Charter said today that it has launched Spectrum broadband service at speeds up to 1 Gbps in El Paso County, Texas. The deployment is part of the company’s plan to invest $5 billion in unserved rural areas, including $1.2 billion in funding for which it was the winning bidder in the FCC Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction.
Charter was one of the largest winning bidders in the auction, which awarded funding to bring service to areas lacking service at speeds of at least 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream. Funding was tentatively awarded to the company that committed to deployments at the lowest level of support.
“What’s most important is that we haven’t been waiting for approvals to start building,” said a Charter spokesperson in an email to Telecompetitor. The spokesman noted that because the company was such a large winning bidder, FCC staff has “the most substantial applications . . . to work through.”
Telecompetitor heard similar comments recently from another large winning RDOF bidder – Resound Networks. That company also has begun deploying service in areas for which it was tentatively awarded RDOF funding in anticipation of having funding released to the company.
Charter RDOF Deployment
Charter’s new El Paso County launch makes service at speeds up to 1 Gbps downstream available to 1,230 homes and businesses in rural parts of the county. The company also will offer service at 200 Mbps and 400 Mbps speeds to residences, and speeds of 200 Mbps and 600 Mbps to businesses.
The Charter spokesperson said pricing is consistent with what the company charges in other areas. Prices start at $74.99 a month for 200 Mbps service, the spokesperson said. There are no modem fees, data caps or contracts.
According to a press release, the company also will offer Spectrum Internet Assist for qualifying low-income families and seniors for $17.99 a month. Any of the company’s internet plans also are eligible for Affordable Connectivity Program credits.
Charter also will offer its video, home phone and mobile phone service in its El Paso County serving area.
Charter has been increasingly interested in rural areas in recent years. As of late 2020, 30% of its new builds were in rural areas.
In addition to strong broadband take rates, the company has seen strong take rates for its video service in rural areas where satellite video may have been the only previous option.
Update- January 26- Charter also announced service in Pike County, Missouri, another area for which the company was tentatively awarded RDOF funding.