Mediacom Review – 2020

The Mediacom network is very cost-effective because it achieves a compromise between speed and cost delivering customers a respectable speed for their internet service without costing the earth.
Rating:
4/5

Overview of Mediacom Internet Services

Mediacom is a cable television provider – the fifth largest in the United States. The company delivers TV to its customers over coaxial cable and also uses those cable to carry internet and telephone services. Mediacom cable is also the fifth-largest cable internet provider and the largest Broadband provider in Iowa.

The Mediacom service area is spread out across 22 states but is highly concentrated in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. The company started operation in 1995 and it is still owned and run by its founder. Starting off as a private company, the business went public for a while, with its shares traded on the Stock Exchange, but returned to private ownership in 2011. Mediacom’s headquarters are in Blooming Grove, New York.

Mediacom has stronger coverage in urban areas and tends not to extend its network out beyond the suburbs to rural homes. The cable network is delivered to each property via coaxial cable. However, that type of cable only provides the transmission medium for the last stretch of the connection, which goes from the local exchange to the customer’s home. The rest of the network from that exchange back to the offices of Mediacom and the internet access point is run over fiber-optic cable. This is a typical configuration for cable TV networks and is called a hybrid fiber-coaxial network (HFC).

Fiber-optics cable has greater capacity than coaxial cable and it can carry data at much faster speeds. This combination of cables provides much faster service than DSL, which is run over copper telephone wires. However, it is not as fast as networks that are entirely composed of fiber-optic cable.

Table of Contents

Pros of Mediacom

  • Faster than DSL
  • Network is partially fiber optic
  • Month-to-month service option
  • Offers bundles that include internet, DirecTV, and/or telephone service

Cons of Mediacom

  • Data caps
  • Hidden charges

Some Points About Mediacom

Mediacom has a marketing agreement with DirecTV. This enables the company to offer a package deal that includes the internet service of Mediacom with the TV service of DirecTV. New customers can also add the Mediacom telephone service to that package. Buying this bundle from Mediacom works out cheaper than getting each service on desperate contracts.

Consumers need to be wary about advertising claims and check whether internet companies really do offer the speeds that they advertise. The fact that all traffic from a group of houses switches over to a common fiber-optic cable to get to the internet access point from the local exchange can cause speed problems. Even though fiber-optic cable is very fast, the company doesn’t quite provide enough of them. That shared trunk cable can get a little overloaded at peak usage hours and speeds for each household suffer.

The Report on Consumer Fixed Broadband Performance in the United States is an annual assessment of the internet industry made by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). One of the factors that was studied for the report is whether internet service providers really live up to their speed promises. To examine download and upload speeds, the FCC tested the connections of a sample of customers of each of the major internet providers. The test homes were distributed around the service coverage area of each provider and test took place during peak demand times.

The report found that Mediacom exceeded its speed promises for both upload and download speeds. The apparent cheating on speeds is a major cause of customer dissatisfaction among internet users. So, the fact that Mediacom exceeds its promises should bring the company a high customer satisfaction rating. However, this does not seem to be the case.

The ACSI Telecommunications Report 2019, published by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) shows that Mediacom has a very low customer satisfaction rating. In its surveys for 2018 and 2019, Mediacom had a much lower customer satisfaction rating than its major competitors. In both years, Verizon Fios was at the top of the league with a 70% approval rating. Also, in both years, the average approval rating for the industry as a whole was 62%. Mediacom was scored 53% in 2018 and 56% in 2019. This put it in 11th place in 2018 and 10th place in 2019.

Mediacom Plans

Here is a selection of Mediacom’s internet-only plans.

