News and ViewsJune 3, 2020
COVID-19 Update: Charter Continues to Keep Customers Connected
Charter’s products and services have proven critical to the country’s continued operation for customers in every region, ensuring they can work and learn remotely, stay informed, maintain their new daily lives and routines and keep connected with family and friends.
“We remain focused on our customers and communities, and we've been able to deliver our connectivity services without interruption to our customers across the country,” said Tom Rutledge, Chairman and CEO, Charter Communications. “We know our role as a provider of communication services and the importance of keeping connectivity services fully functioning for both new and existing households and businesses, which enables social distancing including remote working, distance learning, telehealth services and family communications.”
Charter’s employees continue to strive to meet the needs of the community and our customers and we’re doing all we can to support them. “The hard work and dedication of Charter's 95,000 employees has been remarkable,” Rutledge said. “I'd like to thank Charter's employees for their diligence through this crisis. They've been asked to go well above and beyond the regular duties and they've delivered easing the strain for millions of families.”
Among the broad range of Charter employees keeping customers connected are the company’s field technicians, who are often the face of the Spectrum brand in the communities they serve. And while they have substantially reduced the need for in-home service visits in line with the CDC-recommended social-distancing guidelines, Charter’s field technicians continue to support customers with more than 40,000 service calls and installations daily.
Here’s what some of them had to say about the critical work they are doing to keep customers connected:
Working to Deliver
From helping students and teachers to small business owners, Charter is meeting the demand of network traffic increases, expanding its advanced fiber-optic network, hiring for thousands of jobs and telling community news stories via Spectrum Networks.
Network Expansion: Charter is always looking to expand its advanced fiber-optic network to reach new customers, and has continued to build out its network and provide broadband internet access to unserved and underserved areas. Currently that work is occurring at a rate of 1,500 new homes and businesses passed each day, and plans are being made for new buildout areas, including locations like Rosemount, MN, where Charter will extend its high-speed network to nearly 265 homes in a partnership with Minnesota’s Broadband Grant Program.
Internet Traffic Soars: As Charter noted in its first-quarter investor call, the company has seen a substantial increase in network traffic, particularly in the daytime, with more people working and learning from home. In April, residential data usage for Internet-only customers was up more than 30% since the fourth quarter of 2019. Charter’s network continues to perform well despite higher levels of data traffic – underscoring the company’s $40 billion investment in infrastructure and technology over the past five years.
Free Internet Offer Helps 400K Students, Teachers, and Families: By the end of this school year, Charter’s offer of free internet and in-home WiFi for 60 days will have helped approximately 400,000 students and teachers and their families continue schooling through remote learning. The free offer, which includes free Spectrum Internet with starting speeds of 100 Mbps (or 200 Mbps where available), in-home WiFi and free self-installation kit, remains available through June 30. Customers can learn more by calling 1-844-488-8395.
On the Phone: Spectrum Voice and Mobile subscribers are spending more time talking on the phone. Since early March, the total voice minutes used by Spectrum Voice residential and commercial customers increased 16 percent. Spectrum Mobile, meanwhile, has experienced a similar uptick, with a 13 percent increase in average voice minutes per line since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. Spectrum Mobile, the fastest growing mobile provider in the nation, based on subscriber data for Q1 of 2020, now has nearly 1.4 million total lines.
Supporting Small Businesses: Charter has launched initiatives aimed at helping small businesses as the economy reopens. Last month the company provided new online resources to help business owners navigate the challenges of today. On May 18 the company announced it will provide one month of free internet, phone and TV services to any new Spectrum Business customer. The offer is aimed at energizing local businesses, such as coffee shops, restaurants and fitness centers, as they resume daily activity for their customers. More information is available at Business.Spectrum.com/reopen or by calling 1-833-537-0730.
We’re Still (Virtually) Hiring: While many employers have laid off or furloughed workers, Charter has hired more than 4,500 new employees since mid-March and is hiring for thousands more career opportunities throughout its 41-state operating region. Nearly all new employees are being hired using virtual recruiting and the entire application process can be completed with a mobile phone. Charter’s continued hiring comes as the company is permanently raising its minimum wage to $20 an hour over the next two years for all hourly employees. More information about current job openings is available at jobs.spectrum.com.
Employee, Customer Safety: As one of FEMA’s Community Lifeline sectors, Charter continues to maintain operations while employing the latest CDC guidelines to keep employees and customers safe. The company has implemented social distancing and increased cleaning efforts at its buildings across the country. The majority of Charter’s office workers, including call center employees, are working remotely. Charter also has distributed personal protective equipment (PPE) kits featuring masks and hand sanitizer to customer-facing employees, and reduced in-person customer contact where it is a possible to do so. This is in addition to Charter’s April 20 announcement of no layoffs or furloughs for at least the next 60 days, and enhanced employee benefits, including three weeks of flex time for COVID-19 related reasons and additional support for employees and their families who have high-risk health conditions or challenges with school and child care closures.
Subscribers Turn to Spectrum News: There’s been unprecedented demand for news and information on TV, especially during the middle of the day when many Americans are normally out of the house. Though the pandemic has impacted the whole nation, Americans continue to rely on local outlets to give them the most important news and information relevant to their community. In some of the smaller markets Spectrum News serves – many of which have seen their local print publications vanish in recent years – Spectrum News airs more hours of local news than all of the local affiliates combined and has been the only TV network in its markets covering local news at all hours of the day with hundreds of live, often exclusive, local press briefings. Spectrum News’ local coverage since mid-March has resulted in its highest Nielsen ratings over a two month period dating back to at least 2011 and likely in its entire existence.
Spectrum Reach Launches Advertising Partner Program: Spectrum Reach, Charter’s advertising sales business, on May 20 launched its new Partner Program to help local businesses as they begin to reopen and rebuild. With the Partner Program, Spectrum Reach will deliver a comprehensive set of solutions to small businesses including a 50 percent match on purchased TV campaigns, up to $5,000 in monthly value, for new and existing clients on any advertising campaigns booked for June and July. More information is available at Rebuild.SpectrumReach.com.
Online Privacy: One of Charter’s most important responsibilities as a connectivity provider is protecting customers’ online privacy, which is why Charter has long called for a strong federal framework to protect consumers’ privacy online. Our new policy blog discusses why it’s more important than ever for consumers to feel secure about their personal data. More information is available here.
Charter Connects Public Safety Customers
From sales to service, Charter has been working to help public safety clients to upgrade or adjust their connectivity services, including:
Delhi Township, Ohio: Charter connected the township’s chief of police to Spectrum Internet so he could work more efficiently from home while overseeing the public safety needs for this community of 29,000 residents.
Military Branches: Spectrum Enterprise worked with various branches of the U.S. military to deploy internet access and TV solutions in military command centers to barracks on bases to Navy hospital ships from coast to coast and even Hawaii.
Telehealth for Police: A large city police department brought in additional medical personnel to support the number of police officers who were getting ill themselves from COVID-19. The medical personnel’s use of telehealth visits while working remotely created an urgent need for a new 1 Gbps fiber internet circuit, which Spectrum Enterprise installed and turned on in three days.
Emergency Medical Services: A large EMS provider in the Southwest needed to address a surge in calls related to COVID-19. Spectrum Enterprise quadrupled the number of their SIP Trunk lines in five days and upgraded their fiber internet bandwidth from 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps.
Serving First Responders: Spectrum Enterprise recently completed a time-sensitive request to install permanent 1 Gbps fiber internet service to a public safety client in Indiana so that it could handle having more police officers and first responders on duty during the pandemic. The increased level of service also provided additional bandwidth for daily body camera uploads from each officer.