MANKATO — The planned arrival this year of a new high-speed internet provider in Mankato fell through, but a second existing provider is now bumping up its speeds.
Charter Spectrum said Tuesday it would double the download speed of its basic internet service in Mankato, North Mankato and surrounding areas at no extra charge to customers.
Download speeds will be doubled from 100 megabits per second to 200 for customers of the cable-based internet service. The higher speeds will be immediately available to new Spectrum customers and will automatically increase for existing residential customers “in the coming weeks,” according to the company’s announcement.
Some current customers will need a new modem, which will be provided at no charge, to receive the faster speeds. Described as “a small percentage of customers,” that group will be contacted by Spectrum with details on how to receive the upgraded device.
“Fast, reliable connectivity is more important than ever, and we are delivering Spectrum Internet customers in Mankato even more speed for streaming, remote work, distance learning and staying in touch with family and friends — with no modem fees, data caps or contracts,” said Carl Leuschner, a senior vice president with Charter Communications, in a written statement.
Along with Mankato and North Mankato, the higher-speed service will be coming to Eagle Lake, Skyline and the townships of South Bend, Lime, Belgrade and Decoria.
Customers will be able to get download speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second through higher-priced Internet packages. On Tuesday, Spectrum’s website was offering prices to new customers in Mankato of $45, $65 and $105 a month for internet service with speeds of 200 mbps, 400 mbps and 1 gigabit per second, respectively.
The announcement from Charter Spectrum came nine days after The Free Press reported that Consolidated Communications, which has traditionally provided internet service through its copper telephone wires, is bringing fiber optic service to Mankato and North Mankato.
Consolidated’s enhanced service has only reached a fraction of the neighborhoods in the two cities, but nearly 2,000 homes and businesses in North Mankato now have fiber optic cable at their property line and fiber is installed or is in the process of being installed to the property lines of nearly 3,000 in Mankato, according to Consolidated. The fiber service will offer symmetrical 1-gigabit service — both download and upload — for a first-year price of $70 a month. For $35 a month, customers can get 50 megabits per second. An intermediate $60 plan offers 250 mbps.
Consolidated’s upgraded service comes on the heels of Indiana-based MetroNet working with the city of Mankato early this year on a franchise agreement to bring its fiber optic service to virtually the entire city within three years. MetroNet, however, abruptly dropped its ambitious project after learning of Consolidated’s plans, according to city officials.