Cord Cutting Guides, News, and Reviews
Comcast vs Verizon
November 19, 2020
Xfinity and Verizon Fios are two of the most widely-recognized internet providers in the United States, and you’re especially likely to have heard of them if you live in the Northeast. Both Xfinity and Verizon Fios offer TV and phone services in addition to home internet. The big differentiator between the two is that Fios has a newer 100 percent-fiber network while Xfinity primarily uses cable networks. Fios wins in speed comparisons, while Xfinity adds value with hard-to-beat pricing on bundled TV plans.
In areas where they overlap, Xfinity and Fios compete aggressively in price and quality of service. We’ll get into the nitty-gritty of spec differences between Fios and Xfinity below.
Verizon Fios may be the second largest fiber internet provider in the US, but that’s nothing compared to Xfinity’s coverage. Xfinity is the largest cable internet provider with over 112 million customers. Xfinity is practically everywhere, which can make it a good choice for those of us who move frequently and like to transfer our service and home networking equipment with us.
It isn’t fair to compare Xfinity’s and Verizon Fios’ availability, because Verizon Fios only services the Northeast. When you compare their coverage in areas where they overlap, the providers are neck and neck. But Verizon Fios stands out more in areas where they overlap because of their fiber network.
Fiber is built to handle fast download and upload speeds. You’ll want fast upload speeds if your FaceTime, Skype, and/or Zoom video calls often have ‘poor connection’, pixelated views, or delayed movements and voices. Xfinity has a fiber network, but it is microscopic compared to Verizon’s: Xfinity’s fiber internet is only available to fewer than 20,000 people.
Xfinity’s coverage is greater than Verizon Fios’, but if you have access to Verizon, take advantage of their more reliable connection.
There’s no question that Xfinity and Verizon Fios offer high-speed internet plans. Cable internet can offer download speeds just as fast as fiber internet.
However, cable is less reliable than fiber. A quick Google search will reveal how often Xfinity customers complain about not receiving their advertised plan speed, which is something that’s common with cable internet connections.
That’s not to say that Xfinity is breaking something on their end. What’s actually happening is that a lot of people are trying to use Xfinity’s network at once. Your neighbors’ internet usage impacts how fast (or slow) your connection is. If your day-to-day activities are heavily reliant on a consistent internet speed and you want Xfinity, I recommend getting a plan with advertised speeds that are a bit faster than what you need. That way, you’ll be in good shape even when things slow down. However, getting Verizon Fios internet would be a better option, because Verizon Fios is a fiber network.
Verizon Fios speed isn’t affected by your neighbor’s usage. Among the major internet providers in the United States, Verizon Fios ranks first in Netflix’s ISP Speed Index, a ranking of providers that Netflix says offer the best (fastest) Netflix streaming experience. Xfinity falls behind, coming in fourth place. Whether you’re a cord cutter or not, Verizon Fios’ speed is appealing. It simply offers faster speeds on a stronger, although smaller, network for a lower price than Xfinity.
This is where things get a bit tricky. Plan features can make or break your decision, especially if you prefer one streaming service over another. For instance, if you’re a die-hard NBCUniversal fan, Xfinity might be more appealing to you: Xfinity internet customers get a free Peacock Premium subscription. However, Disney fanatics might lean more towards Verizon Fios’ free Disney+ subscription for 12 months. I would lean more towards a Peacock subscription myself, but I’d ultimately rather get faster speeds for a lower price with Verizon Fios — and I could always just pay for Peacock myself with my savings!
Xfinity and Verizon Fios have similarly priced plans with different speeds. Xfinity’s $39.99 a month plan offers up to 100 Mbps. Verizon Fios offers up to 200 Mbps for the same price. You could argue Xfinity’s pricing is affordable since their plan offers more than enough speed for a small household of cord cutters, as well as valuable extras like a free streaming device.
Unfortunately, Xfinity internet has a 1.2 TB data cap. It’s unlikely that a typical household will hit such a high data cap, but it’d be a hassle to add “check data usage” to an already full to-do list.
If there’s one thing that we cord cutters dislike more than data caps, it’s long-term contracts. Xfinity has one-year contracts for its internet plans, but you can pay extra to remove the contract. Verizon Fios really is cord cutter friendly: There aren’t any data caps or contracts on any of their plans.
Xfinity generally offers the best value on bundled TV and internet deals, which makes sense considering they started as a cable TV company. Their X1 streaming platform brings a lot of on-demand functionality and advanced features into the mix.
Xfinity has a clear edge over Fios when it comes to bundled pricing. Xfinity has a long history in the TV market, and surprisingly has been one of the faster innovators in smart TV and streaming service integrations. Rather than fighting the trend towards cord cutting and Netflix, Xfinity’s X1 platform rolls up streaming services and devices alongside their traditional cable offerings, which makes it a great choice for households with multiple people watching completely different types of programming.
The main drawback to Xfinity’s TV is its channel lineup, which offers 220+ channels. That’s average for a cable TV provider, but Verizon Fios offers over 425 channels.
Verizon Fios got rid of its bundles in exchange for a ‘mix and match’ option that allows you to create your own customized bundle plan. While it’s nice to have a plan made just for you, custom plans come at a high price (especially if you’re a sports fan).
Live sports is one of the main reasons to have TV. That said, sports fans will get a better price with an Xfinity bundle than Verizon Fios.
One-time fees like installation are a nuisance to say the least. Verizon Fios doesn’t charge for self-installation while Xfinity charges $15 for their self-install kit (or for its delivery). There’s a good chance you can avoid the professional installation fee for both providers if you sign up during a promotion.
The real fee to worry about is the monthly equipment fee. Xfinity and Verizon Fios strongly recommend using their equipment as opposed to bringing your own. Usually, I’d advise saving money and getting your own router/modem, but if you want an internet and TV bundle from Verizon, it’s best to use their equipment. Verizon Fios’ router is only a dollar more per month than Xfinity’s. When you add up the base cost of an internet plan and monthly equipment fee, Verizon Fios internet is still the lower-priced and faster option.
Verizon Fios is known to have exceptional customer service. Comcast on the other hand has had its fair share of customer satisfaction problems. At one point, Comcast was deemed the most hated company in the nation by 24/7 Wall Street.
Xfinity has improved its customer service and is now the third highest-ranking internet provider on the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Verizon Fios holds the top spot and has for the last few years. If you’re like me and only contact your provider when there’s an issue, then I’d recommend Verizon Fios for peace of mind. Having an issue with your internet is one thing; having an issue with customer service while trying to resolve your connection problem can be infuriating.
At the end of the day, the “problem” of choosing between Fios and Xfinity is a good problem to have. If you’re a techie, remote worker, cord cutter, or you just want a low-priced, high-speed internet-only plan, definitely opt for Verizon Fios. Xfinity makes more sense for sports fans looking for an internet and TV bundle or if you’re ready to cut the cord but don’t know where to start.
Your email address will not be published.
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.