Charter Spectrum internet and cable service plans and packages review
Charter Spectrum, or Charter Communications, is one of the biggest private internet and cable providers in the United States. The company has had a rocky past, but it has managed to bounce back in recent years to provide Americans with quality internet access. Through the company's Spectrum Internet service, millions of Americans now have a multitude of options available in regards to their internet connections and cable television subscriptions.
In 2009, the company actually had to declare bankruptcy after racking up more than $8 billion in debt. The company had to sell a lot of its assets to stay afloat, and hundreds of employees had to be laid off. Fortunately, the company was able to recover, and it was ready to serve more than 6.8 million customers across 29 states. Shortly after its recovery, the company employed more than 21,000 people.
In 2013, the company's growth skyrocketed when it made several acquisitions. The company acquired Optimum West from Cablevision. Charter Spectrum spent more than $1.6 billion to purchase the company, which is used to expand its influence in the west. In 2016, the company acquired Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, which it bought for a whopping $71.4 billion. This officially made Charter Spectrum the third largest cable television network in the United States. Now, the company serves more than 25 million customers across 41 states, and it has become a force to be reckoned with in the telecommunications market. The company is currently the second largest cable service providers in the United States, right behind Comcast. It is also the fifth largest residential telephone service provider in the country.
Charter Communications provides highly reliable internet connections through its Spectrum Internet service. Depending on the location, necessary internet subscriptions will usually include internet connections with speeds of up to 30 megabits per second. Higher rates are of course available through more top-tier plans. Internet connection speeds for these more top-tier plans could go as high as 100 megabits per second in some areas. For some residents, Charter Spectrum may be the only cable internet provider that is available in town. This means that residents are often left with choosing between getting a DSL connection, subscribing to a wireless internet plan, or going for the company’s Spectrum Internet service.
Compared to the DSL and wireless, cable internet connections are significantly faster concerning maximum download speeds. The coaxial cable wires that are being used to bring cable internet access to residents is able to support much larger bandwidths than the copper wires used for standard DSL. Given the fact that most of the homes and business establishments in major cities already have coaxial cable lines running into them, the company's coverage is relatively extensive. Cable connections are also relatively much more robust and are less vulnerable to outages when compared to DSL.
The company's increased coverage can also be attributed to its multiple acquisitions as subscribers of companies such as Bright House and Time Warner have now been placed under the Charter Spectrum brand. Taking over these companies' existing cable networks has also allowed the company to reach even more locations than ever before. Charter Spectrum is expected to dramatically increase its cable infrastructure in rural areas throughout the coming years.
The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has required the company to extend its service to at least two million more customers in the next couple of years. This requirement was put in place as a stipulation as a result of the recent acquisition of Time Warner Cable.
Compared to the services that it had been offering its customers in the past, Charter’s Spectrum Internet services have been upgraded to take advantage of new technologies that have gradually made their services more reliable and faster than ever. In most areas, the company's internet service now utilizes a hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) network, which basically combines the best features of both cable and fiber optics.
The technology essentially involves the use of fiber optic cables to send signals at the speed of light to individual hubs spread across different areas. Regular coaxial wires are then used to distribute the bandwidth to various households and businesses within these areas. Compared to regular cable service, this technology allows cable internet providers to offer much faster internet speeds that couldn't be otherwise achieved. In some regions, speeds of up to 300 megabits per second may be achievable. The only disadvantage of cable subscriptions is that they are in fact based on a shared connection. Neighborhoods and different areas basically share just one link, which means that if there are too many users that are online at the same time, internet connection speeds may fluctuate.
DSL, on the other hand, is a dedicated type of connection, which means that internet speeds are more consistent. However, due to the significantly higher bandwidth capacities, most users probably will not notice a drop of 10 to 20 megabits per second on a fast 100 megabits per second connection. Because of the recent acquisitions, Charter Spectrum's service quality and overall performance will significantly vary from state to state. However, the company is working to consolidate all of its resources so that it can provide the same quality service across the country.
Charter Spectrum's basic internet-only plan is usually priced at around $49.95 per month. This already includes an internet connection with speeds of up to 60 megabits per second. These types of speeds should be more than enough for three or more users who typically use their internet connections for medium to heavy online activities such as HD video streaming and online multi-player gaming. In most areas, the company doesn't indeed impose a mandatory monthly data cap. This is a massive advantage for those who want stream movies and shows all day long.
Having a monthly data cap is usually a deal breaker for most subscribers. Other internet providers such as Comcast and AT&T will have a strictly imposed monthly data cap of around 1 terabyte per month depending on the type of plan. Users who exceed their monthly allocated data will have their connections severely throttled down. The speeds are then returned to normal after their billing cycle rolls over. Fortunately, this won't be an issue with Charter Spectrum.
Another significant advantage of going for a Charter Spectrum Internet plan is that the company currently doesn't impose any form of a contract for its necessary internet-only plans. This type of procedure should be perfect for students, renters, transients, and other individuals who want to avoid any kind of lock-in contract. It has to be noted that cable internet connections are a bit more expensive than standard DSL subscriptions. Charter's advertised monthly rates are also only good for the first year of the relationship.
The $44.95 per month price for the basic plan, for example, will increase to $64.99 per month once the one-year discount expires. Despite its slightly higher monthly rates, cable internet does offer twice the speeds of regular DSL connections. Getting a cable internet connection is also the only option, apart from fiber optics, to stream high-resolution content such as 4K Ultra HD videos from services such as Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu. Paying an extra $10 or $20 should be well worth it for people who want to avoid unwanted buffering of their videos.
Aside from offering internet service, Charter Spectrum currently has a wide array of different facilities including satellite television, cable television, and residential telephone subscriptions. The company provides most of these services through different packages that are priced quite competitively. The company has recently been working on simplifying their bundled offerings with reduced add-on fees and easy installation.
One of the most popular bundles that are being offered by the company is its Triple Play Select Package, which does give customers a lot of value for their money. The bundle includes a high-speed internet connection with speeds of up to 60 megabits per second, a flexible cable television subscription, and a residential telephone line. The company is currently offering this plan at just $89.97 per month for the first year. After the first year is done, the price jumps up to $149.97 per month. The monthly rate, especially in the second year, may be too expensive for most, but it has to be noted that the services that are included are quite substantial. For one, the cable television subscription that is part of the package does contain more than 125 channels. These channels include local, national, and international channels, such as MTV, ESPN, CNN, MTV, and the Weather Channel. The plan also consists of a DVR recorder that will be able to record up to 21 HD movies.
Considering that there are currently no data caps to speak of, customers can literally enjoy the best of both worlds when it comes to their video consumption. Subscribers will have the option of either watching their favorite shows on their television sets or view them online using different video streaming services. The residential telephone line that is included in the package also allows customers to call long-distance telephone numbers without any limitations.