WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New U.S. net neutrality regulations have not affected how Charter Communications Inc (CHTR.O) invests in building its telecoms networks, Chief Executive Tom Rutledge told Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler this week.
In a meeting with Wheeler and other FCC officials, disclosed in a government filing on Friday, Rutledge discussed Charter’s $56 billion takeover bid for bigger rival Time Warner Cable Inc TWC.N, which the FCC must approve.
One big issue overshadowing telecom mergers is the FCC’s recent passage of new Internet traffic regulations, which AT&T and trade groups representing cable and wireless broadband providers, including Charter, are fighting in court. In their court case, they cite threats to innovation and investment among other factors.
Rutledge, however, told Wheeler that “the commission’s decision to reclassify broadband Internet access under Title II has not altered Charter’s approach of investing significantly in its network to deliver cutting edge services,” according to the disclosure of the June 2 meeting.
A federal appeals court is currently weighing the telecom and cable companies’ request to delay implementation of the net neutrality rules, which are slated to go into effect on June 12.
The industry particularly has rejected the FCC’s move to reclassify broadband Internet as a more heavily regulated telecommunications service under Title II of the communications law, though Charter executives have in the past suggested that the new regulatory regime may be acceptable as long as the FCC waives unrelated parts of Title II as promised.
All large cable and wireless carriers, including Charter, have said they do not object to the specific net neutrality rules that prohibit them from blocking and slowing down access to websites and applications, or striking deals with content companies for prioritized delivery of their traffic.
Reporting by Alina Selyukh; Editing by Peter Galloway