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Charter Communications purchased Time Warner Cable so Time Warner Cable will now be branded as Spectrum. For the most recent information, please refer to our Spectrum articles. We will update this article as information comes in.
What does this mean for you?
Hopefully better service and options to choose from. However, there is an industry trend of mergers seeing a decline in customer satisfaction. We attribute this largely to “growing pains” most companies go through to find the best mutual solution for the expanding customer base.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Time Warner Cable is a great experience for those looking for freedom in their internet use: no contracts, no data caps, and no hidden fees. Users can select from a broad range of speeds from 15 to 300 Mbps (depending on location) at a reasonable price. TWC also offers bundle packages to give you a single bill for your internet, phone, and TV services.
Is it Right for Me?
- If you want unlimited data
- If you have multiple users watching HD video streams or gaming online
- If you don’t want a contract
- If you want to bundle services (TV, phone, and internet in one bill)
Price and plans
Time Warner Cable has good (if not great) prices
Each Time Warner Cable plan includes free access to over 500,00 TWC Wi-Fi hotspots, a free McAfee internet security suite and parental controls, and the option to buy your own modem.
Because of the discrepancy between locations, it’s hard for us to pin down a solid pricing and packages rating. Obviously, if you can get the 50 Mbps plan for the same price as some people get the 15 Mbps plan, it’s a great deal. It’s worth noting that Time Warner Cable’s most expensive internet only plan is $64.99 for 300 Mbps. Comparatively:
AT&T has a similar offer of $70 for 300 Mbps;
Verizon charges $170 for 300 Mbps;
Comcast charges $50 in the first year for 300 Mbps, but then costs as much as $150.
By contrast, Time Warner Cable’s pricing is fair and straightforward.
Bundles: Time Warner internet (+TV/phone)
As we saw with standalone internet pricing, your location determines your pricing and speed. There is a pretty significant difference, so clarify with a sales agent.
According to Time Warner Cable: Triple Play offers expire 9/18/16 and are available to residential new and existing Single Play customers. Triple Play price will increase $20 per month for months 13-24. After 24 months, regular rates in effect at that time apply.
What’s the real price?
Time Warner Cable doesn’t really offer much in the way of promotional offers or savings on first-year pricing. Most packages have a savings of $5 per month if you order online, but aside from that, what you see is what you get.
Luckily, Time Warner Cable has no overuse penalties, limits, data caps, or other usage fees. They also provide free internet security software that some companies charge as much as $10 a month for.
- Modem fee: If you want to lease a modem from TWC, it will be $10 per month per modem. If you do lease a modem, you get free 24/7 support, required replacements, and upgrades.
- Unreturned equipment fee: If you disconnect your service and are leasing any equipment from TWC, make sure to return your gear; otherwise, you could face a fee of $100 or more.
- Internet installation: While some companies are known to include installation as part of your sign-up deal, be aware you could pay up to $50 for professional installation.
- Wi-Fi installation: The Extreme and Ultimate plans include free home Wi-Fi, whereas the Standard and Turbo plans require an installation fee of $20, or you can install it yourself with an Easy Connect kit, which can be ordered at the time of service.
If you’re trying to determine whether or not you want to use your own modem or lease a Time Warner Cable modem for $10 a month, consider this: the average modem costs $100 (some as low as $70), so you’d break even around 10 months; anything after could be considered savings.
Time Warner Cable’s speed is on the faster side of average
Time Warner Cable’s download speeds range from 15 Mbps to 300 Mbps. None of these speeds are slow, but TWC definitely isn’t the fastest we’ve reviewed. In the grand scheme of things, this range is pretty average by comparison:
AT&T U-verse internet covers 768 Kbps to 1 GB
CenturyLink ranges from 12 Mbps to 1 GB
Suddenlink offers speeds from 15 Mbps to 75 Mbps
Verizon Fios starts at 50 Mbps and goes to 500 Mbps
Internet speeds are not guaranteed.
The factors you should consider are:
Computer hardware and software
Below are the FCC’s minimum broadband speed requirements for a single user.
- Web browsing: 1 Mbps
- Watching videos: 4 Mbps
- Video conferencing: 4 Mbps
- Online gaming: 5 Mbps
Time Warner Cable provides a speed test so you can see how well your internet is operating. If you’re looking to switch internet providers, this test gives you an idea of what you’re using currently so you can compare it to Time Warner Cable’s offerings.
Time Warner Cable does not have data limitations
Having unlimited data is as good as it gets. If you’ve ever had a data limit imposed, you know how frustrating it can be when you’re near the end of the month and close to your data cutoff. Either you’re faced with paying an overage fee, or perhaps worse, your internet speed gets throttled to the the point of unusability—even simple web pages can take eons to load it seems, and forget about watching HD movie streams or playing online games.
Luckily, Time Warner Cable internet has no data usage caps. This means you and everyone else in the household can browse the internet, stream HD videos, or play online games without worry of going over a data limit. By comparison, other companies like AT&T charge an extra $10 or more for an additional 50 GB of data, up to $100 in a single month. With Time Warner Cable, you won’t worry about overage charges.
Improvements are coming, but the service is currently among the worst.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) gave Time Warner Cable a score of 66/100 this year. Compared to last year’s score of 58, we see this 14% score increase as TWC making strides in improving its relationship with customers. The overall average of the ratings was 63.3; Time Warner had the third best ACSI score of internet service providers, behind Cablevision and Verizon Fios.
The JD Power & Associates score puts Time Warner Cable below average, barely above Comcast and Frontier. It’s not the worst, but not the best, either.
Finding and visiting a Time Warner Cable store for support should be easy enough. Our search yielded 12 different stores in roughly a 5-mile radius from our service location. This is a benefit for customers who don’t want to face unreturned equipment fees.
Time Warner Cable internet is a great no-contract option
Time Warner Cable’s lack of contracts makes it appealing for renters or those who don’t want to be locked into any agreements. With pretty straightforward pricing, which in some cases beats the competitors, most users can find what they need.
Our Recommendation: Time Warner Cable Ultimate (100 Mbps)
The Ultimate 100 package hits the sweet spot of fast speeds at a reasonable price. For $45 a month in the first year, you get 100 Mbps download speed without internet caps. By contrast, other internet providers like AT&T and Verizon charge $15 more a month for the same download speed, but with data caps and contracts. Please note that this plan is not available everywhere, as it’s part of the fiber network.
- If you can only access the lower speed tier (like our example zip code of 84059), then we’d definitely recommend the Turbo (20 Mbps) plan for its cost efficiency.
- If you’re looking for a bundled package, the Internet/TV plan for 200+ channels and 50 Mbps is a good deal, if available in your area.