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RCN and Verizon Fios are both strong cord-cutting options since they don't have data caps. I feel that Fios has stronger TV service overall, and their download/upload speeds are more than twice as fast in most areas they overlap. RCN makes more sense if you're looking for the absolute lowest monthly price and are willing to sacrifice some HD channels and on-demand options.

Choosing a TV, internet, and phone provider can be a major decision. RCN and Verizon Fios have their differences, and sometimes it can be difficult to wade through all the marketing and get a solid answer on the pros and cons of each service.

RCN offers fast internet at affordable prices, while Verizon features a speedy fiber network and a more comprehensive TV service.

We’ll take a look at both providers in detail and try to give you a sense of which company will best suit your needs.

RCN Pros and Cons


  • Fast internet
  • Affordable pricing
  • No contracts


  • Limited availability
  • Fewer TV channel options
  • Less support for sports

RCN has a fiber network that can deliver some upper-tier speeds, but there’s still a decent amount of their coverage area that’s reliant on cable, or even DSL. While their fiber network can almost keep up with Verizon’s, it’s not as easy to find. Most customers are stuck in their cable footprint.

RCN does offer service without a contract, however, which makes it a great option for renters and students. Heavy DVR users will also be more than pleased with the TiVo DVR.

Verizon Fios Pros and Cons


  • Fast Internet
  • Many TV channels
  • Good sports support


  • Expensive
  • Contracts required
  • Less impressive DVR

Verizon Fios is widely known as one of the more premium providers, and that sort of quality and infrastructure doesn’t come without a price. Fios is often significantly more expensive than RCN, offering more extensive TV options and a more established fiber network as a result.

Network Tech and Coverage Comparison

In multiple areas around the country, both RCN and Verizon Fios offer fiber internet. Fiber optics is the gold standard of internet connections, with data transmitted extremely quickly via light that bounces between plastic or glass rods. These connections offer the highest potential for speeds, but come with a drawback.

Fiber is not widely available nationwide because of the extreme expense involved in building up a fiber network. Much of the United States is already wired for cable connections, making it easy for providers to transmit internet that way. Fiber is relatively new, however, and many locations don’t have the existing infrastructure to support it by default.

If you’re lucky enough to be in an area where fiber is prevalent, you’ll enjoy the fastest internet speeds – in some cases, even up to 1 Gbps!

Although both networks offer fiber coverage, Verizon Fios is a little more established in this area and has a greater area where this service is offered.

While it may seem from the speeds table below that these providers have pretty similar speeds, keep in mind that RCN may offer much lower connection speeds based on whether or not you’re within range of their fiber network.

RCN vs Verizon Fios Internet Performance

Plan Download (Mbps) Upload (Mbps) Data
50 Mbps Internet 50 10 Unlimited
75 Mbps Internet 75 15 Unlimited
250 Mbps Internet 250 20 Unlimited
500 Mbps Internet 500 20 Unlimited
Gig Internet 1000 20 Unlimited
Verizon Fios
Plan Download (Mbps) Upload (Mbps) Data
50/50 Mbps 50 50 Unlimited
100/100 Mbps 100 100 Unlimited
150/150 Mbps 150 150 Unlimited
300/300 Mbps 300 300 Unlimited
500/500 Mbps 500 500 Unlimited
Gigabit Connection 940 880 Unlimited

Bundled Services

Both providers incentivize bundling multiple services together. If you’re looking to buy more than just internet or TV, going for a double or triple play option will save a lot of money when compared to purchasing the services separately.

RCN has some amazing deals when it comes to bundling, especially for new users. You can get a good selection of TV channels and internet speeds that rival Verizon Fios for much cheaper in a lot of cases.

RCN vs Verizon Fios TV Service


  • TiVo DVR offers users a lot of control and convenience
  • Mobile viewing via RCN2GO
  • Decent selection of channels with high-end packages
  • Consolidate your streaming services into your TiVo DVR


  • More than 560 channels with premium plans
  • HD support
  • Manage your DVR recordings online
  • Customizable TV packages
  • Watch on the go with Fios Mobile
  • Good selection of sports programming

While RCN is definitely superior on the DVR front, Verizon Fios just offers a more premium service for those willing to pay the price. Fios offers a good amount more channels than RCN – and one of the widest lineups on the market in general, for that matter.

Sports Packages


  • Watch your favorite sports including Football, Soccer, Golf, Tennis, Hockey, Basketball, and Baseball
  • Access exclusive premium content with NFL Red Zone and MLB Extra Innings


  • Sportspass offers access to recreational activities, extreme sports, and exclusive coverage of Tennis, Soccer, Football, College Sports, and Outdoor Sports.
  • Additional package options cover leagues like the NHL, NFL, NBA, MLB, and Soccer.
  • Pick and choose your favorite premium channels for individual monthly fees.

Although RCN covers the basics of sports, Verizon offers more comprehensive coverage to the serious sports fan. Support for extreme sports and recreational activities isn’t something you usually see with a baseline sports package, so it’s a definite point in the provider’s favor.


Image via Dave Winer/Flickr

RCN offers a better DVR with a model from TiVo. Verizon’s model, while able to store over 100 hours of HD programming, just can’t compete with the variety of features that TiVo has added to their DVRs over the years.

Verizon offers a more comprehensive TV service, but RCN pulls ahead when it comes to control and convenience. If you’re a heavy DVR user, the more premium model from RCN may make up for the lower amount of channels.

RCN Key Advantage: Low Prices and No Contracts

RCN is a powerhouse of a provider, with a high-quality internet network and a good selection of TV channels. It fails to offer the premium service of Verizon, but offers no-obligation internet and TV for an affordable price.

Verizon Fios Key Advantage: Fast Internet and Great TV

Verizon features a more extensive fiber network that’s available to more customers, and offers a huge selection of TV channels with their more premium plans. Fios offers the optimum in premium service.

Equipment and Installation Considerations

Both providers offer a self-installation kit that is a good amount less expensive than having a professional install your service. If you’re not comfortable setting everything up or your home situation is unique, installation usually costs around $50 for RCN and $80 for Verizon.

In addition to your regular monthly bill, both providers bill a small amount for DVR use and internet equipment each month.

TV Nerd Recommendation: Verizon, For Fast Internet and Great Sports Coverage

Although both providers offer a quality service, Verizon offers fast internet on a more established fiber network. The TV service from the provider is also more fully-featured, with wider access to channels available with higher-tier plans.

RCN is by no means a bad provider and is a solid option for a lower monthly bill and no contract, but it fails to offer the same amount of benefits that Verizon Fios internet and TV have to offer when it comes to Internet speed and TV features.

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