The majority of Charter’s Spectrum network was acquired with the purchase of two other cable TV providers. These were Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. The merger of the three systems has inevitably meant that some benefits and guarantees enjoyed by customers of those two systems have been removed. This has caused some public relations problems for Charter Spectrum.
The disruption caused by trying to merge two large internet and TV providers may explain why Charter Spectrum doesn’t score very well in customer satisfaction surveys. One of the most important ISP customer approval measurements is carried out by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).
The ACSI publishes a review of performance quality assessments for the entire telecommunications industry. The findings are contained in the ACSI Telecommunications Report, which is issued annually. The 2019 release of the report includes a study of the USA’s major ISPs as judged by their customers. Each ISP is allocated a percentage figure that expresses the overall satisfaction of customers interviewed for the assessment. The chart of results also shows the previous year’s results for comparison.
In 2019, the customer satisfaction score for Charter Spectrum came out at 59 percent. This was below the industry average of 62 percent. The company’s ranking put it in joint seventh place in the league table alongside CenturyLink.
The 2019 customer satisfaction rating of Charter Spectrum was actually a worse performance than the company achieved in 2018 when it got a score of 60 percent. As with 2019, the industry average satisfaction rating was 62 percent. Charter Spectrum’s 2018 performance put it in joint fifth place that year.
The perceived poor performance of Charter Spectrum is difficult to identify. Technically, the internet service operates very well. As an illustration, take the findings of the industry regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC monitors the performance of ISPs in the United States to ensure that they are keeping to the service commitments that won them their licenses.
The FCC’s Report on Consumer Fixed Broadband Performance in the United States, published in December 2018, contains the authority’s findings on actual ISP service delivery. The FCC was particularly keen to discover whether the marketing claims over connection speeds that ISPs in the USA made were actually being delivered.
The speed verification exercise involved measuring the actual upload and download speeds of a collection of customers subscribing to each of the ISPs under investigation. Speed measurements were taken during peak demand times and results were averaged across all of the customer sample groups for each ISP. Surprisingly, the performance of most of the ISPs in the study actually exceeded the claims of their marketing departments.
Charter Spectrum was among the best performers in the FCC test. Its observed performance for both uploads and downloads exceeded the speeds stated in the service’s advertisements.
So, Charter Spectrum delivers on its promises, which makes it difficult to work out why its existing customers are so disappointed. The company also includes extra services for free and avoids the “small print” tricks that some ISPs use to hedge their marketing promises.
Charter Spectrum also operates Wi-Fi hotspots in public places. Subscribers to the Spectrum home internet service are entitled to connect to these hotspots for free from their mobile devices when they are out of the house.
Spectrum does not impose data caps and it does not charge an equipment fee for its modem.