Review by bgetchel
Good "From ZERO to HERO in just 5 short YEARS!"
- Location: Boaz,Marshall,AL
- Cost: $101 per month
- Install: about 3 days
Bad "Still pricey (as all monopolies are), but 100 Mbps for $100 still ROCKS!"
Overall "It took a (long) while, but Charter is now EN FUEGO!!!"
|Pre Sales information:|
Value for money:
(ratings above consensus)
To my pleasant surprise, I received Charter's "stealth" (and NO COST!) upgrade from Ultra 60 to 100 Mbps a few weeks ago. It took a modem reset and a new IP as a result (necessitating renewal of my credentials to certain secure sites... again!), but it was a small price to pay. I have been ecstatic with the Ultra60 service as I had been getting every last drop of 60 Mbps virtually 100% of the time (I am a big downloader -- probably ~100 GB per month). I was skeptical of really getting an honest 100 Mbps, so I headed to my favorite premium NNTP provider, queued up a bunch of 1080p videos, and let 'er rip!
I watched the bandwidth counter as it shot up, up, up until it quickly surpassed my old "record" of 69 Mbps and right on up to 107+ Mbps... SUSTAINED! I've since seen 114 Mbps, but only for brief moments, though ~100 Mbps is a given.
Bravo, Charter... bravo!
No more outages, no more hiccups, no more slowdowns. What began as a nightmare and possibly the worst ISP I have ever used has now become the absolute best, in every single sense of the word. Even their support has improved commensurate with the service quality.
Only a stealth upgrade to 1 Gbps could make me happier right now (and I'm available for beta in such an event
All is still GREAT -- and it just got even better! Ultra60 (60 Mbps) is now available and I just upgraded (add $30/mo to my internet-only cable bill of $85/mo, ZOINKS!). I've downloaded about 20GB via NNTP, along with a handful of large web downloads (IPSW for iPad 4.3.3, MS service packs, etc) and D/L speeds are registering at a stable, smoking ~65 Mbps!
I'm sure the day will come where 60 Mbps feels slow (30 Mbps was starting to feel a little 1999 to me), but I'm ecstatic for the moment.
Until 150 Mbps FiOS comes to Alabama (not a Verizon state) this is about as good as it's going to get.
Now we're talking! My last "stealth upgrade" was to 25 Mbps. In reality, I see consistent, sustained download speeds of ~30 Mbps. For over a year connection reliability was problematic and, at times, quite frustrating. Well, about a month or two ago they finally sent someone to the poll across the street to replace, what turned out to be, the culprit. Now? Viola! Top speed day and night. No outages, even for a moment. No lost packets. No ping time-outs. Nada! Speeds are superb and consistent. Pings are extremely low and stable. Packets are no longer damned to eternal oblivion.
Everything. Just. Works.
Supposedly, Ultra 60 is on its way. Before this fix I would never have spent the money to upgrade -- from an already-egregious $85/mo to $130/mo -- but now I will certainly be doing a George Jefferson (i.e. "movin' on up" for you young'uns).
I know Charter has suffered a bad rap from time immemorial, and deservedly so. They sucked something awful, and had there been any alternative (any) I would have jumped ship in a heartbeat.
Not any more. At least not here, and not with me. Charter, quite simply, is DA BOMB!!!
Well... it's been nearly a full year since my last "update." In that time Charter has gotten better, and worse, at the same time. I've received another "stealth" speed upgrade to 20 Mbps, and I get most of all of it a good portion of the time. I can download NNTP (usenet) for hours at a time and speeds will stay within the 15-20 Mbps range for the most part. In fact, I'm downloading about 8GB via NNTP right now with speeds fluctuating in the 18-23 Mbps range.
Not too shabby!
The "worse" development has to do with connection reliability. Our phone is VoIP and we are in a rural area, so there's no cell coverage. As an aggregate, we're down roughly 24 hours per week. Outages are wholly random, rain, shine, storms, or perfect weather, day or night, weekends or weekdays, there is no pattern. Charter has actually regressed in reliability - not as badly as when I first got their service, but to a nearly unacceptable level. We pay $90/mo for internet only (no CATV, not even "basic"), which is very steep relative to other, superior service offerings, but Charter has a broadband monopoly out here in the sticks -- no DSL, no FiOS, nothing.
Let's get it together, Charter!
