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President Trump Touts New Charter Investments, Including Commitments Made Last Year

Variety logo Variety 3/24/2017 Ted Johnson
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President Donald Trump appeared at the White House on Friday with Charter Communications CEO Tom Rutledge to tout the company’s plans to hire tens of thousands of new workers, which Charter committed to before the election, and make a $25 billion investment in infrastructure and operations.

In an appearance in the Oval Office, Rutledge stood to Trump’s left, as the president said that his administration would “massively eliminate job-killing regulations” and added that “you’re going to see thousands and thousands and thousands of jobs and companies and everything coming back into our country. They’re coming in far faster than even I had projected.”

Last year, Charter announced plans to hire 20,000 new employees, including many in customer service.

Shortly after it announced its plans to acquire Time Warner Cable in 2015, Charter said more generally that it would “create thousands of U.S.-based jobs” by hiring customer service call center and field technician operators, and return TW Cable’s call centers to the United States.

With Rutledge’s White House visit, Charter added a new detail to those plans; it’s hiring those workers within four years.

Charter announced on Friday that it was planning to invest $25 billion in broadband infrastructure and technology over the next four years, and that those plans were made “with confidence in the deregulatory policies of the administration and the FCC.”

“Charter has been insourcing jobs for the past five years, and as a result of that our company has performed tremendously,” Rutledge said from the Oval Office. He said that “if you do the job right the first time, it’s a lot less expensive than re-doing it.”

He said that the plans to invest $25 billion is “predicated on the kind of regulatory efficiency and consistency that we expect as a country.”

Included in that figure is a commitment that Charter already made to the FCC last year as a condition of its merger with Time Warner Cable: To deploy high-speed broadband to “two million more homes and a low-income broadband program for eligible households.”

Trump and Rutledge also appeared with Texas Governor Greg Abbott, and talked of the opening of a new Charter bilingual call center in McAllen, Texas, with 600 new jobs, which was first announced last summer.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai issued a statement in which he said that he was “pleased to see that our investment-friendly policies, along with the administration’s overall regulatory approach, are already producing results.”
Pai has been a critic of the FCC’s net neutrality rules, but he has not yet said if or how he would move to rollback those regulations.
On Thursday, the Senate voted to scuttle a set of FCC privacy rules for internet providers. Those regulations required ISPs to obtain consent from their subscribers before sharing user information.

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