Charter Spectrum Internet Review

Charter Spectrum is a unique ISP because there are no modem fees and its lowest download speed is surprisingly fast.

Charter Spectrum Fastest Internet
Charter Spectrum is a unique ISP because there are no modem fees and its lowest download speed is surprisingly fast.
Overall Rating4 out of 5
Download Speed:
Starting at 60 Mbps
Modem:
Included
Contract:
None

The Takeaway: Charter Spectrum’s internet service is unlike other ISPs: there’s no equipment fee for Charter’s modem, and its basic internet plan starts at 60 Mbps (download speed). Charter doesn’t require a contract either, so you’re not locked into a one- or two-year service agreement. However, there are a few odd things about Charter. For instance, you’ll probably have only one Charter internet plan in your area.

PROS

  • $500 contract-buyout promotion
  • no-contract internet
  • unlimited data (no data caps)
  • no modem fee
  • bundled services (TV + phone)

CONS

  • limited availability
  • limited plan options
  • unimpressive upload speeds
  • no self-installation for new customers

Charter Pricing and Plans

Plans are limited, but pricing is better than average.

PlanAdvertised priceRegular priceDownload speedContract
Charter Internet$29.99/mo$39.99/mo60 MbpsNone
Ultra Internet*$89/mo$99/mo100 MbpsNone

Updated 4/25/17. Pricing and availability may change depending on location. *Only available in select areas.

Charter’s advertised price is what you’ll find on Charter’s website, and to get that price you’ll have to bundle internet service with TV and phone. The regular price is the actual internet only price, and it’s good for one year—no contract required.

Charter bundle packages — internet + TV or phone

PlanServicesAdvertised priceDownload speed
Internet + PhoneInternet/Phone$49.99/mo768 Kbps
Triple Play SelectInternet/TV/Phone$99.99/mo1.5 Mbps

If you want to include TV or phone with internet service, you can. Charter offers service bundles for internet, TV, and phone. Most of Charter’s bundles compare favorably with the competition, but we included two of the more popular bundles in the chart above. As always, we recommend calling a representative to see what’s available in your area.

How much does Charter internet really cost?

How much is Charter internet? It might not be easy to tell at first because all prices on Charter Spectrum’s website are for bundles. If you want to find the price of internet-only service, you’ll have to go through the checkout process online or call and ask a representative. For example, the internet only plan is $29.99 a month for one year, but the standard rate, which is $49.99 a month, isn’t shown until you get to the checkout screen. This isn’t unusual, but other internet providers do a better job of being upfront with standard prices.

Heads up – Charter Spectrum is running a promotion we haven’t seen from an internet service: a contract buyout. If you order a Charter Spectrum Triple Play, you can get up to $500 towards your old internet service contract. Of course, there are some stipulations. You’ll need to fill out a one-page form (it’s surprisingly short) and send in a copy of your final bill from your previous ISP. We couldn’t find details on when this promotion ends, so if you’re interested it wouldn’t hurt to call and speak with a representative sooner than later.

Hidden fees

There’s no modem fee for Charter Spectrum, but if you want a Wi-Fi enabled modem (which should be standard by now) you’ll have to pay an extra $5 a month. Most other ISPs offer Wi-Fi enabled modems, but they typically charge $10 a month. Be aware of the following fees:

  • Professional installation (ETF) – Professional installation is required for all new customers; there is no option for self-installation. Ours was a one-time fee of $49.99, but we also received a $15 discount. If you don’t see a discount yourself, it doesn’t hurt to ask for one.
  • Wi-Fi activation fee – If you want to rent a Wi-Fi modem from Charter, you’ll have to pay a one-time Wi-Fi activation fee of $9.99.
  • Wi-Fi monthly fee – There’s a $5-a-month fee for Wi-Fi service. We think this fee is a bit ridiculous, but on the other hand Charter doesn’t charge any equipment fees, which are usually close to $10 a month. (Comcast charges $10 a month for its modem.)
  • Activation fee – If you happen to live in an area where Charter’s Ultra internet plan is available, be aware there is a one-time fee of $199 to get started.

Equipment

Like other ISPs, Charter Spectrum requires its own modem or an authorized modem for internet service.

In our other ISP reviews, we’ve recommended purchasing your own modem. Charter is a little different. If you already have a compatible wireless router or you don’t need Wi-Fi, go with Charter’s free modem. For every other situation, we recommend getting a modem/router combo (modem and Wi-Fi router) from Charter’s authorized modem list. A modem/router combo can pay for itself within a year, and you never know what make or model of modem you’d get from Charter.

Charter internet speeds

There are limited options for speed, but at least Charter starts high.

PlanDownload SpeedUpload Speed
Charter Internet60 Mbps4 Mbps
Ultra Internet100 Mbps4 Mbps

What internet speeds do I really get?

