While Charter had lagged behind its contemporaries in terms of network upgrades as it struggled with its latest bungled merger, the company now says it's accelerating its gigabit deployments. Speaking on the company's earnings call last week, Charter CEO Tom Rutledge, the nation's highest paid executive, stated the company would be offering gigabit broadband to "nearly everyone" across Charter's broadband footprint before the end of this year. Charter has already launched the service in Oahu and a handful of recently unveiled additional markets.
In most of these markets, users can get 1 Gbps (technically 940 Mbps if you're being picky) downstream, 35 Mbps upstream service for $105 per month, with pricing varying slightly depending on local competition. As per the company's Time Warner Cable Bright House merger conditions, it's prohibited from imposing usage caps for another six years.
"We plan to be 1 Gbps everywhere and marketing 1 Gbps everywhere this year, which is taking up a significant portion of our business to minimum speeds of 200 Mbps at the same price we were charging for 60 Mbps a year ago," Rutledge said. "And we plan to do that as quickly as we can, but because of the all-digital rollout and some of the other operational issues we have, we haven t fully planned out 200 Mbps speed for the whole country yet."
Rutledge all but admitted that the problems with integrating Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks delayed product launches last year, but insisted that's all in the rear-view mirror now.
In 2016 and 2017, we delayed a number of new product launches through the integration, particularly at legacy Charter within our fundamental structured operating model and business rules now in place, we will more aggressively launch new products nationwide," said Rutledge.
The company's also hinting that it may expand into offering not only wireless phones, but 25 Mbps fixed wireless services. With telcos like AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, Windstream and Frontier refusing to upgrade millions of the nation's under-served DSL customers, these users are ripe for the taking as companies like Comcast and Charter secure a bigger broadband monopoly than ever before across huge swaths of uncompetitive America.