Charter Communications just announced that it has doubled the base download speed for approximately 8 million homes in 17 U.S. markets, expanding the entry-level download speed in those households to 200 megabits per second.
Charter said it will automatically increase speeds for current residential customers with new Spectrum Internet packages in the affected markets in the first quarter. The markets include Albany, N.Y.; Beaumont, Texas; Buffalo, N.Y.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Cheyenne, Wyo.; Columbia, Mo.; Elmira, N.Y.; Lexington, Ky.; Orlando, Fla.; Palm Springs, Calif.; Rochester, Minn.; Rochester, N.Y.; Savannah, Ga.; Springfield, Mo.; Syracuse, N.Y.; Tampa, Fla.; and Tri-Cities, Tenn.
Charter said that starting speeds of 200 Mbps are now available to nearly 75% of the company’s 41-state service area.
Is Charter Delivering?
Arbitrating connection speed near Downtown Los Angeles, Multichannel News clocked in with a downstream speed of just 50.20 Mbps over WiFi. This was after positioning a newer model Macbook Pro three feet away from a leased Charter DOCSIS 3.0 gateway, with no obstructions. And it was the fastest of three attempts (20.58 Mbps was the slowest).
As you’d expect, download speed improved dramatically, to just over 152 Mbps, after plugging an Ethernet-equipped Dell laptop directly into the gateway. But we still couldn’t get close to the advertised 200 Mbps speed.
A Charter press rep responsively set us up with a tech support visit for later this afternoon. We’ll update this story to include results of the troubleshooting.
UPDATED 12/23/2020: Subsequent to posting this article, our mid-city Los Angeles duplex was visited by no less than three Charter techs, who ran a new cable from a different pole, and updated us to a DOCSIS 3.1 modem. Charter is now delivering speeds in excess of 200 Mbps over WiFi in the main portion of our building. The techs troubleshooted for several hours on how to get faster speeds over WiFi to a far-flung home office area of the property, even demonstrating third-party router equipment that provides the needed radio signal boost to accomplish the task.
Do customers who don't get to gripe about their service on national business-to-business news platforms get the same service? Charter probably deserves the benefit of the doubt here.
Tuesday's interaction was certainly a far more comprehensive and thoughtful customer experience when compared to our initial install back in June 2017, which was also the last time we received a visit from a Charter tech.
Three and a half years is a lot of time. A Charter press rep told me that company techs generally work to make sure the customer WiFi experience, now Charter's core product, is delivered evenly and correctly. And if I had lodged a complaint sooner, it would have been addressed. Since this was the first time I notified the cable operator about the issue, I'll take their word for that.
For Charter customers, the issue of advertised speed is a sensitive one, given that the cable company this month upped the price of broadband-only subscriptions by $5 a month. Those who pay for traditional Spectrum pay TV were spared the price increase.
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Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!