Charter Spectrum’s download speeds start high at 60 Mbps, which means you’ll never need to worry about Netflix buffering (even in HD), but there’s also really no other option for speed from Charter. Yes, there is the Ultra internet plan, which has a download speed of 100 Mbps, but its coverage is limited to select metro areas.

If you want high upload speeds, you’ll be disappointed with Charter internet. No matter the plan, you only get 4 Mbps of upload speed. This might be an issue if you’re constantly backing up your computer to the cloud or uploading photos or videos online. Of course, upload speed isn’t important to everyone, so it might not make a difference for you. If it does, a different internet service provider would be better for you.

What speed is right for me?

Internet speeds are not guaranteed. The factors you should consider are multiple users, modem, computer software and hardware.

Charter Data Caps and Usage

No limits on your data means less stress.

There are no data limits (i.e., data caps) for Charter’s internet service.

Other ISPs, such as AT&T and Comcast, have data limits (300 GB and 1,000 GB respectively). Though Charter isn’t the only ISP with unlimited data (Time Warner Cable and Verizon have it as well), it’s definitely worth mentioning

Charter Customer Support

Close-to-average, far-from-amazing service.

ASCI 2016 RatingJD Power
63/1003/5

Charter Spectrum’s support is just average, but it does have some interesting service features (contract buy-out and no-contract service).

According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), Charter Spectrum scored a 63 on a 100-point scale for customer satisfaction in 2016. That’s an improvement from a score of 57 in 2015, but Charter’s 2016 rating makes it land right in the middle of the best and worst ISPs.

The 2015 U.S. Residential Internet Service Provider Customer Satisfaction Study from J.D. Power gives Charter Spectrum a 3 out of 5 rating, which means Charter is “about average.” We agree.

We tried multiple times to use Charter’s online support chat, but it didn’t work. When we called support to ask about other Charter plans, we could only get information after providing our address. This is typical, but we still hope that representatives would be more eager to answer our questions without getting our info first.

If you have a question for Charter Spectrum, you’ll have to call, but it’s not a terrible experience…it’s just okay.

The Bottom Line

Charter Spectrum internet has few options, but plenty of perks.

If 60 Mbps download speed and 4 Mbps upload speed sounds good to you (it’s more than enough speed for the average household), Charter is worth checking out. Charter also has some excellent benefits: no modem fees, contract buyouts, unlimited data, and no-contract service.

Our Recommendation:

Charter Spectrum internet has 60 Mbps download speed for $39.99 a month, and that’s a good deal when compared other ISPs. For example, Verizon Fios’ 50/50 plan with a 50 Mbps download speed is $49.99 a month and requires a one-year contract (it does have better upload speeds though).

Other great options: If you want to add TV to your internet service, the TV Select + Internet plan starts at $79.99 a month. The Triple Play Select has all three home services—internet, TV, and phone for $89.99 a month.

All in all, decent speeds for a decent price. You won’t have a ton of customization options in the packages available to you, but the plans that are available should offer enough speed to serve any household.

Charter unavailable? Find other ISPs near you.

  • James towne

    This is the worst Internet service ever. We put a package deal together for TV, internet, and phone. The internet is the worst. We called and complained, spent over an hour on the phone with a non English speaker only to have him give us guidance which shut down our Internet that he could not get running again. My wife hung up and actually read the information and got it going. I continually get your Internet can not connect. We gave up Verdon to get this garbage….I am writing this on my phone because my tablet will not connect.

  • Warren

    We were on Brighthouse years ago, then accepted a 2 year UVerse contract with ATT. Like all plans, the advertised price was about half of what you inevitably pay each month. With huge increases or severely lessened TV channels at the end of the contract, we went back to Brighthouse. Again, the advertised package was a sore disappointment compared to the actual billing and the bill wasn’t sent, either by snail mail or email; I finally got a call about my bill being delinquent! This last bill was a shocking increase, making my bare-bones Brighthouse package almost as expensive as the UVerse package we just left. Trying to contact BrightHouse right now is a nightmare as they are merging with Spectrum. I get “sorry, not available, our technicians are working on the problem” online responses when I try to log in. My cell battery died as I listened to the ubiquitous “We appreciate your business, you are a valued customer” loop. I left Spectrum an email and a callback number; it produced crickets. That is why I’m researching on this site to find decent internet and TV.

    • http://www.reviews.org Scott T.

      Thanks for checking Reviews.org out. So is your TV/Internet package officially with Spectrum, or is still under Bright House? We haven’t reviewed Bright House yet, but we have reviewed Spectrum (we liked their internet service more than their TV service). Are there any other providers in your area you’re considering?

