The Ultimate Guide to Spectrum Home WiFi

Spectrum InternetAre you curious about Spectrum Home WiFi? In today’s world, everyone has electronic devices. From smartphones, tablets and smart home accessories to gaming consoles, they are all more enjoyable when your home has Wi-Fi installed. Let’s face it, when you have this many devices, it doesn’t make sense to rely on LAN wires!

Through the use of Wi-Fi routers, you can have an internet signal regardless of where you are in your home. It also allows you to run many gadgets rather than just one or two. So, your children can stream TV shows, you can shop online and Alexa can be waiting for her next command, all at once!

One of the best WiFi providers is Spectrum Internet. If it’s available in your area, you should seriously consider it. Why, you ask? Charter Communications offers in-home wireless internet speeds that are lightning fast. When you combine their fast internet speeds with reliable service and affordable prices, they really can’t be beaten!

What Does A Spectrum Wi-Fi Package Include?

Spectrum WiFiChoosing Spectrum home Wi-Fi gives you peace of mind. You will receive a high-quality router that provides signal everywhere in your home, with access to enough bandwidth to do everything you want to do.

Not only will you be able to connect all of your wireless devices, but you’ll also have the choice of connecting up to 5 wired devices as well. So, for all of you gamers, this allows you to have wired connections for gaming consoles, computers and TVs. This connectivity is great because the items that require the most bandwidth won’t clog the wireless network.

Spectrum also provides 24/7 customer support to assist with setting up services, testing equipment or anything other issues that may arise.

Top Advantages of Choosing Spectrum Home WiFi

Just to recap, let’s look at a list of advantages of installing Wi-Fi in your home:

  • You can connect numerous devices to your wireless internet. The lack of cords will allow you to travel all over your home and still be able to access the internet.
  • Many electronic devices don’t have LAN ports anymore, so this makes using a wired connection impossible.
  • If for some reason the signal doesn’t reach everywhere in your home, you simply need to invest in a Wi-Fi extender, and your signal will be transmitted further.
  • You’ll receive fast speeds, plenty of bandwidth, and 24/7 customer service.

Spectrum Internet ConnectionShould I Choose A Wired Connection or Wi-Fi?

The answer to this question depends on your individual needs. To make an informed decision, you should understand the difference between Wi-Fi and Ethernet.

Will you use mostly mobile devices?

If you answered yes to this question, then you should make sure to have Wi-Fi services in your home. As we mentioned above, most of these devices do not come equipped with Ethernet ports, so using a cable connection for the internet will be impossible.

Do you play games online?

If so, you should consider getting both services. Gaming consoles such as Xbox and PlayStation will work faster when connected through a cable. In addition, they are known to clog wireless networks. The same goes for smart TVs and PCs.

When you sign up for Spectrum home internet, the provided modem will automatically allow you to connect via Ethernet cables. However, adding Wi-Fi to your services will give you more convenience and the capabilities to use any device.

Streaming Services Through Spectrum Home Wi-Fi Do Not Buffer

There’s nothing worse than trying to stream your favorite show and the dreaded buffering screen appears. When you choose Spectrum Home Wi-Fi, you will have wall-to-wall connectivity and this will no longer be an issue.

Spectrum’s glitch-free Wi-Fi gives you access to download or stream shows, movies and other TV content with no loading issues. So, if you subscribe to Spectrum Streaming Services or other fee-based services, this internet service will never leave you frustrated.

How Much Does Spectrum WiFi Cost?

We all know that home internet service can get expensive. However, you need not worry about this with Spectrum. Once you are already an internet customer, it only costs a small fee more to include WiFi services. You won’t find better services elsewhere because Spectrum Wi-Fi doesn’t come with binding contracts or data caps.

Here’s a chart to help break down the total costs:

First, you will choose one of three internet packages:

Spectrum Internet Plan Speed Price (for 12 months)
Spectrum Internet Up to 100 Mbps $49.99/mo
Spectrum Internet Ultra Up to 400 Mbps $69.99/mo
Spectrum Internet Gig Up to 940 Mbps $109.99/mo

The plan you choose will need to be based on your needs, but for many residential customers speeds up to 100 Mbps are sufficient. Also keep in mind that you can bundle your Spectrum internet service with phone or cable TV service to receive a monthly discount.

The other thing to keep in mind is that not all of these speeds are available everywhere. To determine what choices are available in your area, it’s best to speak with a customer service representative.

Once you’ve chosen your monthly internet package, there are a few other costs associated with Spectrum Home Wi-Fi. Let’s take a look at those:

Service Service Charge
One-time activation fee $9.99
Standard installation fee $49.99
Home Wi-Fi Charges $5 per month

So, Why Choose Spectrum Home Wi-Fi?

Spectrum Whole House WiFiOnce you choose Spectrum as your internet service provider, they will give you a free modem to connect to their grid. This is a huge perk because some competitors make you pay for the modem!

To access the Wi-Fi services, you will need a router, yet rather than you trying to find a compatible router, Spectrum handles this. That’s what the affordable $5 per month fee is for. Their pre-configured Wi-Fi requires no set-up.

We should also mention that Spectrum uses some of the best routers. They use high-powered radios that offer better range and are dual-band concurrent, which gives you full access to the 5.0GHz frequency band.

Not to worry if you have older devices, though. Their routers also operate on the 2.4GHz band to ensure that their services are compatible with all devices. Charter Spectrum is one of the few companies currently offering routers that are dual-band. They do whatever they can to ensure their products are not outdated.

Routers That Work With Spectrum WiFi Services

If you don’t want to rent a router from Spectrum, you don’t have to. You may already have one that is compatible with the service. Or, you may not mind purchasing one outright versus paying the extra $5 per month for renting one.

At any rate, the only thing you need to double-check is that the router is compatible. Here’s a list of the best routers approved by Spectrum:

Linksys EA7500 Wireless Router:

The Linksys EA7500 wireless router not only has a great price range, but it also offers many great features. Much like Spectrum’s routers, this one is dual band and features a 1.4GHz dual core processor.

Motorola MG7550 Modem Router:

If you are looking to save money and space, this is the perfect router-modem combo. It has many features installed, making it one of the best routers for Spectrum. It features easy installation, ready to use features, and 16×4 channels. This makes for a router-modem that boosts your internet speeds and makes it simple to transfer large files and even stream HD videos with no issues.

Netgear Nighthawk X4

Netgear has been a trusted name for routers for some time now. This piece of equipment definitely lives up to Netgear’s excellent reputation!This router-modem combo offers lightning-fast speeds, making it a great choice for any internet user. If you are trying to stream movies or shows, or even game with HD graphics, this device can handle it all! It’s perfect for large families and large homes, as it is built to meet any challenge you can throw at it.

Netgear R7000

The R7000 is another device offered by Netgear. Many users say it provides the ultimate gaming experience, which means it’s also perfect for any other internet needs. It offers a broad range of Wi-Fi coverage, high speeds and an extremely powerful processor. You can also rest easier knowing it’s equipped with a dual band system, so it’s compatible with all devices. When it comes to gaming, this is one of the best choices on the market because Netgear’s TurboQAM technology is known to boost speeds when used on the 2.4GHz channel.

