Sonic internet is the preferred choice for locals, but if you’re in a DSL service area Xfinity may still be the more affordable choice.
Sonic is a California-based internet provider known for local customer service and a growing fiber-to-the-home service area. Comcast Xfinity needs no introduction, as the brand is practically synonymous with the word “cable” for most Californians.
Xfinity is the second-largest cable provider in California, with most of their coverage in the northern part of the state. Because of this, they overlap widely with Sonic, who has a coverage area comprising 7% of the California population.
This page covers plans, prices, and internet speeds of both providers.
Sonic vs Xfinity Internet Basic Features
|Feature||Sonic Internet||Comcast Xfinity|
|Starting price||$39.99/mo. sign-up price||$29.99/mo. sign-up price|
|Download speed range||20–1000 Mbps||25–1,000 Mbps|
|Upload speed range||1.5–1000 Mbps||3–35 Mbps|
|Network type||DSL, Fiber||Cable, Fiber|
|Contract terms||Contract-free||Contract required for cheapest price|
Sonic vs Xfinity Data Usage Policies
Many internet providers in California use data caps to manage their network, meaning that if you use more than a certain amount of data, you will be charged extra on top of your monthly bill.
Sonic does not have data caps in California. Xfinity uses data caps on some plans. 1TB is a common data limit for Xfinity plans.
Sonic offers internet plans with unlimited data
Xfinity places data caps on some plans.
Unlike Sonic, Xfinity Internet caps your monthly data usage. However, a data cap of 1TB should be plenty for most people. With 1,000GB in tow, you need not be wary of the amount of data you’re consuming during the cycle since you are highly unlikely to come anywhere even close to doing that.
In case you happen to exhaust the enormous data allowance, you can buy additional data at a slight premium. For $10, you get 50GB extra data.
Sonic vs Xfinity Net Neutrality Policies
Sonic is one of the loudest pro-Net-Neutrality voices among US internet providers. The company has actively taken steps to protect user privacy and preserve Net Neutrality.
Comcast has a public statement of support for Net Neutrality on their corporate website, but have removed some promises on the page related to paid prioritization of traffic in recent years.
Sonic vs Xfinity Pricing and Fees
Here is a breakdown of how common add-on fees compare for Sonic and Xfinity plans. These types of fees are common with internet providers, and can result in larger bill each month.
|WiFi equipment fee||~$9.50/mo.||~$14/mo.|
|Price increases||Bill increases after promo period||Bill increases after promo period|
|Early Termination Fee||Fee to cancel contract||Fee to cancel contract|
Note that fee amounts described above may vary by plan. See the plan comparison tables for Sonic and Xfinity below for more information.
Xfinity offers some of the cheapest Internet plans in California, with services starting at $29.99 per month. Also, these plans offer more-than-decent speeds for the price. However, these prices aren’t standard, and they could vary based on location. Thankfully, for Californians, Xfinity prices on the West Coast are usually lower than on the East Coast.
As far as fees go, you will be charged $89.99 if you opt for professional installation. You can opt to install things yourself using Xfinity’s self-installation kit, which is usually $15. If it’s your lucky day, you may find a deal on it or get it for free. Some other fees you could be charged include activation fees and early termination fees.
Equipment and Installation
To install Xfinity Internet, you may have to buy or lease Xfinity equipment. If your house isn’t prewired, Xfinity will install a cable line for you. Xfinity provides you (for a fee) a cable modem if you do not already own one.
Xfinity also offers the xFi Gateway router and modem combo device, which comes with parental controls and a simple Wi-Fi management setup. The monthly rental fee for the router is $14. Otherwise, you could use your own router and other equipment compatible with Xfinity services. However, if you choose to use your own equipment, you may lose access to Xfinity tech support or specific Xfinity Wi-Fi features.
Sonic vs Xfinity Internet-Only Plan Comparison
|Most Common Plan||Internet speed||Sign-up price||Final price||Avg price over 2 yrs|
|Fusion X1 (Sonic)||20 Mbps||$39.99/mo.||$49.99/mo.||$44.99/mo.|
|Performance Pro+ (Xfinity)||200 Mbps||$49.99/mo.||$70/mo.||$60/mo.|
The price of the Sonic Fusion X1 internet plan is $39.99/month for the first 12. However, the price then rises 25% to a final price of $49.99.
So, that means the price you actually pay for internet, averaged over two years, is $44.99/month.
Remember that Fusion X1 includes the following fees when you compare pricing:
- $9.50/month fee for WiFi equipment
Let’s compare that to Xfinity:
The price of the Xfinity Performance Pro+ internet plan is $49.99/month for the first 1 Year. However, the price jumps up 40% to $70 after that initial period.
So, the price of Xfinity internet is actually $60/month, when averaged over two years.
Performance Pro+ comes with some fees as well:
- $14/month fee for WiFi equipment
- Fees for using more than 1 TB
Xfinity’s plan options are relatively consistent within California. Sonic, however, varies wildly when it comes to speed and network type.
When comparing plans, you should first check to see if you’re in a Sonic fiber service area. If you can’ get Sonic’s 1000 Mbps fiber service, stop reading and sign up. It’s one of the best prices for fiber in the country at this time, and the upload speeds are many multiples of what Xfinity offers. (The only Xfinity plan with 1,000 Mbps upload speeds costs almost $300/month. Yes, you read that right.)
If you are only able to get Sonic’s DSL service, it can still be a good option — but Xfinity is generally cheaper and will be faster to install in a lot of buildings due to cable wiring being the norm for apartments and rentals in the area.
