Who owns Spectrum? Controversies and billion-dollar fortune of cable service that once had Road Runner as mascot

Amid all the Spectrum controversy, let's take a look at how the power was restored and who really owns Charter Spectrum (simply known as Spectrum)

                            Who owns Spectrum? Controversies and billion-dollar fortune of cable service that once had Road Runner as mascot
Thomas Rutledge is the chairman and CEO of Charter Communications since 2012 (corporate.charter.com)

In this time and age, can anyone do without an internet connection? Thousands of residents in Ventura and Los Angeles counties lost Spectrum internet and related services briefly during an outage on February 22, 2021.

The cable TV, internet and phone service provider took to social media at 6.23 pm to note their engineers were working on it. Meanwhile, agitated customers across Ventura County and Southern California went on a rant on social media saying they had been getting estimates it would be restored only later into Monday night or Tuesday morning.


Amid all the controversy, let's take a look at how the power was restored and who really owns Charter Spectrum (known as simply Spectrum).


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Spectrum (Spectrum.com)

Who owns Spectrum?

In 1995, Time Warner Cable first launched the company under the banner Southern Tier On-Line Community. Before Time Warner Cable adopted the Road Runner brand name, it was known as LineRunner for a short period of time.

Interestingly, Road Runner High-Speed Online also got the Road Runner cartoon character distributed by Warner Bros Pictures as its mascot and brand name. In 2012, it went through another revamp and was rebranded as simply Time Warner Cable Internet. The Road Runner brand was dropped that year. In May 2016, Charter Communications took over Time Warner Cable and the service was rebranded again as "Spectrum Internet" on September 20, 2016.

The founders of Charter Communications are Barry Babcock, Jerald Kent and Howard Wood. Thomas M Rutledge is the chairman and CEO of Charter Communications since 2012. From 2004 to 2011, he served as COO of Cablevision and was also the president of Time Warner Cable earlier.

Thomas Rutledge (corporate.charter.com)

What is Spectrum's net worth?

The parent company of Spectrum — Charter Communications — was founded 21 years ago, on July 22, 1999. Charter Spectrum was founded in 2014. Among its predecessors are Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. 

According to 2018 data, Charter Communications had a net income of $1.23 billion, total assets worth $146.13 billion and total equity worth $44.27 billion. Billed as the fourth-largest cable operator in the United States now, Charter Communications is said to have a net worth of $117.65 billion, according to estimated data. Its revenue is listed to be about $48.1 billion.

(Getty Images)

Spectrum: How was the power restored?

At the time of the outage on Monday evening, one official at the Ventura County Board of Education meeting said, "It appears that Spectrum services have gone offline, and 18,000 people in Ventura County have lost internet connection." It also affected many school districts — including Hueneme Elementary School District as it canceled its scheduled school board meeting due to the outages.

Thankfully, it was able to restore the services shortly after. Dennis Johnson, Spectrum senior director of west region communications, said in an email: "Our services have already been restored; we’re looking into what caused a brief outage for some of our customers in Ventura and the surrounding areas."

(Getty Images)

What does the Spectrum package cost?

Wondering what is the price for Spectrum Internet? You can get a one-year subscription for $49.99 per month. Taxes, fees and surcharges (up to $16.45/month) are extra and subject to change. Moreover, installation, equipment and additional services are extra. 

When it comes to cable TV packages, Spectrum TV Essentials is a streaming package with 60+ live TV channels starting at $14.99/mo. This package must be bundled with Spectrum Internet. The cheapest standalone TV package is Spectrum TV Select, which starts at $44.99 per month, with 125+ channels. Then comes, Spectrum TV Silver for $74.99 per month with 175+ channels and lastly, Spectrum TV Gold for $94.99 per month with 200+ channels.

The backlash didn't die down on Twitter, with many users slamming the service for its costly plan. "Lower my bill, I feel like I pay strictly for outages at this point," one said and another posted, "Picture of me dropping a bill monthly for Spectrum Internet." A third added, "Never forget that Spectrum is worth around $116 billion and they have an outage once a week. I mean at least you can that they’re consistent."




A look at Spectrum's past controversies

In 2018, Charter got embroiled in a major controversy when it couldn't keep up its promises. According to New York State, Charter failed to roll out high-speed internet services to more homes as was promised in their agreement to merge with Time Warner Cable. Ultimately, it had to dish out a $174 million fine.

Not just that, in 2007, PC World ranked Charter's cable Internet service as the worst among 14 major Internet service providers. That same year, Charter High-Speed was rated 19th out of 22 cable ISPs on dslreports.com and reports say that Consumer Reports indicated in its February 2008 issue that Charter's television/Internet/telephone bundle collectively was the worst of all major national carriers.

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