Suddenlink home internet service: Great promo prices, worrying customer satisfaction

Suddenlink CommunicationsSuddenlink home internet service: Great promo prices, worrying customer satisfaction

The first thing that leaps out at you about Suddenlink internet service is the appealing price. In our CNET roundups, my colleagues have tagged Suddenlink as the

best gigabit internet deal

and also the

best rural internet speed for the price

. With Suddenlink starting at $30 a month for 100-megabit service, you’re going to get a good price on your internet service, at least at the start.

Added to that, you have no contracts, a money-back guarantee and, in most markets, no data caps. How can you go wrong?

6.4

Suddenlink home internet service

See at AllConnect

Like

Fast speeds with very appealing promo pricing

No data caps or contracts

60-day money-back guarantee

Don’t Like

Steep price increase after the first year

Customer satisfaction numbers have steadily declined in recent years

Alas, it’s not all roses and sunshine. Despite the tough-to-beat intro pricing, Suddenlink suffers from fading customer satisfaction rankings and a significant second-year price increase. Even though most of its footprint has access to its gigabit service, pockets still don’t see those fast speeds. On top of that, some Suddenlink areas have data caps as well.

That brings us back to the familiar mantra you’ve heard from us time and again regarding ISPs — the value of a provider often comes down to what it offers at your specific address.

Suddenlink Communications

Here’s where you can get Suddenlink internet

Suddenlink provides home internet service to communities in 17 different states. The full list includes Arizona, Arkansas, California, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. Among those states, Suddenlink has its highest concentration of service areas within Texas (over 100 different markets), West Virginia (40), Oklahoma (30), Arkansas (29) and Louisiana (28).

Suddenlink is actively trying to expand its footprint

When we reached out to Suddenlink to ask about its cable hybrid network, a spokesperson highlighted parent company Altice’s commitment to broadening its reach, saying its “continuously looking for strategic ways to expand our footprint, including new builds, fiber upgrades… to bring our advanced suite of connectivity products to even more customers.”Suddenlink home internet service: Great promo prices, worrying customer satisfaction

Further, Suddenlink currently offers its gigabit service to over 80% of homes within its reach and has the 2021 goal of upgrading up to 300,000 homes to max download speeds of 400 megabits per second or even gigabit speeds where previously the max was 150Mbps.

Suddenlink internet plans and pricing

We’ve listed below the plans available in approximately 80% of Suddenlink’s markets, but speeds will vary by location and some areas may not offer all four options. In some markets, you may have only one or two plan choices. Here’s the overview of what you’ll commonly find:

Suddenlink internet plans

Plan

Max speeds

Starting monthly price (first year)

Regular monthly rate (after one year)

Monthly equipment costs

Data cap

Contract

Internet 100

100Mbps download, 5Mbps upload

$30

$90

$10 (skippable)

None

None

Internet 200

200Mbps download, 10Mbps upload

$30

$100

$10 (skippable)Suddenlink home internet service: Great promo prices, worrying customer satisfaction

None

None

Internet 400

400Mbps download, 20Mbps upload

$40

$120

$10 (skippable)

None

None

Internet 1 Gig

940Mbps download, 35Mbps upload

$50

$140

$10 (skippable)

None

None

The starting price rocks, but a steep increase looms

There’s very little to complain about with Suddenlink’s introductory pricing. It’s excellent. While the exact plans and pricing you’ll get are dependent on your address, the promotional deals it offers are extremely competitive no matter where you live.

For example, the $0.15 average cost per Mbps for the introductory rates is better than what you’ll find with fellow cable providers like

Spectrum

($0.17),

Optimum

($0.21),Suddenlink home internet service: Great promo prices, worrying customer satisfaction

Xfinity

($0.25),

Sparklight

($0.28) and

Cox

($0.53). It’s even equal to the promo costs for

WideOpenWest

and the fiber offerings from

Verizon Fios

. Suddenlink is definitely a good value right out of the gate.

That said, I can feel your question coming: So, what’s the catch? To be fair, it’s not really a catch, but a common ISP practice: Like most internet providers, Suddenlink bumps up its prices after your first 12 months of service. Unlike some providers, Suddenlink doesn’t trap you by locking you into a term agreement that forces you into a higher rate or threatens a major fee if you break that contract.

A Suddenlink spokesperson told CNET that its customers would receive notice of the new rate 30 days before the expiration of the promo period. “The exact rate change at the end of the first 12 months varies depending on product mix and offer, and we also provide additional promotional credits at the end of the initial 12 month period to minimize the rate increase for customers.”

Additional Suddenlink internet fees

Suddenlink’s Wi-Fi equipment rental fee for the Altice Gateway is $10 a month, which is a tad lower than most providers. You’ll find that most ISPs charge around $15 a month for their modem/router combo.

Also, Suddenlink is pretty proud of its equipment — in April 2021, it introduced its Smart WiFi 6 gateway, which boasts up to three times faster than previous routers. It’s not available to all customers, but to those on the gigabit plan or the highest speed tier in areas where the 1 Gig plan is unavailable.

Avoid the monthly rental by using your own equipment

Although the $10 a month rate for the gateway is a fairly reasonable charge, you also have the option of forgoing that fee altogether by using your own equipment. Like most ISPs, Suddenlink requests that you use a compatible modem/router device and advises that you will be ineligible for the types of service upgrades and technical support that users of Suddenlink’s gateway will have.

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For the minority of markets with data caps…

As I mentioned earlier, over three-quarters of Suddenlink’s service areas are free of contracts and get unlimited data. But in some pockets of its coverage map, Suddenlink customers will face data caps. Most often, this applies to internet plans with max download speeds between 75Mbps and 200Mbps.

Typically, those data caps will be between 250GB and 350GB. Considering the average US household uses just over 460GB of data per month — according to Open Vault’s most recent broadband insights — I’d say those caps might prove to be a little tight for some. If you exceed those caps, you can expect to be charged $15 for each additional 50GB of data used over the limit.

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