Sonic Internet Plans
Sonic has three different types of network, which will depend on your location in California:
- Fusion (DSL/LAN): Delivered over ADSL2+ or VDSL, based on how close your location is to Sonic’s Central Office.
- FTTN (Fiber-To-The-Node): Delivered using AT&T’s IPBB network.
- Fiber (Fiber-To-The-Home): Sonic uses its own fiber-optic infrastructure to deliver Gigabit Fiber.
The plans are as follows, with the 1,000 Mbps plan being their fiber network:
|Plan Name||Download Speed||Promo Price||Final Price|
|Fusion X1||20 Mbps||$39.99/mo||$49.99|
|Fusion X2||40 Mbps||$59.99/mo||$69.99|
|Fusion Fiber||1000 Mbps||$40/mo||$50|
Like Xfinity, Sonic doesn’t require a contract for plans — but you are required to sign a contract if you want the cheapest price. Expect to pay $10+ extra per month in order to avoid a contract.
Xfinity Internet Plans
|Plan Name||Download Speed||Final Price|
|Performance Starter+||25 Mbps||$50|
|Performance Select||100 Mbps||$55|
|Performance Pro+||200 Mbps||$70|
|Blast! Pro+||300 Mbps||$80|
|Extreme Pro+||600 Mbps||$90|
Note the prices mentioned above come tagged with a 12 or 24-month contract. Most plans will allow you to remove the contract for an additional $10–20/month.
Availability and offers vary by location. Your region may even have more plans to choose from. Also, if you get on board with Xfinity contract-free, your monthly prices will increase. Equipment fees and other applicable charges may get added to your monthly bill too.
If you would like to go no-contract because you have a move coming ahead and do not want to foot premature termination fees, the following are your no-contract plan options:
Sonic in California: Background
Originally called Sonoma Interconnect, Sonic is a Santa Rosa-based Internet and telecommunication company with a strong presence in California, which includes the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Sacramento. It’s independent, local, and pro-privacy. Several Bay Area Sonic customers are served courtesy of AT&T cables. Therefore, if you’re in the region and use Sonic Internet, you could have a wireless router with fancy AT&T branding on it.
Sonic has been DSL reliant ever since its inception. In 2008, it started rolling out ADSL2+, the faster variant of DSL, thereby offering speeds comparable to cable Internet. Thanks to its phone service license that it procured from California’s PUC (Public Utilities Commission) in 2006, Sonic added voice calling to its services as an option.
Sonic then made the jump to FTTH (fiber-to-the-home) and contacted its DSL subscribers thereafter with a hard-to-resist offer: promising speeds five times their existing speed for identical prices. Despite being a small firm, Sonic has been able to roll out fiber connections in California at affordable prices by leveraging its DSL and phone customer base.
Xfinity in California: Background
Besides offering high-speed, reliable Internet service, Xfinity also throws in a few added benefits such as Norton Security Suite for protection against online viruses, identity theft, etc. If you’re on the go in California, Xfinity’s reliable Wi-Fi hotspots across cities in the state can come in quite handy. These hotspots comprise a mix of hotspots set up in public areas and businesses.
Xfinity vs Sonic Customer Service
Customer service is where Sonic truly shines. The high reviews that it consistently receives on sites such as DSLReports.com attest to the claim. According to Sonic, they hire “nice people” who respond to and handle their users well. When on the phone, you are likely to get to a customer support rep quickly than you would do when on the line with Xfinity. Most importantly, you won’t get treated as a Luddite.
Unlike other ISPs or even most other modern-day businesses, Sonic puts in the effort to know more about you with constant engagement, and not through snooping on your activities. It is like the humble bookstore that knows your specific requirements if you happen to engage with it often. This is certainly the case if the glowing reviews of Sonic’s customer service are any indication.
If Sonic’s customer support rep is not able to comprehend your issue or unable to explain things to you clearly, they’ll get the right person on the line. The co-founder and CEO of Sonic, Dane Jasper is pretty hands-on too and has the tendency to reach out to his customers every now and again if there are clarifications to be made or important messages to be communicated.
One of the major reasons most people might opt for a Sonic plan over Xfinity’s services is the latter’s lackluster or almost non-existent customer service. Xfinity is not known for its after-sales support. Xfinity’s telephone support is particularly notorious for being time-consuming and unpleasant.
If you have an Xfinity store in your locality, visiting the store in person to address your concerns is a better option.
Sonic vs Xfinity Bundled Services
Xfinity lets you add services to your Internet package so that you could bundle multiple home services. The bundling, on top of that, comes with additional perks, such as free installation and Xfinity Internet bill savings. The bundle offerings would vary based on your location. You are likely to get premium channels at zero additional cost or a $10 monthly savings for every service added.
Xfinity vs Sonic for home offices
Xfinity and Sonic are both useable for home offices, although Sonic has more requirements for provisioning business-class plans. If you need a dedicated IP, SLA, and other business-class features, Xfinity will be easier to set up. Sonic customer service is local and techie-friendly, but it’s worth mentioning that Comcast Business service is separate from Xfinity residential service and has much higher response times.
Is Sonic cheaper than Xfinity?
With plans starting at $30, Xfinity Internet is certainly cheaper. Since it enjoys much wider coverage, it can afford to offer services for cheap, especially during the first 12 months. Sonic’s offerings are not expensive.
Is Sonic or Xfinity better for TV?
Xfinity lets you easily bundle cable TV and high-speed Internet. The Preferred XF Double Play package, for instance, offers you more than 220 channels and 150Mbps Internet.
Sonic has no TV bundle plans, but the internet connection is not capped in terms of data usage. Therefore, it is recommended for cord cutters.