Charter Spectrum (or simply Spectrum) is a trade name of Charter Communications, used to market consumer and commercial cable television, internet, telephone, and wireless services provided by the company.
|Predecessors||Time Warner Cable|
Bright House Networks
|Founded||July 22, 1999 (as Charter Communications)|
2014 (as Charter Spectrum)
The brand was first introduced in 2014; prior to that, these services were marketed primarily under the Charter name. Following the acquisitions of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks by Charter, these operations also assumed the Spectrum brand.
Spectrum TV offers cable television service in three tiers:
- Select: 125+ channels
- Silver: 175+ channels (includes HBO/HBO Max and Showtime)
- Gold: 200+ channels (includes The Movie Channel, Starz, and Starz Encore)
Spectrum TV Choice: includes the major local broadcast channels and allows a choice of 10 (out of 56) additional cable channels to create a customized channel lineup for $34.99/month. Premium movie channels can be added for an additional fee.
Spectrum TV Stream: offers a set lineup of 25 cable channels plus the major local broadcast channels for $29.99. News, sports, and premium movie channels can be added for an additional fee.
Spectrum TV Essentials: offers a set lineup of 62 cable channels (but no local broadcast or sports channels) for $14.99/month.
The TV Stream and TV Essentials options require Spectrum Internet service and must be used with Spectrum's apps for either Roku, Apple TV, Xbox One, Samsung Smart TVs, internet browser, or iOS or Android devices. The TV Choice option can be used with either the Spectrum apps or with traditional cable boxes or CableCARD devices.
On June 26, 2018, it was announced that Charter Communications had given L.A.'s Finest a series order for a first season consisting of thirteen episodes. The series premiered as the cable service's first original series on May 13, 2019, marking Charter's first foray into original programming.
In August, Curfew and E Is for Edie received pickups. On March 6, 2019, the service picked up a 12-episode eighth season of the 1992-1999 NBC sitcom Mad About You which premiered six of the episodes on November 20, 2019.
On June 26, 2019, it was announced that the DirecTV Latin America original series Todo por el juego (Everything for the Game), would premiere on Spectrum Originals on July 15, 2019. The original series would be offered, along with an English dubbed version entitled Side Games.
Time Warner Cable first launched what would become Road Runner with a 1995 market test in Elmira, NY, under the banner Southern Tier On-Line Community. Later it became known as LineRunner (a moniker subsequently employed by VoIP service), before Time Warner Cable adopted the Road Runner brand name.
Road Runner High Speed Online employed the Road Runner character from the Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote cartoons distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures as its mascot and brand name. However, in 2012, it was rebranded as simply Time Warner Cable Internet, dropping the Road Runner branding that Time Warner Cable had to license from the now-unaffiliated Warner Bros. With Charter's acquisition of Time Warner Cable in May 2016, the service was rebranded as "Spectrum Internet" on September 20, 2016.
With the completion of DOCSIS 3.0 rollout in 2012, Time Warner Cable Internet has standardized the Internet tiered service data rates across most of its franchises, although some minor regional variations might still exist. The maximum advertised speeds for these services are:
- Everyday Low Price: 3 Mbit/s / 1 Mbit/s
- Basic: 10 Mbit/s / 1 Mbit/s
- Extreme: 50 Mbit/s / 5 Mbit/s
- Ultimate 100: 100 Mbit/s / 20 Mbit/s or 100 Mbit/s / 5 Mbit/s [Depending on service area]
- Ultimate 200: 200 Mbit/s / 20 Mbit/s
- Ultimate 300: 300 Mbit/s / 20 Mbit/s
- Ultimate 400: 400 Mbit/s / 25 Mbit/s
- Spectrum GIG: 940 Mbit/s / 35 Mbit/s (Business only)
The tier was intended as a low-cost, low-speed (1 Mbit/s or less) cable Internet alternative to dial-up Internet service. The Lite tier was retired from Time Warner Cable's Internet lineup for a time, but in the summer of 2013 it returned to Time Warner Cable's Internet offerings. In late 2013, it was upgraded from 1.0 Mbit/s download to 2.0 Mbit/s and rebranded as Everyday Low Price.
