A review of RCN’s service

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RCN offers some of the most competitively priced cable internet promotional offers available. RCN doesn’t impose contracts, termination fees, or data caps, so you’re looking at a winning combination—or at least an appealing one.

There must be a catch, isn’t there? After the first year, RCN’s monthly fees skyrocket. As a result of this, if your provider raises their prices, you have the option to leave or try to negotiate a lower rate with them before paying the higher bills. Even though you need to be aware of the extreme increase, it isn’t exactly what experts call “trap pricing.”

Let’s take a closer look at RCN’s Astound Broadband service.
Availability of RCN on the internet

RCN was founded in 1993 and is currently owned by Astound Broadband, which owns Grande Communications and Wave Broadband regional brands. RCN provides internet service in six metropolitan areas across the United States. For example, Lehigh Valley (Pennsylvania), New York City, and Philadelphia (primarily Delaware County) are included. RCN also provides its customers the RCN webmail that customers can use to access their accounts.

Pricing and plan options for RCN’s internet services

That’s when it started to feel like wrangling cats for me. There are no plans or prices that are the same for RCN customers in any of its six markets.

On pricing, how RCN stack up against other Internet service providers?

In general, the RCN market prices you see above are representative. Still, there are a few notable exceptions that experts would like to point out. There is an average cost of 8 cents per megabit per second for first-year promo pricing in all RCN markets and plans. For comparison, experts looked at Suddenlink ($13), WideOpenWest ($15), Spectrum ($17), Optimum ($21) Xfinity ($25), Sparklight ($28) and Cox ($29) as well as other cable providers (53 cents).

If you live in New York City, for example, you’ll be able to take advantage of some incredibly low prices. A promotional rate of $35 a month is available to New Yorkers who want to use Gig Internet. On introductory pricing, that’s a reasonable 4 cents per megabit per second for our friends in the Northeast.

That’s a good thing to know. After your first year of service, the price increases significantly. RCN’s regular rate, which takes effect after 12 months, has an average price of 57 cents per Mbps, compared to 8 cents per Mbps for the introductory pricing. The difference between the promo and regular rates isn’t the biggest experts have noticed among cable ISPs, except in the case of Cox (80 cents per Mbps).

What does that look like in the world? 

In comparison to other cable providers like Xfinity (which saw an average price increase of $15 to $50 after 12 months), Cox (which saw an average price increase of $15 to $26 after 12 months), and Spectrum (which saw a flat $25 increase for all plans after 12 months), all of these options have monthly prices that jump by more than $100 after the first year. It’s hard to swallow an increase of $100 a month in the cost of your home internet service when you’re trying to keep your finances in check.

Regardless, you’re not locked into a long-term contract with RCN. As your promotional period winds down, you can see what terms RCN offers or look into other local ISPs. Customers in Washington, DC, may choose between Verizon Fios and Xfinity. In contrast, those in Chicago can choose between Xfinity and Comcast. To be safe, it’s always a good idea to do your research. When your only other choice is Verizon’s DSL, RCN will still be less expensive. Still, those thinking about switching to Xfinity should be aware that the best rates require a term contract, which is not required for customers of RCN.

Additional charges for RCN’s internet service

There is a $10 one-time activation fee for all markets; however, the modem rental fee varies greatly from city to city. Philadelphia customers pay $5 for modems, while New York customers pay $10 per month for their service—which, to be fair, is less than many other providers charge. You’ll pay between $12 and $13 per month for your modem in the Washington market. Still, RCN charges $16 per month for its most expensive modem in Chicago.

Almost all plans include a free wireless router. This is not always the case. The best way is to call them and find out.

It is possible to avoid paying a monthly rental fee

RCN does allow you to use your modem and router to avoid paying for RCN’s modem and router fees. If your modem and router are compatible with RCN’s network, you can use them. There are several ways to get around RCN’s add-on options, but this may be the most straightforward.