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Charter Spectrum Updates Approved Modem List for New Speed Tiers

Phillip Dampier January 11, 2018 Broadband Speed, Charter Spectrum, Consumer News 5 Comments

[Clarification 1/15/2018: This list only covers customer-owned modems approved by Charter Communications. It is not a comprehensive list of modems that may have been supplied directly by Charter/Spectrum, or its predecessors Time Warner Cable or Bright House Networks, which are obviously also acceptable. However, if you have a modem supplied by Time Warner or Bright House, it might not support the upgraded faster speeds Spectrum now offers. You might want to contact customer service to verify whether your current modem is capable of performing at the speeds now provided.]

Charter Communications recently increased broadband speeds for most of their customers, and many cable modems that are still in use from the days of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks cannot support the company’s fastest speed tiers. As a result, Charter has updated their approved/recommended cable modem list to help customers obtain a modem that can support faster speeds.

Those customers who have moved away from a legacy Time Warner Cable or Bright House internet plan can get a free cable modem from a local Spectrum cable store. If you prefer to still own your own, here is the updated listing. We recommend choosing a model capable of supporting up to 300 Mbps speed because additional speed upgrades are likely in the future. Most customers now receive at least 100 Mbps service, so at least choose a model that can support that speed.

Gigabit (940 Mbps) Tier

At this time there are no modems that have passed certification testing for the Spectrum Internet 1 Gig speed tier (940Mbps). You need to use a cable modem supplied by Charter/Spectrum.

400 Mbps

Vendor Model
ARRIS SB6190
ASUS CM-32_AC2600
Linksys CM3024
NETGEAR C7000-100NAS
NETGEAR CM600

300 Mbps

Vendor Model
ARRIS SB6183
ARRIS SB6190
ARRIS SBG6900-AC
ASUS CM-16
Motorola MB7420
Motorola MB7540
Motorola MB7550
NETGEAR C6250
NETGEAR C6300
NETGEAR CM500-100NAS
SMC NETWORKS D3CM1604
TP-Link Archer CR700
TP-LINK TC-7620
Zoom 5370

100 Mbps

Vendor Model
ARRIS SB6141
ARRIS SBG6400
ARRIS SBG6580
ARRIS SBG6580-2
ARRIS SBG6700-AC
D-Link DCM301
LINKSYS CM3008
Motorola MB7220
Motorola MG7310
Motorola MG7315
NETGEAR C3000-100NAS
NETGEAR C3700-100NAS
NETGEAR CM400
NETGEAR 450 CG3000Dv2
TP-LINK TC-7610
TP-LINK TC-W7960
ZOOM 5341J
ZOOM 5345
ZOOM 5350
ZOOM 5352
ZOOM 5354
ZOOM 5360
ZOOM 5363
ZyXEL CDA30360

60 Mbps

Vendor Model
ARRIS SB6120
ARRIS SB6121
Netgear CDM31T

These modems are NOT RECOMMENDED, but are still allowed on the Charter/Spectrum network.

Vendor Model
ARRIS SBG6950AC2
ARRIS SBG7400AC2
ARRIS SBG7580
ASUS CM-32
LINKSYS CG7500
LINKSYS CM3016
NETGEAR C3000v2
NETGEAR C3700v2
NETGEAR C6300-100NAS
NETGEAR C6900
NETGEAR C7000v2
NETGEAR C7500
NETGEAR CM700
NETGEAR N450-100NAS
TP-LINK CR500
TP-LINK CR1900
TP-LINK TC7650
ZOOM Motorola MB7621

Experiencing Charter’s Speed Upgrades: 100, 200, 300, 400, and 1,000Mbps Tiers

Phillip Dampier January 2, 2018 Broadband Speed, Charter Spectrum, Consumer News No Comments

Most Charter Communications customers should now be experiencing Spectrum’s free holiday season speed upgrade as the company rolls out speed tiers ranging from 100-1,000Mbps. Customers have been sharing their stories about the speed changes, especially for former Time Warner Cable and Bright House customers that, in many areas, languished with maximum speeds of around 50Mbps for years.