      • Warren

        We are grandfathered to Brighthouse prices, but we automatically got the 60 MBPS “upgrade” from 50 MBPS. My original email message was finally returned on a Sunday afternoon. That $500 buy-out sounds patently unfair, as all existing customers are being shafted by the inducement for a few new customers; the cost is spread onto all our subscriptions.

        I am at a loss as to why “existing” customers are shut out of discount pricing available only to new customers. Newspaper delivery is a great example. Our local Orlando rag offers new customers $10-$12 a year (yes year) for a Sunday-Thursday newspaper delivery. When they try to raise it after a year, they will “back down” and offer a second year, usually for about $15. After that, the annual subscription is about $65.00. Because all the supplementary ads (grocery, WalMart, Target, etc.) are on line, and TV and Drudge supply the news, I find most of the newspaper ends up wrapping dog accidents or in the recycle bin. So I cancelled it. After about 6 months, I may “re-qualify” for their $10 annual price again.

        I am seriously thinking of finding an internet-only service at about 25 MBPS and using rabbit ears (free local) A movie service (HBO or STARZ) and Sling at $20/month for TV and a Walmart-like “landline” service for $10 per month that runs over the internet. The only channel I will miss on this configuration is CNBC, but I want to cut the cord from these 100-200-300 channel packages when I only watch a limited array of channels. Any suggestions?

        • http://www.reviews.org Scott T.

          If it’s internet-only service, we’d go with Verizon Fios, Optimum, or Suddenlink. Even Comcast XFINITY is a pretty good option if it’s internet-only. You can also start by finding what’s actually available in your area by going to highspeedinternet.com.

          We do use HBO GO and feel mostly positive about it (we might review it in the future). And the same can be said of Sling; we have one team member who’s used it for a year, and he would recommend it.

          We’re not sure there’s much use for landline service these days, but if you haven’t taken a look at Google Voice, check it out. It might work as an alternative, and it’s “free.”

          Also, from what we see, CNBC is available on Sling.

          • Warren

            I have an update on the BrightHouse/Spectrum merger… or is it a fiasco? Yes Spectrum tests out at 57MBps out of a promised upgrade to 60, but their billing procedures are indescribable. When I try to create an online account, they ask for an account number, “which can be found on your monthly bill.” Hard to find when I haven’t received a bill, either on line or in snailmail. Somewhere in their labyrinth of clicks, I found an 800 number to get my account number and a PIN. Try as I might, the account number doesn’t exist. To further complicate things, Spectrum detects my old BH account and tells me to move it to Spectrum, then puts me to a screen asking for — you guessed it — my Spectrum Account number. The only contact I get from Spectrum is their nasty “pay your bill” phone calls, not emails where I can view what is going on. Oh well.

            Methinks I will try to get an internet-only account using your recos and Sling. For mobile I use Boost Mobile, opne line, and pay $30/mo for unlimited Text/Talk/Data. I like the comfort of a landline as well, and that can run VoIP for next to nothing. I just hate getting new numbers when I shift providers as I have to change all my friend and business contacts. Can 25MBps handle HBO, NetFlix and streaming?

  • Jim Dowson

    I think you have a typo – 768 Mbps (or did you mean Kbps)?

    • http://www.reviews.org Scott T.

      Thanks for the catch! We fixed it.

  • Roger

    Thanks for the review. Can you answer a couple questions about the picture quality on charter? What is the HD signal broadcast at? 1080i or or 720P? (before it gets to the box). Also what is the streaming HD signal resolution before gets to the box? Last question is what type of compression are they using? Thanks

    • http://www.reviews.org Scott T.

      It looks like this comment was meant for Charter Spectrum TV and not Charter Internet. Would you mind posting your question on the Charter TV Review? Here’s the link: http://www.reviews.org/tv-service/charter-spectrum-tv-review/. That way other people can see your questions as well.

      Thanks!

  • Scooter

    It appears the Charter Spectrum has many unsolved issues. The special modem you must use has been on back order and the followup information about this is awful.I have received 4 delivery promises and still do not have it. It seems the will tell you anything just to get it off their desk.The supervisor seems to rattle on a 100 miles an hour and basically say nothing. I guess if you talk long enough and fast enough it doesn’t sound like you are reading a prepared script.

  • ralph richardson

    Honestly I’ve been very happy with Time Warner/Spectrum. I have their 300mps internet and it always runs great. I run a Ark game server from my home and people are playing games and watching Netflix on computers at the same time. Granted, I’m less than a block away from the ISP……………

  • hanime

    It was kind of tricky because of the small print on their ads. With the bundle, it’s actually $29.99/month EACH bundled item. So if you have internet + cable tv + phone, that’s $29.99×3/month.

