Charter Customer GuaranteeThe broadband speed wars continue as Charter has notified its St. Louis based broadband customers of a 100 Mbps speed upgrade at no additional cost. This according to a post. According to the report, a notice went out on June 10th stating that existing broadband customers will “…receive an automatic increase to their Internet speed for no additional cost.” The new broadband tier, Charter’s new basic tier for this market, offers 100 Mbps down and 4 Mbps up.

There is no word on this extending to additional Charter markets, but historically these upgrades appear in one or more markets before spreading to additional territories. Charter’s existing 100 Mbps customers will also get bumped to 120 Mbps at no additional cost. Pricing for this offer (not including surcharges) can be bundled at $30 month for the first 12 months. Stand-alone pricing is $40 for the first 12 months, then $55 beginning in year 2.

Charter 100 Mbps
This Charter move is illustrative of an ongoing speed war for broadband carriers, where service providers look to one-up each other on speed. The cable industry has historically used speed as a differentiator, but has lost some of that perceived advantage to the growing FTTH momentum of telcos and municipal networks.

Telcos and municipals are using 1 Gbps announcements to help drive perception in the market about speed, even though the actual number of gigabit deployments is still quite small. Verizon has also successfully leveraged FiOS to battle the cable industry’s historical speed advantage.

Charter joins a number of cable companies who are raising the bar and introducing entry level broadband tiers of 50 Mbps and higher and extending these higher speeds to their existing customers. This particular example is only in St. Louis for now, but I suspect we will soon see it expand.

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