Charter’s campaign for its planned acquisitions of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks went mainstream today: The cable company outlined to the FCC a collection of services it would introduce and terms it would accept to serve the public interest — including strict adherence to net neutrality restrictions. In conjunction with that, two minority controlled programmers endorsed the $56 billion TWC deal and $10.4 billion one for Bright House.
Charter says it would offer TWC subscribers a minimum broadband speed of 60 Mbps at a lower price than it currently charges. The company vowed to eschew data caps as well as usage based pricing, modem fees, and early termination fees. It adds that it “does not pass on federal or state Universal Service Fund fees to customers.”
Many cable and telco companies warned that the FCC’s net neutrality rules would chill investment in broadband. But Charter says it “will make comprehensive and significant investments in its broadband network” so subscribers would have the 60 Mbps download speed, as well as “more High Definition and video on demand options.” It will add more than 1 million line extensions in its current service areas, mostly to “rural and other underserved areas.” Subscribers also will be able to access 300,000 new out-of-home WiFi access points.
The company promises to “return TWC call center jobs to the United States” and hire “thousands of new employees” to handle customer services and field technician operations.
Charter says that it will invest at least $2.5 billion to expand its lines to commercial areas in its current systems to “create additional, much-needed competition” for telephone companies that serve business customers.
TV One CEO Alfred Liggins endorsed the deal noting “Charter’s decision to increase TV One distribution on more widely distributed tiers, and therefore more affordable programming packages for African-American consumers in key urban markets.”
Similarly, Bounce TV co-founder Andrew Young says Charter “will make the offerings of Time Warner Cable and Bright House more diverse and richer for the more than 14 million African-American television households in the United States that are grossly underserved on television.”