Charter has filed its application with the Federal Communications Commission to buy Time Warner Cable.
The application includes a public interest statement with promises to go beyond the FCC's new Open Internet rules by agreeing to a legally enforceable condition that the combined company, which it dubs "New Charter," will not impose data caps or usage-based billing, neither of which it currently engages in, Charter noted.
The FCC on June 23 opened an official docket for comments on the deal, saying it was expecting the application to be filed.
Among the key benefits Charter told the FCC the deal will produce are faster speeds, affordable (and unlimited) broadband, faster rollouts of new technology, nondiscirminatory interconnection and more investment in customer care.
Among its commitments are a $2.5 billion investment in commercial broadband and returning call center jobs to the U.S.
Charter is volunteering the following specific, legally enforceable commitments, according to a summary of the public interest statement filed with the FCC:
- "New Charter will continue to commit to a free and open Internet. New Charter will not block or slow down Internet traffic or engage in paid prioritization — the same commitment already followed by Charter today.
- "New Charter will continue to engage in reasonable and non-discriminatory interconnection and submit any interconnection disputes to the FCC for resolutions on a case-by-case basis.
- "New Charter will continue to create thousands of U.S.-based jobs by hiring for customer service call centers and field technician operations located throughout the country and returning TWC call center jobs to the U.S.
- "New Charter will make comprehensive and significant investments in its broadband network. The company will transition TWC and [Bright House Networks] cable systems to all-digital networks, enabling consumers to take advantage of at least 60 Mbps download speeds and enjoy more high-definition and video-on-demand options.
- "New Charter will broaden access to broadband by building upon BHN’s broadband program for low-income consumers. New Charter will enrich BHN’s program by raising speeds and expanding eligibility while still offering a discounted price, and will expand the program across the New Charter footprint.
- "New Charter will recognize the vital importance of promoting diversity and inclusion strongly rooted in the communities it serves. New Charter will expand TWC’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in governance, employment practices, procurement and community partnerships.
- "New Charter will invest significantly in both in-home and out-of-home WiFi. New Charter will increase competition in the mobile data market by deploying over 300,000 out-of-home WiFi access points.
- "New Charter will build out one million line extensions of our networks into residential areas within our footprint beyond where we currently operate. These new facilities will help provide high-speed service to rural and other underserved areas; and
- "New Charter will invest at least $2.5 billion in the build-out of networks into commercial areas within our footprint beyond where we currently operate. This will create additional, much-needed competition in the commercial sector."
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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.
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