Most of the changes were noticed by customers around mid-December when Charter reprovisioned customer modems to reflect the new speed tiers. But some customers have had to call to get their modems refreshed to get the new speed upgrades. Others may need a new modem to take advantage of faster speeds. Since Spectrum does not charge a customer modem rental fee, if your speeds are inadequate with your current modem, it may not hurt to try one of theirs. Just remember they will often attempt to sell you added Wi-Fi service which you may not need for an additional $5 a month. This feature can be disabled to avoid the fee on any modem they provide if you already have your own router.

There has also been confusion because some cities are not yet fully upgraded to receive some of Spectrum’s fastest tiers and some current customers will not automatically qualify for speed upgrades until they talk to Spectrum customer service.

Premium Speed Price Reductions Arrive

Some good news — the premium prices Spectrum charges for its highest speed tiers are dropping to make room for the company’s new gigabit plan ($124.99), currently only available in a very limited service area. Spectrum Internet Ultra, which ranges in speed between 120-400Mbps depending on your service area is dropping from $104.99/mo to $89.99/mo ($79.99 if you have a television package). The original Spectrum Ultra upgrade setup fee – $199.99, has been reduced to $49.99.

If you subscribe to Internet Ultra, you may need to contact Spectrum to make sure they have provisioned your service at the new lower price. If you have any problems, refer them to Charter’s non-promotional rate card for your area, which should now show the new non-promotional/regular pricing.

Remember too that customers with legacy Time Warner Cable or Bright House packages and pricing will not receive speed upgrades.

Speed Changes in Select Areas

For many Spectrum customers, the speed increase introduces 100Mbps as the new Standard Spectrum internet speed, but in more than a dozen markets, even faster speeds are now available, at least for some customers.

In Austin, Tex., Charlotte, N.C., Cincinnati, Oh., Kansas City, Mo., New York, N.Y., Raleigh, N.C., and San Antonio, Tex.:

  • Spectrum Internet Gig (up to 940/35Mbps) is now available
  • Spectrum Internet Ultra (up to 400/20Mbps) for new customers (existing customers should check to see if they are still stuck at 300Mbps, the old speed)
  • Spectrum Internet Standard (up to 200/10Mbps) for all customers, which includes a free speed boost.

Note: Current Internet Ultra customers may need to contact Spectrum to make arrangements for the speed upgrade. You may also need a new modem to qualify for 400Mbps speed.

In Bowling Green, Ky., Burlington, Vt., Dayton, Oh., Dallas-Ft. Worth, Tex., Evansville, Ind., Green Bay, Wisc., Greensboro, N.C., Greenville, N.C., Houston, Tex., Lexington, Ky., Los Angeles, Calif., Louisville, Ky., Milwaukee, Wisc., Palm Springs, Calif., San Diego, Calif., Syracuse, N.Y., Utica, N.Y., Waco, Tex., Watertown, N.Y., Wilmington, N.C., and Yuma, Ariz.: 

  • Spectrum Internet Ultra (up to 400/20Mbps) for new customers
  • Spectrum Internet Ultra (up to 300/20Mbps) for existing customers, which represents no change.

Note: Some existing customers claim they have been upgraded to 400Mbps speed automatically, but others have had to contact Spectrum to make arrangements for the upgrade. You may also need a new modem to qualify for 400Mbps speed.

Experiencing Spectrum’s Gigabit Service

Technicolor 4400 DOCSIS 3.1 modem

Upgrading to gigabit speed will take more than a phone call with customer service. For now, Charter Communications insists on an in-home service call and a setup fee that was originally set at $199.99 but may have recently dropped. Some customers report getting the fee waived by complaining about it on Twitter and referencing @Ask_Spectrum in the tweet.

We have heard from customers in Texas and Hawaii that signed up for gigabit service and their stories are similar.

