WOW! Internet Review for 2019

WOW! Internet’s price-to-speed ratio is frankly amazing. What’s not, though, is their availability.

Our Rating

PlanDownload speedUpload speed
Internet 100Mbps100MbpsUp to 10MbpsView plans
Internet 200Mbps200MbpsUp to 20MbpsView plans
Internet 500Mbps500MbpsUp to 50MbpsView plans
Internet 1Gig1GbpsUp to 50MbpsView plans

If you live in the Midwest or Southern United States, check out WOW! Internet. Over-exuberant brand names aside, “WOW” actually stands for “Wide Open West” cable internet – and the provider has some great things going for it, like: 

  • 100Mbps starting speeds;
  • 200, 500, and even 1000Mbps speeds in most locations; and 
  • Zero data caps.

But how do the other details, like price and actual performance, come out? What about using your own modem? Plus, WOW! is very limited in its availability, with service in just 9 states – so is WOW! in Knoxville? What about Columbus, Ohio? 

Read on to find out. 

WOW! Plans + Prices

Plan Speed Price View plan
Internet 100Mbps Up to 100Mbps $24.99/mo.* View plan
Internet 200Mbps Up to 200Mbps $34.99/mo.* View plan
Internet 500Mbps Up to 500Mbps $44.99/mo.* View plan

*Price varies with location. Price also for first 12 months of 2-year agreement with autopay + paperless billing.

When you visit WOW’s website, the site brings up a pop-up that requests your location from a list (you can see a screenshot of that later on). So, like most ISPs, that suggests that the plans and pricing your shown will vary depending on your region. 

That said, we didn’t see any difference when we compared places like Chicago IL, Auburn AL, or Charleston SC.

In any case, WOW’s internet plans start at 100Mbps and climb up in 200, 500, and 1Gig increments - and the prices really aren't bad. You won’t find 100Mbps for just $24.99 a month with big names like AT&T or Xfinity.

AT&T charges $50 a month to get that speed – and you might get 1/10th of it instead. And Xfinity charges $29.99 a month just for 60Mbps.

Those numbers continue to pan out cheaper with WOW than for either of those competitors as you climb the tiers.

So WOW comes out looking pretty good on price. 

Contracts

If you’ve ever compared internet service providers against each other before, you should be hearing a “but” coming at the end of the last section. 

Those low prices? They only come when you sign a 2-year contract with WOW – and only for the first year of that contract. 

Plan Speed Months 13-24 Price After contract / No contract Price View plan
Internet 100Mbps Up to 100Mbps $44.99/mo.* $54.99/mo. View plan
Internet 200Mbps Up to 200Mbps $54.99/mo.* $64.99/mo. View plan
Internet 500Mbps Up to 500Mbps $64.99/mo.* $74.99/mo. View plan
Internet 1Gig Up to 1Gbps $84.99/mo.* $94.99/mo. View plan

In months 13-24, your prices will jump up by $20 bucks a month – and once you’re past the contract’s length, you’re looking at an additional $10 a month on top of that. Ouch. 

On the bright side, however, Xfinity isn’t any better. 

Sure, you can sign a 1-year contract or skip it entirely - but, skip the contract and you pay an extra $10 a month. And in either case (contract or no), once your contract or promo period ends, prices will go up by $15-$20 a month.

So WOW! still comes out looking like a better deal.

Extra fees + Equipment charges

To start with you’ll need a modem, which WOW will gladly rent out to you for an extra $10 bucks a month. But if you plan on sticking with them for the long term, buy one yourself and save some money. 

Just check to make sure it’s compatible with WOW! here

But there are a few more fees to worry about, too. Luckily, most of them are optional add-ons, leaving you with just a 1-time install fee to worry about if you forgo the others: 

  • (Optional) Protection plan - $5/month
  • (Optional) Whole-Home WiFi - $14.99/month
  • Installation - $50

The Whole-Home WiFi is an extra that covers any slow or dead spots in your house – great if you’ve got a big place; unnecessary if you don’t.  

WOW! Internet Bundles + Deals

Sample Bundle Included Price View plan
Internet + TV Internet 100Mbps + TV with 85+ channels $64.99/mo.* View plan
Internet + TV Internet 1Gig + TV with 120+ channels $109.99/mo.* View plan
Internet + Phone Internet 100Mbps + Home phone $34.98/mo.* View plan
Internet + TV + Phone Internet 100Mbps + TV with 120 channels + Home Phone $89.98/mo.* View plan
Internet + TV + Phone Internet 1Gig + TV with 120+ channels + Home Phone $119.98/mo.* View plan

*Price varies with location. Price also for first 12 months of 2-year agreement with autopay + paperless billing.

