Review by Darkk
Good "Only game in town. Very reliable. Great tech support."
- Location: USA
- Cost: $160 per month
- Install: about 2 days
Bad "DNS redirects break Internet apps, but easily worked around."
Overall "Speeds rock solid with channel bonding active. USENET OK. I'm very satisfied."
|Pre Sales information:|
Value for money:
(ratings above consensus)
Overall I'd give them a good rating.
I get all of the bandwidth I pay for (the 3Mbps/256Kbps plan with dynamic IP) and then some. The connection has been reliable here.
Tech support has always been helpful and available. Even late night techs are knowlegeable. Any issues I had were resolved quickly and to my satisfaction. Local support people have been extremely helpful. They've been on-time to appointments.
I miss IMAP email access (this was discontinued in 2004.) And, the recent Usenet provider change has tarnished the reliability of the otherwise decent service (from SuperNews to HighWinds.) I'll see if Charter can get this corrected and update the report if they do.
Charter is using Ambit modems in my area and mine has been very reliable.
I have had 2 speed increases in my area, and Charter techs were always able to repackage my HSI and TV subscriptions to minimize costs of upgrading. The last upgrade actually wound up with my total Charter HSI/TV charge decreasing, while adding speed to my HSI plan and several new TV channels.
I'd like to see them get the Usenet issue straightened out. I am hopeful that will happen as the change of providers is a recent one.
I'd also like my IMAP email access back.
Overall I can recommend them.
Usenet seems to be working fine now, and I haven't had any issues with it since the kinks were ironed out.
I still miss my IMAP - Charter how about reinstating IMAP access?
Service and speeds are still solid.
Still solid and reliable. And I still miss my IMAP.
There has been an increase to 5 Mbps down/512Kbps up speeds, but no TV/HSI packages as per the 3/256 which I still have. I can't see dropping my package discounts to get the faster speeds.
HSI has still been solid, rumors about 5/512 packages, but nothing definite. VOD now available here, but spotty VOD performance and lockups, resets, it's cool though and will be big once it is stabilized. I still miss my IMAP email, how about it Charter?
The recent outsourcing of call centers has made calling Charter to get any help just about hopeless. Individuals know absolutely nothing about the Charter product and are useless to get anything done, not to mention you can't understand their poor English. So far HSI is a lot better, and I hope it stays that way.
I remember one Philippine call center rep told me after reporting a problem, just call us again in a few weeks if you still have trouble. Yeah, I *knew* you didn't have a clue about the Charter service, and that you probably couldn't understand me any better than I could understand your broken English.
Charter - You have to fix this. Simply unacceptable to outsource your formerly great customer service!
I did call Charter Corporate and let them know about my experiences.
Update 20 Feb 2007
The 5/512 package was finally rolled out in my area and I managed to roll this into my bundle. The speeds are almost what I expect, but I find that they are bursty and not as solid as the slower 3/256 package. The added speeds did drive up my bill, and Charter keeps adding charges a few dollars at a time to the bill on non-bundled packages like the Family and Info tier. It's terrible. I have had 4 months with each one a few dollars added to my bill, after supposedly being on a bundle. Apparently this is their way of breaking an agreement with a customer and getting away with it. I should have had 6 months of predictable bills. I give them a thumbs down for this.
Additionally, tech support has continued to get worse. I can't understand any of the offshore non-english speaking tech support people. They can't understand me either. All you get is a robot repeating some script that hasn't the slightest thing to do with your issue and you can't understand anyway. And, what's worse is that you can't explain your problem to the support people because they can't understand you. I have called Charter Corporate about this to no avail. Support offshore is now totally useless. I give them a thumbs down for this too.
The latest Charter trick is the change they have made to the way their DNS servers work. Charter has added a DNS redirect on a failed lookup. This takes you to a Charter web page of search results and some commercial links. You no longer get a lookup error. There is a browser cookie that Charter says opts you out of the program. It doesn't do that, just directing you to a MSN search instead. And other Internet apps could care less about a browser cookie that does not work anyway. The net effect of this DNS change is that Charter has broken DNS resolution handling for all Internet apps, not just browsers. Telnet, ftp, ssh, secure ftp, and more now no longer handle DNS errors correctly. False messages are relayed by these apps to the user. The Internet runs on standards. An ISP just can't alter these without cascading issues because of the action. This is nothing more than a repeat of the Verisign fiasco of a few years ago and a shameless money grab that breaks the way the standards-based Internet works. I called corporate to complain, asked for a call back, and nothing. Shame on you Charter for altering DNS resolution!! I give them 3 thumbs down on this one.
I really hope Charter can improve it's tech support and quit redirecting DNS errors. They are the only game in my town, and service is tolerable if you can put up with the support grief and broken DNS. Beats the heck out of dial-up, but they really have been going downhill lately.
Come on Charter... any chance you can get it together the way you used to?
Charter never did eliminate the DNS hijack issue, but I've been using other DNS servers and bypassing theirs entirely. I never did get a call back from Charter Corporate. USENET has been OK.