  • Expect a service call lasting up to two hours. A technician, or more likely a few of them will be thoroughly testing the condition of your current cable lines, both inside and outside of the home. They have new testing equipment that is more sensitive than older testing equipment, and can spot signal problems, interference, or deteriorating infrastructure that will need to be repaired or replaced before service can be installed. In most cases, this can be done during the same service call.
  • There are no authorized customer-owned modems for Spectrum’s gigabit internet at this time. Customers have received Technicolor TC4400-AM DOCSIS 3.1 modems during these early days of gigabit service. There will likely be others offered in the future.
  • Customers can expect speeds to approach 940Mbps of download speed and close to 40Mbps for uploads if they own gigabit capable routers and reasonably modern computers. Expect wireless speeds to be significantly lower — sometimes by more than half, depending on the device, distance from the router, and the router itself. Spectrum technicians will probably strongly recommend the use of one of their routers.
  • Faster speeds were noticeable downloading large files and streaming very high bandwidth multimedia, but average users may not notice a dramatic difference from gigabit speed while doing basic web browsing and other similar activities. But the larger installed base of gigabit-capable consumers will likely inspire future applications built to take advantage of that higher bandwidth.

Earthlink from Charter/Spectrum is Dead: No New Customers Allowed

Phillip Dampier December 27, 2017 Charter Spectrum, Competition, Consumer News, Earthlink 29 Comments

Charter Communications has ended more than a decade-long relationship between Earthlink and Time Warner Cable by quietly pulling the plug on Earthlink’s cable broadband service.

As far back as November, Spectrum customer service agents have begun turning down customer requests to enroll in the alternative broadband service distributed by Spectrum/Time Warner Cable’s network and charged to monthly cable bills. With the exception of e-mail service, Earthlink over Time Warner Cable (and later Spectrum) was indistinguishable from cable company internet service and traveled over the same network. But customers used to enjoy significant savings by bouncing between new customer promotions from Earthlink and the cable company. Charter officials first closed that loophole by forbidding Earthlink from extending promotional pricing to existing Spectrum or Time Warner Cable broadband customers. Charter has since stopped enrolling new customers altogether.

Existing Earthlink customers can keep their service until further notice. Most are enrolled in 15-20 Mbps slower speed tiers originally identical to those offered by Time Warner Cable, but pay less than Spectrum’s standard $65 standalone broadband pricing.

“Spectrum now has absolutely no reasonable competition in the N.Y. Capitol District,” complains Stop the Cap! reader Jan Pedersen, who reported Spectrum told him Earthlink was no longer an option.

Earthlink does still resell AT&T DSL service in AT&T landline markets.

Charter’s “Merger Benefit” for 2018: Sweeping Rate Hikes for Ex-Time Warner, Bright House Customers

Phillip Dampier December 27, 2017 Charter Spectrum, Competition, Consumer News 7 Comments

Charter Communications cable TV customers will soon see sweeping rate increases on their cable bills as the cable company announces its 2018 “rate adjustments” that will begin to take effect as early as next month in some markets.

For many customers, it is the second substantial rate increase in a year. Among the most notable are a dramatic hike in equipment rental costs and surcharges.

As Charter Communications took control of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks and introduced Spectrum packages and pricing in 2016 and 2017, company spokesman Justin Venech promised that Spectrum packages were “a better value” for customers, in part because equipment rental fees were substantially lower. But the gap between what Time Warner Cable charged in early 2016 and what Spectrum customers will pay in 2018 is quickly narrowing.

In early 2017, a Spectrum set-top box was priced at $4.99 a month. In mid-2017, the company raised the price to $5.99 a month and starting next month, that rental price is increasing to $6.99 a month per box. Other equipment is getting more costly as well. Time Warner Cable introduced digital transport adapters (DTAs) for secondary analog television sets at $0.99 a month. In 2018, that equipment will cost $4.99 a month. DVR service also increases $1 to $12.99 a month.

Spectrum’s original bundled TV, phone and internet packages — Select, Silver, and Gold were priced at $109.94, $129.94, and $149 a month respectively in 2016, according to the Orange County Register. Los Angeles was among the first markets in the country to obtain new Spectrum packages and pricing in the fall of 2016. Just 15 months later, customers can now expect to pay rates starting at $139.99 for Select, $159.99 for Silver, and $179.99 for Gold.

The company’s hated Broadcast TV Surcharge, which applies to all promotional and regular-priced television packages is also being hiked from $7.50 a month to $8.85.

Among the first markets to see the 2018 rate hike is Lexington, Ky.,  which has had a year-long running battle with Charter Communications.

The mayor is not happy.

