Originally Appeared in Syracuse
By Tim Knauss
January 8, 2016
New York regulators today approved Charter Communications’ acquisition of Time Warner Cable. As a condition of the approval, Charter will be required to upgrade broadband speeds and to expand the availability of high-speed internet service for low-income consumers.
The commission voted unanimously to approve the deal moments ago.
Among other requirements, Charter will be obligated to provide internet service to low-income customers at a price of no more than $14.99 per month, with download speeds of at least 30 megabits per second, said Peter McGowan, chief policy advisor. Time Warner Cable currently has a $14.99 internet option, which is available to all customers without restriction, but the download speed is only 2 Mbps, according to the company’s website.
The service for low-income customers would be available to households that qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches, or for seniors who qualify for Supplemental Security Income benefits, McGowan said. All told, PSC officials estimate that 700,000 customers across the state should qualify for the service.
Charter also will be required to provide free broadband access at 50 community centers in underserved areas throughout the state.