Charter has improved considerably, at least in my area. Credit where credit is due. I can't allow my initial negative review to stand at this time. Connection reliability, while far from excellent, has improved to reasonably satisfactory levels. Performance is generally excellent, and I now have been "stealth" upgraded to their new 16Mbps service since becoming available a few months ago.
All-in-all it has been a marked, welcome improvement. Charter, much to this cynic's pleasant surprise, has really come through.
Keep up the good work!
Well, it's been another six-plus months since my last review update. Service and performance have improved considerably since my last report. Outages are down dramatically to only a few hours per month (not great, but great by comparison), and improvement to performance has been no less dramatic. I typically receive the full 10 Mbps that I'm paying for with negligible slow-down. I ditched Charter's television service altogether in favor of DirecTV. Their cable television was poor quality and woefully inadequate -- and lacked any real HDTV options. DTV, by comparison, has 10x the number of HD channels as well as a plethora of other channels that Charter doesn't even offer.
Anyway, about the connection. If services remains at the current level, as it has been for the past couple of months, I can retract my previous review and replace it with this much more favorable one. They're still more expensive than most every competing service (that I can not get), but still a reasonable value. Hopefully they will introduce their 16Mbps service soon when, at that time, I will report on in more depth.
For the moment however, I am fully satisfied with my Charter Pipeline broadband internet service.
I've had Charter's (clogged) Pipeline for about six (6) months now. I wanted to give it a reasonable amount of time before writing a review, to see if there was a consistent pattern. There is, and it's not a good one, unfortunately. I immediately signed up for their 10/1 package, which was problematic from the start. It took numerous calls to their technical "support" department before I was actually seeing anything that resembled 10Mbps speeds. About the only good thing that comes from dealing with their support personnel is that they make you feel competent and intelligent by comparison. Talking to a Charter "tech" is like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall.
With Charter, you wake up wondering just what kind of internet connection they'll feel like bestowing upon you that day -- if it works at all. They're basically the Andy Kauffman of the ISP world: you get the distinct impression that they really don't want to be in the internet business at all, but if they're forced to do it then their clueless customers are going to bear the brunt of endless "practical jokes" perpetrated by beleaguered Charter technicians. Service and support this poor simply can't be caused by mistaken incompetence -- it just has to be intentional.
I know this sounds like a typical "squeaky wheel" rant, but I've dealt with a myriad of different companies and types of connections in my profession as a WAN developer, and while I've encountered incompetent individuals and companies none have reached the bottom wrung that Charter alone seems to relish. If you wanted to build a company from the bottom up around charging the most while providing the least I would submit Charter as the primary case study.
It's not all bad. On the ever-more-rare days when the connection is operating at full potential things are good. It's very fast and you can maintain a 10Mbps download for many straight hours. However, I can not recall the last time I've been blessed with such a connection. I've been paying a severe premium for their 10/1 package, but rarely do I see speeds above 2Mbps any more, and even those speeds fluctuate wildly from near zero up-to 2Mbps.
If you don't need 10Mbps (good luck getting it) I seriously recommend looking at DSL or other alternatives. I can, in no way, recommend Charter based upon my experiences and those of my two neighbors. They've had Charter much longer than I and absolutely hate it, but we're way out in the country with the nearest CO a good 25000+ feet away. Otherwise, I'd take the large on-paper speed hit and exchange it for a reliable, consistent connection any day.
For Charter, it's two thumbs down... WAY down!
UPDATE - 11-05-2007: I just received my first BBR monitoring report for the weekend. The most optimistic report cited a 75.94% reachability. I'm surprised it was that high. In my experience it's been down or sporadic 50% of the time. Of course, I assume this is a 24-hour monitor, so it might be great while I'm asleep in bed.
UPDATE - 11-12-2007: Here is my second BBR monitoring report. Talk about going from worse to horrendous:
Outage report as seen by new jersey USA ny-monitor.dslreports.com
DOWN 2007-11-05 04:03:10 - 2007-11-12 03:01:12 (10018 minutes)
** You had 0.62% reachability during the period
Outage report as seen by california USA sjc-monitor.dslreports.com
DOWN 2007-11-05 04:03:21 - 2007-11-12 03:01:12 (10017 minutes)
** You had 0.62% reachability during the period
Outage report as seen by san francisco USA 18.104.22.168
DOWN 2007-11-05 04:03:19 - 2007-11-12 03:01:12 (10017 minutes)
** You had 0.62% reachability during the period
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updated 2.1 years ago