Cord Cutting Guides, News, and Reviews
See the latest TV, Home Phone, and Internet Bundles from Charter Spectrum.
Charter Spectrum deals are abundant right now, with the company currently offering some value-packed internet and TV in an effort to get on consumer’s good sides. For starters, they are one of the only internet providers that offer internet service without a contract.
Spectrum internet plans are usually in the 60–300 Mbps speed range, which is more than sufficient for streaming HD video (Netflix, Roku, etc). They also offer bundled plans with TV and phone service. However, we found that Spectrum Internet-only plans offer the strongest value for most customers.
Important: Before reading, use this tool to make sure you can get Charter Spectrum at your address.
Spectrum's Ultra internet plan is the middle-tier offering for contract-free internet service. It's $69.99 per month and provides four times as much download speed as the basic Spectrum 100 Mbps internet plan, for only $20 more per month.
This plan has a 20 Mbps upload speed, which is about twice what the basic plan offers. This can make a big difference if you regularly video chat or move large files, and is especially helpful for those of us working from home during 2020.
This plan includes the modem for free, just like the Spectrum basic plan, and provides the WiFi router as a lease for $5–10 per month. This fee can be dropped if you purchase your own WiFi router, but we think for most customers it's worth it since it gives you free servicing and replacements and requires no special technical ability to set up.
Triple Play Select is currently one of Spectrum's best values for customers who want TV and home phone service alongside Internet. The combination of streaming-capable speeds and flexible TV packages makes it a good choice for family homes in particular.
Currently, Charter is offering this plan for a discount — $89.97/mo. for the first year. Once those 12 months run out, the long-term price is $149.97. This is a substantial jump, but normal for a family TV and Internet/phone package. In most areas, the price isn't beatable for 125+ channels, unlimited nationwide calling. On the plus side, this plan includes your equipment such as DVR and modem. HD boxes may cost an extra $6.99/box, but it may be possible to remove the fee when ordering online or by requesting a deal from the rep when you call to sign up.
Thanks to Spectrum's lack of data caps, the Triple Play Select plan allows entertainment junkies to enjoy the “best of both worlds” with unlimited streaming from third-party services alongside Spectrum's robust video selection.
Below are all of the Charter Spectrum deals that we’ve collected. Additional plans may available online or over the phone in select zip codes.
Plan details change frequently, always verify plan details with the Charter Spectrum directly before purchasing service.
For a lot of folks, Charter Spectrum is often the only cable game in town. This means that you’re probably deciding between Spectrum and a competing DSL or wireless plan.
Spectrum is also one of the biggest cable providers in the US, largely thanks to their acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks in 2016.
In the short term, this means fewer deal options for customers in some areas as Time Warner and Bright House get folded under the “Charter Spectrum” brand.
In the long term, Charter is making big strides to simplify their bundle offerings and reduce add-on fees.
Charter’s cable internet comes over a hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) network originally built for Television service. Meanwhile, DSL is transmitted over the phone lines using infrastructure originally built for landline phones.
Cable has three big advantages over DSL:
Cable is often a bit more expensive than DSL. However, the speed and reliability of cable networks generally make up for the small price difference. The speeds are at least double DSL in most cases, making it well worth an extra $10 or so to avoid Netflix buffering.
Charter Spectrum’s cable infrastructure is expected to grow considerably in rural areas throughout 2018 and 2019. The FCC is requiring them to extend service to two million new customer addresses as a stipulation of their merger with Time Warner Cable.
Like most cable internet providers, Charter frequently offers “bundled” deals that combine TV and phone service with broadband internet access.
…Unlike most other cable deals, they generally don’t have a data cap. This is a huge bonus for streamers and cord-cutters, as many other ISPs have been rolling out overage fees and “data caps” for heavy internet users.
Charter Communications is making a big effort to win the public relations war and earn a good reputation with their customers. Part of this means offering regular sign-up deals and special offers.
Charter Spectrum’s “triple play” deals often come with a lower price tag than their double play deals. This leads many customers to sign up for all three services offered, including a home phone. After all, why not take more services for less money? Unfortunately, there’s a catch — the “first year” price is usually different from the final price you’re locked into for your contract. Assuming you’re signing a 2-year contract and planning to stick around for much longer, this mistake could cost you hundreds of dollars for a phone you don’t use or need.
Long story short: compare the final price rather than the promotional price, and only bundle services you will actually use.
Most home Internet connections require two pieces of hardware to work: a “modem,” which brings in Internet data through the cable in your wall, and the “router,” which turns that connection into Wi-Fi and broadcasts it throughout your home. While Charter doesn’t charge for the modem, they do charge a fee for the router. While it only costs a few dollars a month and includes upkeep/replacement, we recommend that customers who plan to stick around for more than one year go ahead and buy their own.
A decent router will only cost about $40, and will save you hundreds over a multi-year contract. Routers that are compatible with Charter Spectrum are listed on their website, and can be found online for better prices.
