Responding to news that “New Charter” has agreed to invest $32.5 million in digital inclusion programs in California, the Coalition for Broadband Equity sent a letter last Friday to Federal Communications Chairman Thomas Wheeler asking that the Commission insist on similar investments throughout the service territory affected by the proposed Charter/Time Warner merger, as a condition of allowing the deal to go through.
The Coalition’s letter says, in part:
Of course we’re delighted that digital inclusion advocates in the state in question, empowered by a local regulatory process, have been able to persuade the Applicants to commit to a reasonable investment in community outreach and training to ensure the success of their proposed low-income Internet plan.
But we cannot imagine any rationale by which the Commission could allow the Applicants to limit such a commitment and such an investment to low-income households and communities in a single state,while ignoring equal or greater need in our communities – as documented in our comments – and others throughout the proposed New Charter service territory.
We are therefore writing to urge the Commission, once again, to condition approval of the Transactions on a major investment by New Charter in direct outreach and training partnerships with community-based digital literacy programs in underserved communities throughout its proposed territory — at a level proportional to the amount that Charter seems to have agreed is reasonable for California.