  • hanime

    That’s sad to hear. In Dallas, TX, they have better prices and speeds than ATT U-Verse. It’s TWC Spectrum here.

  • Adam Kennedy

    that was indeed most helpful in many lights. thank you Scott Teran for a truly insightful piece of literature. i do hope you continue writing these reviews, or in similarity too. i believe you are quite good. bye now

    • Janith Murrell

      Adam Kennedy: Your response to Miguel Frias makes no sense at all. Are you a robot? This isn’t intended to be funny.

      • Keith Bingaman

        Adam kennedy, I found your respond degrading and insulting. You should be ashamed.

  • Adam Kennedy

    im sorry you have had a negative experience. but thank you for passing on your struggles.

  • Janith Murrell

    There are no charges for equipment because the equipment is so old that it frequently breaks down. No only that but it looks like early 1980s equipment, big and ugly. For 2 1/2 years they have said that they will spend the money for equipment upgrades but they haven’t as yet. I have a weekly call with Charter concerning the malfunction of the day (not recording programmed shows, cable deciding to not operate at all, snowy screens, etc etc etc. All service calls go the same way: they send signal to reset the cable, that doesn’t work, then they tell me they haven’t the foggiest idea why). If there is any possible alternative to Charter Spectrum internet or cable for you, take it. It doesn’t make any difference how crappy it is it will be far better than Charter Spectrum. TIP: In order to get past the 20 minute menu with a detour to a virtual assistant then to a live chat (that I swear is a virtual assistant also) you need to say a couple of curse words. Example: “Customer service, customer service, customer service, assistant assistant, agent agent G*D M***er FKN Customer Service.” The reason for this is that computer assistant that controls the menu is programmed to disregard whatever you say unless you say a few very obscene words that it will interpret to mean that you have gone over the edge and may cancel your service. Then you will be allowed to talk to a human being whose sole purpose is to allow you to vent your rage at the company’s lousy service. Then they’ll say they’re sorry for the 100th time and then say “Have a good day!” Really, if you’re the type of person who likes to hit themselves in the head with a hammer on a weekly basis, this is the service for you.

  • Tony Price

    I’m a cord cutter so, while I have not seen actual bandwidth usage, I would guess my monthly data usage to be relatively high. Moreover, I also use Amazon Drive and I have had no problems or complaints from Charter. This is my second go around with Charter. The first time, the Paul Allen days and bankruptcy, it seemed each month there was an increase in my bill of some sort. Customer service and tech support were abysmal. So, I left for AT&T with their DSL service but their lack of bandwidth drove me back to Charter after they had emerged from bankruptcy. It’s been a total turnaround for me. Their customer service is perfectly acceptable and my internet connection has virtually never been disrupted. This is with the added bonus of getting more bandwidth than I actually pay for. in past times they had, and deserved, a black eye. In my experience that is no longer true. My only minor complaint would be concerned with higher upload speeds. Despite this you can color me a happy camper.

  • Slayer_Fil

    Regular price for internet only just went up to $65/month

  • Sam Pecor

    Count yourself lucky. I signed on 10 days before they switched their services from Time Warner to Spectrum, even though the physical location in Portland, Maine, had all the signs up and everything. I was told they’d honor the online promo for the 60 mbps for $54.99 as opposed to the retail price of $64.99. I just got my first bill and guess which one it was?

    To make matters worse I referenced the online price to see new customers get it for TWENTY DOLLARS ($20) less than existing Time Warner Cables (how’s that for a slap in the face?) at $44.99 vs my $64.99. After some arguing over the phone and an obnoxious low level representative who told me upon being asked for their manager: “They’re just going to say the same thing. Don’t waste your time.”

    While on the phone with the manager, I discovered the list price of the 60 mbps locally is $59.99, NOT $64.99! I told her this and she explains that must be a mistake through a local retailer, but thanks for pointing it out! I also was repeatedly berated, being told “We can lower your price down to $54.99 but that will also lower your speeds” NO S**T!!!

    From bad to worse I guess it is. Got to love monopolies, and here in Maine 60 mbps is the highest we can get so we’re stuck with these con artists.

  • ralph richardson

    I live in Moreno valley, California. I guess it also helps I’m about a block and a half from their building!

  • Todd Perry

    GREAT internet, phone and tv but TERRIBLE email service.
    DO NOT US THEIR EMAIL through the browser !Their email is the slowest that I have ever used through a browser with times I can not even log in. Search option for emails does NOT work at all and if you try to use it it WILL most of the time lock you out and will not allow the page to reload and makes it EXTREMELY hard to look for older emails that you have to do one page at a time with NO way to jump to a certain page or date.
    –Their email service through the browser is hands down the WORST I haves seen in the 30 years I have been on the internet and this is coming from a 25 year computer tech that sets up networks and email accounts for people.