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Comcast, the nation’s largest Internet service provider, today announced it is increasing the speeds of two of its most popular XFINITY Internet speed plans, Blast! and Extreme 50, in Houston for no additional cost. Customers will enjoy more than twice as fast Internet speeds on multiple devices, allowing them to surf, chat, stream HD movies and TV shows, or game online with double the speed. Also for no additional cost, Comcast is increasing the speed of its widely used Performance plan by more than 60 percent.

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Charter To Add More Than 80 HD Channels, Boost On Demand Titles in North Texas Network Upgrade

Digital equipment for all TVs required beginning in April

Fort Worth, TX – Charter is more than doubling its high definition (HD) channel lineup for customers in Fort Worth and surrounding communities as part of a $40 million all-digital upgrade to its North Texas network.

Customers in Fort Worth will soon enjoy 83 additional HD channels as a result of the largest HD launch in Charter’s history. Park Cities customers will have 91 new HD channels available.

In all, customers in more than 40 North Texas communities will soon find a total of 141 HD channels on their improved Charter television lineup.

Plus, Charter is increasing its Video On Demand (VOD) offering to a total of more than 12,000 VOD options, including 2,500 HD titles and new Spanish-language selections.

These improvements are made possible by the removal of analog signals from Charter’s network in favor of an all-digital system, but customers must take action to ensure they continue receiving Charter programming on all of their televisions.

Customers not currently equipped with Charter-issued digital set-top boxes or CableCards must acquire them for each of their TVs; and Charter is making it easy for customers to obtain digital boxes at no cost. Customers may visit www.charter.com/digitalnow or call 1-888-GET CHARTER (1-888-438-2427) for more information.

“Analog is an outdated, inefficient technology,” said John Owen, Charter’s regional vice president in Fort Worth. “In the bandwidth or channel space previously needed for providing just one analog channel, we can now provide multiple standard definition digital channels or HD channels. An all-digital network offers the best opportunity to maximize value for our customers.”

More than 96 percent of Charter’s Texas customers now have some form of digital television equipment in their homes, clearing the way for Charter to begin removing analog signals from its Texas system.

Customers in Weatherford and Cleburne will be among the first to experience the all-digital difference beginning in April, followed by those in Granbury, Azle, Fort Worth, Highland Park and University Park. The project is scheduled to conclude in mid-June.

Charter’s new all-digital system will provide improved picture quality and sound for video customers. It will also deliver faster Internet speeds for data customers in the future.

“Charter is beginning a period of significant new investment in Texas with our all-digital effort,” Owen added. “We’re adding many more HD channels and On Demand titles, but we’re also making improvements to our network and customer service. We’re replacing hundreds of miles of aging cable, while providing enhanced training programs for our technicians and customer service representatives. It’s a new day in Texas for Charter and our customers.”


About Charter
Charter (NASDAQ: CHTR) is a leading broadband communications company and the fourth-largest cable operator in the United States. Charter provides a full range of advanced broadband services, including advanced Charter TV® video entertainment programming, Charter Internet® access, and Charter Phone®. Charter Business® similarly provides scalable, tailored, and cost-effective broadband communications solutions to business organizations, such as business-to-business Internet access, data networking, business telephone, video and music entertainment services, and wireless backhaul. Charter’s advertising sales and production services are sold under the Charter Media® brand. More information about Charter can be found at charter.com.

Media Contact:
Brian Anderson

New Report: Is the Broadband Stimulus Working?

On Wednesday, February 27, 2013, the House Energy and Commerce  Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a hearing entitled “Is the Broadband Stimulus Working?”

The hearing notice included a staff report on the broadband stimulus program and questioned whether “taxpayers are getting their money’s worth four years after the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) allocated $7 billion for broadband grants and loans.” The report states while there may be some good coming from these stimulus programs, “the question is whether they have failed to minimize costs, maximize benefits, and generate adequate return on investment, especially in the current fiscal climate.”

Update: Video clip from the hearing

“The Market Public Library is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday in a single wide trailer with one Internet connection. Do you really think that’s going to build out to where they have the need for a couple hundred Internet connection router in a community of 1500?… A 5500 square foot library in a town of 1500 needs a $20,000 router?” 

Of note from the subcommittee staff report:

  • Only 60 percent of the broadband funds have been put to use so far even though all $7 billion was awarded by September 30, 2010.

  • Approximately $611 million of the funding covering 42 projects has been revoked, relinquished, or suspended.

  • Of the 553 projects funded, only 58 are finished or in the finishing stages, even though all were originally supposed to be completed by September 30, 2013.

  • Many carriers have complained that awardees have used BTOP and BIP grants and loans to overbuild existing systems rather than extend service to unserved areas.

The report highlights why overbuilding is problematic, including that it provides “seconds or thirds” in terms of broadband access to some customers while others have yet to get “firsts,” an inequitable and inefficient use of taxpayer money in a time of scarce federal dollars.  Overbuilding also unfairly subjects to government-subsidized competition businesses that have invested their own funds. This potentially divides the customer base from which the company can recover costs, jeopardizing its business and the jobs it created.

The report also makes the point that private investment is likely the source of the massive broadband growth (as highlighted below) since the stimulus money is only recently entering the pipeline. Private-sector wired and wireless broadband providers have invested an average of $65 billion a year between 2002 and 2011, as compared to the one-time investment of $7 billion in public funding nationwide.  Moreover, “parties that invest their own money are understandably more likely to scrutinize any economic analysis or strategic plan, since they bear the risk; conversely, the broadband stimulus projects using taxpayer dollars have attracted numerous allegations of waste and overbuilding.”

  • 95 percent of the population already had access to fixed broadband service by 2010, two-thirds of households subscribed, and the number of people with broadband at home had grown from 8 million to 200 million in the prior decade. That does not even count wireless service.

  • As of mid-2012, wired broadband access had ticked up to 96 percent of the population. By the end of 2011, subscribership had reached 71 percent of households and the number of people with broadband at home had climbed to 220 million subscribers.

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