Whether a resident of Three Rivers or a frequent visitor, most are aware that since Internet service first became available more than two decades ago, it has been problematic at best. AT&T, the only cell provider until recently, attempted to remedy that situation by offering its U-verse telecommunications packages. That service has been adequate for some but not enough bandwidth for others, especially commercial users.
The local cable provider has offered television service for more than three decades but the provider — originally Falcon Cable, which later consolidated with an earlier version of Charter Communications — offered lots of channels but limited services that did not include high-definition TV or Internet for its Three Rivers customers.
The current cable company, Charter — with Spectrum as its Internet provider — has been installing the infrastructure to now offer local packages to Three Rivers customers who combine TV, Internet, and phone service.
On the Spectrum website, the company claims its Internet is 15 times faster than U-verse and there are no data caps.
Here’s how the new system works in Three Rivers. The local network is divided into 10 separate nodes to serve the approximately 1,000 homes and businesses in Three Rivers. Each node is served by its own dedicated fiber-optic service.
A node has an approximate shared bandwidth capacity of 304 or 608 Mbps depending on the DOCSIS (data over cable service interface specification) standard being used. Based on the estimate of 1,000 user households and businesses in Three Rivers, then there would be 100 users per node, sharing a total bandwidth of 304 or 608 Mbps.
Service plan level to each locale is 100 Mbps download speed and 10 Mbps upload speed, faster than U-verse but subject to shared bandwidth limitations, which U-verse doesn’t have. Theoretically, 50 locales each streaming HD video simultaneously could lower bandwidth to each home to 6 Mbps, which is still fast for most users.
Spectrum is currently offering promotional packages for Internet-only services starting at $45 per month for the first year or a bundle that includes high-def TV, Internet, and voice for about $100 per month. These new services are not yet available to all areas of Three Rivers and installation is ongoing.