The Standard service tier was Time Warner Cable's base package. At 3.0 Mbit/s download, it was the only speed offered when the Road Runner service was created. It was upgraded to 4.0 Mbit/s later on, then to 5.0 Mbit/s in 2005, 7.0 Mbit/s in 2009, 10.0 Mbit/s in 2011, and 15.0 Mbit/s in 2012. The pricing for the Standard service started at $39.99/month, and gradually increased to $59.99/month as of 2016, although promotional and bundle pricing are available. The Standard tier as the base package was renamed to the Extreme tier under the TWC Maxx speed levels.
Premium was Road Runner's first foray into faster-tiered service levels, introduced in 2004 by Time Warner Cable. It offered 6.0 Mbit/s download speeds, compared to the Standard speed of 4.0 Mbit/s. It was later increased to 8.0 Mbit/s in 2005, when the Standard speeds increased. The Premium tier was later renamed to Turbo, and the speeds it offered continued to increase, as the Standard speeds continued to increase. Turbo was also the first service tier to receive the PowerBoost technology. Turbo Plus was a previously offered tier that was at a faster speed tier than Turbo, but slower than the future DOCSIS 3.0-based tiers. As Extreme and Ultimate tiers became available, the Turbo Plus name was retired.
The Extreme and Ultimate service tier offerings were created in 2009 at 30 Mbit/s and 50 Mbit/s download, respectively, and gradually became available in all markets over several years as Time Warner Cable rolled out DOCSIS 3.0 upgrades nationwide. In late 2013, the Ultimate tier was extended to include Ultimate 75 and Ultimate 100.
PowerBoost was a technology licensed from Comcast that allowed Road Runner customers to temporarily experience download speeds significantly faster than their current speed at no extra cost. PowerBoost was launched in New York City in 2008, and eventually was rolled out nationwide. PowerBoost was first included only with Turbo service, but eventually was extended to Standard service also in 2009. As of 2012, Time Warner Cable Internet's service offerings no longer make any mention of PowerBoost, though it may still be available with some service tiers on a regional basis. Time Warner Cable does not support PowerBoost on DOCSIS 3.0.
As of August 7, 2013, Time Warner Cable appears to have discontinued the PowerBoost feature as it upgrades more customers to DOCSIS 3.0 cable modems. To compensate for the reduction in average Internet speeds caused by the abandonment of PowerBoost, Time Warner Cable increased Internet speeds across the Standard or higher tiers of service by 10%, though it has yet to officially advertise these speed increases.
Time Warner Cable Internet previously provided the cable modem and modem maintenance to its subscribers as part of their service fee. Beginning in late 2012, they began charging a modem rental fee of $3.95/month for this service. Alternatively, subscribers can buy their own approved modem.
In August 2013, Time Warner Cable raised the modem rental fee to $5.99/month.
In January 2015, Time Warner Cable once again raised their modem rental fee, to $8.00/month. That represents a 100% increase in just over two years, from late 2012 when they created a billing line item for company-owned Internet modems. In April 2016, Time Warner Cable once again raised the modem rental fee, to $10.00/month.
Spectrum internet plans do not charge a separate modem rental fee, but do charge a $5/month Wi-Fi fee for modems/gateways that have built-in Wi-Fi capabilities, or for a stand-alone router.
Despite raising prices of its Internet service within the previous year, Time Warner Cable announced in February 2009 that it would expand its bandwidth caps and overage fees into four additional markets by the end of the year.
On April 1, 2009, the cities to have metered billing were announced. In addition to Beaumont, Texas, the cities would be Rochester, New York; Austin, Texas; San Antonio, Texas; and Greensboro, North Carolina.
These metered based billing plans were canceled according to Time Warner Cable "due to customer misunderstanding".
Caps would range from 5 GB to 100 GB with no unlimited option. The bandwidth will include downloads and uploads. If a user goes over, they will be charged $1 per additional gigabyte. Time Warner Cable announced they would provide a meter for users to monitor their usage. The new plan was set to begin in the summer of 2009, however due to protests they had decided against the bandwidth caps. Currently, users have unlimited bandwidth usage given that it does not exceed the predetermined data service maximum as given in the "master agreement". Time Warner Cable would have offered unlimited data for $150/month had the plan continued.
Glenn Britt (1949-2014), CEO from 2001 until December 2013, justified the new billing plans by claiming that the infrastructures had to be continuously upgraded and users would pay for how much they use. In February 2015, a Huffington Post article alleges a 97% profit margin on Time Warner Cable's Internet service.
Facebook groups have been created in protest in addition to an online petition and a Web site dedicated to stop the movement. Other Web sites have been recently following the Time Warner Cable cap plans that were already following broadband Internet providers metering and capping plans.