Motorola MR2600 Wireless Router

This router was released in 2018 and is still a great option. When you choose this router, you are getting a device that’s well-built and intelligent. It handles Wi-Fi noise created by your neighbors and offers increased signal strength. This is even true if you live in a large home and are far from the router.

Can I Install Spectrum WiFi By Myself?

Spectrum Internet InstallationNow that we’ve discussed some routers you can purchase and set-up yourself, let’s discuss self-install options from Spectrum. The fact is, if you’re thinking of choosing a router on your own, then you are probably tech-savvy enough to install their services. Doing so will reduce the cost of the initial set up.

Here are some easy to follow steps that will guide you through self-installing Spectrum’s Wi-Fi services.

Connect The Modem

  1. Locate the coaxial cable. Connect one end of it to your home’s outlet and the other end to the Spectrum modem.
  2. Next, locate the power cable. Connect the proper end to the modem, and the other end goes to a secure outlet in your home.
  3. After you’ve completed these two steps, wait between two and five minutes for the network to connect. You’ll know the modem is connected when you see the “online status light” remain solid.

Connect Your Modem And Wi-Fi Router

  1. Locate the Ethernet cable. Connect one end of it to the modem.
  2. Connect the other end to the internet port located on the back of your Wi-Fi router.

Activate The Equipment

  1. Activating your Spectrum Home Wi-Fi equipment is easy. Simply use the internet device of your choice, and open a web browser to visit the activation website.
  2. Spectrum provides a self-installation kit that includes instructions which should provide you with a list of activation websites. Though, this kit is not available in all areas.
  3. If the activation website is not available within your area, you’ll need to call Spectrum’s 24/7 customer support line, and they will guide you through the process.

Do You Still Have Questions About Spectrum Home WiFi?

The information above should provide everything you need to know about Charter Spectrum’s Home Wi-Fi service. However, if you still have unanswered questions, other concerns or simply want to subscribe to the service, please contact their customer support center at 1-855-423-0918. The representatives are always available and more than happy to help.

About Charter Communications

Charter Communications was founded in the USA in 1993. It has grown over the years and is currently the 4th largest cable provider in the country. They were previously known as Charter but rebranded following an acquisition of two large firms called Bright House Networks and Time Warner Cable. They are now simply known as Spectrum.

Spectrum Home WiFi FAQs

Where can you subscribe to Spectrum Wi-Fi?

You can call the Spectrum customer service phone number at 1-855-345-0208.

Can you access Spectrum Wi-Fi when you are not home?

Yes. Spectrum offers hotspots in many places around the country. You simply connect to their nearest one, and you’ll have instant access to the internet.

Is Spectrum’s Wi-Fi service free?

No. It costs an additional $5 per month.

Is Spectrum’s Wi-Fi service unlimited?

Yes. Spectrum is unlimited, and they do not utilize data caps.

What is Spectrum’s home Wi-Fi service?

It is a high-performance Wi-Fi service for your home that’s offered by Charter Spectrum. It allows you to enjoy wireless connectivity throughout your home.

Should I sign up for Spectrum Wi-Fi?

If you use many wireless devices such as smartphones and tablets, or just simply don’t like cords, then Spectrum Wi-Fi is the perfect solution for you.

Does Spectrum’s internet package include Wi-Fi?

Spectrum Wi-Fi can be added to any of their internet packages for a fee of only $5 per month. Though, if you have your own router, then the $5 fee does not pertain to you. You will just need to be sure the router is approved by Spectrum.

How do I get free Wi-Fi from Spectrum?

Wi-Fi services are free for those who already have their own routers. You will simply need to contact Spectrum to ensure the router you own is compatible with their modem equipment.

Why does Spectrum charge a fee for Wi-Fi?

Spectrum provides free modems to customers. The $5 monthly fee is if you need to use the built-in router services from your Spectrum modem.

How much is Spectrum’s Wi-Fi?

Spectrum offers unlimited Wi-Fi services for a low fee of only $5 per month.

Does Spectrum’s Wi-Fi cost extra?

To add Wi-Fi services to your Spectrum internet service, you will simply need to pay a one-time fee of $9.99 for activation and a $49.99 installation fee.

Is my Wi-Fi password located on the Spectrum box?

Yes. The password and network name should be printed on a label found on either your gateway or router.

How can I upgrade to Spectrum Wi-Fi?

This is easy. You can either chat online with a customer service representative or call them at 1-855-345-0208.

What are the best routers to use with Spectrum Wi-Fi?

  • Linksys EA7500
  • Motorola MG7550
  • Netgear Nighthawk X4
  • Netgear R7000
  • Motorola MR2600

Spectrum Internet Self Installation During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Spectrum LogoIn the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the world has temporarily pressed the pause button.  The number one recommendation of the World Health Organization is to practice social distancing. This has been implemented worldwide as a precautionary measure. It is done in the hopes of breaking the transmission chain of the coronavirus as it is highly contagious and has so far infected around one million people around the globe, as of today.  The rapid spread of the virus combined with its unpredictable nature has resulted in creating a massive panic. This has compelled many businesses and companies to work from home and Spectrum Internet is one company helping people at home during this crisis. Spectrum Internet prices are very affordable and Spectrum provides download speeds from 100Mbps up to 940 Mbps to customers in select areas.

What is Spectrum?

Charter Spectrum the second-largest cable TV and internet provider in the United States and offers its services in about 42 states. In 2016, Charter Communications merged with two companies, Bright House Networks, and Time Warner Cable. The mode of delivery of its services is through Hybrid-Fiber-Coaxial-Infrastructure. This has the added benefit of transferring the data using fiber lines for long distances to the users and for shorter distances within the locality, less-expensive coaxial cable lines are put to use. This makes it efficient and affordable for Spectrum to offer attractive pricing for their internet plans. Hence, it has become a top choice for Americans to connect to the internet.

Spectrum Internet Self Installation

How is Spectrum helping in the fight against coronavirus?

As social distancing has become very important and lockdowns have become inevitable. Certain situations compel people to step outside and or have people enter their homes. One situation is installing cable television and high-speed internet during the current lockdown. Many jobs have now shifted to working from home and a reliable high-speed internet service provider has become a dire necessity. Spectrum understands the delicacy of the current situation has come to the rescue.  Charter Communications is encouraging their customers to do self-installation of Spectrum Internet in their homes, without the help of any technicians.   This effort promotes social distancing and ensures that both, the workers and the users are protected from exposure to the novel coronavirus. Without the self-installation of the Spectrum Internet service, a technician would be required to visit your home. This increases the risk of contact as well as transmissibility of the virus from potential carriers.  A complete step-by-step guide is provided by the company, making the self-installation process easier and removing costs that are incurred by hiring a technician.

Spectrum Internet WiFi Router

Self-Installation of Spectrum Internet

With the added advantage of protection from potential carriers of the virus, self-installation of Spectrum Internet proves more convenient. It can be done at the preferred time of the user.  If you are stuck at any step of the way, Spectrum customer service just a phone call away, ready to assist.