“I’m outraged,” Lexington Mayor Jim Gray told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “This is the second rate hike for Spectrum’s cable subscribers in a single year. And considering Spectrum’s record of poor customer service, it just confirms my decision to bring competition and more options to Lexington for cable TV services along with high-speed internet.”

Lexington residents will soon have a third option for cable service in addition to Spectrum, AT&T or CenturyLink: MetroNet — which promises to wire the city with fiber to the home service over the next 3-4 years.

Prices for internet and phone service are unchanged for now, but Charter has often announced rate hikes for those services later in the year, so do not expect rates to remain unchanged throughout 2018.

Spectrum 2018 Cable TV Rate Increases

  • Limited Basic TV service: Current price: $15 New Price: $20
  • Expanded Basic TV service: Current price: $54.99 New Price: $49.99
  • Spectrum Receiver: Current price: $5.99 New Price: $6.99
  • Broadcast TV Surcharge: Current price: $7.50 New Price: $8.85
  • DTA: Current price: $4.00 New Price: $4.99
  • Single DVR Service: Current price: $11.99 New Price: $12.99
  • Sports Pass: Current price: $10.00 New Price: $12.00
  • Movie Pass: Current price: $10.00 New Price: $12.00
  • Triple Play Select: Current price: $129.99 New Price: $139.99
  • Triple Play Silver: Current price: $149.99 New price: $159.99
  • Triple Play Gold: Current price: $169.99 New Price: $179.99

Charter Demands Crackdown on Streaming Service Password Sharing

Phillip Dampier December 20, 2017 Charter Spectrum, Consumer News, HissyFitWatch, Online Video 1 Comment

Charter Communications CEO Thomas Rutledge is fed up with customers sharing their passwords to unlock television streaming services for non-subscribing friends and family and promises to lead an industry-wide crackdown on the practice in 2018.

“There’s lots of extra streams, there’s lots of extra passwords, there’s lots of people who could get free service,” Rutledge said at an industry conference this month.

Password sharing used to be limited to services like Netflix, HBO, Showtime and Hulu, but since the cable industry opened up its “authenticated” TV Everywhere services to viewing outside of the home, unauthorized viewing by non-subscribers has allegedly exploded.

Three typical tweets exemplify the problem for Rutledge. One sought to trade for a Spectrum user ID and password, another thanked a friend for sharing their Spectrum TV user credentials to unlock a channel showing the World Series. A third delighted in the fact he managed to hack his parent’s Spectrum account password and now watches cable television for free.

Rutledge complained that password sharing is now so rampant, one unnamed network authorized 30,000 simultaneous streams using a single customer’s login credentials.

Rutledge believes many non-paying customers are now enjoying Spectrum TV and other services as a result of the practice. Shareholders and Wall Street analysts are also concerned, particularly as cord-cutting continues to take a toll on cable TV subscriber numbers and revenue.

Rutledge

Bloomberg News reports there is divergent thinking about password sharing and how serious it actually is. Top executives at Time Warner, Inc., which owns HBO and Turner Broadcasting, have shrugged about password sharing in the past, believing it is a good way to introduce potential customers to their services and eventually become paying subscribers.

Password sharing “is still relatively small and we are seeing no economic impact on our business,” said Jeff Cusson, a spokesman for HBO.

But anecdotal evidence at networks like ESPN, owned by Walt Disney Co., suggests millennials have no moral dilemma routinely sharing their passwords, even with strangers. At one focus group targeting younger sports fans, all 50 participants raised their hands when asked if they shared passwords, according to a fuming Justin Connolly, executive vice president for affiliate sales and marketing at ESPN.

“It’s piracy,” Connolly said. “It’s people consuming something they haven’t paid for. The more the practice is viewed with a shrug, the more it creates a dynamic where people believe it’s acceptable. And it’s not.”

The TV Everywhere “authenticated subscriber” concept has traditionally required pay television customers to re-enter their username and password for each authorized device at least once each year, although some cable operators require subscribers to re-enter their credentials monthly, and actively discontinue access as quickly as possible when a customer downgrades or cancels their cable television service.

