Charter Talks Wireless Network Play at FCC

Charter told the FCC this week that it is looking to capitalize on the FCC's opening up of upper GHz (high-band spectrum) for mobile broadband, saying it plans "at the appropriate time" to "invest in its own licensed spectrum-based wireless network.

That is in addition to expanding and leveraging its current unlicensed Wi-Fi-based mobile broadband service.

Charter has filed an application with the FCC to experiment in the upper bands.

In comments to the FCC, Charter said the FCC should authorize unlicensed use in the 70/80 GHz bands to spur 5G and promote interoperability, both key FCC goals, as well as wireless video (wireless HD). "Charter sees wireless as a primary area for future communications growth—and plans to be a key part of that growth," the company said.

Charter CEO Tom Rutledge signaled to investors in September that Charter was eyeing a licensed wireless play but provided no details. Charter did not provide any more to the FCC in its comments.

Rutledge said that to deliver on increasingly mobile broadband video, Charter was going to have to eventually build out its own network.

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.