Is Charter's phone/cable/internet package a good deal?
July 19, 2007 12:21 PM   Subscribe

Has anybody had experience with Charter Communications (in western Massachusetts, if that makes a difference)? My wife and I are moving to Hadley in a couple of weeks and are thinking of taking advantage of Charter's bundle (available through the end of the month) of basic cable + high-speed internet + phone service (unlimited calling in US) for $69.97/mo. This seems like a good deal. Anybody have experience with them? And if you live in the Pioneer Valley, how worried should we be about the likelihood of an electricity failure disrupting our phone service?
posted by languagehat to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
My parents live in West Hadley and have them. They've never complained about it.

Better on-demand with the digital than Time Warner offers in my area, too.
posted by Kellydamnit at 12:29 PM on July 19, 2007

My local cable company's VOIP modems have a battery backup
which keep phone service up during outages of 4 hours or less. I think it's an FCC requirement.

And that seems like a really good price, depending on exactly what services you're getting.
posted by aerotive at 12:31 PM on July 19, 2007

Best answer: I live in Hadley, and use Charter for my internet service (as I have neither cable nor a landline). I haven't had any trouble with them, other than some internet outages in the early morning time (think 2 or 3 a.m.). Other than that, the service has been reliable, and they have been super helpful anytime I've called. Also, I'm not sure there is anyone else out there servicing Hadley. I certainly couldn't find anyone.

As for electricity failure -- I don't think it happens here any more often than anywhere else. I've lived in the area for almost 4 years, and in all that time there have been five power outages. Four of these have happened in the past year. Make of that what you will.

Welcome to the valley, and to Hadley! It's a lovely, lovely place that has certainly stolen my heart completely.
posted by rosethorn at 12:37 PM on July 19, 2007

I worked in the cable industry in MA in the late 90's-- in the marketing department, so I heard about the ins and outs of the competitors.

Charter was thought to have among the best customer service, and didn't have a reputation for unreliability. A lot can change over six or seven years, but they were reckoned to be a solid provider by their rivals.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:21 PM on July 19, 2007

I've had them for cable/internet about six months and we've had one full cable outage and a few early morning internet losses during that time. My bittorrent usage has remained unthrottled but the speed does go down a bit during the afternoon. Overall I'm pretty satisfied, though I wish their upload speed was a little better.

The worst part of their service has been their constant "report cable theft" ads.
posted by Benjy at 1:24 PM on July 19, 2007

Wow, that bundle you are getting is 1/2 the price of the same bundle available near me (and the price they're giving me is only for the first six months!). I myself am switching away from Charter to AT&T due to the insanely high price of Charter's internet service. I have never had any problems with their internet service and I run bittorrent most of the day/night. They did send a creepy guy to install the service, but I'm sure that's not totally their fault.
posted by sian at 1:32 PM on July 19, 2007

I signed up for the same package in Minnesota, 69.97/month. Just keep in mind that after taxes and "other" fees, modem rental, etc., it comes to about 85.00/month. But no, no problems.
posted by wafaa at 1:51 PM on July 19, 2007

I use Charter in Georgia. Internet is fast and reliable and I can't remember the last time the televison feed was out.
posted by prjo at 4:05 PM on July 19, 2007

I don't have the phone or anything, but my cable modem two towns over is about 99% rock solid.
posted by clango at 4:38 PM on July 19, 2007

My business has charter in Western MA. We're switching - we've had reliability problems, bandwidth problems, and their phone support was pretty awful (to be fair, I've only had good phone support from an ISP and that was with roadrunner before it was bought out and bought out again). Then again, my business needs a fairly big chunk of bandwidth. If you want more details, I can ask our IT guy.

I've heard very good things about Crocker Communications and while I don't use their service (I get a bundle via Verizon and they suck less than Comcast), I have personally worked with Matt Crocker on a school VPN project and found him very helpful, friendly, and above all very sharp.

Welcome to Western MA. It's a lovely place to live. I'm quite taken with it.
posted by plinth at 4:59 PM on July 19, 2007

Response by poster: Great, sounds good! Many thanks to all of you; I'd best-answer everyone, but that seems a little silly, so I'm awarding it to rosethorn for length, detail, and saying that Hadley has "stolen my heart completely." Here's hoping it does the same for us!
posted by languagehat at 5:04 PM on July 19, 2007

All my friends say Charter sux... Can't really do anything about it though unless Verizon FIOS is available in your area. If FIOS is available, GET IT. It will be much higher speeds.
posted by jammnrose at 11:35 PM on July 19, 2007

I am nowhere near where you're moving (you should thank your lucky stars), but my local service is Charter too. When I moved in two years ago, I got a cable (including HBO & Showtime) + internet bundle (they weren't offering phone yet) for about $55; (I am too far out of town for DSL) I was originally told it was for 6 months, but they kept charging the same rate for 12. When they finally withdrew the special rate, my bill more than doubled, but with no alternative and since >50% of my tv watching is research for articles I sell, I'm not too bad with it.

They were pretty reliable until earlier this year when they started 'upgrading' the system to include Video-On-Demand and phone service. Over the next 3 months, I lost service for at least an hour twice or three times a week, with four times over 8 hours. But when the work was done and they started selling the phone service, things got back to pretty good. I recall no more than two outages longer than 15 minutes since Halloween.

While they are promoting the 'new' phone service, they're offering me an upgrade, adding the phone AND increasing my internet speed, for $6 more than I'm paying now (for the next 6 months). Since my bare-bones landline phone from AT&T is $26 a month, that seems a good deal. But after the intro period, they aren't clear what the regular price is, and I consider that not so cool. I have to clean up the rats nest of wires behind my desk before I let the cable guy in, so I'm still procrastinating.

I haven't heard any complaints recently from my neighbors, but I'm the biggest tech geek in the neighborhood. (The earlier outages made the front page of the local newspaper.)

Anyway, if you do get the service and it sucks, you can always blame wendell.
posted by wendell at 4:00 PM on December 28, 2007

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