The installation kit contains the following:

  • Instruction manual
  • Modem
  • Wi-Fi router
  • Ethernet Cable
  • Two power cables
  • Co-axial cable

Steps of Spectrum Internet Installation

  1. Examine the self-installation internet kit
    In the first step of the process, it is necessary to make a check-list of the required materials and to tick off the available supplies. This will prevent any problems during the installation process. If by chance, anything is missing, you can contact Spectrum and notify them before you go too far.
  1. Connecting the Modem
    First, one side of the coaxial cable should be connected to the modem and the other side to the cable outlet.  Then take one of the power cables, connect one end to the modem and put the other end in the electrical socket. This will take 3-5 minutes to establish a network connection. Once connected, the light on the front of the modem will light up.
  1. Link the modem to the router
    Once the connection light is on, it is time to connect the modem to the Wi-Fi router. Take the Ethernet cable and insert one end of the cable to the modem and the other end to the ‘internet port’ of the Wi-Fi router.  Then make sure that the router is powered by using the second power cable; connect one end with the router and the other to the electrical output. The Wi-Fi-status light seen on the router will turn a solid green color after a while (i.e. 10 minutes.)
  1. Internet activation
    When all that has been done, it is time to connect to the Wi-Fi with any device like mobile, laptop or PC and finally start the internet service activation process. Details like the IP address, login ID and password are all written on the back of the router.

    Connect to the new Wi-Fi network, then by clicking on a web browser, you will be automatically be directed to the Spectrum Internet activation page. Enter the login details that are written on the back of the router. Once logged in, it is now time to choose your required network settings and follow through with all of the activation procedures on the page. At this point, you can also access the Wi-Fi router settings and you can change the name and the password as preferred.

  1. Router Location
    Spectrum Internet has now been activated. You need to find the best place, usually centrally located, to keep your Wi-Fi router so that the signals are at maximum for the router as well as for the devices connected to the router. Now sit back and enjoy your Spectrum Internet.

What is a Good Internet Speed for Streaming Videos, Gaming, or Working from Home?

These days, everyone loves using the internet to stream movies, play online games, or work from home. To have a good experience with any of these activities you need to subscribe to Spectrum Internet or a similar internet service. You’ll want to know how fast your internet speed needs to be. Everyone hates delays and lag times, but what is a good internet speed for enjoying movies and games – or participating in online video chats for work?

If you’ve ever asked about internet speed and gotten confused by words like “Mbps” or “ping time,” read on! We’ll break down just what you need to know about these internet terms and how you can use them to decide what is a good internet speed for your family’s unique needs. 

High Speed Internet Sign

What Does Mbps, Latency, and Upload/Download Speed Mean?

First, let’s find out what technical terms like “Mbps” and “latency” mean. You can then use these terms to decide what internet speed you need for streaming videos, online gaming, or working from home.

  • Mbps: Mbps stands for “Megabits per second” and determines how much bandwidth you have. It helps measure how much data you can transfer every second through your internet connection. The more Mbps you have, the more data you can transfer in the same span of time. This can mean better picture and sound quality for your videos.
  • Latency: Latency is the amount of time (in milliseconds) it takes to send information from one point to another. Low-latency means it takes fewer milliseconds to send information. High-latency means it takes more milliseconds for information to get from one point to another. You want to have low-latency when playing online games to avoid any lags in your game, file uploads, online submission, or other activity.    
  • Ping Time: Ping time is a test for latency. It sends a data packet to a server and back to you. Depending on how long it takes the data packet to travel, you may have high-latency or low-latency.
  • Download Speed: Download speed is how fast your internet connection can transfer data from a server to you. You’ll want fast download speeds when you stream a video, download files, or load a website.
  • Upload Speed: Upload speed is how fast your internet connection can transfer data to a server. You’ll want fast upload speeds when you send emails, participate in live video chats, send files to other people, and play online games.

How Many Mbps Do I Need For Streaming Videos?

Do you love watching movies in high definition? Do most of your TV nights gravitate toward live events? Or do you have a large household with multiple devices for different viewing needs? All of these factors will help determine how many Mbps you need and how fast your internet speed should be for streaming videos.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recommends families with multiple Internet users get internet speeds of 12-25 Mbps. The FCC also recommends download speeds of at least 25 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps. In general, however, families should get slightly faster speeds than the ones recommended by the FCC, Netflix, Skype, or other streaming services. This will increase your odds of enjoying regular video streaming service with crisp clear picture and sound.

High Speed Internet Control Knob

To give you a better idea of what internet speed will work best for you, here are some basic guidelines based on recommendations from Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube TV:

  • To stream videos in standard definition, you’ll want internet speeds of at least 3 Mbps
  • To stream videos in HD on only one device, you’ll want an internet speed at least 5-7 Mbps
  • To stream videos in HD on multiple devices, you’ll want an internet speed of at least 13 Mbps
  • To view live TV events, you’ll want an internet speed of at least 8 Mbps
  • To stream videos in HDR or 4K on your computer or Ultra HD enabled devices, you’ll want an internet speed of at least 25 Mbps
  • To stream Ultra HD videos daily, you may want to look into Internet speeds close to 100 Mbps

What is a Good Internet Speed for Gaming?

Online gamers play many types of games. Some gamers love sports games and shooter games that require rapid data response times. Other people prefer online card games, role-playing games, puzzles games, or games of strategy. These preferences will all help decide a good internet speed for gaming.   

As far as Mbps goes, you should aim for a minimum of 4-8 Mbps or 10-25 Mbps to provide good download speeds and ensure a regular good gaming experience. However, low-latency is also very important as it reduces lag time in games. Keep in mind that cable internet or fiber-optic internet provide the best low-latency internet connections for online gaming. By contrast, satellite internet has high-latency since it takes so long for signals to travel from a satellite to your device.

Fiber Optic Internet Cable

To gain the best latency for online gaming, keep the following tips in mind:

  • A ping time of 20-100 milliseconds generally offers a good online gaming experience.
  • If you play first person shooter games, aim for a latency of under 30 milliseconds.
  • Satellite internet has high latency because signals must travel a greater distance. However, online card games, strategy games, puzzle games, or role-playing games still work fine with satellite.
  • Cable internet, fiber-optic internet, and fixed wireless internet provide the best low-latency experience for online gaming.

What Upload and Download Speed Do I Need For Working From Home?

A fast internet speed can determine how efficiently you can work from home. After all, if a typical work day involves participating in Skype video calls, transferring large files, and sending multiple emails, you’ll need good upload and download speeds to stay on top of everything.

Cable Internet Connection

To make sure you have a good internet speed for working from home, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Workers who only need to use email and basic computer programs such as Microsoft Word should be fine with 3-4 Mbps
  • Workers who participate in Skype group video calls should have more than 10 Mbps.
  • Workers who transfer large files should have over 40 Mbps.

How To Use an Internet Speed Calculator to Measure Your Current Internet Speed

To help determine what internet speed you need, it can be helpful to measure your current internet speed by taking an online speed test. These tests calculate the internet speed on a computer connected to your home’s Wi-Fi. They can help determine your ping time as well as your connection’s upload and download speeds. Based on the results, and how satisfied you are with how well you can stream videos, play games, and work from home now, you may want to upgrade your internet speed.

Always remember that it’s usually best to get a slightly faster internet speed than you think you need. This is particularly true if you have multiple household members who need to use the internet for video streaming, online gaming, or work. By giving yourself a little extra Mbps and a lower latency, you’ll ensure a pleasant work and entertainment experience for yourself.

