Sparklight (formerly Cable One Internet) offers cable internet, cable TV, and phone services across 20 US states and focuses solely on broadband services for residential customers and businesses. Their largest coverage areas can be found throughout Idaho, Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma, and Arizona, with their coverage area expanding rapidly!
Using a hybrid fiber-coaxial network to deliver high-speed internet to residents in areas they cover they offer good plans for competitive prices, even if they are only available to a limited number of states. That being said, some users have found that the amount of data included in their plans is somewhat low when compared to other providers.
Let’s take a closer look into what customers have to say about Sparklight.
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Packages and Pricing
While the availability might be lacking because of the infrastructural limitations, those who happen to live in areas where Sparklight is available will be able to enjoy very high download speeds. Sparklight offers five packages, which isn’t a lot compared to other providers, but they do have something for everyone, including:
Lite 15 Plus
This is the basic plan that’s aimed at customers who do not need super high speeds and don’t do data-heavy activities like HD video streaming or online gaming. For $30 a month, you get 15 Mbps download speeds and 1 Mbps upload, with 100 GB of data included in the plan. It’s a good choice for anyone who only checks emails, browses the web, and occasionally watches some standard definition videos.
Starter 100 Plus
For $45 per month, this plan comes with 100 Mbps download speeds and 10 Mbps upload speed, as well as 300 GB of data included in the plan. This is a good plan for households with a limited number of devices connected simultaneously. Sparklight states this plan can support up to 5 devices at the same time without experiencing performance issues. Note that the $45 price is a limited time offer and only locked in for the first 6 months of service, with the price going $55 after that.
Streamer and Gamer 200 Plus
For $65 per month, this plan gives you 200 Mbps download, 20 Mbps upload, and 600 GB of data, which is more than enough for data-heavy activities like HD video streaming and online gaming. The plan can support up to 10 devices, so you can have your consoles, computers, phones, and tablets all connected at the same time without them interfering with one another for bandwidth.
Turbo 300 Plus
With $80 per month, this is among the more expensive Sparklight plan, but the 300 Mbps download and 30 Mbps upload speed, and most importantly, 900 GB of data included in it is worth it. Large households with several HD streaming devices will benefit from this the most.
Giga One Plus
Sparklight also offers a 1 Gbps (1000 Mbps) plan for $125 per month, with 1200 GB of data included, as well as an upload speed of 50 Mbps. Users can check whether they live in an area eligible for this newest option and simply order it immediately. If it’s available, it’s best suited for large households with many users and devices connected at the same time or those who operate businesses from home.
The downside? There are data caps to all of these plans, but you can upgrade any Plus plan and have unlimited data for a hefty additional $40 per month. When compared to some other providers who offer unlimited data with their highest tier plans, the combined pricing for this type of option comes off as rather steep.
Network Management and Performance
Sparklight actively manages its broadband network too, by employing the following tools and techniques:
- Limits to the number of sessions a user can have at the same time
- Limits to the bandwidth available for certain usage
- Detection and prevention of spam emails and virus distributions
- Measuring subscriber bandwidth usage and allowance
- Prioritisation of traffic
They do state that all of these techniques are used in a neutral manner – no services or apps are specifically targeted with limitations. Their main priority is ensuring that all the customers have equal access to the network resources – both in speed and bandwidth.
Sparklight also actively monitors their network performance, and according to the latest data gathered between January 2018 and January 2019, they experience heavier loads (prime time) between 8 PM and 11 PM. The speeds, however, are minimally affected when compared to non-prime time. In addition, their tested averages remain above the advertised speeds even during prime time, as you can see in the table below:
|INTERNET PLAN||ADVERTISED DOWNLOAD||TESTED AVERAGE DOWNLOAD||AVERAGE LATENCY|
|Starter Plus||100 Mbps||116 Mbps||49.5 ms|
|Gamer Plus||200 Mbps||218.4 Mbps||39 ms|
|Giga One Plus||1000 Mbps||924 Mbps||54.4 ms|
Net Neutrality Stance
Sparklight openly supports Net Neutrality, meaning they are fighting for the right to treat all data equally. They will not throttle or slow down data based on website, platform, content, or communication method, thereby helping their customers have a truly open internet and access to all lawful data on equal terms.
When compared to other service providers, Sparklight seems to have higher fees, especially when it comes to the amount of data used in each plan. All of their plans have data caps, even the most expensive Giga One Plus plan. While the data caps on most plans are gauged rather well for the average user, they might not be enough for all.
For every additional 100 GB spent after all data has been used, customers will have to pay $10, up to $50 per month. This basically means that after you have used up your data, you can get 500 GB of additional data for $50 each month, which is quite a lot of money considering.
