Access to broadband is vital to compete in today’s economy, helping students do their homework, job-seekers find employment and seniors tap into services like healthcare. Because of this, Charter has invested $16 billion in infrastructure and technology since 2014, and with the promise of a pro-investment regulatory environment we have committed to investing $25 billion more over the next four years.
This week’s Senate hearing on broadband infrastructure deployment should continue an important conversation about what are the right policies to ensure rural Americans have access to the digital infrastructure necessary to compete in today’s economy. For some time, building out high speed broadband to truly unserved areas has been a priority of Charter’s.
In Wisconsin, we serve over 700 communities, more than 70 percent of which have populations under 5,000, and we’re currently investing $800,000 to build out high-speed broadband to the City of Thorp. In California, Charter is investing millions of dollars to deliver 100 Mbps broadband service to at least 70,000 currently unconnected homes located in mostly rural communities, including Salinas Valley, Monterey County.
In 2015, Charter partnered with Essex County and the New York state government to expand our network to over 400 unserved homes upstate, and we’re currently investing in rural parts of Columbia and Rensselaer counties to better serve 10,000 homes and businesses, some for the first time. Statewide, we’ve committed to expanding broadband to 145,000 currently unserved and underserved locations over the next four years.
Also in 2015, Charter committed to invest a minimum of $10 million to improve our current network operations in Hawaii, including at least 1,000 line extensions. We’ve already exceeded our goal, and expect to complete the project well within our timeframe.
More recently we submitted a proposal to the Massachusetts Broadband Initiative (MBI) to help build out an advanced broadband network to serve seven rural Massachusetts communities—including Hancock and Princeton. If accepted, it will bring high-speed broadband services to 6,300 new homes.
High-speed internet creates life-changing opportunities for the people who live and work in these communities. Building out to areas that are truly unserved will continue to be a priority for Charter, and we’re encouraged to see support from lawmakers and regulators across the country, helping create a regulatory environment that enables broadband providers to bridge the digital divide in more places where it’s needed most.