PROS / Charter Communications provides fast connection speeds up to 30 Mbps and 100 Mbps in some areas.
CONS / Because of Charter's odd distribution, service quality varies widely across the U.S.
VERDICT / Charter's fast internet speeds make the service worth looking into if it provides good support in your area.
Charter Communications has had a rocky history. In 2009, the company walked away from $8 billion worth of debt by declaring bankruptcy and had to sell off many of its assets. However, the company has since rebounded and now has approximately 6.8 million customers in 29 states and employs approximately 21,000 people. In 2013, Charter acquired Optimum West from Cablevision for $1.63 billion, which gives it a larger footprint in the West. This internet service provider has plans with speeds ranging from 30 Mbps to 100 Mbps in select areas of the country.
Charter has simplified home internet service plans. The company widely offers two plans for the same price, and the right one for you largely depends on where you live. The Mountain West region has a plan that offers download speeds of up to 15 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 2 Mbps. In Charter's other coverage areas, you can experience download speeds of up to 30 Mbps with upload speeds up to 4 Mbps. In a few select areas, download speeds can reach up to 100 Mbps, but be prepared to pay substantially more for this service.
As we reviewed internet service providers, we used several random addresses to test coverage. While none of the rural and urban addresses we commonly tested worked with Charter, we were still able to find service areas with a few extra addresses. These addresses were generally in the suburban Northeast. The biggest addition to the service’s coverage area has been the Mountain West region in early 2013. Charter now provides services in Utah, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming. Consistency of internet speed and uptime varies by area, so it would be wise to check the speed in your area before signing up with Charter.
With every internet plan, Charter includes up to 10 email accounts with 2GB of storage, a free internet modem and the Charter Security Suite. The Charter Security Suite includes parental controls, antivirus and antispyware protection, a firewall and anti-phishing abilities. With your internet plan, Charter also includes a 24-hour dedicated technical support line. You can also bundle your TV and phone services with your internet plan to receive discounts.
In terms of customer support, you can contact Charter by phone, email or chat. The online support page holds volumes of helpful information such as how to use the security suite, the modem and the email service. Charter also posts user guides and information about billing.
In our test, we did not encounter any problems with Charter's support. With ISPs, service can vary depending on your location, so it is worth looking in to the support offered for your neighborhood before signing up with a plan.
Charter has proven to provide fast internet speeds to its residential customers. This ISP provides free security software and parental controls for all of its customers, which are helpful add-ons. If Charter is available in your area, we recommend that you check the speeds and support offered where you live prior to signing up.