Service has been good until late. I've had some falling signal levels and finally things got bad enough to call for a truck roll. Surprisingly they came out the next day. I didn't know how the call would go, as I'd been seeing about a 10 dB loss from normal levels both ways since things began detiorating.
Out came a good Charter tech, looked at everything, spiffed up the connections outside, checked everything inside, and then upgraded the cable modem to a newer Ambit model while he was there (even though I wasn't having cable Internet issues yet, though I would have had things gotten much worse.) I didn't have to put any pressure on to complain about the levels, he discovered that right off and forwarded the call to a line tech for resolution. Charter hasn't had time to fix the plant levels yet, but at this point I am hopeful. They sent out a good professional tech, he arrived on time, and did his job as I'd have expected. Once the line levels are corrected my digital tier will stop tiling, and I'll be a happy customer.
Now if they could only fix the area wide Video on Demand resets and hiccups. But it's great when it's working.
Overall It's been pretty smooth.
The only game in town...
Internet speeds have been acceptable but not as fast as they used to be. We've had some underground trunk CATV hardline fail, had to spend months to get the trunk between 2 peds replaced and buried, only to have the levels even worse because of mis-adjustment. Hard to get qualified people to do anything any more, help is outsourced, and even corporate escalation is pitiful these days. At least you can understand the corporate folks, the telephone support is offshore and you can't even understand the broken English usually. Plus the answers are all scripted anyway. Levels are still not adjusted correctly upstream or downstream on the Charter plant in my area. It's been 2 months since the issue first surfaced, and I can't afford to take any more days off to have non-line techs over to say, yep, plant line levels are off. It's bad enough when the Charter prices go up, but to not get things fixed and burn your days off is too much.
VOD is spotty if watchable at all, and that's on a good day. Digital channels pixelate and artifact a lot. Nothing proper levels wouldn't fix if only there were techs who know how to adjust the plant. Seems to be getting worse year by year.
The plant in my area needs a good adjusting by qualified line techs.
Prices are through the roof now. No more decent package deals unless you get Charter telephone, which no way I'm going for with the unreliable plant in my area. All I use the landline telephone for any more is to call Charter about cable problems anyway. I have all of the premium channels and the biggest package, just 5 meg Internet and am pushing $160 per month. Way too much when the former package with the same stuff was $99.
14feb2009 - Update
Prices keep rising and the bundles generally only are available with Charter telephone which I don't need.
Speeds up to 10 megs are stable, but I recently upgraded to the 16/2 package and never get over 12-13 megs during prime time. Maybe 15 megs in the middle of the night.I have excellent modem levels and had the house rewired by the local Charter team. A ped is on my front yard, the drop was tested with a TDR and a spectrum analyzer, and found OK. I believe that Charter needs more bandwidth in my area to support the 16 meg tier. And more so now that it is rumored those at 16 megs will be upgraded to 20 megs for free. I hope Charter can get some more download bandwidth. The 2 meg upload seems solid.
I did get a better deal and bundle by visiting my local Charter store, lots better than the online reps would give me.
Service seems reliable lately since the bad underground cable run between peds was repaired.
2mar2009 - Update
All the 16 meg package subscribers were upgraded to 20 megs, with the upload still at 2. Since then Speeds have been erratic. I still get maybe 15 megs off times, but speeds during primetime drop to 10 megs, sometimes 2 to 4 megs. Charter speed test servers will show a 15 meg speed, yet you can't get better than 4 megs on any outside speed test site. Since the upgrade to 20 megs, the network is so overloaded that it's actually worse than my old 5 meg package during the evenings most of the time. Signal levels and SNR to the modem are solid, so no complaints there.
We just need more bandwidth to support the new higher speeds.
Charter added some incoming bandwidth and reconfigured our local nodes to correct some traffic overloading issues.
Speeds on the 20/2 meg package have now been solid here, even during peak times.
(Also big thanks to the folks in the Charter Direct Forum)
So far so good... Speeds have been consistent and the connection has been reliable. I'm now at the 26/3 meg package and speeds are still solid. I received a new Ubee (Ambit) modem capable of DOCSIS 3 and though my node is not at DOCSIS 3 yet, the new modem has made a big difference in speed consistency. Soon to be upgraded to 3 I hope, and then we'll have channel bonding here.
Overall, I'm happy. And again, lots of thanks for fast service to the friendly people at the Charter Direct forum. They have helped me a lot over the years with technical issues and bundling.
Channel bonding went live here a few weeks ago. Speeds have been rock solid and I have nothing but good things to say about the performance lately. The Ubee modem is solid and almost never anything in the error log.
TV has been solid too, no issues whatever.
Time to update my review...
Internet speeds have been rock solid no matter the time of day or night. I get 30/3.1 out of a 25/3 plan. TV and OnDemand have been solid too, no complaints. Signal levels are consistent and well within spec. No dropouts to speak of.
I'm still using the Charter supplied UBEE DOCSIS 3 modem and it's been rock solid too. No complaints.
I'm well satisfied. No complaints at all. It's been rock solid since my last review.
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updated 2.3 years ago