WOW also gives you some good bundling options which save you at least $20 bucks a month – although that doesn’t hold a candle to the bundling-king Xfinity, who can save you as much as $60 a month. 

WOW also has a good deal at the moment: free installation with online orders; plus, the 500Mbps plan knocks the Whole-Home WiFi extra down to just $9.99/month. 

WOW! Internet Availability

With such great prices for the speeds they offer, what’s the biggest downside of WOW? 

Their availability. 

The current list includes just 9 states (pictured above), with as few as 1 city in each. 

So basically, if you’re not in one of those cities – touch luck. Check out our list of the best internet service providers to find one and learn how to pick the best one in your area. 

WOW! Internet Speeds + Data

So how does WOW! internet do with speed? Well, let’s take a look at some numbers. 

Netflix’s 2019 Leaderboard - which tests ISPs based on their speeds during peak viewing hours - gave WOW 16th place. That’s of 70 ISPs, so not bad - but it’s also a drop from last year’s ranking, which was 8th place for WOW. 

The main thing to remember, however, is that Netflix doesn’t test how well ISPs do in other online activities – just this one. That’s why we typically prefer to grab from the Federal Communications Commission. 

Unfortunately, however, the FCC’s latest report doesn’t have any data on WOW. 

That said, each of the other major cable providers on whom there is data either met or exceeded advertised speeds. That’s a trend upward from previous reports. So in theory, if WOW is following industry trends, their performance across the board should be doing alright. 

The only way to know for sure is to test them yourself. 

Data

One of the great things about WOW! is that you get truly unlimited data – no caps here. Most providers (ahem, Xfinity; ahem, AT&T) give a 1TB data limit. For most people that’s more than enough – 1TB equals about 400 hours of 4K ultra-hi def video streaming. 

But for some, it just isn’t. And when you go over that limit, you’ll pay around $10 bucks per 50GB of data over. 

Not with WOW, though: no limits – and thus no overages – here. 

WOW! Internet Customer Service

Consumers are not fans of internet providers. Whether it’s surprise price hikes or slowwww speeds – complaints abound. WOW is no exception. 

However, their online support page is well-setup. They have different section, titled “faqs”, “reference guides”, and “wi-fi tips.” You can also contact them by several methods: 

Recap

WOW! offers better prices for great speeds than just about any competitors, including Xfinity and AT&T. But, availability is limited to cities in the Midwest and the South. 

Unfortunately, national data is lacking for performance, but Netflix ranks them well. 

Overall, WOW! provides a solid price-to-speed ratio for those in their coverage area – but if you’re outside it, you’ll be out of luck. 

Q&A

Where is WOW! Available?

WOW is currently available in 9 states, including Alabama, Indiana, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Illinois. You can visit their webpage to find what cities in each state have service. 

Can I use my own modem with WOW?

Yes you can. Doing so would save you about $10 a month, or $120 a year. Just make sure you visit WOW’s list of compatible modems before you buy one. That said, here’s quick-reference table, courtesy of the above link: 

DOCSIS Channel Up to Speed
3.0 4x4 100Mbps
3.0 8x4 and 16x4 200Mbps
3.0 24x8 and 32x8 600Mbps
3.1 N/A 1000Mbps

How much does WOW! internet cost monthly?

WOW! internet monthly fee falls between $24.99 and $64.99 a month for the first year, with a 2-year contract. In the 2nd year, rates increase by $20 per month. 

After the contract has ended, or if you choose to go no-contract, you’ll pay $30 more per month – i.e. between $54.99/month and $94.99/month.

How fast is WOW! Internet?

WOW! internet provides speed starting at up to 100Mbps, and increasing in increments with plans of 200, 500, and 1000Mbps (1Gig). They ranked well on Netflix’s latest 2019 leaderboard, but there is currently no national data on overall performance. 

What do I do if WOW internet has an outage or goes down?

There are a few things you can do. First, hop over to this page on your smartphone and select your region. It’ll tell you if there are any current maintenance/outages currently happening or scheduled to. 

Second, you can visit a web tool like istheservicedown.com to see reported problems and even a map of issue locations. 

Beyond also calling WOW to confirm that it’s not just you, but a more widespread issue, you may just have to bide your time. If it turns out that it is just your home facing the outage, tech support should walk you through troubleshooting steps and send out a technician if the problem persists. 

If you find yourself facing many outages, it may be time to switch to a different provider. 

Luke Pensworth Written by: Luke Pensworth

Luke is the managing editor and site manager of Dailywireless. As a wireless enthusiast/consumer, he reviews a lot of services based on his own experience. Disgruntled as he may be, he tries to keep his articles as honest as possible.

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