Charter raises base Internet to $80 a month; price hikes to hit 9.5M users

A stack of $20 bills.

Getty Images | Maksym Kapliuk

Charter is raising prices on 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 entry-level tier.

The price increase takes effect today in most of Charter’s 41-state territory, the company said. It affects broadband-only customers and broadband users who also subscribe to a Spectrum streaming TV package, but not cable TV customers.

“The price for Spectrum Internet reflects the cost of delivering the best value in broadband for your family: 300Mbps starting speeds 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 on a promotional rate will keep paying that rate until the promotion expires. They’ll pay the new, higher regular rate after that.

Price hike estimated to affect 9.5M users

The price increases were reported by Fierce Telecom yesterday. New Street Research analysts estimated the price increase would affect 9.5 million customers, Fierce Telecom wrote.

“Over 60 percent of our customers aren’t affected by these changes,” Charter told Ars. Charter said in an earnings call last week that it is imposing price increases because of “inflationary pressures.”

Charter has 28.3 million residential broadband customers, many of whom subscribe as part of multi-product bundles. As Fierce Telecom noted, the price increase “takes the cost of Charter’s base plan well over the $70 mark that 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, signaled in an earnings call last week that it wants existing Internet users to pay more because it’s not signing up many new broadband customers. AT&T is imposing $3 monthly increases on Internet service prices.

Charter tries to soften blow with new bundle

Charter yesterday announced a bundle of home Internet and cellular phone service called Spectrum One, touting its “unprecedented promotional price of $49.99/month for 12 months” for “Spectrum Internet, Advanced Wi-Fi, and one free line of Unlimited Spectrum Mobile for a year—with no contracts and no added taxes or fees—for an annual savings over those 12 months of nearly $420 off regular promotional rates.” But after 12 months on the $49.99 Spectrum One promotional deal, the regular rates apply.

Charter also said it lowered the standard Spectrum Mobile price from $45 to $29.99 per line. That price is for the Unlimited plan that has restricted video quality—it costs another $10 per month for the “Unlimited Plus” plan with HD-quality video streaming.

Another caveat on Charter’s unlimited mobile data is that after a line uses 20GB in one month, a customer “will experience speeds reduced to 1Mbps download and 512kbps upload for the rest of the bill cycle and data traffic will be de-prioritized behind the data traffic of other customers during times of network congestion for the rest of the bill cycle.” With Unlimited Plus, that’s raised to 30GB. Charter mobile service is offered over the Verizon Wireless network.

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