RCN isn’t as well known as bigger cable companies like Xfinity, but they offer some of the better value Internet deals in cities like DC, Chicago, and NYC. Their service comes contract-free, making it a good pick for renters in particular.
RCN Internet service also comes free of data caps, which is helpful for those of us who prefer to “cut the cord” from traditional cable. That said, they do have a variety of basic cable plans that work well for family homes.
Here’s a rundown on the best current RCN deals, plans, and promotions.
Best Overall Value RCN Deals
RCN Internet-Only 50 Mbps
RCN is currently offering their basic 50 Mbps Internet plan for a 1-year promotional rate of $29.99. This is insanely cheap when compared to competing cable providers like Comcast or DSL alternatives like AT&T.
The 50 Mbps download speed of this plan is enough to handle HD streaming to multiple devices in a household of 3–5 people. The upload speed varies from area to area, but is generally enough to handle gaming and video chat. (FaceTime, Skype, etc.)
Like all RCN plans, the 50 Mbps Internet-only plan comes without data caps, making it a good choice for frequent Netflix watchers.
RCN Double Play Internet + TV
RCN's base level Internet/TV double play plan is the best value currently, and is a good pick for family homes that want a mix of tradition cable and streamed Netflix/Roku content.
The 250 Mbps download speed is more than enough for a house with kids (or a bunch of roommates), and the TV channels help fill out areas that are hard to get on streaming platforms. (Local sports, Showtime, etc.) Note that the WiFi equipment is priced separately for this plan, although you can sometimes work around that small fee by using your own equipment.
As with their Internet-only plans, note that this plan has a "final price" after the first year of $44.99/month. The final price changes from address to address, so you have to call and speak to a sales rep in order to get an exact quote. For renters that are only around one year regardless, this doesn't matter and since it's contract-free you can cancel at any time without paying a penalty.
All Current RCN Plans
RCN speed and pricing changes dramatically from block to block compared to larger providers. As a result, potential customers should confirm the speed and “final price” they’re signing up for before agreeing to RCN service.
Depending on the network quality and competition from other providers in your area, the “final price” you pay after the first year of RCN service can vary significantly.
Who is RCN Good For?
RCN is commonly compared to DSL and Fiber plans, especially in NYC. As a rule of thumb, we recommend Fiber providers like Verizon Fios if you have access at your address, since they provide symmetrical upload speeds.
RCN upload speed are slower than the download rates, which is normal for cable Internet. This is true on most of their “Gigabit” plans as well, since these plans still use coaxial cable in the areas near subscribers rather than more modern fiber-optic cables.
That said, RCN has much better performance overall than DSL providers like AT&T. If you’re choosing between RCN and a DSL provider, RCN is almost always the way to go.
RCN Equipment Fees
Like most Internet providers, RCN charges a monthly fee for most of their Wi-Fi equipment. The modem is often included free, but the router costs around $11/month. “Gateway” devices that combine the modem and router in one box also cost around $11/month.
RCN keeps an updated listing of modem and router brands they lease with service on their website.
For customers who want to use their own modem and router to save the monthly fee, they also provide information on compatible Wi-Fi devices. Note that the equipment you need to buy for one of the RCN gigabit plans will be more expensive up-front than equipment for the average 50 Mbps cable plan.
RCN DVR and TV Equipment Fees
|6 Tuner TiVo DVR||150 HD hrs||6||$15|
|4 Tuner TiVo DVR||75 HD hrs||4||$15|
|2 Tuner TiVo DVR||45 HD hrs||2||$10|
RCN Is Best for Cord Cutters and Rental Homes
RCN has a leg up on competitors when it comes to customer service. The only consistent complaint we found while analyzing reviews submitted by customers is that the pricing can vary so much from place to place.
This is frustrating for long-time customers who feel it’s unfair for new customers to get a standard rate while they pay more or less depending on whether or not they have another Internet option available.
If you want no-contract, functional cable Internet with no data caps and local customer service, RCN is one of the only major options in their service area.
James Webb is a tech and gadgets expert with a focus on educational content development. He draws on his background in the startup world to make complicated technologies and topics easy to understand for normal folks.