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Charter Cable Increasing Broadband Speeds, But You’ll Hit Their Caps Faster

Phillip Dampier November 21, 2011 Broadband Speed, Charter, Consumer News, Internet Overcharging 5 Comments

Charter Cable is upgrading its broadband service to deliver free speed upgrades, but with the company’s Internet Overcharging-usage cap scheme in place, some customers are not impressed.

“We plan to streamline Charter Internet options to: Lite, Express, Plus, and Ultra,” Charter social media rep “Eric” wrote on the Broadband Reports‘ Charter customer forum. “Current Max customers will be able to move to a different level of Internet Service.”

The company’s boosted speeds (prices vary in different markets):

  • Charter Lite: 1Mbps/128kbps → Unknown ($19.99) 100GB limit
  • Charter Express: 12/1Mbps → 15/3Mbps ($44.99) 100GB limit
  • Charter Plus: 18/2Mbps → 30/4Mbps ($54.99) 250GB limit
  • Charter Max: 25/3Mbps → Discontinued ($69.99) 250GB limit
  • Charter Ultra: 60/5Mbps → 100/5Mbps ($99.99-109.99) 500GB limit

Charter has usage caps on all of its residential broadband service plans, but Stop the Cap! readers tell us they are not always enforced.  No overlimit fees are charged.  No announcements have been made about any changes to the existing usage limits.  Some Charter Max customers tell us they are using the speed upgrades an an excuse to downgrade to the cheaper Plus plan, which is faster and $15 less a month, with the same 250GB usage cap.  Customers who absolutely won’t tolerate a usage limit have to upgrade to commercial-grade service, which is considerably more expensive.  Lower speed plans run about $80 a month in many areas, but are unlimited.

“I’m glad to discover faster upload speeds, which I’ve waited for a long time, but I’d rather have no usage limits to worry about instead of faster speeds,” shares Stop the Cap! reader and Charter customer Paul McNeil.  “My problem with these faster speeds is that you can’t use them for too long.  Why buy a luxury race car you can only drive down the street?”

Light users who use the Internet primarily for e-mail or web page browsing rarely require more than the most budget-priced broadband package because high speeds do not deliver a significantly improved user experience.  But those who use the Internet for higher-bandwidth applications including video, downloading, certain online games, and file backup do benefit the most from high speed packages.  But when providers slap usage limits on them, the value erodes away.

“Why spend more for less?” asks McNeil. “Two years ago there were no limits and I honestly received more value from my Charter Internet service then over what I have to deal with now.”

Currently there are 5 comments on this Article:

  1. Alex Perrier says:

    Charter Lite is a bargain compared to many Canadian Internet plans! $20 for basic cable Internet, which is must faster than similarly-priced dial-up! Still, for broadband technologies like cable, those “high” usage caps are unnecessary to prevent network abuse.

  2. TK says:

    It is clear that they are acting to protect video revenue for their cable TV service from the likes of Hulu, Netflix, and iTunes. The increase of speeds clearly shows the network has ample and growing capacity to carry more bits, so caps should rise at least in proportion to speeds.

    • Scott says:

      Exactly. It’s amusing that the only websites/services online that are financed and can afford to deliver those high speeds back to the cable companies customers are the Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, YouTube’s, the competitors that Charter is using the metered and capped bandwidth to limit.

    • Alex Perrier says:

      i’ve sent Philip a story that says that Rogers charges more for Internet with less features than their TV package. Bell does the same, too: we can choose to either pay $25 (taxes in) for Internet with at 2 GB allowance, or get an unlimited basic TV package with 1 theme for the same price. It’s not fair. With Bell and Rogers buying the largest TV networks in Canada, it’s clear that they want to put their investment to good use by gouging us as customers. :(

  3. cactneir says:

    My family has charter 60MBPS love it but if i got out on my own i would prefer the charter plus if i could get it. Why? Its $10 more double the speed and twice the data cap. However working fast food sorry to say but i may have to wait 10 years to buy internet….. kinda disappointing especially with jobs pushing online applications and refuse the human rights paper applications.

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  • JD: CLEAR has without a doubt been the absolute BEST internet service I’ve ever (and I’ve used several ISP’s since 1991) used, PERIOD!!! Will Sprint ...
  • Jason: I agree, cap to limit congestion is a lie. So with capping everyone you have high congestion for the first two weeks of the billing cycle then it fal...
  • Jason: I work from home and I'll be damned if they are going to charge me any fees or cap my usage. Just wait until Google fiber comes to Phoenix and the ex...
  • chris: was just curious to what cox had to say about all this cash cow bussiness and heres what they told me Thank you for choosing Cox Communications....
  • Joe V: I hope the people of New Jersey are happy. They voted for Chris Christie and this is exactly what they got....
  • Susan: After diligently watching my credit score for over a year and how negative as well as positive postings affect it, I have a hard time believing that o...
  • David Therchik: An intense investigation needs to put into this! As soon as one starts I bet they'll stop charging/cheating people from over usage. Before they bought...
  • Charles Bingham: I did but customer no service was no help - said it did no good to have pass word with symbols, cap and small letters and #'s. IF only I had an alte...
  • Phillip Dampier: That assumes this customer had access to a working usage meter and notification messages and ignored them. Evidently it was big enough of a problem fo...
  • Are you kidding me...: "Over the years" people are using the internet differently. If your bill went up, you have usage. Responsible would be calling and talking to them ab...
  • Charles Bingham: Actually my usage has decreased over the years as I sold my business and only kept the internet for a few tax returns that I still do, no employees no...
  • Are you kidding me...: This entire article reeks of "poor me, I'm a victim and I can't be responsible about my own Internet usage, my own bills or my own actions." Grow up....

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