Charter offers professional in-home installation for a marginal fee, as is common amongst other providers. This fee varies from region to region, but in general, many readers have noted that it isn’t as high as many of the company’s competitors. All the same, if you’re wanting to save some cash, Charter offers the ability to self-install your service if you’d like. Even better, it’s actually pretty easy to do if you have a bit of time and some basic networking knowledge.
If you decide to self-install, here’s what Charter will send you:
Here’s what to do with them once you receive them (which normally only takes around three days). Full instructions are included in your install kit, but these are the basics:
First up, you’ll need to set up your modem. To do this, plug one end of the long coaxial cable included in your kit to the wall nearest to where you want to put the modem. Plug the other end into the modem itself. Plug the power cable into the wall, and into the modem. Attach the base for the device as well, if you’d like to stand it up. Finally, go ahead and plug one of the ethernet cables into the modem, and then into the router.
All told, it should look something like this:
Pro Tip: We recommend installing your networking equipment as centrally as possible so that the signal doesn’t taper off too badly on one side of your home.
With all the basics in place, go ahead and plug your router in and power it on as well. It is ready to use when the POWER light changes from amber to green. Once this happens, it’s time to connect a device to your new Wi-Fi network.
To do this, look for your unique network ID. It will be printed on the side of your router and should begin with either “MyCharterWiFi” or “MySpectrumWiFi.” Using a laptop or desktop PC (not your phone), choose this network from the list of available connections. You’ll be prompted for a password. This should also be printed on the side of the router itself.
With this done, you’re now connected! Congrats. You’re not quite done yet, though. You need to activate the modem by navigating to www.activate.spectrum.net. Once there, select “Install New Service” and follow the on-screen prompts. You should be good to go once this is done!
Spectrum doesn’t advertise them heavily, but they will often throw in some pretty enticing streaming bonuses if you ask nicely. These packages often include your local TV channels alongside the standard cable channels advertised on their site (ABC, PBS, FOX, etc.).
It beats having a lopsided antenna on your roof, and might be the tiebreaker if you’re choosing between cable and DSL. Check the Channel Guide to see if Spectrum TV has everything you’ll need because channels change from region to region.
While the pricing on Charter TV plans is a bit higher than other cable providers like Comcast, they don’t use the same price-swapping shenanigans to get customers on board. In our book, that’s a big win for consumers. If you’re a customer for more than a year, the pricing becomes essentially equivalent. (This is because more popular providers like Xfinity and DirecTV will charge cheap prices at first, then increase the price as much as double for “existing customers.”)
The main place Spectrum TV falls short is on the DVR. First off, they don’t really give you a choice of which model comes with the plan. Usually, it’s some sort of basic Motorola model, but there’s no official standard. Second, the storage and performance on their DVRs fall significantly short of other major TV providers:
Charter Communications is probably your best bet for bundling TV with your Internet for a decent monthly price. However, the real bonus with Spectrum is that they play nicely with streaming services like Netflix and don’t penalize customers for choosing their video source.
While they are currently required to provide unlimited streaming by law due to their Time Warner Cable merger agreements, it’s expected that they will continue to uphold this policy at least through 2020. The streaming-friendly policy has won them goodwill with customers and higher overall customer satisfaction rankings compared to other cable providers.
While Spectrum’s cable infrastructure isn’t perfect, their wide availability makes them the best option for “the rest of us,” particularly in suburban and rural areas outside the reach of complete “Fiber to the Home” gigabit fiber networks like Verizon Fios. That also may change, as Spectrum is expanding their fiber lines faster than any other provider in 2018. Again, this is required by their merger agreements, but the result is good for customers who don’t otherwise have access to Internet speeds above 60 Mbps.
For more information on Spectrum TV and equipment options, check out our Charter Spectrum Review.
Confused about whether you’re a Time Warner Cable or Charter Spectrum customer? Short answer: Spectrum.
Long answer: Time Warner Cable has been officially rolled into the Spectrum brand at the time of this writing, and all Time Warner customers should already be seeing Spectrum branding on their bills.
Time Warner Cable promotion customers grandfathered in on “retention rate” low-cost deals will also begin to see those rates rise as Spectrum attempts to standardize pricing across their coverage areas.
Information for former Time Warner Cable customers is available directly from Charter Spectrum for those confused about terms of the transition.
Here is a map detailing the former Time Warner Cable coverage area. Customers in these areas should instead search for Spectrum or other local cable operators.
Information for former Bright House Networks customers is available at Charter’s website. Note that the Time Warner Cable page linked in the section above is somewhat more detailed and contains information applicable to both situations.
Bright House Networks sign-in and services may still be available, but new customers should turn their attention to the Spectrum deals above, since Bright House Networks is no longer signing new customers under the Bright House brand name.
This map details the former Bright House Networks coverage area as of 2016: