It’s out with Time Warner Cable and in with Spectrum as new corporate owners rebrand the cable giant.
Time Warner, which was acquired for $55.1 billion by Charter Communications last May, officially became Spectrum on Tuesday for its TV, phone and Internet service. The company has been phasing in the new name in recent weeks, introducing its Spectrum app last week, but customers may still see some Time Warner utility trucks until the transition is complete.
But starting Tuesday the on-screen program listings and and local news program on Channel 14 will change from Time Warner Cable News to Spectrum News. Customers will start receiving their bills from Spectrum in the next billing cycle. The makeover will retire the Time Warner name that has been in use since 1990 by the state’s dominant cable provider.
The transition will bring other changes for customers, who numbered 885,000 in eastern North Carolina, which includes the Triangle, in 2015, the latest date for which figures are available. Spectrum doesn’t disclose customer totals by state.
One big change: No more threatening to drop the company to finagle a lower rate. Spectrum does not budge on its rates for existing customers. The Connecticut-based cable company charges uniform rates across 41 states. Its prices differ only by the service offered, for example, internet speed or other features.
But Spectrum does offer temporary discounts, as Time Warner did, to attract first-time customers to subscribe.
For the indefinite future, migrating Time Warner customers will be kept on their existing plans, unless they want to switch to Spectrum’s offerings. All customers coming from Time Warner Cable can opt to keep their existing package, programming and their current price. If they happen to have an internet speed of 50 megabits per second, they will have their internet speed automatically increased to 60. Those who switch to the Spectrum offering will have a choice of two internet speeds: 100 or 300 megabits per second.
Spectrum’s monthly rate includes the cost of a modal modem, unlike Time Warner, which charged a separate $10 monthly fee but gave customers the option of supplying their own modem at their own cost.
Spectrum charges $64.99 a month for internet service, while Time Warner charged $69.99 plus the $10 modem fee.
Spectrum’s charge for internet and TV is $53.99 a month, while Time Warner’s was $69.99 plus $10.
Spectrum does not require residential customers to sign long-term contracts and there are no termination fees for canceling service.
Charter is entering the Triangle market at a time of increased competition. AT&T’s U-Verse, Google Fiber and Frontier Communications all offer 1 gigabit speeds as communications providers now offer phone, internet and TV service regardless of their origins in any one of those industry sectors.
Both Time Warner and Spectrum ranked similarly on the American Customer Satisfaction Index, respectively scoring 59 points and 60 points out of a 100 last year. Spectrum said it will hire 20,000 people, mostly customer service representatives, and will shift jobs from overseas call centers.
Charlotte Observer staff writer Rick Rothacker contributed.
John Murawski: 919-829-8932