After promising regulators that it would launch a low-cost broadband service aimed at poorer households as part of its effort to acquire Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) and Bright House Networks, Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) has announced details of its new plan.
For $14.99 a month, qualifying subscribers will receive Internet service with 30 Mbps downstream and 4 Mbps upstream speeds, making it the fastest low-cost broadband service on the market.
Eligible customers must prove they can qualify for the federally subsidized National School Lunch Program. Seniors over the age of 65 and qualifying for Social Security are also eligible. Charter says it will launch the product within 60 days of closure of its acquisitions.
"Recognizing the central role broadband plays in our daily lives and the economic challenges faced by many Americans today, we look forward to launching this offering that will provide more consumers a superior broadband service," said Tom Rutledge, president and CEO of Charter Communications, in a statement.
"Our industry-leading low-cost broadband service is just one of the many benefits these transactions will bring to our customers," Rutledge added. "We look forward to providing this superior broadband service to underserved families and seniors throughout Charter's footprint."
As part of a broader lobbying campaign to close its deals, Charter included quotes the leaders of various minority and progressive groups in its announcement.
"Low-income families deserve state-of-the-art fast broadband as much as other families – indeed, they need fast broadband to climb out of poverty," said Marc Morial, CEO of the National Urban League, in a statement. "This program seems to be a step in the right direction for improved economic conditions for minority and low-income communities."
In June, prior to the closure of its acquisition of DirecTV, AT&T (NYSE: T) announced two cheap Internet service plans for those eligible for the government's Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Plan: One is a 5 Mbps service that would cost $10 a month for the first year, shooting up to $20 a month after 12 months; the other is a 1.5 Mbps service that would cost $5 a month for the first year before going up to $10 a month thereafter.
Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) Internet Essentials program, meanwhile, offers a laptop for $149.99 and tax and subsequent 5 Mbps service for $10 a month.
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