The FCC has reportedly voted to reverse a mandate requiring Charter Communications to overbuild broadband service into 1 million U.S. homes.
The FCC has not yet responded to inquiries from FierceCable regarding the reversal. However, a source close to the matter said the agency had voted to reverse the mandate. Reuters has also reported the same outcome.
Charter, meanwhile, released this statement: "By modifying the overbuilding condition, the FCC enables Charter to more fully devote our resources and attention to building out high-speed broadband to areas without it today."
In February, new Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai circulated a petition to roll back a condition of Charter’s Time Warner Cable purchase that required Charter to “overbuild” broadband service into 1 million homes.
Charter will still be required to provide high-speed internet services rated of least 25 Mbps to 2 million additional homes. It just won’t be mandated to make sure 1 million of those homes are outside of its footprint.
Charter reps didn’t immediately respond to FierceCable’s inquiry for comment.
Lobbying hardest to have the mandate overturned was the American Cable Association, which feared that its small-operator constituency will be hurt if a much larger competitor like Charter is suddenly forced onto their rural turf. The ACA wondered why the FCC, which said that Charter is too big while announcing approval for the mergers, wanted the MSO to get even bigger.
"The overbuild condition imposed by the FCC on Charter is stunningly bad and inexplicable government policy," said ACA President and CEO Matthew Polka, in a statement released several months ago. "On the one hand, the FCC found that Charter will be too big and therefore it imposed a series of conditions to ensure it does not exercise any additional market power. At the same time, the FCC, out of the blue, is forcing Charter to get even bigger.”