Charter Backs FCC Lifeline Reform

Charter signaled Wednesday (March 30) that he is squarely behind FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal to reform Lifeline subsidies.

Charter, which is awaiting its hoped-for FCC approval of the merger with Time Warner Cable, announced as part of that proposed deal that it would offer a new low cost broadband service for low income consumers if the deal is approved.

Lifeline is the subsidy for advanced telecommunications to low-income residents that the FCC is migrating from traditional phone to broadband service. A vote on that proposal is scheduled for March 31.

"From the outset of the proceeding, the FCC actively engaged with potential participants to identify what changes they could make to the program to foster greater participation by providers like Charter." Charter blogged Wednesday (March 29). Those include getting cable operators out of the business of verifying eligibility and streamlining the process for participation.

Charter said it looked forward to the final order, but in the meantime was "optimistic" that there would be more providers, including cable companies, able to participate.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.