Check Availability of Internet Service Providers in Your Area:

DSL vs Cable Internet vs Fiber Internet: Everything You Need to Know

When shopping for high-speed internet, you may feel overwhelmed by the different options. You may not know what to think about upload speeds, download speeds, DSL, cable, fiber, and more. What does it all mean? What is best for you? This complete guide will help you understand the key differences between broadband services, internet plans, and more.

DSL vs. Cable vs. Fiber: The Basics

Most high-speed internet connections still go through some kind of cable. Wires are a sensible medium since they are very efficient and widely available. The most common high-speed internet connections are DSL, cable, and fiber.

  • DSL Internet CableDSL (Digital Subscriber Line): DSL uses telephone landlines to deliver internet connection. Unlike dial-up service, it does not interfere with phone service. Speeds are better than the old dial-up system, but DSL is the slowest of the modern options.
  • Cable: Instead of a telephone landline, cable Internet uses your home’s coaxial cable, which likely connects you to your TV service as well. Cable internet, such as Spectrum Internet,  is widely available, and the connection speed is fast enough to satisfy most customers.
  • Fiber (Fiber-optic Line): Fiber-optic is the fastest option on the market since it transmits data using light, not electricity. That means data is literally sent at the speed of light. Fiber speeds are very attractive, but fiber internet service is not widely available.

DSL vs. Cable vs. Fiber: Speeds Overview

The fastest option is not necessarily the best option for you. Instead, you should consider how much Internet speed you need. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recommends internet speeds of 12-25 Mbps for households with multiple Internet users or for frequent online streaming. Even gamers can enjoy a consistently good gaming experience at those speeds. If you work from home and frequently run large file transfers, it’s recommended you jump to 40+ Mbps.

Frankly, the FFC’s recommended speeds are a little low. The FCC bases its recommendation on the speeds that various popular companies like Netflix and Skype recommend to use for their services. It’s a good idea to go a little above and beyond these recommendations since internet speeds may perform slower at home than advertised. Plus, using multiple devices at the same time and other technical factors, like “peak use” times, can also slow down your connection.

What is the difference between download vs. upload speeds?

Think of download as data coming in and upload as data going out. The download speed is how fast data is transferred from your server to you; whereas, upload speed is how fast you can transfer data to your server. Download speed is most important for Internet users who mainly surf the Internet, download files, and stream videos or music. Upload speed is particularly important for people who frequently send emails and files to other people, have live video chats, or are into online gaming.

Typical Download and Upload Speeds for DSL, Cable, and Fiber

Internet Connection Download Speeds Upload Speeds
DSL 5-35 Mbps 1-10 Mbps
Cable 10-500 Mbps 5-50 Mbps
Fiber 250-1,000 Mbps 250-1,000 Mbps


As you can see, according to the FCC’s recommendations, most households should be able to get by on DSL internet service. But, in reality, most households would experience Internet lag, buffering, and even interrupted service with DSL. DSL is also not a good option for gamers or people who work from a home office since the upload speeds are lacking.

Cable internet is a safe choice for most households. Both download and upload speeds can easily accommodate the majority of households, even if multiple devices are being used at the same time. Cable can also comfortably support gaming and home offices.

Seeing the fiber speeds probably made your eyes bulge. At 250-1,000 Mbps, fiber offers speeds that are 10-40x faster than the recommended rate. You will never see a spinning loading circle or buffering bar again. Fiber is overkill for most internet users, but that doesn’t mean consumers don’t want it anyway.

Internet Connection 101: How Does Internet Service Connection Work?

High Speed InternetBefore going into more detail about the pros and cons of DSL vs. cable vs. Internet service, let’s run through a quick Internet 101 lesson. Let’s be honest, most of us don’t understand how the internet works or how it connects to our homes. There’s no need to understand than gritty details, but hopefully, this helps convey the basic idea.

Some try to compare the internet to a tree, but that’s too simplistic. Instead, visualize the human body. Picture the central nervous system, like the brain and the spinal cord, as the internet servers and main network. The brain is the Internet server, and the spine is the main fiber optic cables that transmit data between cities, countries, and continents.

Then, you have the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system is the nerves that branch out and send signals to the arms, legs, fingers, and toes. In our metaphor, the internet service providers we choose are the nerves that send signals from the backbone to our neighborhoods, houses, and rooms. DSL “nerve signals” are a bit sluggish, cable “nerve signals” are healthy, and fiber-optic “nerve signals” are in their prime.

The backbone of the internet is carried almost exclusively over fiber networks. Once it reaches your city or your neighborhood, or what’s known as the “Last Mile,” the types of connections vary. The consumer Internet companies that provide DSL, cable, fiber, etc. are thus known as “Last Mile Providers.” These last couple miles between your house and the Internet Service Provider (ISP) can slow internet connection considerably depending on the type of connection.

DSL Internet Summary

DSL is typically the slowest of the three main broadband options. DSL uses your telephone landline but uses a separate frequency than your phone as to not interrupt phone service. DSL download speeds usually range from 5-35 Mbps. Some DSL providers offer DSL speed tiers as fast as 12 Mbps, 20 Mbps, and even 45 Mbps. However, the slowest, cheapest cable or fiber option usually outperforms the fastest, most expensive DSL service.

DSL Pros

  • Widely available, including rural areas
  • Affordable compared with fiber optic or satellite service

DSL Cons

  • Only one step above dial-up internet
  • Slower than cable or fiber
  • DSL Providers typically over-advertise their download speeds

Cable Internet Summary

As the name suggests, cable Internet service uses cable wire to deliver your high-speed internet. Typically, cable Internet connects through the same coaxial cable your TV provider uses. Cable services are usually offered in speed tiers, with an overall range of 10-500 Mbps. Some providers, start their plans at 100 Mbps, which exceeds most household needs. Lower speed tiers are available elsewhere, but sometimes there is more value in the basic higher-speed plans.

Cable Internet Pros

  • Faster than DSL
  • Possibly faster than fiber-optic, depending on your plan
  • Speeds are usually close to as advertised
  • Widely available

DSL Cons

  • More expensive than DSL
  • May only have one service provider in your area

Fiber-optic Internet Summary

Fiber Optic InternetFiber internet technology uses light to deliver data instead of electricity. As a result, it can provide the fastest download and upload speeds. Though currently the fastest internet option, cable technology is quickly advancing and closing the gap.

Fiber has a huge range when it comes to speed and is mostly dependent on your geographic location. Download speeds range from 250-1,000 Mbps, which overlaps with cable speeds. Upload speeds are typically faster than cable, and some companies can match upload speeds to download speeds.

Fiber Pros

  • Faster download speeds than DSL, and possibly cable
  • Fastest upload speeds
  • Speeds are usually close to as advertised

Fiber Cons

  • Not widely available
  • More expensive than DSL, and possibly cable

Other Internet Options

DSL, cable, and fiber are the three main broadband options for the internet. There are a few other viable options, though they are not as popular. These options include satellite, dial-up, tethering and hot spots, and mobile broadband.

Satellite Internet

Households with multiple internet users can stream, game, and run home offices using satellite internet. However, satellite internet service is generally slower and more expensive than cable and fiber. But sometimes satellite internet is the only option aside from dial-up that is available, especially in rural areas.

