Solid overall pricing offset by middle-of-the-road cheapest plan
Additional monthly cost with the Tech Assure fee
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Last year was a busy one for Metronet, a regional broadband business out of Evansville, Indiana. In late January 2022, Metronet announced a merger with Vexus Fiber, a Texas-based internet service provider, that expanded the provider's coverage base to 16 states and over 250 communities. Six months later, it announced a rebrand with a new tagline: "You will love your internet with Metronet."
As it stands now, Metronet is the country's largest independently owned fiber-optic ISP. It began in 2005 in Greencastle, Indiana, as a family-run business. It's now led by Metronet CEO John Cinelli, who co-founded the telecommunications company with his father.
Metronet earns high marks for its commitment to fiber broadband. We've noted numerous times in our CNET ISP reviews that it's hard to beat the performance of a fiber-to-the-home internet connection. It's more reliable than cable, satellite, DSL and 5G fixed wireless, and it's the only one that can claim symmetrical download and upload speeds. Metronet has been committed to rolling out 100% FTTH networks from its beginnings in central Indiana. That makes it a provider worth paying attention to. But, as is often the case with ISPs, there are a few things worth considering -- and when it comes to Metronet, that includes an additional monthly fee you don't often encounter. But we'll get to that in due time. Let's explore more.
Metronet Internet: Where can you get it?
Metronet's headquarters are in Indiana, but its footprint extends beyond the Hoosier state. As of this writing, Metronet Internet is available to over 250 communities in 16 states: Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. Most Metronet service areas within those states are smaller cities and towns. However, some of the larger metropolitan areas covered include Aurora, Illinois; Des Moines, Iowa; Lansing, Michigan; Lexington, Kentucky; Rochester, Minnesota and Tallahassee, Florida.
Metronet Internet: Speeds and prices
Metronet offers several different speed tiers, which are all reasonably straightforward. And because its network is FTTH, it offers symmetrical megabits-per-second download and upload speeds across all plans.
What you'll pay for each of those plans isn't quite so simple, though Metronet does ease the pain by nixing term agreements and providing unlimited data. We'll dive into the details more, but first, here are the specifics. (Note: Prices assume you enable paperless billing.)
Metronet home internet plans
Monthly promo rate
Monthly standard rate
$50 (after 1 year)
100Mbps download, 100 upload
$60 (after 1 year); $70 after 2 years
500Mbps download, 500Mbps upload
$70 (after 6 months); $90 after 2 years
1,000Mbps download, 1,000Mbps upload
1 Gig (including WholeHome WiFi)
$90 after 2 years
1,000Mbps download, 1,000Mbps upload
$120 after 2 years
2,000Mbps download, 2,000Mbps upload
Show more (1 item)
Metronet Internet offerings are solid and competitive
The biggest thing about Metronet's plans and pricing is that nothing truly leaps out at me. Its promotional pricing is decent. Its speed tiers will get the job done, but they aren't excessively showy.
For example, regarding the promo prices, the cost per Mbps for Metronet's fiber gigabit plan -- is 6 cents, which is quite good. That's better than the gigabit plans offered by AT&T (8 cents), Spectrum (8 cents) and Frontier (7 cents), all of which are competitors in several Metronet service areas. It's also a touch better than the gig rate of Google Fiber (7 cents), which is a Metronet competitor in the Des Moines market. Of the significant ISPs we've reviewed thus far, only Ziply Fiber (6 cents), CenturyLink (just over 6 cents) and WOW (just over 6 cents) can match that introductory gigabit rate.
That said, the average cost per Mbps for the promo prices of all three plans is approximately 14 cents. While that's better than the promo costs for some of its cable competitors, like Xfinity (25 cents), it falls short of the average price for other fiber providers we've reviewed: AT&T (10 cents), Frontier (9 cents) and Google Fiber (6 cents). One of the main reasons? With maximum upload and download speeds of 100Mbps, Metronet's starting tier is slower than many other providers' opening offerings. For instance, CenturyLink's lowest fiber option is 200Mbps, AT&T and Verizon Fios start at 300Mbps, and Frontier's opening salvo is 500Mbps. So, while Metronet customers get a decent bang for their buck with the gigabit plan, you won't find the same value with its cheapest tier.
Metronet fairs a bit better when you compare its regular rates to those of its competitors. Overall, Metronet's standard rates roll up at an average cost per Mbps of 22 cents, which is still in the middle of the pack -- AT&T, CenturyLink, Google Fiber and Verizon Fios retain their impressive prices per Mbps because they don't do promo pricing -- but ends up cheaper in the long run than Spectrum (25 cents) or even Ziply Fiber (26 cents), which had a better promo rate but levels out after a year.
Lastly, regarding the "showiness" of its speed tiers (or lack thereof), I'm being a little cheeky, but I'm referring to the rollout of its multi-gigabit options. When we last reviewed Metronet, it offered no speed tiers above one gig. Now, it's unveiling a 2-gigabit option for customers across its footprint. While it's not available to all Metronet customers, here are the cities where you can sign up.
Hope Mills, North Carolina
Huber Heights, Ohio
New Bern, North Carolina
Iowa City, Iowa
Iowa Falls, Iowa
Raeford, North Carolina
Jacksonville, North Carolina
East Moline, Illinois
Sioux City, Iowa
Fayetteville, North Carolina
St. Joseph, Missouri
Greenville, North Carolina
La Crosse, Wisconsin
Mason City, Iowa
Show more (5 items)
Metronet Internet: Additional costs to consider
While Metronet's monthly pricing is fair, it also includes some customer-friendly approaches that not all ISPs embrace, including no term agreements (or the harsh penalty fees that come with them). Let's examine the Metronet costs a bit more to grasp better what you'll be paying.