As mentioned, users that need substantially more than that can opt for their Unlimited option, which is available for each Plus plan for an additional $40 per month. Note that even this option comes with a data cap of 5 TB (5000 GB), after which the speeds will be lowered to 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload until the end of the cycle. This, however, should be more than enough data for even the most demanding customer.
Installation fees range from $0 to $90, depending on the currently available promotions. All deposits and install fees are determined based on your consumer report, so you will have to authorise them to check your credit score for this.
A fully free installation requires you to be part of the Easy Pay program, which automatically deducts funds from your credit card, savings, or checking account.
Sparklight Modem & Router Review
To enjoy super fast connection speeds, you will need a DOCSIS 3.0 modem that supports them. For their 1 Gbps plan, it’s best to go for the 32-channel DOCSIS 3.0 modems. You can either lease it directly from Sparklight or buy from a third-party vendor.
The lease price is $10.50 per month. If you decide for a Sparklight modem, you will get Wi-Fi One, which helps you get 100% coverage throughout your home. The important thing here is that Sparklight guarantees good coverage and no connection issues with these options, so if you’re not satisfied with the performance, you can opt out of it.
Note that Wi-Fi speeds will be slower and will not depend on just the Wi-Fi modem, but also the type of device that is being connected. For example, the maximum possible Wi-Fi speed and iPhone 4 support is only 32 Mbps, while the iPhone 6 can support up to 200 Mbps.
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Features and Benefits
Sparklight offers several additional benefits internet plan users:
No Contract Required
All Sparklight plans can be used without commitment or contracts, so you can switch easily if you’re not satisfied without having to deal with termination fees.
Sparklight guarantees 100% Wi-Fi coverage of your home, and if you’re not satisfied with coverage, you can opt out of this.
For $5 per month, customers get an inside wiring maintenance plan. Their video, voice, and data lines (basically TV, phone, and internet) are covered with this plan, as well as education about using their equipment. If the issue was caused by the user, however, you can expect to be charged $45 per visit by a Sparklight Technician.
All their services can be canceled within the first 30 days, and you are guaranteed to get your money back for all the services, fees, and taxes.
Sparklight tech support is available 24 hours a day, via phone at 855-692-4113 or through email. Their billing support works from Monday to Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM, and can be reached at 877-692-2253. You can also contact them via online chat through on their website.
Sparklight has a self-help support section directly on their website, which provides a really decent coverage of the most common issues and questions regarding their services and features. They even have self-help videos.
On the “Internet” section of the support page, you will find troubleshooting guides that help you with anything – from changing your Wi-Fi password to clearing browsing history and solving a slow internet connection. You will also have access to great step-by-step guides about setting up your modem, connection guides, improving Wi-Fi coverage in the home, and others.
As for customer satisfaction, the most voiced concerns of customers is about their tech department being late to scheduled appointments, which is quite inconvenient if you take a day off to wait for them. There were quite a few negative reviews that date back a year ago, but as of 2019, with the new plans, speeds, and pricing, the ratings are mostly positive, and on average, better than other ISPs offering comparable services.
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Ways to Save on Sparklight Internet
For the data-heaviest users, it’s best to buy the Unlimited data option for an extra $40 per month, which gives you 5TB of data to use at maximum speeds. For those who might go over the data cap but stay below 100GB, paying those additional $10 might be a better option.
New Customer Benefits
If you sign up as a new customer, you can get a data plan at a discounted price and a price lock of 6 months on it.
Buy Your Own Modem
While the lease of $10.50 per month for a modem isn’t a lot, you might want to invest in your own modem if you plan to stay with Sparklight for a longer period of time. Just make sure that you buy a modem that is approved by Sparklight and supports the technology they use to deliver internet services.
Our Recommendation – Sparklight Internet
Sparklight is, as of 2019, a solid option for those looking for high-speed internet at affordable prices, but only if you don’t use too much data. All of their internet plans come with a data cap, which puts them at a disadvantage when compared to other providers who have either higher data caps or unlimited options available.
Unfortunately, it seems that Sparklight isn’t there just yet – even their most expensive plan has a data cap. All their plans can be upgraded to Unlimited for a $40 monthly fee, which is quite a lot when you add it to the base price of the plan. When compared to providers who offer unlimited data with their base price, it’s clear that Sparklight is one of the more expensive options currently available.
Still, for those who do not use HD and 4K resolution video streaming services and watch TV shows on their 4K TVs all day, they are a solid choice. Their download speeds are high, with upload speeds being a bit more limited, but still acceptable for the average user, and their latency and ping will make them a good choice for those who enjoy online gaming.
Is Sparklight Right For You?