State conditionally approves transfer of Oceanic cable franchises to Charter Communications

Local News

The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Cable Television Division announced Friday that it has conditionally approved the merger transaction transferring control of Oceanic Time Warner Cable’s six cable franchises to Charter Communications.

Charter provides entertainment and communications services to approximately six million customers in 28 states. Charter and Time Warner Cable, the parent company of Oceanic, filed an application in July to indirectly transfer control of Oceanic’s cable franchises statewide, pursuant to a merger transaction between Charter and TWC.

As outlined in the Decision and Order, Charter is committed to improving cable networks in Hawaii and providing a low cost broadband service for Hawaii’s low-income consumers,” said CATV administrator Ji Sook Kim.

Requirements outlined in the Decision and Order include:

  • Provide a broadband service for low-income consumers in Hawaii (providing families with children participating in the National School Lunch Program and seniors, age 65 and older who are eligible and receive federal Supplemental Security Income benefits, with broadband service initially for $14.99/month, at speeds up to 30 Megabits per second (Mbps) download, and 4 Mbps upload) within three years of the close of the merger transaction.
  • Invest $10 million to build out its networks in Hawaii and build out 1,000 new line extensions of its networks to homes in its Hawaii cable franchise areas within three years of the close of the merger transaction.
  • Provide 1,000 new public WiFi access points within three years of the close of the merger transaction, with 100 of these new access points to be deployed at public parks, civic and community centers, and other public open areas and gathering places at the direction of DCCA.
  • Within 30 months after the close of the merger transaction, transition virtually all of Oceanic’s cable systems to all-digital networks and, upon the conversion, Charter/OTWC shall provide, among other things, subscribers two digital transport adaptors, or “basic boxes,” free of charge for a period of two years and make them available at Oceanic customer service centers and delivery by mail (including pre-paid return service).
  • Promote and make available energy efficient set-top boxes (within three years of close of merger transaction, at least 90 percent of newly deployed boxes shall meet energy star requirements), and Charter/OTWC is encouraged to partner with community organizations to educate and promote the use energy efficient set-top boxes and develop an economically feasible program to trade out old boxes with efficient ones.

The merger and transfer of Oceanic’s Hawaii franchises will not take place until federal regulatory review of the merger transaction is completed.

As of Friday, Dec. 18, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission is on its 98th day of review of the Charter and TWC merger.

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