Charter Cable Review: Internet, Television, and Home Phone Services
Charter Communications offers digital cable television services, broadband data plans, telephone services, and a very inconsistent billing department according to the BBB. If customer service is important, it might be worth avoiding Charter Communications if at all possible, and probably not worth paying anything extra for customer service-related features.
Charter Digital Cable
Charter offers over 6,000 shows on demand, and over 220 channels of programming, though the company is a little cagey about detailing just how many of those channels are offered in HD. This may be due to the fact that Charter is constantly adding new HD channels, but at the time of this writing there are barely 2 dozen HD channels. The total number of channels, HD channels, and on demand programming are slightly behind rivals Comcast Communications and Time Warner Cable.
There are a few bright spots in Charter’s channel lineup. Over 40 digital music channels with uncensored music are offered 24/7 interruption free, and the company has recently added what they refer to as a Faith & Values lineup that includes a combination of channels with religious themes as well as a few channels that are decidedly family oriented. The rest of the premium channel line up only lacks dedicated international channels and packages.
Charter Broadband Internet
Broadband data solutions offered by Charter Communications come in four tiers: Lite, Express, Plus, and Max. Each plan offered different upload and download speeds, with Lite being the slowest at 1 Mbps/128 Kbps, Express being a little faster with 5 Mbps/1 Mbps, Plus offerings 10 Mbps/2 Mbps, and Max offering 20 Mbps/2 Mbps. All plans except for the Lite plan come with PowerBoost and an optional wireless networking kit. There is nothing stopping consumers from buying and using their own networking kit with the Lite plan, but a small amount of technical knowledge will be required. Each of Charter’s data plans comes with 10 e-mail accounts that each offer 10 GB of storage, a security suite, and 24/7 technical support.
Charter Home Phone
Phone service is also available via Charter’s network, but Charter strongly urges customers to consider investing in uninterruptible power supplies (UPS). This suggestion is due to the fact that when the power goes out for any reason, the modem and network connectivity that the voice service relies on will also be interrupted. This is true of similar offerings by other cable companies, but Charter seems to make it a point to advise customers where as other cable providers offering phone services seem to mention this in a FAQ, perhaps as a way of reducing their apparent disadvantages compared to traditional telephone services. Regardless of the reason behind Charter’s mentioning of uninterruptible power supplies, Charter does offer phone service as well.
All the standard features one would expect are included with all Charter phone packages: Voicemail, call waiting, Caller ID, universal and selective call forwarding, anonymous call rejection, call screening, customized rings, speed dial 8, and selective call acceptance. Charter’s phone plans offer unlimited calls within the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, but those planning on placing calls to other countries may have to look into Charter’s Worldwide Calling Plan. The plan currently allows customers to connect to over 200 countries and talk for up to 250 minutes per month for a flat fee that is still well above market.
Consumers looking to use one or more of Charter’s services are advised to consider bundling. Charter offers many different bundles to meet different needs. It is possible to bundle two of Charter’s services or all three for even greater savings.
Contact Charter to establish service or make changes to your existing service by calling their toll-free customer service number at: 1-888-GET-CHARTER (1-888-438-2427). See our company contact information for a comprehensive list of customer service telephone numbers.