Charter Spectrum
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Charter Spectrum OVERVIEW


Charter Communications provides residential and business broadband cable and fiber Internet, phone, and TV under the “Spectrum” brand name. Their 2016 acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks expanded their cable network to become one of the largest in the US.

Charter Spectrum TECHNOLOGY

Charter Communications offers broadband Internet, TV, and phone service to consumers via their hybrid fiber coaxial (HFC) network.

Hybrid Fiber Coaxial is a broadband infrastructure that uses fiber optic cables as it’s backbone, only resorting to slower coaxial cables for the “last mile” between customer residences and a local “optical node.”

The optical node translates optic signals into electric signals, which are generally distributed via existing cable TV networks. A node may serve anywhere from 50-2,000 homes in an area.

This type of connection is widely called a “cable” internet connection due to the use of coaxial cable, which was historically used to offer “cable TV.”


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WOW! is a bundled cable TV, broadband Internet, and phone provider. The name “WOW!” stands for “Wide Open West.” The company also offers fiber Internet connectivity in select areas.


WOW! offers a variety of broadband connection types, including cable, DSL, fixed wireless, and fiber, often bundled with cable television and phone offerings. As of 2016, their fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) is available in select areas and scheduled to expand based on consumer demand.

Cable broadband, WOW!’s most prevalent option, is usually delivered via hybrid fiber coaxial (HFC) networks. In this type of network, most of the distance between the provider and consumer is covered by high-speed fiber optic cables. Once it reaches a neighborhood, the fiber terminates at a node where data is switched from optic signal to electrical signal for transmission over existing coaxial copper television networks.

While pure fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) connections are the “gold standard” of next-generation broadband technologies — delivering speeds up to 1Gbps in ideal scenarios — WOW! is working to deploy DOCSIS 3.1 to their HFC networks. This advanced protocol, an improvement on the current DOCSIS protocols used to transmit binary data over coaxial cables, will allow some HFC networks to achieve gigabit speeds rivaling FTTH offerings.


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Do Not Forget Hidden Fees

Always keep an eye on the fine print

There are two big factors to keep in mind when signing up for promotional deals with a provider: ETFs (early termination agreements) and promotion length. ETFs matter because you’re essentially locked in with that provider for as long as the contracts states, and it might not possible to get a refund for it even if you have a legitimate reason for breaking.

Promotion lengths matter because the final, official monthly cost you pay for service should be factored in when you compare prices — unfortunately, many consumers fall into the trap of only comparing the promotional price, which is temporary. Beyond promotions, also keep an eye on the line items when you get bills. If anything is confusing or wasn’t there the previous month, give the company a call and ask for help explaining it. Understanding what you’re paying for is key to making sure you aren’t’ losing out on price.

Modems And Routers Are Less Expensive Than You Think

Rental fees, on the other hand, can add up quick

Modem and router rentals are a standard part of the most Internet subscriptions. Usually, customers are provided with a “plug-and-play” combo device that makes installation easy. While the monthly fees for this hardware may looks small, it actually adds up to the cost of simply buying one within a year or so. After that, customers are essentially paying for the same old equipment over and over again.

Consider buying your own, as the half hour it takes to configure it properly will be well worth the hundreds of dollars you could save in the long term. Just keep in mind that not every provider will be compatible with every router, so renting is actually a good option for people who relocate frequently. Renting a router also offers benefits for less technically-minded consumers, since the provider will take care of replacing it if there’s every trouble.

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