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressman Eric Massa, both of whom represent portions of the Rochester, New York market that would be affected by the changes, announced their opposition to the plan and even went as far as to threaten legislation to ban such a scheme. On April 16, 2009, Time Warner Cable abandoned the plan.
As a condition of the merger with TWC, Spectrum agreed to not impose any bandwidth usage caps for seven years post-merger.
Time Warner Cable MaxxEdit
This article needs to be updated.November 2018)(
On January 30, 2014, Time Warner Cable announced its new TWC Maxx initiative in New York City and Los Angeles which substantially boosted service speeds at no additional cost compared to the existing speed tiers, with the highest speed tier tripling from 100 Mbit/s to 300 Mbit/s.
As of mid 2016, TWC Maxx upgrades have been completed in New York City up the Hudson Valley, Los Angeles, Austin, Kansas City, Dallas, San Antonio, Raleigh, Hawaii, and Charlotte. Rollouts of TWC Maxx were in progress in San Diego, Greensboro, and Wilmington and were completed in early 2016.
After the TWC acquisition by Charter in June 2016, TWC Maxx upgrades have indefinitely been put on hold.
|Legacy Internet Plans||TWC Maxx Internet Plans|
|Everyday Low Price
|Everyday Low Price|
3/1 or 6/1 Mbit/s
60/5, or 100/5 Mbit/s
After its merger with TWC and Bright House Networks, Charter Spectrum offered the following broadband internet plans across its entire service area. In December 2017, Charter began its rollout of DOCSIS 3.1, initially in early TWC Maxx markets, which increased speeds and added a gigabit tier. As of April 2020, most of the Spectrum footprint has Spectrum Internet Gig available and starting base speeds depend by area which at one point will all be upgraded to 200/10 Mbit/s in the near future.
|Spectrum Internet Plans|
|Spectrum Internet Assist†|
30/4 Mbit/s (download/upload speeds)
|Spectrum Internet Ultra
|Spectrum Internet Ultra|
|Spectrum Internet GIG
|Spectrum Internet GIG|
† Plan is limited to subscribers meeting certain income criteria, where available.
Spectrum offers landline VOIP telephone service branded as Spectrum Voice; the service utilizes a telephone cable modem to provide the service, either alone or combined into a household's main cable modem box.
Road Runner Mobile (defunct)Edit
In late 2009 after split off from Time Warner (now WarnerMedia), Time Warner Cable began reselling Clearwire mobile WiMAX service as Road Runner Mobile, bundled with the company's existing broadband, TV and VoIP services. In October 2009, the company indicated that they'd be launching their incarnation of the service starting December 1 in Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill, Charlotte and Greensboro, and later, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, Honolulu, and Maui. Pricing for the "up to 6 Mbit/s" service ranged from $39.95 a month to $79.95 a month depending on the chosen bundling options, and came in three flavors:
- Road Runner Mobile 4G National Elite: gave customers unlimited access to both Time Warner Cable's 4G Mobile Network and Sprint's 3G EVDO network for $79.95 if the customer was a Roadrunner Standard or Turbo customer.
- Road Runner Mobile 4G Elite: gave customers unlimited access to the Time Warner Cable 4G Mobile Network for $49.95 if already a Roadrunner Standard or Turbo customer.
- Road Runner Mobile 4G Choice: gave customers access to the Time Warner Cable 4G Mobile Network for $39.95 if the customer was already bundling at least two Time Warner Cable services. The tier also capped usage at 250 MB per month.
Users received additional discounts if they were triple play customers.
As of late 2011, Time Warner Cable stopped signing up new Road Runner Mobile customers under resold Clearwire WiMAX service. Existing WiMAX customers could continue to use the service, but TWC began signing up new Road Runner Mobile customers under resold Verizon Wireless 4G LTE services. As of late 2012, however, all mention of Time Warner Cable-branded mobile broadband services have been removed from Time Warner Cable's website and most regional franchises, and eventually those customers were transitioned directly to Verizon.
On June 30, 2018, Charter launched Spectrum Mobile, a mobile virtual network operator service. Spectrum utilizes their service area's Wi-Fi network for extended network coverage, while Verizon Wireless provides the network Spectrum Mobile utilizes for mobile service. The service costs $45 for unlimited mobile data, or $14 per gigabyte of mobile data (along with traditional device purchase/financing options), and requires a Spectrum internet subscription.
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