.

What is the most ideal internet speed? ›

The FCC says the best ISPs for two or more connected devices and moderate to heavy internet use should offer at least 12 megabits per second (Mbps) of download speed. For four or more devices, 25 Mbps is recommended.

What is considered extremely fast internet? ›

Internet download speeds of 200 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload or higher are considered fast. With average speeds around 152/21 Mbps, the bar for fast internet is higher than ever. Anything over 200 Mbps will be able to handle multiple online activities for multiple users at once without interruption.

Do you need a modem with RCN? ›

RCN's 1 Gigabit internet requires the use of its DOCSIS 3.1 modem alone. RCN's other internet packages demonstrate more leeway. They only demand that the modem or router be DOCSIS 3.0 certified and feature at least twenty-four downstream channels and eight upstream channels.

What is the difference between modem router and broadband? ›

A modem is a box that connects your home network to your internet service provider, or ISP. A router is a box that lets all of your wired and wireless devices use that internet connection at once and allows them to talk to one another directly.

What is the difference between fiber modem and broadband modem? ›

The broadband connection is fast speed internet, but the speed is slower when it is compared to a fibre connection. The fibre broadband connection is very fast speed internet as it uses optical fibre for transmission of data. The fibre broadband is faster than broadband connection.

How many customers does Astound Broadband have? ›

Astound Broadband serves over one million customers in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, the DC metro area, and Washington State.

How long has Astound Broadband been around? ›

Astound Broadband is a high-speed internet service provider (ISP) that offers cable and fiber optic service in select areas. Originally founded in 1993 as Astound, the company began as a cable television and telephone company.

What is the new name for RCN cable? ›

Astound Broadband is the new name for RCN, Grande, Wave, enTouch and Digital West. Together, as regional brands, they form the sixth largest U.S. internet, TV and phone operator and serve eight of the top 10 metro markets.

How fast is RCN internet? ›

Astound Broadband (formerly RCN) internet speed and data

Astound Broadband (formerly RCN) offers download speeds anywhere from 110 to 1200 Mbps, though the exact speeds offered depend on where you live.

How do I cancel my RCN service? ›

How to cancel RCN
  1. Call customer service on 800-746-4726.
  2. Ask to speak with a representative.
  3. Provide them with your account number and customer details.
  4. Request cancellation of your service and recurring payments.
  5. You will receive a confirmation email.

Who owns RCN? ›

Should I participate in class action lawsuit? ›

In most cases, there's little downside to joining these lawsuits, which combine many legal claims — often thousands — into one claim against a single defendant, reducing fees for each claimant and potentially earning a much larger payout. And there have been many opportunities to do so.

Is there a risk for class action lawsuit? ›

What Are the Risks of a Class-Action Lawsuit? The risk of a class-action lawsuit is that if you lose, you will not receive any compensation for your injuries. If you win, however, you will receive a financial or other non-monetary award.

How do you know if you are part of a class action lawsuit? › and are the two leading online databases you can find information about class action suits. These sites usually feature a list of closed class-action cases, or those that have already compensated eligible class members.

How much is RCN settlement? ›

What's The RCN Class Action Settlement About? A $11,500,000 Class Action Lawsuit has been Settled with telecom provider of internet services RCN. If you are or were a customer of RCN and paid padded billing fees, you may have been eligible for a CASH class action payout or credit towards your bill.

Is there a cancellation fee for RCN? ›

Since none of RCN's plans require a contract, there are no early termination fees (ETFs).

Can I cancel RCN anytime? ›

Cancelling your membership

If you still wish to cancel, please contact our Customer Support Team on 0345 7726 100 who will be happy to help. Choose option 1 for membership (Monday to Friday 8.30am – 8.30pm excluding Bank Holidays). This call will be charged at a local rate.

Do all RCN members have to strike? ›

Every member is entitled to take industrial strike action following a lawful and successful ballot, and if called upon to do so by the RCN.

What is RCN refund? ›

A Return Correction Notice (RCN), is a letter we send to you when we find problems with your Illinois tax return. The letter details the problems we found, any changes we made, and the action you need to take.

Where can I complain about my local Internet service provider? ›

Public Grievances
Sr No.ModeDetails
(ii)By postAddress: Public Grievances wing, Department of Telecom, Room No. 612, Mahanagar Doorsanchar Bhawan, Old Minto Road, J. L. Nehru Marg, New Delhi 110002
(iii)Through FAXFAX No. 011- 23232244
(iv)Through phonePhone No 011- 23221166,1063 (Toll Free)
2 more rows

What is a good internet speed for the average home? ›

A good internet speed is anywhere between 25 and 100 Mbps. (Mbps means Megabits per second, by the way.) Speeds of 25 Mbps allow up to 2 devices to stream, surf the web and check emails. 50 to 100 Mbps allow a few more people to stream in HD or even 4K, stream music, game, browse social media, and work from home.

What is normal average internet speed? ›

What Is a Normal Internet Speed? The internet speeds available to you are largely dependent on where you live. According to Ookla, the global median download speed for fixed broadband is roughly 60 Mbps download and 25 Mbps upload. In the U.S., the median is about 135 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up.

Is 300 Mbps a good internet speed? ›

For most households with three or four people living together, a 300 Mbps internet download is enough for the various uses ranging from online gaming, streaming, and general browsing. According to the Tech21Centry website, 300 Mbps can download a 5-Gigabyte movie file in only 2.2 minutes.