Dial-up Internet

Believe it or not, dial-up Internet is not a thing of the past. Verizon, which now owns AOL, reported in 2015 that more than 2.1 million people still subscribe to dial-up. Dial-up may be ridiculously slow, but it could suffice for people who hardly use the Internet and don’t stream entertainment. Dial-up comes with a tiny price tag that could be as low as $7 per month.

Tethering and Hot Spots

Tethering and hot spots piggyback on your mobile phone service to connect to the internet. With tethering, you connect a USB cable from your phone to your computer. With a mobile hotspot, you can connect via a USB cable, Bluetooth, or WiFi. Using your cellular data connection is a viable option if you hardly use the internet. If you do more than send an occasional email or basic web browsing, you run the risk of exceeding your cell phone’s data plan.

Mobile Broadband

Mobile broadband also connects to cellular networks, but not through your phone. Instead, it uses a separate mobile hot spot or wireless modem to connect your device to the internet. Mobile broadband packages are designed a lot like cell phone plans where you pay for a set number of gigabytes each month. Mobile broadband limits the amount of data you can use and can be quite pricey. But it can be nifty if you are traveling or if you want to take your internet wherever you go.

High Speed Internet OptionsDSL vs. Cable vs. Fiber: Which Should I Get?

Once you figure out what internet providers (or provider) serve your area, you can then figure out what internet speed you need. Since you will likely only have one or two options, compare the different plans they offer. Remember, download speeds of 25-50 Mbps are sufficient for most households, including those with multiple users. If your area has cable or fiber-optic internet providers, their lowest-tier plan most likely exceeds this recommendation.

Another way to determine what speed you need is to test your current Internet speed or that of a friend’s. You can do this simply by doing an online search for “test my internet speed”. If you are unhappy with your internet, then you will know to bump up to the next tier than what you’re currently getting. If your friend’s internet use is similar to yours and they’re happy with their speed, then go with a comparable speed tier.

Conclusion

In summary, fiber and cable are the king and queen of the Internet and can serve you well. DSL connections are not the best, but they will get the job done better than the remaining options, such as dial-up. Unfortunately, a lot of the decisions will be made for you depending on what is available in your area. But at least you are now well informed of the choices that remain.

 

Check Out These Amazing Benefits of Charter Spectrum Internet Plans

Charter Spectrum offers a full suite of Internet, TV and Voice services for both business and residential customers. Charter Spectrum Internet is the fastest, most reliable Internet service you’ll find, and it comes with so many amazing benefits – such as no data caps and plenty of security offerings to keep your family safe – that you’ll simply be blown away.

Moreover, if you bundle Charter Spectrum Internet with other services, you can get access to the Internet for the stunningly low price! Click here to check the current Spectrum Internet Prices.

Charter Spectrum Internet offers faster speeds than anyone else

Want to stream full-length Hollywood movies without interruptions or glitches? Want to download as much music as you can? Or play graphics-intensive multi-player videogames with your friends? Then you better have the fastest Internet possible.

This is where Charter Spectrum Internet really delivers, with speeds starting at 60 Mbps. That speed is so fast it’s twenty times faster than DSL! That’s plenty of speed to support multiple devices in every room of your home. With that kind of speed, you will be able to have the total Internet experience.

No contracts when you order Charter Spectrum Internet

Remember when “signing up for cable” meant signing two-year contracts? Not anymore. Charter Spectrum Internet does not require you to sign a contract of any kind.

And, even better, Charter Spectrum Internet will spend up to $500 to buy out your existing Internet contract. So you never have to feel like you’re locked into an expensive contract over again?

No data caps with Charter Spectrum Internet

Charter Spectrum has your best Internet experience in mind, and that’s why there are no data caps for your Internet use. With other Internet providers, you might have to worry about how many movies you watch, how much music you download, or how long you spend playing your favorite videogame.

But not with Charter Spectrum! Your Internet use is completely uncapped – so feel free to binge on movies and enjoy the Internet the way you’ve always wanted to.

Convenient installation and best-in-class service

Charter Spectrum is changing the standard for Internet service, and one place where it’s starting is with an easy, no-hassle installation experience. It’s easy to install your Internet, and within minutes, you’ll have access to the fastest Internet speeds in your neighborhood!

Choosing a Charter Spectrum Internet plan for your family has never been easier

Charter Spectrum recognizes that families may have multiple devices hooked up to the Internet at one time, and that’s why a centerpiece of any Internet service plan is a fast in-home Wi-Fi network. That means family members can enjoy the Internet from every room of the home.

Experience the Charter Spectrum high-performance router

The key to your fast in-home Wi-Fi network is a high-performance router. And the Charter router gives you the speed and range that you need, in every room of your home. The signal is powerful enough to pass through walls and heavy furniture, so you can literally position it anywhere in your home.

Security and parental controls

Ever worried about what websites your kids might be visiting? Those worries are a thing of the past with the super-strong security and parental controls made possible by Charter Spectrum Internet. In fact, the Charter Security Suite that comes with each and every order of Charter Spectrum Internet is a $60 value.

Once installed, it gives you virus protection, malware protection, email inbox protection and plenty of parental controls so that you can block certain sites for your kids.

24/7 customer support

Have a question about installation or use of your Charter Spectrum Internet? You can get one-on-one advice anytime of the day or night with friendly, knowledgeable customer service agents from Charter Spectrum.

Unlike other Internet service providers, who often try to refer you to online FAQs or limit your calls to certain hours of the business day, Charter Spectrum is open for business every day and hour of the week!

Access to premium entertainment offerings

Charter Spectrum Internet pairs with Spectrum TV Packages, giving you amazing access to premium entertainment offerings on any mobile device. You can watch live TV anywhere in your home with the Spectrum TV app. And you can stream all of your favorite shows on your mobile devices.

That opens up a world of possibilities. You can choose to watch one movie in the main living room, while other people in your family watch movies in their bedrooms!

If you are thinking of getting both TV and Internet, then you have three core options:

  • Triple Play Select – 125+ channels
  • Triple Play Silver – 175+ channels
  • Triple Play Gold – 200+ channels

When combined with the 60 Mbps Internet you are already getting from Charter Spectrum, you can just imagine the possibilities!

Unlock the true value of bundling Charter Spectrum Internet

If you’re looking to save money and get the most affordable version of home Internet, then it’s worth looking into the various bundles that are available from Charter Spectrum. Basic Internet starts at $44.99 per month. But if you bundle with other services, that price falls to a very affordable $29.99 per month.

Final wrap-up of everything Charter Spectrum Internet delivers

The key selling point of Charter Spectrum Internet is the perfect mix of speed and features. Plus, there are no contracts and no need to worry about getting locked into a long-term commitment. If you care about getting the fastest, safest, and most reliable Internet, then Charter Spectrum is the clear choice.

Sign up today!

Now is the time to sign up for Charter Spectrum Internet. If you’ve been putting off this decision, now is the time to give your family the fast, high-quality Internet they deserve. Plus, for a limited time only, Charter Spectrum is offering a 30-day money back guarantee.

