As it waits for a green light on its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable (TWC), Charter Communications is stepping up on the issue of net neutrality by promising to follow FCC rules and more, Variety learns. In light of the merger, which leads to the creation of the New Charter, a statement in the company website discusses New Charters’ commitment to supporting free and open Internet throughout the U.S.
This comes after FCC’s newly created Open Internet rule went into effect last June 12. According to the FCC, this new rule reclassifies broadband Internet access as part of the telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act. As the FCC explains, “The Order finds that the nature of broadband Internet access service has not only changed since that initial classification decision, but that broadband providers have even more incentives to interfere with Internet openness today.”
There are five prongs to New Charters’ commitment to net neutrality. First, it promises to deliver “superior broadband designed for online video and data-hungry apps.” In fact, Charter Communications emphasizes that it has already made investments in interconnection capacity in order to avoid any network congestion. Moreover, they have declared that no data caps will be imposed on subscribers and no consumer will be subject to usage-based billing.
At the same time, New Charter has also declared that it “will not block or slow down Internet traffic or engage in paid prioritization” as well as practice “reasonable and non-discriminatory interconnection.” Moreover, New Charter also promises to deliver faster Internet speed at a minimum of 60 Mbps across all of its subscribers, current and new.
Charter Communications announced the merger with TWC last May. In a conference call with Variety, Charter Communications CEO Tom Rutledge says, “I think there’s a better industry as a result of this combination.” Furthermore, he explains, “As one company, we’ll have means to create better products get them to market much faster. The video industry is becoming increasingly competitive (which is) driving us to invest in our product.”
As far as investment goes, Charter Communications has declared the value of the merger with TWC to be $78.7 billion, about $195.71 per TWC share, according to its press statement (link prompts download). Moreover, the mechanics of the said merger go beyond the two companies. As part of the merger, Charter will also have to acquire Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion, as Variety reports that the latter is currently being managed by TWC. Moreover, Liberty Broadband is also expected to own 19% of New Charter when the deal is done while Bright House parent company, Advance/Newhouse, will be owning 13%.
When the merger is done, Charter’s presentation (link prompts download) estimates that New Charter will have as much 23.9 million customers spread throughout the U.S. Moreover, New Charter promises to generate more jobs for the U.S. market 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.”