Is 100 Mbps fast enough for Netflix? ›

Even with multiple users on the network streaming videos or shows to their devices, 100 Mbps should be more than enough to avoid any buffering issues. Take Netflix for example: To watch a video in High Definition, you need at least 5 Mbps. To view a video in 4K/Ultra HD, you need 15 Mbps.

What internet speed do I need for Amazon work from home? ›

If the RTT is between 250ms and 400ms, the user can access the WorkSpace, but the performance is degraded. To check the RTT to the various AWS Regions from your location, use the Amazon WorkSpaces Connection Health Check . To use webcams with WSP, we recommend a minimum upload bandwidth of 1.7 megabits per second.

Is 300 Mbps fast enough for Netflix? ›

Wondering if 300 Mbps is Fast enough for Netflix? Well, the answer is definitely a Yes. To stream 4K videos on Netflix smoothly, you need an internet speed of 50 Mbps or 25 Mbps at least. So, with a 300 Mbps speed, you and other 6-8 devices can easily enjoy watching your favorite content in UHD resolution.

Is 200 Mbps fast enough for Netflix? ›

With a download speed of 200Mbps, you can stream Netflix and Hulu at HD resolution from 2 to 4 users without buffering or lagging.

Is 200 Mbps fast enough for streaming? ›

Simply put, internet speeds in the 100–200 Mbps range are ideal for most households since they can handle common activities like streaming and video chat for two to five users at once.

Is 200 Mbps good for working from home? ›

Typically, an internet speed of 100 to 200 Mbps and above is really good, especially if you're working from home and spending a few hours in Zoom or Microsoft Teams meetings, fast internet is a huge plus. You're less likely to run into quality issues.

Can I use any router with RCN? ›

Tech Specs: All router devices are compatible with RCN and have either wireless N (single band, low speed) or AC (dual band, high speed) standards technology.

Do I need a cable modem if I only have Internet? ›

Your wired Internet connection will be provided via your modem. You can get away with merely having a modem if you only have one device that needs to connect to the Internet, such as a PC or laptop. However, if you have many devices or wish to use them wirelessly (WiFi), you'll need a router.

Do I need a modem if I have a wireless router? ›

The modem and router are essential in ensuring a stable and reliable connection. Without a modem, the router would not be able to connect to the internet, and without a router, devices on the network would not be able to communicate.

Does it matter what modem and router you get? ›

Your maximum internet connection speed is determined by your ISP, but routers that offer faster speeds still bring benefits for connections between devices on your home network. Always check compatibility for any router, modem, or combination you are considering with your ISP.

Which is better broadband or router? ›

Broadband connections are far more secure and consistent than Wi-Fi connections. 4. Plus, you can always connect it to a Wi-Fi router to enjoy high-speed wireless internet connectivity on your mobile and computer devices at the same time.

Do you get a router with broadband? ›

Most broadband providers send their customers a combined modem/router when they take out a contract. You might instead choose to buy them separately if you want to upgrade your router for faster speeds or greater security.

What is difference between WiFi and broadband? ›

Wifi is a wireless connection between multiple devices and your router, and just one of the ways you can access the internet. Broadband is the actual internet connection afforded by your internet service provider (ISP), which you can access directly via a LAN or ethernet connection between your modem and device.

What are the three types of broadband modems? ›

There are three kinds of modems—Cable, DSL, and Fiber—that operate via different cable mediums depending on your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Is fiber better than router? ›

Considering the difference in speed between both networks, fiber optic cables provide faster data transmission than wireless networks. While wireless networks can become slower during busy times, fiber optic connections remain strong, even during peak hours.

Is Astound an American company? ›

Astound Broadband is an American telecommunications holding company based in Princeton, New Jersey.

How much does Astound charge for data usage? ›

Astound charges $6.50 per 1–25GB block per month when you go over. You can add the Unlimited Data Plan for $20 per month or double your plan's data allowance for $10 per month.

How can I avoid extra charges for internet data? ›

Switch to an Unlimited data plan. The surest way to avoid overage charges is to choose a plan that doesn't have them. If a prepaid plan doesn't suit your needs, then consider a Start Unlimited, Play More Unlimited, Do More Unlimited or Get More Unlimited plan.

Who has the fastest Broadband in the world? ›

Internet Download Speed
#CountryAverage Internet Speed
1Monaco319.59 Mbps
2Singapore300.83 Mbps
3Chile298.5 Mbps
4Hong Kong292.21 Mbps
116 more rows

What is the highest Broadband speed in the US? ›

Xfinity provides the fastest home internet speeds—6,000 Mbps—for a major ISP. This Gigabit x6 plan will cost you a whoppin' $299.95 per month, though, so you might consider saving some cash by going with its cheaper 1,000 Mbps internet plan, which is only between $60.00 and $70.00 a month.

What is the next generation of Broadband? ›

The Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network (NGNBN) is an ultra-high-speed broadband network run on fiber optics. It is vastly superior in speed and allows for much higher bandwidth capabilities when compared to widespread broadband networks such as cable and DSL/ADSL.

Which company Broadband is best? ›

5 of India's Top Internet Service Providers for 2021
  • Airtel Xstream Fibre. When it comes to getting an internet connection for your family, your kids, or even your job, Airtel Xstream Fiber provides a large variety of plans to choose from. ...
  • Reliance Jio Fiber. ...
  • Excitel Broadband. ...
  • BSNL Bharat Fiber. ...
  • ACT Broadband.
Jun 23, 2023

How do I cancel my Astound Broadband? ›

You can cancel anytime you wish without paying any ETF. If you cancel within 30 days of activation, you can get a refund for the whole month. How to contact Astound Broadband support? The first way is to call the customer support team at 1-800-427-8686, which is available 24/7.


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