 

Plan Download Speed Upload Speed Data Cap
Internet 60 60 Mbps 5 Mbps 400 GB
Internet 100 100 Mbps 10 Mbps 1 TB
Internet 200 200 Mbps 20 Mbps 2 TB
Internet 500 500 Mbps 30 Mbps 4 TB
1Gig 1000 Mbps 50 Mbps 6 TB

Data caps are not unusual in the industry. They can actually help because if one customer in a neighborhood has unusually high data usage the speeds of all its neighbors will suffer. However, a 1 TB cap is usual. Very few residential internet users ever actually reach that level of data throughput in a month. The 400 GB data cap on the Internet 60 plan is very low, so be cautious about choosing that plan if you stream video regularly. On all plans, excess usage will be billed at $10 for every increment of up to 50 additional GB used. 

Mediacom Pricing Overview

The table below shows a selection of Mediacom’s internet service plans and their prices.

 

Plan Promotional Price per Month Regular Price per Month Installation Fee Activation Fee Equipment Cost/Month
Internet 60 $29.99 $69.99 $99.99 $10 $11.50
Internet 100 $39.99 $79.99 $99.99 $10 $11.50
Internet 200 $64.99 $99.99 $0 $10 $11.50
Internet 500 $59.99 $119.99 $0 $10 $11.50
Internet 1Gig $69.99 $139.99 $0 $10 $11.50

All prices are all subject to tax.

Subscribers to the Internet 60 plan get Total Defense Internet Security Suite security software.

The transition from the promotional price to the full price is a little complicated. The promotional price is guaranteed for one year. However, prices are not fixed after that period. The customer gets transitioned to the full price over a two-year period. During the second year, the price per month increases by $20. The full price gets applied in the third year. However, by the time the customer gets to that third year, the regular price might have gone up – it is not guaranteed to stay at the level advertised at the point of signing up.

Those planning on signing up for the Internet 200 and Internet 500 plans should examine their contracts closely and make sure they understand exactly how much speed they need. In both cases, Mediacom automatically bumps subscribers up to the first year to the next highest plan. That better service is supplied at no extra cost. However, if you don’t need that extra capacity, be sure to cancel the bonus at the end of the first year.

Those who continue with the speed boost plan will be charged $40 more in the second year of their plan over the price they paid per month in the first year. In the third year, they pay the full price for the higher plan that they got boosted up to. 

For example, a new subscriber to the Internet 200 plan actually receives the Internet 500 service at $64.99 per month in the first year, at $104.99 per month in the second year, and $119.99 per month in the third year, when they will officially be on the Internet 500 plan. Remember, if the price of the Internet 500 plan goes up during the first two or three years, you will pay that increased price in the third year. The offer on the Internet 500 plan performs the same plan switch, moving customers up to the more expensive Internet 1Gig plan.

All subscribers can opt to have their modem upgraded to a home Wi-Fi router, called Xtream WiFi 360. This router is delivered to the home automatically and subscribers pay the standard equipment fee of $11.50 per month for the first three months. If the customer doesn’t specifically cancel that order and get the Wi-Fi router replaced with a standard modem, the equipment fee will increase to $16.50 per month.

Mediacom Customer Service

Mediacom’s customer service is not so great, which might account for why the company’s customer satisfaction rating is so low. Each customer gets an account at the Mediacom website where bills can be viewed and paid.

Customer Service and Technical Support can be reached by phone or email and there is also a searchable knowledge base on the site.

It isn’t possible to use a live chat system to contact technical support. However, Mediacom has set up a community forum where users can solve each other’s problems.

Choosing Mediacom Plans

Mediacom offers a reliable internet service with good speeds. However, its current customers don’t seem to be happy. This could be because of the tricky pricing structure. While the first year’s service is very reasonably priced, the fast increments up to the full price could catch a lot of subscribers out. The free upgrade from the Internet 200 plan to the Internet 500 plan and from the Internet 500 plan to the Internet 1Gig plan is particularly deceptive.

The upload speeds of Mediacom are lower than usual for the industry and the data cap on the Internet 60 plan is especially low. Overall, you get what you pay for and it seems that the very good introductory offers and hidden charges are just Mediacom’s way of convincing people to sign up for services that usually are charged at higher prices.