Today marked the next key step in the regulatory approval process of Comcast’s transactions with Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications in California. We have filed our comments on the California Public Utilities Commission’s Administrative Law Judge’s Proposed Decision recommending approval of the transactions, with conditions.
As mentioned in our comments, we remain confident that the record demonstrates the many strong and indisputable public interest benefits the transaction will bring to residential and business customers across the state, including faster Internet speeds, innovative voice services, more competition in business services, and our acclaimed low-income broadband program Internet Essentials.
As noted by several community-based organizations during the Commission’s February 25 All Party Hearing, Comcast’s national broadband adoption program, Internet Essentials, has profoundly impacted hundreds of thousands of U.S. families – including more than 46,000 in California. The undisputed facts are that there is no more successful broadband adoption program anywhere in the nation – and the powerful benefits of this program will be brought to Southern California as a result of this transaction.
With approval of the transaction, this amazing program will be expanded to families in Southern California – one of the many resulting public interest benefits for residential and business customers across the state. As I have visited Southern California over the past year to discuss this transaction, nothing has generated more favorable and passionate commentary than Internet Essentials, with educators, elected officials, and parents asking me repeatedly when they will see the benefits of this extraordinary broadband adoption program in their communities.
While there are a number of conditions which we can support in concept, other conditions are unnecessary or exceed the Commission’s jurisdiction. For example, certain conditions go beyond the Commission’s statutory authority or are based on factually-flawed findings. Others involve issues that are not transaction-specific and are more properly considered in industry-wide proceedings. Our filing details these specific concerns and lays out the legal basis for our objections.
Notwithstanding these legal and factual concerns, we are committed to finding an equitable resolution that avoids the creation of a burdensome single provider regulatory regime while ensuring that the substantial public interest benefits promised by the transaction are realized by Californians. We are confident that we can reach agreement with the CPUC on a regime of appropriate conditions that will protect and enhance the public interest, and we look forward to accomplishing that objective in the coming weeks.