To get started, call this telephone number to order today: 1-855-345-0208

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Underlying Issues Within the Charter/TWC Merger

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Anytime there’s a mega-merger of the kind that we saw with Charter and Time Warner Cable in 2016, there are bound to be underlying issues that take at least a few years to sort out. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing now. The mega-merger was finalized in May 2016, so we’ve had about 12 months to take a better view of how it will change the competitive landscape for cable TV and Internet services. Here are just a few of the issues involved.

#1: Monopoly and competition

The initial concern was that the Charter-Time Warner Cable combination was going to create a colossus – perhaps not as big as if Comcast had acquired TWC, but still a giant. The new Charter Spectrum is now the second-largest cable TV and Internet provider in the world, trailing only Comcast.

On a combined basis, Charter Spectrum and Comcast are huge. It’s not overstating things to call Comcast and Charter Spectrum a near-duopoly. On a combined basis, the two companies reach 80% of U.S. homes, and their competitive footprints are both national, stretching from California to Texas to New York and Florida. Chances are, wherever you live in America, you are within the service area of one of these 2 companies.

And that still has some people very concerned. Back in 2014-2015, as Charter started to put together its bid for Time Warner Cable, this was one of the biggest issues to address. Consumers feared that the behemoth cable provider would decrease competition, and potentially put an end to true innovation. Instead, skeptics said, the combined company would simply try to wring additional profits out of existing infrastructure and products.

#2: Net neutrality

On a related note, there was also concern about how the new merger would impact net neutrality. The fundamental principle of net neutrality is that the Internet should be a free and open place, where there is no “fast lane” and “slow lane” for traffic. In other words, the big cable providers shouldn’t get to determine that certain traffic will be “throttled” – or that some edge providers (like Netflix) should be forced to pay fees to connect their customers. As a condition of the merger, Charter promised that it would not charge companies like Netflix for improved delivery of content.

And, indeed, one of the big issues that came up during the Charter-TWC merger was how well Charter would respect these principles of net neutrality. Thus far, the signs have been favorable. In fact, Charter has signed a three-year agreement to respect net neutrality and the open Internet. And, at least publicly, Charter has commented on how important Netflix is to its future growth. Of course, Netflix helped to stymie the Comcast-TWC deal a year earlier, so it’s easy to see why Charter is bending over backwards to “play nice” with Netflix.

#3: Customer service

One of the key selling points of the merger was that it was going to dramatically improve customer service. That’s because Time Warner Cable was routinely cited as having poor customer service. People loved to hate TWC and comment on how old and inefficient everything about the company was. Even worse, TWC had pushed a lot of its customer call centers offshore, and that angered customers even more. In customer satisfaction surveys, TWC always performed poorly.

That’s why Charter has been very upfront and direct about improving customer service. Charter pledged to move all the customer call centers back to the U.S. AND hire as many as 20,000 new customer service representatives. That might sound like a very expensive endeavor, but as Charter explains, it’s crucial to reduce the churn in customers. And it also improves the company’s ability to up-sell customers into higher-priced offerings. For example, with good customer service, a call that might have ended previously with loud disagreements and shouting might now end with the customer happily moving into a higher-priced package.

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#4: Rebranding as Spectrum

People might not realize it, but Spectrum is a completely new brand that was created for the merger. One major goal of the Spectrum rebranding is to get every part of the company using the same logo and the same brand identity. It would be confusing to have one part of the company known as Charter, one part of the company known as Time Warner Cable, and one part of the company known as Bright House Networks.

And, to be honest, the new branding enables Charter to get rid of the Time Warner Cable name forever. That brand had been eroding in the minds of customers, and it still evoked the notion of “the cable guy.” People associated the brand name Time Warner Cable with poor service, long delays, poor quality and just a lot of problems. So Spectrum helps to gloss over the fact that it’s still the same company. If you think about it, Charter bought Time Warner Cable as much for its existing customer base as for its existing infrastructure.

There are a lot of changes planned to make every part of the company very efficient and customer-friendly, and it all starts with the rebranding as Spectrum. This rebranding will impact every customer touch point. For example, it will change the names and logos on billing, screen guides and advertising. In New York City, you used to see Time Warner Cable trucks heading uptown and downtown – now you’ll see trucks with the Charter Spectrum branding on them. At first, it may take some getting used to, but it’s all part of creating one, unified brand identity across all geographies.

#5: Development of improved national broadband infrastructure

Going forward, a major goal of the merger will be to completely overhaul Time Warner Cable’s aging infrastructure. The near-term goal is to create an all-digital operation by getting rid of any analog infrastructure. That will enable the company to offer more innovative services, including the build out of the much-touted 5G infrastructure. In Florida, for example, Charter Spectrum plans to start 5G field trials in Florida, making it the first U.S. cable company to lay the groundwork for 5G.

For the customer, all of these changes are a positive. For example, Charter Spectrum pledged that it would boost the minimum speed for all of its customers to at least 60 Mbps. And, going forward, Spectrum Internet will be able to offer even faster speeds. But first things first – the goal is to get all Time Warner Cable customers up to a minimum speed.

#6: Streamlined pricing and packaging offers

Another major issue of the Charter-Time Warner Cable mega-merger was rationalizing and streamlining all the pricing and packaging offers. If you think about, it’s pretty confusing to the end customer to have too many choices. With Time Warner Cable, there were prices and tiers for all different kinds of connection speeds. People in Florida might have a whole set of offers and tiers different from those in New York City.

That may not sound like a big deal – but consider the following theoretical example… What if a Starbucks in Florida served different drinks and had different names for those drinks than a Starbucks in Manhattan? It would get pretty confusing for customers any time they traveled. And it would be harder for Starbucks to deal with suppliers – the company would have to order certain cups and ingredients for one region, and a completely different set of cups and ingredients for another region. See? It would be pretty confusing, so for larger companies, it always makes sense to streamline and consolidate.

So Charter Spectrum set out from the beginning to collapse all the prices and tiers into three basic levels: Select, Silver and Gold. That would make it easier to explain to customers what their options were, and it would also make it easier for Spectrum to use a single set of advertising materials for any location in the nation. In a best-case scenario, those cost savings and efficiencies could be passed on to the consumer in the form of cheaper prices.

So, as you can see, this huge mega-merger created a number of different issues that are still being resolved today. Most importantly, there were issues related to competition and the risks of monopoly-like behavior, due to the combined market size of the new company.

To overcome this problem, Charter Spectrum sought to improve customer service dramatically and also improve the overall level of service quality. At the same time, the company worked on a re-branding, and began the process of overhauling its aging infrastructure acquired from Time Warner Cable. The company is also working to address the issue of net neutrality, which has once again entered the spotlight as an important issue impacting the future development of digital broadband services.

The next step is the most exciting step – and that’s the rollout of innovative new services and products, including those made possible by the development of 5G Internet infrastructure. In a best-case scenario, that will lead to faster speeds, which everyone agrees is necessary for the next generation of online video screening (as well as whatever comes next).

Of course, a big merger doesn’t occur overnight. There are a lot of important steps that need to be taken over the next 12 months. But 2017 is shaping up to be a very important year for Charter Spectrum, especially as it develops the next generation of digital services. Spectrum has the opportunity to become a brand synonymous with high quality, great customer service and innovative products, all offered at a price point that’s attractive to consumers.

