RCN is an ISP in selected areas that provides cable and fiber-optic service. RCN began as a cable television and telephone corporation in 1993 and moved into the ISP space in 1997. It had risen to become the country's sixth-largest cable company by 2018.
Boston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and New York City are also among its broadband coverage areas.
RCN provides digital TV and phone services to both residential and business customers in addition to fiber and cable internet access.
Ranked #5 in Best Internet Service Providers of 2021 (tie)
Ranked #1 in Most Affordable Internet Service of 2021
Ranked #4 in Best Fiber Internet Providers of 2021 (tie)
Ranked #3 in Best Cable Internet Providers of 2021 (tie)
In our Best Internet Service Providers ranking, RCN is tied for fifth place. It stands out for its overall dependability, low cost, and wide range of options. RCN is tied for third place among the Best Cable Internet Providers. Based on its starting price of $19.99, it is also No. 1 in our ranking of the Cheapest Internet Services. In certain regions, RCN also provides fiber optic internet, and it is tied for fourth place as the best fiber internet provider.
Customers don't have to sign a contract with RCN, which is a plus for those who choose month-to-month contracts. It also offers customer service that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the United States.
RCN channels are not as commonly available as those offered by other cable providers such as Xfinity, which has a much larger presence.
RCN was not included in the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) study on broadband networks, Measuring Broadband America, due to its limited scale. There don't seem to be any restrictions on the amount of data you may use (data caps), according to RCN's website, although this isn't stated specifically.
District Of Columbia
In some metropolitan areas, RCN cable internet is open. Boston, Chicago, Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., as well as their local communities, are among them. RCN fiber service is available in many of these regions, but availability varies by region. By entering their address on RCN's website or call, new customers will see what services are available.
RCN provides six download speeds ranging from 25 to 940 Mbps (megabits per second). From the non-techie living alone to the busy household that streams TV and plays video games, this range has something for everyone.
The lowest plan's starting promotional price (which usually lasts a year) is less than what rival internet providers sell, winning RCN the top spot in our rankings of the Cheapest Internet Service in 2020. Please keep in mind that RCN pricing varies by venue.
Although RCN does not specify how many devices each plan will accommodate, based on your typical online activities, you can make an informed guess as to how much speed you'll need. A family of serious gamers and streamers of high-definition (HD) content on multiple platforms, for example, would need a more expensive package (experts recommend 250 Mbps and up). The starter package should suffice for a couple who checks email and watches the occasional Amazon Prime show.
For those that need to handle work-from-home video calls and massive file transfers, for example, speeds can reach almost gigabit levels. Depending on your use and how well your plan is doing, you can always upgrade or downgrade your plan.
RCN was not included in the most recent FCC report, which analyzed consistency, latency, and packet loss, so it's unclear how well it compares to competitors. However, the total cable latency and packet losses are 25 milliseconds (ms) and less than 1%, respectively. That means there should be no noticeable delays when playing online games or sound drops during web meetings.
Limited internet use
The 25 or 50 Mbps plans should suffice for most households that only use the internet to check email, shop online, and watch the occasional streaming series. To give you an idea, you'll need 5 Mbps to stream Netflix in HD quality.
Families with multiple devices
You should have a 100 or 250 Mbps plan if you want to listen to music while your spouse is on social media and your teenagers are playing video games with their peers. Choose the higher one if you want less buffering, or if you want to add more users and devices later.
Power users and home business needs
You don't want to be slowed down by lagging or missing links, whether your family enjoys streaming ultra high definition movies, is serious about online gaming, or engages in regular web conferences for work. For mega users like these, the 500 Mbps or 940 Mbps package is a worthwhile investment.
Fastest RCN Internet Plan: 940 Mbps
RCN's 940 Mbps internet plan is the fastest available. While it isn't actually a gig, a gigabit plan is what some businesses refer to it as. With that kind of download speed, almost any household could comfortably stream HD content without buffering, even though another room is hosting a serious gaming session. In reality, at this pace, a dozen or more devices may usually be used at the same time. According to RCN's 2019 rate cards, upload speeds are capped at 20 Mbps.
RCN, like most high-speed internet providers that also provide other services, offers consumers the opportunity to save money by bundling services. Pricing and promotions shift, but in general, if you sign up for several RCN goods, you'll get a lower promotional price or even the first one to three months for free. Customers may be eligible for free professional installation or a gift card in some cases.
Comparing packages is the key to deciding between an internet-only plan and a bundle. Getting a triple play (which bundles TV, phone, and internet service) can save you money over having separate providers.
Customers can also add eero Secure+, an add-on Wi-Fi security function that includes antivirus apps, ad blocking, and the ability to access all of your online security settings and resources from a single app.
Bundle 1: Internet plus TV
RCN internet and TV packages vary by region, allowing you to mix and match the plans that appeal to you. Customers can select between Basic TV (which includes local and music networks, streaming, and apps) and Signature TV (which includes 300+ channels and streaming).
Bundle 2: Internet + TV + Phone
Consumers may also purchase RCN Phone, which includes unrestricted national roaming, caller ID, call waiting, wireless voicemail, and other features. Your phone plan could cost as little as $10 a month, depending on the internet plan you want.
RCN CABLE INTERNET
More widely available
Many plan options
Cons: Cable is generally not as consistently fast as fiber
Generally more reliable
Cons: Only available in select areas
RCN is mainly a cable internet provider, with fiber optic connections available in select areas. Fiber optic internet would always be faster and more reliable than cable if given the choice. However, you must check your specific address to see if the service is available in your area. Even if the cable is your only choice, you'll be able to get enough speed for most everyday tasks.
Families with average internet use
People who prefer not to sign a contract
Not good for:
Those living outside select metro areas
RCN is a good all-around internet service with a range of prices and speeds to fit a wide range of customers. The key disadvantages are its limited regional availability and the possibility that its fastest speeds would not be available in all of its coverage areas. Nonetheless, it is the best cable internet network and the third-best overall. This internet provider might not meet your needs if you enjoy action-packed gaming or high-definition streaming with multiple devices and RCN's top-tier 940 Mbps plan isn't affordable.
Check if you’re in the service area:
When you visit RCN's website to inquire about plans, the first prompt you'll see is to check for availability at your address.
Evaluate your internet needs:
The number of devices in your home and the types of activities you do will determine how much pace you need. Video conferencing and intensive gaming, for example, necessitate more speed than checking Facebook and email.
Schedule an installation after you've decided on a strategy. Decide if you'll use your own equipment or borrow RCN's (see below for more details on that).
Depends entirely on your requirements, you might be able to install RCN internet equipment yourself. Professional installation by RCN is needed in some situations, such as when cable needs to be run into your home. Customers should expect two-hour service windows from RCN, and there are occasionally deals for free installation. Installation fees may be charged if this is not the case.
You can pick up the equipment at one of the company's payment centers or have it delivered to you if you can self-install.
DIY Is Best For:
A basic modem/router hookup without wiring
Those with basic tech knowledge
Professional Installation Is Best For:
Customers who qualify for free professional installation
When cable wiring needs to be added or replaced
Typical RCN Contract Length: Month-to-month
1. Call or chat with customer service:
2. Plan to return any equipment
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