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Charter Spectrum Rolls Into SoCal

Charter Communications said it’s unleashing faster broadband speeds and a heavier HDTV channel lineup in its Southern California systems following all-digital upgrades that are coupled with the introduction of the MSO’s new “Spectrum” branding.

Charter is bidding adieu to its analog spectrum and using that reclaimed capacity toward the boosting of the downstream speeds of its flagship broadband service from 30 Mbps to 60 Mbps, the broadening of its HDTV lineup to more than 200 channels, and enhancing its voice service with features such as unlimited nationwide calling. Charter Spectrum also touts a VOD menu of more than 10,000 “choices.”

The operator kicked off its all-digital plan in Southern California in August 2013 in areas such as Glendale, Burbank and Long Beach, and launched the second phase in March 2014 that hit other areas served by Charter in the region.

Charter said the all-digital upgrades, which are being implemented through the expanded distribution of two-way, VOD-capable set-tops, are part of a recent $271 million capital investment into the MSO’s California operations.

The operator noted that it’s spending more than $2 billion on its national network and still plans to complete the all-digital shift across its 29-state footprint by the end of 2014. In late July, Charter said it had completed all-digital upgrades in 60% of its current footprint.

Charter has already completed those upgrades in systems serving Texas, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Illinois, Missouri, South Carolina, Michigan and Massachusetts. Work is underway in areas such as central California as well as “Mountain States” markets in Montana, Wyoming and Colorado that Charter acquired from Cablevision Systems.

Charter is also testing a new cloud-based user interface for the set-top, called “Spectrum Guide,” in Fort Worth, Texas, with other markets slated for tests later this year ahead of anticipated widespread commercial deployments in 2015.