Founded in 1993, Charter Communications quickly grew into a major provider of cable TV service. In 1997, it began offering Internet service through its cable lines. Today, Charter offers its newest form of cable TV, Internet, and/or home phone services, Charter Spectrum, to over six million customers in 28 states. So, what are those millions of customers experiencing with their Charter Spectrum Internet™ service?
Charter Spectrum basically offers only one speed tier. The top download speed of Charter Spectrum Internet service is 60 Megabits per second (Mbps). Charter does have other Internet services available, but they are not labeled as Spectrum and are not available in all areas. The basic Charter Internet offers 30 Mbps and Charter Internet Ultra offers 100 Mbps, depending on what's available in your particular area. The one-tier approach to Internet service differs greatly from other Internet service providers that generally offer several speed tiers in the same location.
The 60 Mbps you get from Charter Spectrum is a lot of speed. It will be plenty for small to medium households with normal Internet usage like email, Facebook®, or online shopping. People in large households, with five or six Internet activities happening at one time, may start to see slowing during peak usage times.
If you're fortunate enough to live in an area where Charter offers its 100 Mbps Internet, then you likely will have enough speed to handle your Internet needs, even in a large family. With 100 Mbps, you could have four people streaming HD video at the same time and a fifth playing video games online and you still won't be maxing out your bandwidth.
Upload speeds on Charter Spectrum can be as high as 4 Mbps. Most Internet activities don't require a lot of upload speed, so 4 Mbps should be enough for most customers. If you plan to do a lot of video conferencing, online gaming, or uploading of large files you might want a little more upload speed, but the vast majority of customers will find the 4 Mbps they get from Charter Spectrum to be enough for their normal Internet usage.
Charter Spectrum Internet can be a great value. Prices start around $40 per month or $30 when you include it as part of a bundle. When you consider that those prices are for the 60 Mbps package, you'll see that you get a lot for your money. After 12 months those prices will jump up by about $20. But, even after the price increase the rates are still competitive with other ISP offering that much bandwidth.
As with most Internet providers, Charter Spectrum also offers cable TV and home phone services. You can bundle these services together in different combinations with prices starting from about $50 per month up to about $130 per month. The prices vary depending on which services you include and/or the tier of TV package you select. These prices will also increase by about $20 after the first year. They will also increase again after the second year - double plays by about $5 and triple plays by about $20.
Charter charges for installation of all services. The exact amount of the installation charge will vary depending on several factors, including which services are being set up, the area in which you live, and/or the difficulty of the installation. Some customers have seen install fees as high as $79, but most are in the $20-$35 range. Occasionally you may find promotional offers that will reimburse your installation fees.
Customers who want a home network and don't have their own router can expect to pay $5 per month to rent one from Charter, plus a one-time activation fee of about $40.
While Charter Spectrum Internet service is affordable, setup charges can make the upfront cost pretty steep. Consumers should look for promotions with discounts on install fees to get the best deal.
Charter customer service could be better. On the plus side, Charter gives customers plenty of ways to get help when needed. Customers can find troubleshooting guides and information about billing policies on the Charter website. They can also contact customer service agents by email, chat, or phone 24x7.
The downside is that many customers do not find the Charter customer service agents to be very helpful. Most complaints center on long wait times on the phone, then when the customer finally connects to a service agent, the agent doesn - t understand how to fix the initial problem. Whether the inability to diagnose the cause of service problems is due to incompetence or simply a misunderstanding somewhere in the chain of communication is unclear. What is clear, is that several customers have had problems resolving issues with their service.
The vast majority of unresolved complaints are about Charter Spectrum TV™ service and unexpected billing charges relating to TV service. However, a few complaints were about the interruption of Internet service.
Because Charter serves markets in 28 different states, there is a huge variation in the condition of the different infrastructures used to deliver the Spectrum Internet service from market to market. So, while problems may occur in one area, that isn't necessarily indicative of problems in all Charter markets.
Potential customers may want to check for complaints about Spectrum services in their specific area before ruling out such a great value just because someone on the other side of the country is having issues with the service. Existing customers trying to resolve service issues may find the online customer service options more helpful than calling to speak with a customer service agent.
Charter Spectrum Internet includes its Security Suite® software for up to three computers. The software is designed to help protect your email accounts from would-be identity thieves. The security suite also gives you parental controls. These controls let you put limits on which websites can be accessed from your Internet connection. You can base the restrictions on age level, time of day, or the category of the site. This feature is great for households with young children.
Charter Spectrum Internet service gives you a lot of speed for the price. Most customers will have no issues with delays due to low bandwidth. The first-year price is great and, although the price does increase after the promotional period, it's still a good value.
The customer service leaves something to be desired, but that is not uncommon with any Internet service provider, and the service issues are not universal across all products and/or markets. Charter Spectrum Internet is worth trying for at least the first year, especially if you can find a promo to help lower the installation charges.