California Administrative Law Judge Bemesderfer recommended yesterday that the state’s public utilities commission approve Charter’s plans to acquire Time Warner Cable and Bright House, saying it is in the public interest. The proposed decision runs 70 pages long, and includes considerable conditions for the cable operator.
Within one year of the closing of the transaction, New Charter would be required to increase broadband download speeds for households in its California service territory that are currently on an all-digital platform to not less than 60 Mbps. The operator would also have to convert all its California households to an all-digital platform with download speeds of not less than 60 Mbps within two years and half years of the deal’s close.
A further requirement would be that California subscribers would have the option of buying their own modems and set-tops without price increases.
Charter would also have to fully comply with all the terms and conditions of the FCC’s Open Internet Order, regardless of the outcome of a legal challenge playing out in a federal appeals court. Additionally, for three years, New Charter could not adopt fees for users to use specific third-party Internet applications or engage in zero-rating or usage-based billing. During that time frame, it also wouldn’t be allowed to impose data caps.
Other conditions include rules around Lifeline service discounts to eligible households and service quality standards.
The decision faces a vote by the California Public Utilities Commission as early as May 12.
Filed Under: Industry regulations