No router rental charge, but whole-home Wi-Fi is extra
Metronet doesn't charge an additional equipment fee: it includes a wireless router in your monthly cost. While that's not unique for a fiber provider (AT&T, Frontier and Google Fiber don't charge for their router rentals), it's also not a given (CenturyLink and Ziply Fiber charge for their equipment leases), so that's nice to see.
If your household needs additional help with Wi-Fi, Metronet offers a wireless extender rental (what it calls its WholeHome WiFi) for an additional $10 a month. It's not a prerequisite, so not all homes will need to add this cost, but you should be aware of it nonetheless.
Unlimited data, so no overage penalties
Like many fiber providers, Metronet does not feature data caps on any of its plans. That means you don't have to worry about a throttled connection with slower speeds once you hit a certain threshold. It also means you don't have to fear looming overage charges if you exceed a data cap. Again, that's not uncommon among fiber providers. However, it's still worth calling out, mainly since the Metronet coverage map includes areas covered by cable and satellite internet providers, many of whom enforce monthly data limits.
Installation fees are lower than most
Almost all ISPs charge an installation fee when you first sign up for internet service, so it's no surprise to find that here. However, usually, that charge ranges between $50 and $99, depending on the provider. Metronet is on the low end of the scale as it charges a $25 installation fee upon signing up for service. It deserves kudos for keeping that fee lower than what most other ISPs will bill for the same service. That said, let's talk about an unavoidable charge we don't often see…
The give-and-take of the Tech Assure Program fee
The one part of Metronet service that is outside the norm among ISPs is what it calls a "Tech Assure Program fee." Here's what it is: It's a mandatory monthly charge of $12 on top of your regular monthly rate. Metronet says on its website, "the Tech Assure Program fee covers all service calls, technician visits, equipment repair and service or repair of any Metronet-owned equipment." In other words, it's essentially ISP insurance that covers the customer for any issues that might arise.
That's fine, but it adds $144 a year to your internet bill. That's not insignificant. I see the value of not worrying about the additional costs of any needed house calls or equipment fixes. But as an internet technology, fiber is the sturdiest and least finicky broadband connection out there, so (fingers crossed) you shouldn't need to worry about your internet constantly. I would prefer to see that be an optional cost for the consumer.
None of the streaming service perks, but a formidable referral program
Lastly, where some ISPs try to lure new subscribers by offering a trial subscription to a streaming service like Disney Plus, HBO Max or Paramount Plus, Metronet allows its customers to earn significant account credits. Metronet's referral program promotion encourages you to refer friends and family to the service. This means you can earn a $50 account credit for each person you get to sign up using your unique referral link. There is no limit to the number of credits you can earn. This rivals the aggressive referral program we've seen from Nomad Internet.
Metronet Internet vs. the competition: Customer satisfaction scores are more hit than miss
No ISP emerges unscathed when it comes to customer satisfaction numbers. The American Customer Satisfaction Index -- which we frequently use to help gauge how providers fare with US subscribers -- notes that the internet industry regularly ranks at the bottom among all tracked categories.
Since Metronet didn't earn an individual ranking score within the ACSI or the J.D. Power US Residential Internet Service Provider Satisfaction Study for 2022 (due to its size), we leaned on the Better Business Bureau. Metronet earned an average score of 1.29 out of 5 points, which initially didn't seem all that great. But it nabbed an A-plus rating, and its numbers were better than the scores of rival providers like Charter Spectrum (1.07), Frontier (1.06), Viasat (1.03) and HughesNet (1.02). Relatively speaking, it did OK there.
Metronet also did well on the most recent Ookla speed test reports. Per Ookla, Metronet crossed the finish line as the fastest ISP in Iowa. It was also the fastest ISP for the metro area of Lexington, Kentucky.
Metronet Internet: Here's the bottom line
You can't go wrong with an FTTH connection. Its reliability and the symmetrical speeds it offers are currently unparalleled in broadband. Metronet's commitment to building 100% fiber-optic networks is both admirable and forward-looking (or future-proof, as they say). Its plan pricing is quite reasonable, especially considering its coverage map plays in areas where cable and satellite services have previously reigned. While I'd love to see the Tech Assure Program fee become an optional charge rather than a mandatory one, I give Metronet props for skipping some of the other additional charges -- like the equipment rental -- that other ISPs tend to tack onto the monthly bill. It should be near the top of your list if you fall under the Metronet coverage map.
Metronet Internet FAQs
Who owns Metronet?
Metronet is a family-owned, midwestern company led by CEO John Cinelli, who co-founded the business with his father. Metronet's headquarters is in Evansville, Indiana, but it provides services in 16 states. In a 2022 press release, Cinelli boasted, "Metronet provides quality service to each of our customers through our fast and reliable fiber-optic internet while supporting the continued growth and economic development of the communities we serve."
Does Metronet Internet come with a router?
Yes. Metronet's monthly rate includes a router rental. You may need to pay an extra $10 a month if you need to lease a wireless extender to get effective Wi-Fi throughout your home, but it is not required.
Does Metronet have data caps?
No. Metronet Internet features unlimited data. Customers do not need to worry about any usage-based charges on top of their monthly rate.
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Trey PaulSenior Editor
Trey Paul is a CNET senior editor covering broadband. His 20+ years of experience as a writer and editor include time at CNET's sister site, Allconnect, and working with clients like Yahoo!, Google, The New York Times and Choice Hotels. An avid movie fan, Trey's career also includes being a film and TV critic while pursuing a degree in New York.
ExpertiseHome internet and broadband, including plans, providers, internet speeds and connection types. Movies and film studies.Credentials
Master's degree in Cinema Studies from NYU and interviews with Conan O'Brien, Stan Lee and some of his biggest Star Trek childhood idols