How Charter Spectrum Is Handling the Net Neutrality Debate

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For Charter Spectrum and other Internet service providers (ISPs), the debate over net neutrality is once again in the spotlight. In 2017, the new Trump administration has made it clear that it’s no fan of net neutrality, and new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has made overturning net neutrality one of his primary strategic goals.

The very fact that the Trump administration is going to do all the dirty work of clearing away net neutrality will give cover to the cable companies to continue business as usual, all while secretly hoping for the day when they can start to monetize their vast broadband infrastructure. Already, articles are appearing in the media, suggesting that the cable companies are chipping away at net neutrality after giving lip service to it for several years.

Case in point: in April 2017, a controversial article in New York magazine – “We Already Know How Internet Providers Will Screw Us Over, Because They Did It Before” – basically outlined how the big cable companies were going to try to squeeze online video providers like Netflix, which now account for a huge proportion of total bandwidth provided by ISPs.

For Spectrum Internet  the article was particularly explosive because it featured the behind-the-scenes machinations of Time Warner Cable, which Charter Spectrum acquired in a massive $55 billion mega-merger. As the article pointed out, legal memos and correspondence have been leaked from the former Time Warner Cable, showing exactly what the company’s executives had in mind. The goal was to get content providers like Netflix to “pay up” for a direct connection to their customers.

If Netflix didn’t pay, then all their video traffic would be sent to the slow lane of the Internet, something that Time Warner Cable executives referred to as “through transit.” As long as Netflix didn’t pay up to use the TWC broadband infrastructure, Netflix customers would experience very slow buffering times for videos, and would probably conclude that this bad overall experience was the fault of Netflix. Time Warner Cable, of course, never planned to divulge its role in slow video speeds.

So let’s back up for a second and set the stage for Charter Spectrum in terms of the upcoming debate over net neutrality in 2017. The huge cable company – which now accounts for nearly 15 percent of all cable and satellite TV subscribers and 22 percent of all broadband customers – will likely direct its efforts in two directions:

  • Making sure that it abides by its net neutrality commitments agreed to as terms of the huge Charter-Time Warner Cable merger
  • Making clear that it is still publicly committed to net neutrality, even as the FCC moves to dismantle the open Internet

At a quick glance, you can see that framing the debate around (1) is much easier than framing the debate around (2).

Before Charter Communications was allowed to merge with Time Warner Cable, it had to abide by some fairly onerous net neutrality commitments. The logic was simple: if you want to buy up a company for $55 billion, then you better play nice with everyone else on the Internet.

And, to be fair to Charter, the company was a model citizen ahead of the merger. In June 2015, a noted net neutrality advocate (Martin Ammori) outlined in WIRED magazine all the ways that Charter was committed to a free and open Internet. In fact, he says that he personally advised Charter on the right language to use, and that he was satisfied with Charter’s approach.

He offered a glowing recommendation of Charter as a model net neutrality advocate: “Charter is offering the strongest network neutrality commitment ever offered – in any merger or, to my knowledge, in any nation.” He followed that up by saying, “Charter is offering commitments that go further than any before.”

However, there was one little caveat, and that was the duration of the commitment. Charter was offering to abide by network neutrality commitments for 3 years. So you do the math – assuming the clock started in early 2016, when the merger was finalized, then that means Charter would be free to re-think its network neutrality commitment by 2019. That would give the FCC plenty of time (two years) to dismantle network neutrality, and provide plausible cover for Charter to change its stance. In doing so, Charter could simply point to changing competitive conditions in the industry.

By all indications, Charter proceeded with the Time Warner Cable merger in good faith. It fully intended to comply with network neutrality principles, and it proclaimed its commitment openly. In November 2015, just months before the merger was finalized, Hollywood Reporter reviewed all the ways that Charter was sticking by its network neutrality agreements. This included the following key points:

  • No blocking or throttling Internet traffic
  • Not engaging in paid prioritization
  • Not charging consumers additional fees to use third-party apps
  • Not imposing data caps on consumers
  • Not charging interconnection fees to edge providers (like Netflix)

Most notably, Charter went out of its way to embrace Netflix, saying that, “Foreclosure is the exact opposite of the strategy Charter has been pursuing.” Moreover, Charter noted that its plan to upgrade the speeds of its Internet customers acquired from Time Warner Cable would actually be in the best interests of Netflix – it would mean faster video playing times for all streaming content.

By all intents and purposes, then, Charter handled the net neutrality debate by showing that its interests were firmly aligned with Netflix’s. Charter wanted to grow its broadband infrastructure and boost speeds, and that favored Netflix. And Charter recognized that Netflix was the type of edge provider that it had to be careful with.

Remember – Netflix had opposed an earlier Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal, and had used net neutrality as a key part of its argument. Thus, from the perspective of Charter, Netflix was a very strong adversary that had to be respected. If Charter tried to take on Netflix directly, then it would mean the end of its merger with Time Warner Cable.

In April 2015, in fact, the popular tech blog Mashable wrote, “The Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger died because of Netflix.” The online video streaming giant directly petitioned the FCC to block the merger. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told Wall Street analysts that his major goal was to “block” Comcast’s proposed $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable. When Comcast eventually walked away from the deal after losing the support of the FCC, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called it a victory for “providers of content and streaming services who work to bring innovative products to consumers across America and around the world.”

So the writing was on the wall for Charter in 2015 – play nice with Netflix, or there’s absolutely no way you’re going to get the merger done.

Which brings us to 2017. Charter’s merger with Time Warner Cable has been completed, and the final rebranding as Charter Spectrum is now a done deal. Heading into the merger, Charter met all of its commitments, and was a model citizen in terms of driving forward the net neutrality debate. But now what?

The role of the FCC in the Trump administration obviously looms large. If you think about it, the FCC is giving ISPs like Charter the “perfect out.” If Charter sees that the public debate around network neutrality is shifting, then it makes it much easier to adapt its own business practices accordingly.

In terms of net neutrality, it now may make sense for Charter Spectrum to co-opt service providers like Netflix by providing its own competing services. And, indeed, that’s what we’re starting to see with all of the biggest cable giants. They are introducing their own streaming services, making it easier to share content across devices even when out of the home, and making it highly advantageous to bundle cable TV with Internet due to all the possible synergies involving streaming content.

And, if anything, Netflix’s dominant role in the world of streaming video is eroding. When Netflix took on Comcast, it was close to its peak in terms of market strength. It could dictate the terms of any deal. But now look around you – there are so many flourishing streaming services that Netflix can no longer say that cable companies are responsible for anti-competitive market practices. In addition to Netflix, there’s Sling TV, Hulu, Amazon Prime Now and a whole host of specialty streaming services.

This new, shifting competitive landscape is going to change the debate around net neutrality. For one, it will make it easier for Charter Spectrum to make the case that it is a champion of net neutrality. And it will make it easier to appease the regulators: anyone questioning the Charter-Time Warner deal will have a tough time proving that the merger was bad for consumers.

The true test will come when Spectrum Internet and other internet service providers begin to invest heavily in new infrastructure. How can they get companies like Netflix to help pay some of the costs, without actually charging them for it directly? In many ways, it’s like asking Mexico to help build a border wall – and then asking Mexico to pay for it. Nobody is going to do that unless there’s an awful lot of arm-twisting. But since the battle over net neutrality plays out in public, all of that arm-twisting is going to be up to the lobbyists in Washington.