Many cable providers offer their own live streaming apps and on-demand streaming service showcasing the cable TV lineup for in-home and out of home viewing on desktops, tablets, and portable devices. Some limit the number of channels that can be viewed outside of the home and do not allow multiple users to concurrently stream programming. But most cable TV networks that support authentication do not limit concurrent streams or offer generous limits on how many services can be streamed at the same time over a single account.

(Source: Consumer Reports)

Charter is now taking the lead on demanding cable TV network owners tighten up their apps and online viewing to limit password sharing. Some of the toughest negotiations took place this past fall between Charter and Viacom, owner of Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon. Viacom pushed hard for Charter to restore its basic cable networks to Spectrum’s entry-level “Select” cable television package. In 2016, many Viacom networks were pushed to the much more expensive Gold package, which meant significant losses in audience as Time Warner Cable and Bright House customers switched to Spectrum’s TV plans. Time Warner Cable included Viacom-owned networks in all the company’s popular TV tiers, but most customers lost access to those networks when they switched to a Spectrum TV plan.

Viacom successfully negotiated the transition of its networks back to the Select TV plan beginning in late January, 2018. But those networks’ online viewing platforms and apps will now include stream limitations to keep simultaneous viewing and password sharing to a minimum.

ESPN, which has been dropped from the lineup in a number of slimmed-down cable TV packages, has also experienced plenty of password sharing, and has begun limiting the number of simultaneous streams allowed per customer. Originally, one account could launch 10 concurrent streams. That number has now been cut in half to five and the sports network is currently considering further reducing the stream limit to three simultaneous sessions.

One research group, Park Associates, estimates almost one-third of internet-only customers are streaming cable television networks and programming using someone else’s subscriber credentials. They estimate the cable TV industry will lose $3.5 billion from unauthorized viewing this year, rising to $9.9 billion by 2021.

Companies like Adobe Systems have begun selling services to cable TV providers that track the use of usernames and passwords and the location of those accessing online streams. They suggest cord-cutting is fueling unauthorized viewing as customers seek access to cable programming for free.

Much of the password sharing seems to be occurring among friends and relatives, especially children away from home. For now, most cable TV executives are fine with in-family sharing. What concerns most is when those passwords are further shared with friends or sold to strangers. It is uncertain if customers are always aware that their user credentials are being sold or traded by third parties. When an account that saw no streaming activity before suddenly generates 50 simultaneous streams in multiple states, hacking by an unknown party is usually suspected.

The cable industry remains undecided about exactly how many concurrent streams are appropriate for consumers. Netflix allows between one and four streams, depending on the plan chosen. HBO permits three simultaneous streams, DirecTV Now allows two while DirecTV’s satellite customers get up to five streams.

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  • Chris: Im in Tri-Cities, WA and just caught wind of the upgrade. Charter said they'd be doing this at some point over the last year and it finally happened f...
  • JayS: It will be interesting to see how companies in Utility-Monopoly like markets (Cable Tv, Electric, Wired Internet) treat the "tax rate windfall". Then...
  • Adam Bryant: Please give us any updates you have on this! I received an approval letter on 11/29/2017 12:16 PM sayign they would be sending a check within 10 busin...
  • jgbbmodelrailroad: New York State has a weird law that means Internet Service Providers pay they same taxes on infrastructure regardless of how many customers it serves,...
  • nanaki: If your on a 100mbit card you will not see a full 100 mbit but do to over head will see between 70 and 85 90 if your computer and network are brand ne...
  • Jose: I can strongly relate to your frustration. My elderly neighbors were having issues with their Spectrum phone line always going down. It took about 6...
  • Jose: I believe there is some truth to the price of the cable box. Before my next door neighbors switched over to a Spectrum plan, they were paying about $...
  • Phillip Dampier: Charter has not fully converted former Time Warner Cable customers to its legacy Charter website and support platform, which is why TWC customers ente...
  • Phillip Dampier: Folks, I should have been more clear that this list is for approved CUSTOMER-OWNED modems for Charter/Spectrum customers. It does not include modems s...
  • Curious George: use this list too the ubee is on this list under Modems offered by Spectrum https://www.timewarnercable.com/en/support/internet/topics/modems.html#/...
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  • EJ: Yep, yep they have essentially created another way to profit off of their shotty lower up time network. Give the guy that thought of this a big fat ra...

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