Charter apparently does not support broadband efforts from “served areas” that apply for federal stimulus money, judging from its official position on wireless broadband, as follows:
Charter believes broadband stimulus funding for infrastructure projects should be targeted to unserved areas where no broadband service is currently available. Awarding federal dollars to project areas where sufficient competition already exists undermines the billions of dollars Charter and its peers have invested without government subsidies. Charter believes most of the remaining funding should be awarded to projects that propose to help increase broadband adoption. Identifying barriers to adoption and solutions to connect those who are being left behind would contribute to moving the needle on broadband adoption. Charter supports the current Administration’s vision of a connected America. In order to truly move the needle on adoption, we must first focus on deploying broadband to unserved areas and second, developing solutions to adoption barriers consumers face to help close the “digital divide”.
Although I cannot speak for Charter, it looks like it doesn’t want federal stimulus money used in northwest lower Michigan, at least initially, because “sufficient competition already exists.” And yet, much of the recent movement by Charter to open up its dark fiber has happened after the federal stimulus money became available. In particular, the award to Merit Communications to connect Michigan to a less expensive Chicago backbone appears to have spurred Charter to lower its prices.
And it appears that Charter just received an $8 billion debt removal (a subsidy), and its counterparts have received federal funds and tax credits (subsidies).
If northwest Michigan is somehow “served,” then where is the “unserved” territory in Michigan? Wherever Charter isn’t?
The quote came from Tim Ransberger, Director, Government Relations at Charter, and thanks to an anonymous source for the comment about subsidies.