FCC hobbles decision on Charter extending broadband service

04 April 2017 |

The US Federal Communications Commission has removed a key condition on Charter's acquisition of Time Warner last year.

The US FCC has removed the condition which was imposed on Charter when it acquired Time Warner last year which made the company agree to extend internet service to over one million homes.

The condition was imposed in certain areas which had other competing companies providing their high-speed internet services. The new ruling was passed by all three FCC commissioners.

The decision by the Trump administration appears to be the beginning of a reversal of the previous administration’s policy of net neutrality.

Matthew Polka, the president and CEO of the American Cable Association was quoted by Reuters as saying that: “This overbuild threat, added by then-FCC Chairman Wheeler at the eleventh hour of the merger approval, undermined these operators’ ability to make investments that would benefit their existing subscribers or expand their networks to reach unserved households,”

The new order stems from a condition of approval for Charter Communications’ recent acquisition of two cable companies. Charter had initially agreed in May 2016 that it would provide high-speed broadband to 2 million of its new customers within five years. The new executive order which was made on Monday of this week Charter has been ordered to add service to two million additional customers who do not have an existing service the Federal Communications Service (FCC) said.

The requirement was part of the deal agreed when Charter bought Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks and was decided by the previous FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. It was designed to encourage competition and innovation.

The chief executive officer of Charter, Tom Rutledge, met with President Trump last month.