New York City Public Advocate Letitia James has asked the state Public Service Commission (PSC) that Comcast, following their acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC), provide consumers of New York City with universal broadband.
Following the merger, Comcast will acquire Time Warner Cable licenses.
Internet Essentials, a program targeted for the less financially capable, was part of Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUniversal. Under the scheme, Ars Technica reported, consumers were offered “$10 per month service with download speeds of 5Mbps and upload speeds of 1Mbps.”
Although Comcast will be offering the same program as part of the acquisition of Time Warner Cable, eligibility requirements are stringent.
James has also suggested that Comcast enhance Time Warner Cable’s Everyday Low Price plan, offering 10Mbps download speed instead of 2Mbps, and 1Mbps upload speed, for $9.95 a month.
One third of New Yorkers can’t afford broadband at home and instead have to depend on public hotspots.
“Internet access is not a luxury, but it’s really a necessity in the 21st century, particularly as it relates to addressing the issues of income inequality,” Ars Technica reported James as saying.
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“More than one-third (34 percent) of households in the Bronx lack broadband at home, compared to 30 percent in Brooklyn, 26 percent in Queens, 22 percent in Staten Island, and 21 percent in Manhattan,” a new report of the Office of the New York City Comptroller said.
According to Ars Technica, “Time Warner Cable has 2.6 million subscribers in New York state, compared to 23,000 for Comcast. Cablevision, which operates mostly in New York, has 3.1 million customers.”
Although she doesn’t have control over the acquisition, her report, in conclusion, says, “New York State Public Service Commission, along with the Federal Communications Commission should not approve this merger unless there are commitments to develop infrastructure, guarantee universal and affordable broadband access, and improve customer service.”