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Wide Open West Internet review

The fact Wide Open West doesn’t offer service in the West is just the first problem.

Wide Open West Internet review
(Image: © Wide Open West)

Our Verdict

Wide Open West used to provide great service for a great price, but is struggling right now.

For

  • Good introductory prices
  • Good add-ons

Against

  • Limited coverage area
  • Connectivity is questionable

Wide Open West doesn’t cover the western United States. At all. Not even a little of it. That may seem like a strange thing to harp on in a review of best internet providers, and perhaps it is, but a lot of what’s going on with WOW right now is strange. Not too long ago, WOW’s customers were delighted with the service, the prices, and even the technicians. Now? Not so much.

Wide Open West Internet: Plans & Pricing

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Ohio
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee

WOW’s coverage area is limited to part of the Southern U.S. and a small slice of the Midwest. Even if you live in an eligible state, it’d be wise to check WOW’s site to make sure your specific area is covered. The only cities listed in Florida, for example, are Panama City and Pinellas, which excludes a massive amount of the state.

Wide Open West

(Image credit: Wide Open West)

WOW doesn’t do cutesy names for their different tiers of Internet bundles. Every area it covers gets the same speeds at the same prices, with the same available upgrades. In fact, WOW considers its straightforward pricing to be one of its selling points — and on that point, we agree.

It’s important to note that each tier offers “up to” a particular speed, which means you could potentially pay for the fastest and get the slowest and have no room to complain. 

These prices are only for new customers for the first 12 months of service. After that, the discount goes away and the fee goes up dramatically. As of this writing, the regular rate is at least $15 higher than the introductory rate, but that’s “subject to change.” 

  • Up to 100Mbps: $19.99/month first 12 months, afterwards $39.99/month
  • Up to 200Mbps: $29.99/month first 12 months, afterwards $44.99/month
  • Up to 500Mbps: $44.99/month first 12 months, afterwards $54.99/month
  • Up to 1GB: $54.99/month first 12 months, afterwards $74.99/month

Wide Open West Internet: Features

  • No contracts
  • Whole home WiFi

You can get Wide Open West Internet without committing to a contract — but make sure you read the pricing conditions first. WOW’s best prices are only available for those who enroll in AutoPay and paperless billing. The difference is only $5 a month, which is a fair price to pay for the flexibility. WOW also offers whole home WiFi through eero for an extra $9.99/month. More tech-savvy customers can simply purchase eero equipment themselves and save on the fee.

Wide Open West

(Image credit: Wide Open West)

Wide Open West Internet: Performance

  • Tends to buckle under the weight of high usage
  • Some customers get faster speeds than they pay for

Before the pandemic, WOW customers were quite happy with their internet. It dropped now and then, and the upload speeds weren’t terribly high, but overall the sentiment that it was great internet for the price. 

WOW’s internet connectivity couldn’t handle the extra load of everyone being home during the pandemic, however, and began dropping more frequently and for longer periods of time. Customers using WOW for their TV as well as their internet seemed to fare worst.

Wide Open West Internet: Customer Reviews

  • Bad connectivity
  • Pricing shenanigans

When you first look up reviews for WOW, they’re almost uniformly positive with a sprinkling of the usual gripes about late technicians or having to wait on hold. Sort reviews by recency, however, and things change dramatically. Starting around the end of 2019, the reviews change to be almost uniformly negative, and the complaints all sound very much the same. 

WOW’s internet drops frequently and technicians are unhelpful. Allowing for that to possibly be a side effect of everyone being home during the pandemic, WOW customers still have a lot to say about the company’s billing practices. Prices get raised despite being locked in via contract, customers keep getting billed after cancellation, and charges for services neither ordered nor received show up.   

Should you choose Wide Open West Internet?

  • Probably not
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

It’s probably not a great idea to count on WOW for your internet until the company has an opportunity to upgrade its infrastructure or fewer people are working from home. The company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you want to give it a shot, but keep in mind that one of the recurring complaints about WOW is that customers kept getting billed after they’d shut off service. If other internet options are available in your area, explore them first. 

Susan Arendt

Susan Arendt is a writer, editor, and consultant with more than two decades of experience from companies including AOL, Conde Nast, and The New York Times. You can find her most recent written work on Wired, or look for her on Twitter.  Be prepared to see too many pictures of her dogs.