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How Customers Perceive Charter Spectrum’s Rebranding

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When Charter Communications completed its acquisition of Time Warner Cable in 2016, the plan was to push through a massive rebranding that would quickly replace the much-maligned Time Warner Cable brand with a new, more modern brand: Spectrum. The essence of the Spectrum brand was supposed to be “better service at a better price,” all backed by much-improved customer service.

To make that a reality, Charter Communications focused on several key steps:

(1) Stripping away the Time Warner name from all billings, advertising and mailings

(2) Boosting the Internet speeds of all customers to a base level of at least 60 Mbps

(3) Reducing a confusing mix of incentives, programs, plans and offers into just a few core offerings (Select, Silver, Gold)

(4) Revamping customer service by hiring nearly 20,000 customer service representatives and bringing call centers back to the U.S.

The first leg of the rebranding launched in September 2016, with a rollout to Texas and California markets. That was followed by a rebranding in New York and Florida. Finally, the company rolled out the rebranding to the Midwest, including Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Wisconsin.

If this were a business school case study, it would be a textbook example of how to achieve a rebranding. Any corporate strategist would tell you that you can’t accomplish a massive national rebranding overnight, and that a staged process would make sense. And those same corporate strategist would also probably tell you that any brand needs to be easily defined in terms of a few basic principles. And here the “better service at a better price” brand offer seemed to make sense.

And, just to make sure that the rebranding efforts hit all major demographic groups, Charter Spectrum also rolled out a marketing campaign specifically targeted to Hispanic and Spanish-speaking populations in Texas and California. Again, that’s a perfectly logical step designed to maximize consumer awareness of the new brand.

So, nearly 9 months after the rebranding effort started, how has Charter Spectrum done? It’s too early to see the effect of the rebranding in terms of customer satisfaction surveys (where Time Warner typically scored extremely low), but it is possible to check out some of the chatter on branding blogs and cable TV blogs. And it’s here that it’s possible to really see how customers perceive Charter Spectrum’s rebranding.

Let’s go back to the four major components of the rebranding to see how Charter Spectrum has delivered. To see how well the rebranding has gone, we can compare what the company initially set out to achieve with what the customer response has been thus far.

#1: Stripping away the Time Warner name from all billings, advertising and mailings

From the outset, it could be expected that this move might be confusing for customers. If you’ve been a long-time Time Warner Cable customer for years, what are you going to think when you start to see cable trucks emblazoned with “Spectrum” zipping through your city? In many ways, Time Warner was always a brand that people loved to hate. As much as people complained about Time Warner, it was still a company with a long, distinguished pedigree. And it wasn’t always clear to people why the Time Warner name lived on for some cable TV content assets (like CNN), while Time Warner Cable simply disappeared.

And there was one more problem here, and one that perhaps could have been avoided. When customers had a problem, they were used to calling a certain number to complain. But when the rebranding took effect, it suddenly became difficult to figure out who to call. If you read the customer comments on blogs, one important point that emerged was that some customers were both confused and angry that their old customer service numbers simply disappeared.

But remember – Charter Spectrum was also in the process of closing down overseas call centers and moving them to the U.S. So it perhaps only made sense that the process of transitioning to new customer service call centers was perhaps harder than expected. Plus, as noted above, Charter Spectrum was in the midst of hiring 20,000 new customer service reps and teaching them a new sales script.

#2: Boosting the Internet speeds of all customers to a base level of at least 60 Mbps

This should have been a clear customer win for Spectrum.It meant that some customers automatically saw their Spectrum Internet speeds increase overnight, all at no additional cost. In terms of customer perceptions, this should have seen an outpouring of support from disgruntled customers. They should have been praising Spectrum, right?

Not so fast. The problem is that Time Warner Cable had been quietly boosting the Internet speeds of some customers to 100 Mbps and even 300 Mbps. There were so many Time Warner cable programs and price tiers, that there were actually more customers than might have been expected who were getting faster speeds than 60 Mbps.

Moreover, they were often getting special promotional pricing for those speeds. Once those promotional periods came to an end, they suddenly found out that there would be an “activation fee” to keep those higher speeds. As some angry customers pointed out on blogs, they felt “exploited” and they were angry about paying activation speeds of up to $200 ($200!) to keep those super-fast 300 Mbps connection speeds.

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#3: Reducing a confusing mix of incentives, programs, plans and offers into just a few core offerings

This, too, should have been a slam dunk win for Charter Spectrum. If you’ve ever seen all the programs, tiers and offers from Time Warner Cable, it would have made your head spin. So Charter Communications did what it thought was best – it “rationalized” all those plans into several core plans – Select, Silver and Gold. Charter thought it was making the lives of its customers easier, not harder. All of a sudden, a very complex choice about which cable TV package to choose became very simple.

But, again, theory and reality did not always go hand in hand. One big problem was that customers actually enjoyed the idea of negotiating with the cable company and feeling like they had won. When they called up and were told that legacy pricing was no longer available, and that they didn’t have as many choices, customers responded by blaming the “monopoly” pricing power of a huge cable giant. And, even worse, customer service reps were given a script to stick to. At times, there were “hidden” options not on that script and customers, indeed, wanted them.

It would be as if you walked into your corner Starbucks and your favorite drink that you’ve been ordering for months was no longer available. Your favorite barista still knew how to make it, but they weren’t allowed to give it to customers. Just imagine how your opinion about Starbucks might change after that.

#4: Revamping customer service

This was perhaps the biggest win for Charter Spectrum. Let’s face it – the customer service at Time Warner was abysmal. And part of the rebranding was meant to gloss over the fact that this was still the same company. But here Charter Spectrum really put its money on the line. Hiring 20,000 customer service reps is a big step. And the company really tried to reinvent itself as a friendly, customer-centric company.

Several branding blogs (including Brand Channel) even pointed out that Charter was redoubling its efforts in the local community. One big winner with Charter had been “Charter Our Community” and so the company intended to bring that same community spirit to regions served by Time Warner Cable. One example was a video posted on YouTube of how a California mom was able to make important home repairs, all thanks to Charter. As Charter establishes itself as a brand in these local communities, the sort of word-of-mouth buzz that’s possible from these efforts should not be underestimated.

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At the end of the day, any rebranding takes time. And keep in mind – Charter is the second-largest cable company these days (trailing only Comcast) with a huge national footprint. It’s not a case of an upstart brand changing its logo and “pivoting” to a new customer segment. In the case of Charter Communications, it meant a re-thinking of every single Time Warner Cable touch point with customers, in very diverse markets. The same branding message that might go over well with customers in Los Angeles or New York might not resonate as well with customers in Ohio and Wisconsin. And any increase in price – even if it meant significantly faster speeds or better service – would be seen by customers as proof that they were being exploited.

After summer 2017, we’ll have a much better view of how the rebranding went. The multi-stage rebranding across all geographic markets will be complete, and the first customer service satisfaction ratings should start to be available. If all goes according to plan, customers will view Spectrum as a progressive, modern brand that offers crystal-clear HD picture, a fully-featured voice service, and the fastest possible Internet — all without a confusing mix of tiers, programs, offers and incentives. That will give Charter Spectrum a solid base to build out its broadband infrastructure and continue to offer its national customers the most innovative product offerings possible.

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