Renaming can change perception. Spectrum is the trade name for Charter Communications, sometimes called Charter Spectrum. 

After emerging from its 2009 Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, Charter Communications needed to rebrand itself and start fresh with customers. This transformation took place over several years, and wasn’t finalized until 2014 when Charter was in the midst of an attempted acquisition of its larger rival Time Warner Cable.

Second Place Struggle

Spectrum is the second largest cable company in the United States, just behind Comcast. The company goes back to 1993, when founders Howard Wood, Jerald Kent, and Barry Babcock incorporated the company in Missouri.

Charter Communications, as it was known then, systematically acquired competitors to expand its services far beyond its original base of services. The company either acquired or merged with Crown Media Holdings, Cable South, Earthlink, Marcus Cable, American Cable Entertainment, Renaissance Media Group, Avalon Cable TV, Falcon Cable TV, Vista Broadband, Helicon Cable Communications, Greater Media, and more. These mergers and acquisitions spread the company’s reach from Missouri to most of the states in the continental U.S.

Through all of its dealings, Charter Spectrum remained smaller than its largest rivals.

Four Charter executives were indicted in 2002 for improper financial reporting of the company’s subscriber numbers in order to inflate the company’s value and raise stock prices. Two years later, the company settled a class action lawsuit that was also associated with that investigation. Former and current shareholders were awarded one hundred and forty-four million dollars. 

High Stakes Transition

Initially, the company was a cable television services company. With the sudden spread of high speed internet as a critical component of business and daily life in America, the company’s focus changed to broadband.

The transition proved to be a difficult one. The company struggled to maintain its listing on the NASDAQ and was given a warning in 2008. This time proved to be the lead up to its Chapter 11 filing. Through that process, the company was able to reduce its debt by eight billion dollars and to add three million additional dollars in refinancing and new investment.

Acquisition remained a central strategy to Charter and later Spectrum’s business strategy. The company purchased Optimum West and merged with Liberty Media in the years directly following its bankruptcy. These strategies helped it to grow and prevented further losses.

Coverage and Costs

Spectrum has a massive coverage across the United States. It services around twenty-five million people in the United States across forty-one states. It has significant service coverage in all forty-eight contiguous American states. 

Residential cable services for Charter Communications are known as Charter Spectrum. When the rebranding of Charter was rolled out in 2014, it included a massive and expensive upgrade to the services the company would provide for its customers. This included a new and totally digital network for its broadband, video, and voice operations. Coaxial cable based networks were heavily relied upon prior to this change, and moving to fiber optic lines provided customers with much higher bandwidth speeds than had been previously available with its older cable infrastructure. 

Spectrum provides a huge range of services to its customers. With the advent of modern technology and with smart acquisitions, Spectrum has emerged from the shadows of Charter’s failings to maintain its status as the second largest communications company in America. 

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