Charter Raises Basic Internet to $80 a Month; price increase to reach 9.5 million users

A stack of 20 dollar bills.

Getty Images | Maxim Kapliuk

Charter is raising the prices of its Spectrum home Internet service by $5 a month starting today, a company spokesperson confirmed to Ars. Standalone broadband prices are rising to $79.99 a month for 300Mbps download speeds, $99.99 a month for 500Mbps, and $119.99 a month for 1Gbps. 300Mbps is the advertised download speed for Charter’s basic level.

The price hike goes into effect today in most of the 41 Charter states, the company said. It only affects broadband customers and broadband users who also subscribe to a Spectrum streaming TV package, but not cable TV customers.

“Spectrum Internet’s price reflects the cost of delivering the best value in broadband for your household: 300Mbps initial speed with no modem fees, data caps or contracts,” the company said. Charter also said this is its first price increase on standalone broadband since December 2020.

Customers currently enjoying a promotional rate will continue to pay that rate until the promotion expires. They will then pay the new, higher normal rate.

The price increase is estimated to affect 9.5 million users

The price increases have been reported by Fierce Telecom yesterday. New Street Research analysts have estimated that the price hike will affect 9.5 million customers, Fierce Telecom wrote.

“Over 60 percent of our clients are unaffected by these changes,” Charter told Ars. Paper said in an earnings call last week that it is forcing price hikes due to “inflationary pressures”.

Charter has 28.3 million residential broadband customers, many of whom subscribe as part of multi-product packages. As Fierce Telecom noted, the price increase “brings the cost of Charter’s basic plan well beyond the $70 mark JD Power recently highlighted as the price below which consumers are most satisfied with their Internet service.”

Comcast, the only home Internet provider with more subscribers than Charter, reported in an earnings call last week that it wants existing Internet users to pay more because it doesn’t register many new broadband customers. AT&T is imposing monthly increases of $3 on the prices of Internet services.

Charter tries to soften the blow with a new package

Paper yesterday announced a package of home Internet and cell phone service called Spectrum One, advertising its “unprecedented promotional price of $49.99 a month for 12 months” for “Spectrum Internet, Enhanced Wi-Fi, and a free line of Unlimited Spectrum Mobile for one year, with no contracts and no additional fees or commissions, for an annual savings over those 12 months of nearly $420 off regular promotional rates.” But after 12 months of the $49.99 Spectrum One promotional offer, normal rates apply.

Charter also said it has dropped Spectrum Mobile’s standard price from $45 to $29.99 per line. That price is for the Unlimited plan that has limited video quality — it’s an additional $10 per month for the “Unlimited Plus” plan with HD-quality video streaming.

Another caveat to Charter’s unlimited mobile data is that after a line uses 20GB in a month, a customer’they will experience reduced speeds at 1 Mbps download and 512 kbps upload for the remainder of the billing cycle and data traffic will be deprioritized against other customers’ data traffic during periods of network congestion for the remainder of the billing cycle.” With Unlimited Plus, capacity increased to 30GB Mobile charter service is offered over the Verizon Wireless network.

Disclosure: The Advance/Newhouse Partnership, which owns 12.4% of Charter, is part of Advance Publications. Advance Publications owns Condé Nast, which owns Ars Technica.